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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