Outstanding custom Android ROMs for the HTC One (M8)

Rumors for the HTC One (M9) are already making the rounds, suggesting that the Taiwan-based manufacturer might be prepping a beastly flagship for 2015, but at the moment, the One (M8) is still the undisputed forerunner and crowned king in HTC's camp. It's been on the market for a hefty amount of time already, which means that the countless horde of developers has had more than enough time to tinker with Google's Android and develop a large amount of custom firmwares for the sleek device.

We've already showed you some interesting aftermarket ROMs for the Samsung Galaxy S5, but now it's time to turn our heads to HTC's flagship and highlight some of the more notable third-party Android distributions that are available for the smartphone. As usual, most of the available ones are based on stock Android, which means that flashing a custom ROM will most definitely require you to say goodbye to Sense UI and its merits. Then again, there exist certain ROMs that are based on HTC's UI, but have also gone through a pretty harsh diet and are therefore lighter, faster, and more battery-friendly while retaining certain Sense features.

It goes without saying that you need to have a rooted HTC One (M8) and a more-than-basic understanding of everything custom ROM-related. Read the flashing instructions for each ROM carefully and last, but definitely not least, always make sure to have a full Nandroid backup at hand - better safe than sorry!

ViperOneM8


This ROM is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Sense 6 UI and is all about customization. It offers its potential adopters numerous features and customization options to choose from (courtesy of Venom Tweaks, a built-in feature suite), and frankly said, most of these are quite intriguing. For example, this firmware allows you to tweak your status bar, theme the Quick Settings toggles, show CPU/RAM usage in the status bar, change the default toggles' icons, apply various lockscreen changes, modify the hardware buttons' functions, change the screen off animation to your heartfelt content, and many, many more. This firmware also comes with an updated stock kernel, which has a lot of CPU tweaks in tow. Oh, and ViperOneM8 is fully ART-compatible! For more information and flashing instructions, go here.



Android Revolution HD


Touted as being the most popular custom ROM for the HTC One (M8). It is based on HTC's stock Sense UI and at first sight bears almost no visual differences with its progenitor. However, it is the tweaks under the hood that make Android Revolution HD one of the most popular and preferred ROMs for the One (M8). This ROM is "debloated", has numerous speed optimizations, better virtual memory management, various RAM, GPU and CPU governors improvements, and countless other performance tweaks that will reportedly improve your battery life by a noticeable margin. Check this XDA thread if you are interested in Android Revolution HD for the HTC One (M8).



LiquidSmooth


Just as its name suggests, the LiquidSmooth ROM for the HTC One (M8) promises a smooth and stable user experience. It's one of those AOSP-derived ROMs that go light on your system's resources, yet have a respectable array of on-board features to woo potential users with. Among these are CyanogenMod's Theme Engine, Bubble, Slims QuickSettings, Custom animation controls, Motorola-like Active Display, customizable lock screen notifications, and many others. You can learn more about LiquidSmooth and eventually flash it by following this thread.



CyanogenMod 


Well, the usual suspect is here, too! The AOSP-based CyanogenMod has climbed to the top of the custom ROM mountain and is by far one of the most popular ones, because it's available for a really wide range of devices. Being a customized variation of AOSP Android, it is mostly similar to the stock Google OS, except for the added features that it comes with. One of the more lauded is the built-in theme support, as well as the wide array of available themes in the Play Store; we also have to mention the few, yet spot-on customization options that have made their way to CyanogenMod. At the time of writing, HTC One (M8) users can choose between an almost perfect CyanogenMod 11 distribution (based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat) and a unofficial, alpha CyanogenMod 12 build, which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop.

If you are into more stable and time-tested ROMs, check out CyanogenMod 11, if not, CyanogenMod 12 might be your thing.



InsertCoin 


This is another custom ROM for the One (M8) that is based on stock Sense UI. Similar to ViperOneM8, it's fully compatible with the ART runtime that is the default one in Lollipop; apart from this, the ROM also comes with numerous under-the-hood tweaks - various "ramdisk improvements, battery life, performance and memory improvements, optimized with latest sdk for improved performance," etc.

It's also endowed with a slew of custom InsertCoin apps, namely Kontrol, Market, Themes, ZipFlasher, Battery Icon Packs, Per App Colors - their names speak for themselves, don't they? You can flash it by following the instructions in this thread.



Paranoid Android 


Although not as popular as CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android (usually referred to as "PA") is among the well-known Android aftermarket firmwares due to its pretty long list of supported devices. At first sight, PA is almost similar to its more famed rival when it comes to looks and features, but it has a few additional customization features in hand. Some of the highlights of PA are Hover, a feature that brings heads-up notifications, Immersive mode, which hides the status bar and the navigation buttons, Pie controls, Lollipop-like Dynamic System Bars, and many others. If PA has caught your attention, you can learn more about it by following this link



SlimKat


Yes, the popular SlimKat is available for HTC's finest, too! Erstwhile known as SlimBean, it is based on raw AOSP, with further refinements which aim to make it one of the lightest and smoothest custom ROMs for your Android device. However, it does not have a feature list that is as extensive as the ones of most of its adversaries, which might slightly put off the customization geeks out there. Then again, aren't we always on the hunt for the most streamlined user experience possible? If you couldn't care less about various (and often gimmicky) features, then SlimKat might be the right firmware for you One (M8). You can find out how to flash bu following this link.

Related phones

One (M8)
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(20h 3G talk time)

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28 Comments

1. Rajanvir

Posts: 56; Member since: Dec 11, 2013

I don't think so any HTC One M8 user will root its device and install a custom roms because HTC Sense is one of the best part of HTC devices

3. Andrew5190

Posts: 55; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Said...not many, ever. The joys of Android though (if the carriers aren't involved). You can make it what you want.

9. JC557

Posts: 1918; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Many people like Sense, me included. Not many people root their phones anyhow (compared to the general population) and use whatever their phone comes with, many times not even doing OTA updates unless it's forced on them.

16. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I rooted my M8 and it was the worse thing i could ever do with it, custom ROMs are laggy and unstable compared to HTC's stock ROM, tried Viper, Insertcoin, ARHD and Maximus and they all show the same problem some more than others... OFC there are upsides but having to completely wipe my phone and lose an hour of my time just to update the phone is too much. And i've rooted all my phones for the past 5 years, this one is just so good out of the box that i returned it to stock.

22. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

Sense is more consistently designed than any other Android UI including stock Lollipop and stock KitKat. Now if you think stock kitkat or lollipop look prettier, that's subjective. But sense is objectively more consistent. As for people liking it, a lot of people like it. A lot of people even on XDA prefer Sense, they only switched to GPe to have the latest and greatest, but a lot of people are excited to see what HTC does with sense and material design especially considering how some parts of material design have been clearly inspired by Sense. I hate nearly all custom UIs, but HTC knows their s**t.

26. Furbal unregistered

Converting to developer edition is better than going to GPE imo. Sense is indeed better than stock for most things.

15. abdane

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

That's true, but ViperROM is still sense, but way more awesome customization...

19. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Will i bought my wife's m8 of a Craigslist like site here in Lebanon, and not until i got home i found out that it was rooted and viper rom was already installed on it. My rooting and installing rom experience only covers Samsung and LG phones, and the HTC way of doing it sucks big time. I tried installing the latest version of venom and it wouldn't work with me since i have s-on. Tried over and over to get the phone s-off with no success. There isn't even a link that gives proper instructions of how to go back to fully stock from custom rom. The beauty with Samsung is that within 1 minute you can get your phone rooted with custom recovery installed, and also within few minutes you can get back to stock.

20. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Dumb statement. Sense is great (not a fan of the app drawer, but Nova or whatever can fix that), no doubt, but some prefer other ROMs. Saying people won't root though, that's just silly. Root makes any ROM better, be it stock, debloated stock, or custom.

28. sparzdos

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 25, 2014

The only thing I really like about HTC Sense is the searchable and sortable App Drawer. I wouldn't mind it overall, however the Verizon version with the 4.4.4 update has blocked the ability to create APNs and generates unknown SIM card messages when using a non-Verizon SIM. Since I spend most of my time in Mexico, I need the phone to recognize my Telcel Amigo card and provide Internet and MMS support. So I flashed to GPE 5.0 and everythinig works great for Telcel and Verizon. Much faster also. I only miss the the HTC Sense App Drawer.

2. yahia_malka

Posts: 186; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Can I install stock android like what's in nexus series on the m8?

4. Andrew5190

Posts: 55; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Google Play Edition ROMs are your friend :)

5. rj_78

Posts: 74; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

thing i like about htc is their UI and even you can root your device to get stock android. This is missing in nexus device

6. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Well, I love my HTC ONE M8 However for now I am upgradeing to a Note 4. We shall see what the HIMA brings. Much love HTC

25. EC112987

Posts: 1214; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

I did it and I must say that the difference for me isn't that signicant but I still don't regret upgrading if that makes any sense. The note 4 is a beast though. Still love my M8 chose not to sell it

7. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I would like to see list like this for Z3. Oh wait...there aren't any roms for it because Sony is punishing root users by damaging camera funcionality! Great job Sony, thank You so much.

8. JC557

Posts: 1918; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Wait, seriously? That sucks big time because I have my eye on the Xperia Z3 Compact as a backup (T-mobile or AT&T pre-paid SIM) and my HTC One M8 (verizon) as primary (always need two phones just in case). In relation to the article, I love using stock Sense but Viper and Liquid Smooth get the nod from me as well aside from some minor/ niggling issues.

10. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I own Z3 Compact and for now dev community doesn't exist on this phone and Z3, because nobody wants to lose funcionality. This is such a stupid idea, what I always loved about HTC is incredible dev support, and HTC lets you unlock bl officialy without any damage, Sony gives tool to ulock it but You lose noise cancelling, miracast, higher ISO and God knows what else. This sucks and I want to get rid of this stupid carrier bloatware already!

13. afraaa

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

yeah and when u s-off and flash custom rom does htc make safe way to back from custom rom ? htc is good up to root .. when it come to custom rom . .. htc is horrible too .. go check on how u should return to stock compare to samsung and lg !

18. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

To return an HTC device to stock: 1-Download RUU (Rom Update Utility) 2-Connect your phone and run the utility. Stop spreading misinformation.

14. afraaa

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

incredible dev support is nexus

21. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

At the moment, rooting the Z3's (and earlier Z's) requires unlocking the bootloader, which deletes DRM keys, to protect Sony's proprietary software. Most notable is the camera's low-light abilities, but this also affects some audio/visual software and some other things. I probably would have bought a Z3 Compact too, if there was another method of root.

12. afraaa

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

yeahhhhhhhhhhhh funny thing they claim we respect developers and unlock bootloader easily and htc and sony policy about custom roms are ridiculous .. that's why nexus is the one .

11. dragon76

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

I usually root and install a custom rom but this is the first phone that I have no interest in doing that cause it is snappy enough, looks good also

17. gaara6775

Posts: 738; Member since: May 20, 2014

ViperOne is best. Love their customization options.

23. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I have abstained from buying new flagships (instead I prefer saving money and going with the previous generation), but the M9 might just break that trend for me. I'd have an M8 already if it weren't for the stupid camera.

27. LetThereBeLight

Posts: 112; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

i quite like the camera... weird huhh? i never crop or zoom so i dont care about megapixels and details but i use the benefit of the two lenses like ufocus or changing the background layer so i quite really enjoy this camera and the files not so big... i don't like the low light focus speed and the stupid scratchy coat on the lens... i know a lot other phone has ufocus feature but as far as i know you can do that if you have already chosen this function in advance but with the m8 camera you can almost with every pic afterward anytime,... ( almost because you cannot do with macro pictures etc...)

24. talon95

Posts: 994; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

Only reason I got an M8 was because it has s-off on Verizon. I use the Digitalhigh GPE 5.0 and it's so much better than stock. Lollipop has added at least 25% to my battery life, I'm getting up to 40 hours out of it. I don't care for Sense at all and Ultrapixel is an Ultradisaster but other than that it's a nice setup. I miss Xposed in 5.0 but battery life is probably better not having it running.

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