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Background: I want a rooted Android phone, but I have never dabbled with rooting etc before. I own a YU Yuphoria device (which comes with Cyanogen OS).

It seems to me there are two ways to get root access:

  • install CyanogenMod on the phone, or
  • root the stock Cyanogen OS that comes with the phone

What are the pros and cons of either option over the other?

If I install CyanogenMod, will I get quicker updates to the OS (including new Android releases)? Does the update happen automatically (or at least very simply), or does it involve some procedure (using the PC to flash/run commands etc) to be followed each time?

Currently I am tilting towards CyanogenMod because I think (though I might be wrong) that it will allow automatic regular updates without having to re-root each time. On the other hand, I have read that rooting the stock Cyanogen OS will require the re-rooting each time after updating the OS.

Any differences in stability between CyanogenMod (the stable releases, not nightly) and Cyanogen OS?

  • CyanogenMod is a custom ROM for your phone and CyanogenOS is stock ROM for your phone. The difference between updates should now be clear. The difference between persistent root should also become clear now. Note that CyanogenOS is simply a commercial version of CyanogenMod, a bit toned down hence. Yureka supports flashing using bootloader. Use it to flash a recovery and then root your stock ROM. No need to switch ROMs just to root. – Firelord Dec 21 '15 at 20:46
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    Unfortunately nothing that you thought would become clear became clear :/ I already knew the difference (and relationship) between the CyanogenMod and CyanogenOS.... but I am extremely new to the whole rooting business. – Himanshu P Dec 21 '15 at 20:48
  • It has nothing much to do with rooting here. I've mentioned the keywords. Use them to make things clear. For example, COS (stock ROM) ships updates a lot later than CM (custom ROM). There updates differs. Official CM receives regular updates. COS12 would most likely use block based update and in that case it either wouldn't update or you would lose root access. – Firelord Dec 21 '15 at 20:52
  • Pls read my question again (I've edited for some more clarity), and answer the specific questions. In particular, I feel CyanogenMod (being an official distribution with root access) will keep updating itself without needing to be re-rooted each time it updates (which will also be more frequent than the updates on Cyanogen OS hopefully?), while the stock CyanogenOS might need re-rooting each time it updates? Is this a valid reason to prefer the CyanogenMod? – Himanshu P Dec 21 '15 at 20:54
  • Ah, just saw your comment above. So I guess CyanogenMod does make more sense... both because it'll get faster updates and coz I wouldn't lose root access each time. Any issues with stability in your opinion? – Himanshu P Dec 21 '15 at 20:56
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If you're looking specifically at the stable builds of CyanogenMod (CM), then you would be better off rooting Cyanogen OS. Otherwise you would likely be reverting to an older Android version or waiting months for the stable release of the current version of CM to be released. In my experience, the stable release typically comes at the end of the development cycle for a particular Android version, e.g. around when the new version is being released. On the other hand, for the OnePlus One the comparatively stripped out CyanogenOS build would come a few weeks after the release of a new version of Android.

The obvious pro for CM is that it is much more recent and updated. New features are being added constantly, so by the time it reaches a stable release it is much more fully featured than the comparable Cyanogen OS release. The obvious downside is the time that it takes to get to that point.

The obvious pro for Cyanogen OS is that it is built specifically for your device under contract by the manufacturers. It's already on your phone and is supported officially. Being an OEM ROM, it often comes with additional Cyanogen OS-specific apps and themes that aren't available to CM, CM-based ROMs, and AOSP-based ROMs. Although from my experience with the OnePlus One, this point is insignificant.

Between those two options, there isn't likely to be any significant difference in stability. With CyanogenOS, you WILL have to reroot the device every time you flash an official update. You would not have to deal with the steps of the root process that revolve around drivers, which is most of them, but it will also overwrite your recovery so you would have to flash that again as well. With CM the update process involves rebooting to recovery and installing the .zip file. The more I think about this, the more I'd recommend CM. You've changed my mind.

If you are interested in some of the additional features that a custom ROM has to offer, you should browse the lettuce xda page here for custom ROMs. The only people that will be able to answer your stability questions are other people on your same device running these ROMs. A CM 13 build was just released last week so it may be too early to consider that a daily driver but the CM 12.1 build has been around for a while. There are also plenty of other ROMs out there if you want to go down that route.

The rooting process for your device is the same as many others and is very straightforward. Here is a detailed guide. These steps will be common to both rooting CyanogenOS AND installing CM, which is only four additional steps: download ROM zip, reboot to recovery, flash the zip, and wipe cache and dalvik. Reboot.

  • Thanks for the detailed response. 1) what do you mean by 'downgrading versions and waiting months for the stable release of CM to be released' and 'The obvious downside is the time that it takes to get to that point' Don't the stable versions of CM come out more frequently than Cyanogen OS? So what's the downside with CM in this respect? 2) It's true I am mainly interested in root access. But isn't it the case that Cyanogen OS will need re-rooting each time it updates (which, since I've never done it before seems like a scary process fraught with all kinds of risks like bricking etc :D) – Himanshu P Dec 21 '15 at 21:20
  • "Don't the stable versions of CM come out more frequently than Cyanogen OS?" To be honest that depends on how much your phone manufacturer is paying them. I'll update my answer. – randman2011 Dec 21 '15 at 21:23

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