The beauty of Android: features of custom Lollipop ROMs that could have made stock Android 5.0 better


The latest iteration of Android is certainly better than KitKat in many ways. As usual, however, one can easily think of ways that would have made the latest version of the OS even better and would have probable shortened the list of the gripes we have with Lollipop, which we otherwise love and cherish on a daily basis.

Guess what, these features exist and they really seem to be making one of the more stable Android versions even better and way more functional, user-friendly, and... "Android-y". The truth, however, is that these can be found in the features list of some custom, Lollipop-based ROMs that are available for certain 'Droid machines.

We picked some of the better ones from various custom ROMs and compiled a feature list that would have made vanilla Lollipop way more head-turning and captivating than it currently is. Check them out:

Custom theme support


Material Design is captivating, but some users are not that keen on white menu backgrounds. Even more, some might be looking forward to slightly altering the looks of the interface. While this is possible neither in Lollipop nor in any previous stock version of Android, custom ROMs that come with CyanogenMod's Theme Engine allows users to download a UI theme from the Play Store, apply it and voila, change the cosmetic looks of their UI. Simple as that. Many Android fans would have probably commended Google if Lollipop came right out of the box with similar theme support, but alas.


Expandable volume panel


Most ROMs that use CyanogenMod as base implement its expandable volume slider feature. Simply put, it allows you to manage the volume levels for media, alarms, and ringtones straight from your hardware volume rocker, which is pretty handy. In Lollipop, in particular, Cyanogen has added a button in the volume menu that allows you to expand and tinker with several volume sliders. These are accessible anytime, anywhere. That would have been a pretty nice addition to vanilla Lollipop, right?


Customizable Quick Toggles


Similar to KitKat and the previous iterations of Android, Lollipop doesn't allow you to customize your quick toggles whatsoever - you can neither choose what settings will be displayed in the drop-down menu nor change the places of the existing ones. This is one of the aspects in which custom Android ROMs have excelled for a long time, and Lollipop-based ones are no different.


Baked-in app permission management


Some of you might be familiar with App Ops, an Android app that allows you to grant or revoke permissions for the apps you've installed. Well, the app has been implemented inside the security menus of many custom Lollipop ROMs, allowing users to forbid apps that they've installed from using certain fundamental functionalities, such as location, camera, personal data (contacts, messages, photos), and others. Yes, it's as simple as installing App Ops, but Google could have easily provided users with a similar feature from the get-go.


Custom lock screen shortcuts


Having shortcuts for you phone app and camera right from the lock screen is a functional and streamlined solution, but what if a user doesn't feel comfortable with these and wants to have shortcuts to their, say, e-mail or flashlight apps? Many will suggest a third-party lock screen replacement, but should we really resort to such measures? Some Lollipop ROMs, like Liquid Smooth, don't think that this should be the case at all.


Configurable screen rotation


In certain custom Lollipop ROMs for Lollipop you can configure whether your your screen should rotate 90, 180, or 270 degrees. This is a nice addition to the platform, which is normally devoid of such a functionality.


Adjustable heads-up notifications timeout


The new heads-up notification feature of Lollipop is nice and all, but you can't really adjust for how long these remain present at the top of the screen. Apparently, it's not that hard to implement such a functionality, as a number of developers have done this in their variations of the OS. Some ROMs have even gone further - they allow you to deactivate the heads-up notification feature altogether.

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12 Comments

1. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Sidenote to the customizable quick toggles, in stock Lollipop certain toggles appear in the quick toggle when used the first time. And disappear when not used for a longer period of time. But customizable is always better.

2. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Haven't used Cast Screen toggle since first day, still it's there. You sure about this?

4. PeterK.

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 13, 2013

If you enable either Cast Screen or Invert Colors, their toggles will pop up.

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Some of the toggles are permanent, like Wifi and Bluetooth. Not sure which ones come and go.

11. FXGIO

Posts: 12; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

it takes 30 days of inactivity to go away, but there is a trick, you can set calendar date to december 2014->turn on cast screen->turn it off->set date to actual date->cast toggle is now hidden

3. PeterK.

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 13, 2013

Yes, they disappear if you don't use them for roughly a month - a nuisance, all things considered.

5. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Yup that it is, was more of a sidenote anyways. And switched to a custom rom myself, not too long ago.

7. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

This is why Android is awesome. Google says "you're not satisfied? Make it better!" And developers do exactly that. They expand. They innovate. And it's free and available for all. Contrast this to Apple. Buy our stuff. Oh, we're expensive? Well, that's the price of flitting in. Yeah, that's the price for the base storage. You can instal some apps and a couple games, and maybe an album or 2, but that's it. That's why we overcharge absurd amounts for our models with more storage. Oh, you like to listen to music? Well let me introduce you to iTunes, the worst #$%^ing program invented ever. It not only makes it absurdly difficult to put an .mp3 on your phone, it wants to update itself every other day. And any other media? Well, let's hope it's in a compatible format. And for those media lovers, why not spend way to effing much for extra storage? It's all worth it for a phone with a craptastic battery that can't even last the day, because it looks so spiffy, right?

9. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

Your so dam right it's crazy. But seriously I don't want to start a war or nothing. But I could NEVER leave Android. Never. What works for people works for them. Use what makes you happy. But Android has come FAR. Very far since 1.6. Ios users will always have the exclusive content and apps. That's never gonna change. But android users have somethingsomething so much more important. Freedom. Freedom to make ringtones. Freedom to send files to each other over BT or WiFi Direct. Freedom to customize our phones so that they look NOTHING like the next phone.

8. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

How to remove that white background of app drawer in Lollipop?

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5817; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Just download Nova or Apex (or whatever launcher you prefer) No need for root or custom rom

12. FXGIO

Posts: 12; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

come on google now launcher is a terrible launcher with no customization at all, try something better

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