CyanogenWhich features are essential for you in a mobile device? For the majority of users, the answer is clear: it needs to be functional, reliable and convenient. However, perhaps these basics are not enough for you and your relationship with technology goes a lot further than this. If you want to personalise your BQ user experience to the greatest extent possible, and you prefer adapting your device to your logic, rather than you adapting to it, Cyanogen OS, available on the Aquaris X5, is made for you.

What is Cyanogen?

Cyanogen is an Android-based operating system. Its developers began with CyanogenMod, a free open source software intended to include some features which were not available on Android. Its fame grew, and a large community of users who supported the project gradually developed, bringing ideas and new developments. After a while, when the great interest in the software became clear, it was decided to launch a new version to be distributed commercially. Thus Cyanogen OS was born, an operating system which gives users a much wider range of customisation options, including detailed appearance, security and privacy settings.

 

The Aquaris X5 with Cyanogen OS

The Aquaris X5 with Cyanogen OS

To what extent is it similar to Android?

If you’re thinking of trying something new, but you don’t feel like taking on a whole new operating system and the learning and adaptation process which that involves, or you simply like Android and don’t want to change, pay attention to these next points, because the change to Cyanogen OS might be a lot simpler than you imagine:

  • As it was developed from Android, Cyanogen OS is compatible with Play Store applications, meaning you can continue to download and use your favourite applications in the same way as with Android.
  • All Google services are included, so you won’t have to change the way you use your device. Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, and “Ok Google” will serve you as before from the moment you turn on your X5.
  • Cyanogen OS receives updates in the same way as any Android device.
  • The device runs straight out of the box, without you having to change any settings. Exactly like when you turn on an Android for the first time.
  • Cyanogen OS is not open source, or at least no more so than Android.
  • In terms of the degree of customisation you can apply to the device, any smartphone user can easily make modifications and perfectly understand how the new system works.
A flexible operating system full of possibilities

A flexible operating system full of possibilities

Customisation for all tastes

Now that you know that the change from Android to Cyanogen OS is one of the easiest and simplest for users, here are some of the interesting features you will be able to enjoy if you decide to make the switch.

Privacy

Are security and privacy priorities for you? Then you’ll be glad to know that this system implements multiple configuration options which you can modify very specifically according to your needs:

  • The Privacy Guard system allows you to find out what type of personal information each of the applications you use has access to (location, camera, contacts, and so on). What’s more, you can continue to use applications without allowing them to access your personal information, and you are always able to decide what to share and when.
  • You can choose which folders to hide or protect, meaning you can be sure that only you can access their content.
  • One of the most popular security features is PIN Scramble. When this option is activated, each time you enter your PIN, the digits on the screen are scrambled.  This means you will no longer have to worry about people looking over your shoulder when entering your PIN, or people being able to work out your PIN from your fingerprints on the screen. Simple, but effective!
PIN Scramble makes it impossible to guess your PIN

PIN Scramble makes it impossible to guess your PIN

Multiple changes in appearance and customisable features

When it comes to the appearance and the way you use your smartphone, Cyanogen OS goes further than just customisable background and fonts, allowing a much higher level of customisation than usual. Here are some of the options:

  • From the X5 system itself, you can access a theme store where you can find free and paid options. As you can see, the variety is immense even with the free options, allowing your device to be adapted to tastes you might not even know you had.
Some of the free themes available in Cyanogen OS

Some of the free themes available in Cyanogen OS

Custom controls are another of Cyanogen OS’s highlights. These enable you to change almost any of the ways you interact with your mobile, allowing you to decide how you control your device.

  • You can choose which actions to perform with certain gestures, and determine what your device does when you tap the screen once, twice, or tap and hold.
  • You have the option of placing shortcuts on the lock screen.
  • You can add or delete buttons.
  • You can even change the boot animation or lock screen, among other options.
Customising icons, background and home screen

Customising icons, background and home screen

Unique experiences

Cyanogen’s developers have not only added what they considered to be interesting features, they have also supplemented some existing Android features to enhance the user experience. Some of its default apps and features include:

  • Truecaller: with this feature you can identify unknown, hidden or commercial numbers. In addition to this, the system itself offers you the possibility of choosing whether or not to receive calls, and even to block spam numbers. In order to do this, Cyanogen relies on an impressive database with 1.7 billion commercial contacts from across the globe.
  • Fully customisable Boxer Email and Calendar services.
  • LiveDisplay: this feature was included in version 12.1 of Cyanogen OS (which the X5 runs on) and intelligently adjusts the screen based on the surrounding light and the time of day. When sunlight hits the screen, the contrast and saturation increase to make the screen easier to see. When the systems detects that it is night-time, the screen reduces the stimulating effect of blue light to stop your sleep pattern being affected by the screen brightness.
Manual settings for LiveDisplay

Manual settings for LiveDisplay

  • The operating system also includes Cyanogen’s acclaimed audio player, AudioFX, which enables you to listen to your music exactly the way you want to, thanks to its powerful five-band equaliser, predetermined audio profiles and high quality playback. It also has some new features, such as its updated interface and an increase in the types of codecs it supports.
Some of the AudioFX profiles

Some of the AudioFX profiles

As you can see, Cyanogen OS gives you access to extra security, privacy and customisation features which will ensure your smartphone experience meets your highest expectations.

Carmen R. Sánchez-Puga (known as Puga at mibyyo) is a reporter and sound technician. She likes to tinker with devices, music and often combines the two. She's worked as a journalist in media before but she has never felt so intensely alive as when she was a BQ forum moderator.