Get CyanogenMod apps on your device without rooting

Florence Ion

It can be intimidating to root your phone and install a custom ROM. It’s a scary process, and you never know if you’re going to succeed. Bricking your device is a very real possibility, and no one wants to turn an afternoon of software tweaking into tears. 

If you’re too afraid to root, you can still explore CyanogenMod territory by downloading some of the apps that come preloaded with the ever-popular ROM. CM Apps—a free package that gives you access to a handful of CyanogenMod’s features—rolled out over the weekend. All it requires is braving the download from the Google Play store.

Choose an app

CM Apps is actually a portal to outside links that download the individual apps you’re interested in. So, rather than side-loading the APKs yourself, the app does it for you. Tap on an app to download it like you normally would from the Google Play store.

cmapps main

Pick an app, any app. 

You can choose from nine different Cyanogen-branded apps, including Apollo, Clock Widget, DSP Manager, File Manager, Sound Recorder, Calculator, Torch, Trebuchet, and Wallpapers. There’s also the Camera Next application from CyanogenMod 11S, but I couldn’t get it to load on a rooted Nexus 5 with Android 4.4.2. All the apps are downloaded separately, and accessible from your Application Drawer.

A taste of CyanogenMod

cmapps fileexplorer

Cyanogen’s FileExplorer app. 

If you’re scared of committing to CyanogenMod, you can download apps like the Trebuchet launcher to get a feel for the ROM’s user interface. Bear in mind that you won’t have access to the same settings and preferences available in the actual CyanogenMod; for the most part, things look rather similar to stock Android. If you have KitKat, however, you won’t have access to features like Google Now available to you by swiping all the way over to the right.

cmapps nodifference

Two Launchers, hardly a difference 

You’ll also have access to utility apps like Sound Recorder, which is rather self-explanatory, and Torch, a barebones flashlight app. You can also download the CyanogenMod wallpapers pack, or the DSP Manager, which lets you pump up the bass on your headphones.

Some of the reviewers in the Google Play store have expressed concern over some apps not downloading at all, but the developer behind the app seems to be addressing these issues as fast as he can.

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