Root Reviews: How to install CyanogenMod 7

Normally, Root Reviews is all about root only apps. Today, however, is different. Out of all the questions I hear about Root Reviews, or any other review for that matter, is how to install CyanogenMod 7. This is going to be a general guide that applies to all phones. The process of obtaining and flashing CM7 is pretty similar between devices, but of course there is always exceptions.

CyanogenMod 7

CyanogenMod 7 is the latest version of the wildly popular Android Open Source Project based ROMs put out by Cyanogen and his team of developers. As you may have heard, or guessed, by now, CyanogenMod 7 is based off of Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread. CM7 is as vanilla as vanilla gets, but it’s also one of the most customizable series of ROMs ever developed; partially because it’s so popular, partially because the guys behind CM are all about making your phone yours.


First things first: check to make sure your device is compatible with CyanogenMod. When you’re done, and it is, continue on.

This one is kind of obvious, but as CyanogenMod is a custom ROM, that means your going to have to be rooted. This next part, I can’t stress enough: in order to root your device, you have to read, read, read, read. The root process for everyone phone is different, so there is no defined way to root an Android device. You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but the best place to find information on how to root your phone is the XDA forums. For the sake of the XDA community, and yours as well, read and search before you ask any questions. Just about any question you have has probably been asked, and answered already.

Once you’ve done your research and you’re rooted, it’s time to flash a custom recovery. Most root processes take you through the steps of flashing a custom recovery, but just in case, here’s the easiest way: download ROM Manager. As I understand it, there are no phones compatible with CyanogenMod that aren’t compatible with ROM Manager and ClockworkMod Recovery.

Using ROM Manager couldn’t be easier. Once you download from the Market, just open the app, follow the prompts, and select “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery” from the top of the app. A popup should follow that makes you confirm your device, and if everything is right, you just press OK and you’re done. Once you’ve got a custom recovery image installed, there’s a couple of ways to download and flash CyanogenMod 7.

Obtaining and flashing CyanogenMod 7

The newfangled easy way to obtain and flash CyanogenMod 7 is right through ROM Manager. The steps are as follows:

1.) Select Download ROM from the main app page.

2.) Select CyanogenMod.

3.) Select your ROM of choice. (At the time of writing this, the most recent version is 7.0.0-RC3, so that’s what you will most likely be downloading.)

4.) Make sure you download Google Apps when prompted to.

5.) After download, follow the prompts to wipe your phone and preform a backup.

6.) Let your device sit and preform the necessary actions to install CM7.

7.) Reboot and enjoy.

The old way, and my preferred method, works like this:

1.) Download CyanogenMod 7 from the CyanogenMod forums, or from the “Devices” link on the homepage.

2.) Download the appropriate Google Apps, or GAPPS, from the CyanogenMod forums.

3.) Add both files to the root of your SD card. (This step can be confusing if your not familiar with rooting terms, even though you should be because you read a lot right? The “root” of your SD card is just the base of your card. No folders or sub-folders, just right on the base.)

4.) Reboot into recovery. (Again, you should know how to do this by now, but if you don’t ROM Manager can help.)

5.) Backup your current ROM.

6.) Wipe cache partition and wipe data/factory reset.

7.) Install zip from SD card.

8.) Choose zip from SD card.

9.) Install CM7 and then GAPPS.

10.) Reboot and enjoy.

If you should have any problems during either procedure, this is where the fully researching rooting your device comes into play. Just take a deep breath, and hop online to see what the problem is.

Tips and tricks

If this is your first time using CyanogenMod 7, here’s some helpful tips and tricks.

Go into the main settings for your device, and you’ll notice there is a CyanogenMod Settings menu. This contains all of the options you can change to further customize your device.

In your app drawer, there should now be a Themes icon. You can change the theme of your device by using what you see in the app, or by downloading more from the Market.

If there’s any problems with your device acting up after first installing, like WiFi performing badly, simply reboot and it should take care of it.

Check the appropriate forums for your device to find tons of CyanogenMod related tweaks and themes.


That’s about all there is too it. Should you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments and I’ll be sure to check back. If you really want to make sure I’ll answer your question, ask me on Twitter @du57in.