These are the apps on my pocket computer (at the time of writing).
The ones marked
gapps are all by Google and are from the Google
Apps supplementary package; they have special licensing requirements and
can only be distributed by Google, not bundled with CyanogenMod.
But many flagship Google apps, such as Maps,
are not included and must be downloaded from the Android Market (Play Store).
The ones marked
AOSP are generic Android apps that come with
CM indicates apps known to be
special in Cyanogenmod, or for which there is some evidence of improved
features (hacking). The classification of apps in these categories is not
too carefully researched, i.e. I could have missed some CM enhanced apps.
Apps marked DL were downloaded from the Android Market (Play Store).
See this page for how to restore the apps and their data after an upgrade.
The software that does voice
Dialer app (AOSP) works with it.
Use the GUI (rather than dumb DTMF on the keypad) to work with voicemail. Most carriers have a similar app. See here for the simple setup steps.
Visual Voicemail can play, delete or save messages, or reply by a voice call or by SMS. To play the message, to the right of the speaker icon is a triangle, which is a player control. Hit it. To delete, the top row has an icon of a garbage can.
You can also use their voicemail server by calling it: +1 805 637 7243. It is preconfigured; see Phone - Settings - Voicemail - Setup. The dialpad has a speed dial feature: long press on 1 which is preconfigured with this number. (And you can set numbers on other digits too.) No PIN is required if from your own phone. If from a landline, it wants the mobile phone number and the PIN. I'm not sure how, from a mobile phone, you could listen to someone else's voicemail.
When you have voicemail the notification light blinks green (but not during quiet hours). The card in the notification list has direct jumps to play voicemail, call back, or reply by SMS.
I saw a forum posting where an irate user travelling abroad got a lot of charges for calls to the voicemail number and didn't recognize what it was.
Since I'm now using webmail on my home server I have de-emphasized advanced mail reader apps. One of my objections to Android mailer apps is that they save the headers locally, or at least index the mail locally, which may speed up searching but which takes a lot of local space.
Mail client dedicated and adapted for Gmail. On CM-12 this is not in Google Apps and I did not install it myself.
Mail client for generic IMAP or POP service. I'm using K-9 Mail instead.
Before I had webmail I found this was the nicest dedicated mail reader, and I've continued to install it for when webmail is not practical.
However, there is a major problem with IMAP IDLE (push e-mail), and K-9 is the most-used client capable of that, so it gets the blame. See Peter Kieser's blog dated 2011-03-25. The server is supposed to send a keepalive packet occasionally. Dovecot-1.2 has a non-adjustable interval of 2 minutes, and this is also the default for Dovecot-2.0. This keeps the phone awake and eats battery. The cure is to upgrade to Dovecot-2.0 and change imap_idle_notify_interval to 29 minutes, the interval recommended in RFC 2177. K-9's default keepalive interval is 24 minutes, so the server should never need to send, and the battery use will be reasonable. This is my experience; now the K-9 background process uses 4% of battery, which is noticeably nonzero but affordable.
XMPP/Jabber client. This is an instant message protocol. Not like SMS at 20 cents per message. Its logon procedure is not quite intuitive:
Views and sends SMS
text messages. Only this format.
By Martin Matuška, based on ConnectBot by Kenny Root and Jeffrey Sharkey. Client for SSH (and Telnet), and can also do local terminal emulation. Very good.
You can enroll and lock/unlock RSA or DSA keypairs. Hit Menu and pick Manage Pubkeys. Remember to lock your key when you're done with it.
For a new connection, type user@host:port (port is optional,
default 22) on the text field at the bottom of the connection list.
To get a local terminal, to the left of the text field
is a dropdown box; set it to Local. It will want a nickname to put in
the connection list. Give the command
exit (in any shell session)
to terminate the session.
Pinch zoom outward to enlarge the ant-like default font. Hacker's Keyboard is recommended because it has arrow keys, and all the punctuation is up front.
When in a VX ConnectBot connection, to paste from the clipboard, i.e. send something to the remote side, hit Menu (or tap the screen center and then the 3 dot icon) and pick Paste; it's sent. To copy off the screen, enlarge the font first, then hit menu, pick copy, then smear (touch and drag) the desired region. Then switch to your other app and use Paste to deposit the result. (If you long press in most text entry fields a Paste button will pop up.)
For file transfer, look in Menu - Settings (way down) and find the file transfer section. You should preconfigure Download Folder (I don't know where it goes by default, not /sdcard/Downloads) and you may set Remote Upload Folder, but the default for that is to prompt every time for the upload destination. That done, start your session, hit Menu and pick Upload or Download. Type in the path of the source file (no file browser), and for uploads it should prompt you also for the destination.
Audio and video calls in a proprietary format.
by RootMetrics. Crowd sourced coverage information.
By Simply Advanced. Shows details about your LTE (or other) connection including the frequency band used, which otherwise is impossible to find.
The standard Android web browser.
The most popular web browser, from Mozilla Foundation. This is the one I use. But one of its annoying features is that it has no builtin method to manage X.509 certificates.
To delete expired X.509 certificates, you need the Client Certificate
Manager add-on by Matt Weeks. To install, hit the Menu key, Tools -
Add-ons. Search for
Certificate and find this program on the list.
Add to Firefox. Its UI is annoying but once you identify
the cert to be deleted, the app will take care of it.
To install new certs, see my writeup on AddCertificate by Stephane LeGall.
All it does is open
the browser on Google with a query-string of your search terms. I don't
use it much. Many desktop themes include a search widget on every page,
but it's possible to get rid of it, on the UI settings page. In the
apps list this app is titled
Shows current and forecasted weather at your current location (or a custom location). Shows current news in various categories. You get links to the original sources (New Zealand Times etc.) with thumbnails. Selection and thumbnails are almost certainly by Google.
View videos from their site in a proprietary format.
This is the standard Google Maps app. Includes traffic and terrain view overlays. Includes turn-by-turn navigation. If you search for advertisers in a category, e.g. restaurants, their locations will be shown, with a cross reference to relevant web resources. Not included in Google Apps.
To activate, long-press on the map (preferably over a location marker or your GPS position). A pop-up will appear giving the address. Click on it. In the menu page that appears, pick Street View. You can change the direction of view to show your target and you can also move the viewpoint.
Aerial and satellite photos of the whole earth (minus censored sites).
Turn so the rear faces a point in the sky, and the app will show the stars, planets, constellations, etc. in that area. (Works in daylight too.) Very nice. It depends on the magnetometer (compass) to know the direction of view.
By MobiWIA - EclipSim. Shows the exact GPS position and which satellites are being received, plus other data. And a feature to find your way back to a saved location. Also has a readout for the light level. Ad supported, but I got the Pro key.
By Highway North. Shows your speed, time, and route on a map.
On jimc's machine, find the URL of the TAR archive of the desired album. Run a terminal session and do: (substituting the URL)
sh /sdcard/Music/dnld.sh $URL
sh because the SD card is mounted with execution
suppressed. The music ends up in the oga or mp3 subdirectory.
Now to get the music into the media index, or if you delete
any media, you need to rescan, which normally happens at boot, or if your
downloader is integrated with Android's Media Gallery (yeah, sure).
See Rescan SD Card! below.
Plays MP3 (but not Ogg Vorbis) local tracks and Icecast streams. This is the player I normally use for this format. It is mainly intended to play DRM-controlled media purchased on Google Play. The builtin player for Firefox can play Ogg but not MP3.
By sTOOPIDfiG. Launch the app, it identifies new and deleted media and registers them with the Media Gallery.
When you copy media (music, photos, video) onto your pocket computer or delete it, the media indexer (Media Storage builtin app) doesn't realize (no inotify?) and reports to apps (Gallery, music players) deleted content and doesn't report new content. The indexer runs at reboot, or when you unmount/remount the (internal?) SD card, which is a pain. This app will trigger it.
There are quite a number of media rescanning apps, but the API changed
starting in Android-4.4
KitKat and most of them have stopped
working. This is the only one, out of quite a few tried, that actually
works on CM-12. I tested it by: Download an album, verify that
Music by Google does not show it, run this app,
and find that it has appeared in the album list.
You can set the DSP for bass boost or five channel equalization, separately for the wired headset, speaker or Bluetooth. There are forum posts suggesting that this DSP manager is special for CyanogenMod and is improved versus the AOSP version.
You can make
voice notes with this app. You can pick the format (AMR, 3GPP, WAV
(uncompressed, a pig)) and direct the files to two locations
Phone Storage, likely the other one
is similar on the external SD card). The file's basename is the date and
time of recording. From the menu pick View Recordings, and use the
selected file browser to find the file and open an audio player on it.
In CM-10 and CM-11 this used to be my preferred audio player, but it seems to have been discontinued in CM-12.
Takes pictures. Can use the rear or front camera. Can do video too. The standard AOSP camera app has been enhanced for CyanogenMod; nonetheless, the controls are not overwhelming in their complexity. Here is a page of photos taken with the camera.
pictures (and videos?) all over your storage. It's pretty simple. Even
so, it has in-app photo editing including cropping, color adjustment, and
straightening: rotate the photo a few degrees so the horizon is
parallel to the edges of the photo. The edited version is stored
separately; you still have the original. From the Share icon you can get
the photos off your phone in about 10 different ways. Most useful for me
was AndFTP -- if you give a destination of user@host
it will use SFTP with password authentication.
By Autodesk Inc. Photo editor. Free, no outside ads that I've seen, and plugs for in-app purchasing other Autodesk products are not obtrusive.
Seeing Steve Jobs demonstrate the photo editing software that comes
with the iPad 3, my wife bought an iPad on the spot. We've noticed that
many posted photos could really use simple photo editing: specifically
straightening. I reviewed the photo editors available
for Android. The free ones mostly are very aggressively ad supported,
with full-page ads popping up at random, plus incessant begging for a
five star rating. Pixlr is the one I picked. I haven't used it a lot
yet, but it looks like it has the features I want.
By ZXing Team. It can read several barcode formats including QR. It can look up UPCs, or pass URLs to the browser. If you copy a URL to the clipboard (or I think generic text like a geographic location from GPS Status) the app can render it into a QR code that another phone can scan.
By Pas. Turn your phone into a snoop box. It serves your front or rear camera stream on the net (password optional) in various formats. Audio too, if turned on. Good for testing cameras. Eats battery; if you're snooping, plug in the charger.
Displays the current time, and can do alarms. It can show upcoming calendar events, and the current weather. It functions safely on the lock screen. I'm not sure how much of this is special in CyanogenMod, but some of it is.
By Ned Fox. It turns the screen brightness to the lowest leval in a configurable color, and uses a giant font. This makes it able to replace a commercial alarm clock. In CM-10 it does its own alarms; in CM-9 it had to rely on the provided clock app.
See here for how to use your own music as an alarm, ringtone, etc.
By Sergey Baranov. Uses NTP to sync your clock on a schedule or at boot time. The Galaxy S5's clock drifts around 0.3 sec/day (averaged over 5 days). To see the History and Stats, it's in the middle of Settings. The Galaxy S III generally drifts 0.5 to 1.0 sec/day, not too bad, but Froyo on HTC Dream lost a lot more (and more than on Cupcake; it must have been losing clock ticks) and this app was essential.
By Roberto Leinardi. Up to 3 down-counters which beep and flash the light when they reach 0. We were cooking, and my wife and my son were using the two available timers, so I downloaded this app on the spot and had a timer for my dish!
The PIM apps have some hidden structure. There are contacts and calendar providers (AOSP) which make these tables available to all the apps, e.g. phone, e-mail, cLock, notifier. Then there are user interfaces which display the contacts or events and let you create, search for or edit them. And there are connectors, which communicate with a cloud server and synchronize between the versions of the tables on the phone and in the cloud. I use ownCloud on my own server.
A simple contact list manager. I'm using this one.
A simple calendar displayer.
By Tapir Apps GmbH. Alternative PIM calendar. This is the one I use.
By Marten Gajda, based on his CalDAV-Sync. A task list is a special kind of calendar.
You should be able to pay for things with this. You can tell Google your real credit card number and let Google pass payments on it, or you can use a one-time card to increment your credit balance, and use that for payments. Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and some other mobile payment methods use the same protocol and will work or fail equally with the same set of merchants. (But CVS has their own.) You can make payments on the web, or by NFC if the merchant has the reader. See here for details of setting up Google Wallet. And the latest tale of woe -- it no longer works.
To buy something with NFC, called
Tap and Pay by Google, or
Apple Pay by Apple, first turn on NFC, which you could put in your Quick Settings
dropdown page. When the merchant is ready to be paid, place the phone
near or on the reader, what they call tapping. The Wallet app will start
if not already running. It will ask for your PIN if timed out, which it
It will then behave (on the merchant's side) as if you had swiped a
physical credit card. When the merchant's software has received
confirmation that it's being paid, it will send back to you a transaction
record, which the Google Wallet app will save in your account history.
To collect the record you can either leave the phone close to the reader
(which is what I did), or tap again.
The initial sending from the phone to the merchant includes a credit card number which is autonomously generated on the phone and which can be used only for that one transaction, so thieves cannot make it useful as they could with the real credit card number.
Google's help page
How to Tap and Pay, you need a data
connection to authenticate using your PIN (and with the jimc-recommended 15
minute timeout, this will be for almost every transaction). And you need a
data connection once a day to reconcile records with the mother ship.
However, for the transaction itself you do not need a data connection; the
whole thing is autonomous on the phone.
Yes! Confirmed one successful NFC mobile payment with Google Wallet in CyanogenMod-12. And this was at a cash register branded Apple Pay. This would not have worked in CM-11, and I suspect (without proof) that Google Wallet for Lollipop includes a Host Card Emulation library, while it was separate, and not available, in earlier versions. Update: This has stopped working due to policy changes.
By Andrew Stephan at
This company is (or was) active in providing a HCE library for payment apps, and I believe this
app is intended as a demo of their product. Version 2.6 works with
KitKat and above, and there are explicit statements
that it works on CyanogenMod-11, but none about CyanogenMod-12 based on
Lollipop. While vendors' images use
the Secure Element on the phone hardware itself, Tapp uses a Secure Element
in the cloud. Advantage: if the phone is stolen the Secure Element is
safe. Disadvantage: it's never revealed just who has custody of
your Secure Element and what security protections are used.
I ended up uninstalling this app without ever using it.
By Marten Gajda. Sync a calendar from/to your server.
By Marten Gajda. Sync contacts from/to your server.
Sync your Google calendar.
Sync your Google contact list.
By Theis Borg. It's not really a notes app -- see Lost Android.
Manage X.509 certificates, install them from the SD card. Desktop Firefox has an association to install PKCS#12 files in its own keystore, but Firefox for Android just downloads them. In the download manager, find your PKCS#12 file, click on it, and it will start the Certificate Installer. Give the password encrypting the PKCS#12 file. Give a friendly name (not the 64 byte hash). Done.
I tried several variants on this theme. As far as I can see, you must download the file with the browser, and you must open the download manager and click on the line item. In particular, it won't work to open the file in ES File Explorer, nor to use Settings - Security - Certificate Storage - Install from SD Card. Of course, Firefox does not use the system keystore. You also need to import the certs into Firefox, q.v.
By Markus Wiederkehr. An excellent Sudoku game. Includes extra and non-square regions. I bought the Pro key to avoid ads.
By Mnara Solutions. A different Sudoku game with different challenges. It has only conventional square Sudoku. The games are randomly generated, so you have an unlimited number of them, but they do not have the devilish traps that a human designer can throw at you, unless by chance.
By Rev. Johnny Healey. Gives a 4x4 or 5x5 grid of random letters; you're supposed to find English words.
By CandyMobile. A collection of card games: Klondike (draw 1 or 3), Freecell, Spider Solitaire. Ad supported, on the selection screen but not during game play. My favorite is Freecell.
One of the major proprietary e-book formats. The app can also display PDF.
By CadreWorks Pty Ltd. An excellent Bible reader. It has a library of Bibles in various languages: English, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, etc. etc. Many are free, some cost money.
By Aquamarine Networks. A good general purpose text editor. I use this to record my blood pressure daily in a flat file, and to take notes on generic topics. It has syntax highlighting for some programming languages. Ad supported, I bought the Pro key to avoid the ads.
Imitation of Microsoft Word, Power Point and Excel (spreadsheet), and it can display PDF. I used the spreadsheet for an expense record while abroad. No ads; I think Kingsoft's business model is paid support for enterprises in the Chinese market.
By OpenIntents. For storing passwords, account codes, etc. under protection of a master password. It requires OI About and OI File Manager. You can export the list to a file for backing it up: normally encrypted, but if you blow off warning messages (this is a really bad idea) you can omit the encryption.
by Quartic Software. Scientific and engineering calculator with unit conversion. It imitates one of the old Hewlett-Packard calculators with RPN (but can be configured for infix also).
Simple 4 function calculator (infix) with some extras: transcendental functions, decimal/binary/hex input and conversion, matrices, and graphing. The latter elements are CyanogenMod enhancements.
By ES App Group. A very complete file manager and browser, well liked by forum posters. It has integration with cloud services like Dropbox. Includes Bluetooth OBEX, SMB/CIFS and SSH/SCP modules. It includes a simple media player and a flat file editor. A well-liked competitor is Astro File Manager by Metago.
Simple but complete manager for local files. It can use root privilege to monkey with any file (on a RW filesystem, i.e. /system is readonly). That part is a CyanogenMod enhancement. It includes a simple text editor, not as nice as Jota+, but useful.
Manages downloaded files. Particularly, to delete one or more files, click on the line item(s) and a checkmark will appear, and in the top row will be a garbage can icon, which you press to delete them.
By Chainfire. Manages privilege escalation a little more completely than Privacy Guard. This is intended as an upgrade to the old Superuser app by ChainSDD. While CM-12 is intrinsically rooted, it does not include a SU GUI by default.
By Jack Palevich (jackpal). Runs a shell on the local machine. Bundled with CyanogenMod. See also VX ConnectBot.
Tests the speed of your CPU, GPU, SD card, etc. Unfortunately there are no units or similar interpretation of the measurements, so comparison between Android devices is feasible but it's hard to compare with other OS's and architectures.
by adrian.ulrich. Imitates what CM-11 has, the battery percentage in a colored circle, but as a continuous notification.
by vndnguyen. Shows Samsung-specific (and not so specific) information. It has what I'm particularly looking for: the CSC (customization code). Ad supported, not annoying.
by Frankiu. Shows all kinds of information about your device and the OS, a lot from the Android environment and setting storage.
By Jack Palevich (jackpal). Shows all kinds of information about your device and the OS, mainly from /proc, e.g. /proc/cpuinfo.
By Miguel Torres. Displays all your sensor outputs and a variety of other information. Useful when checking out the phone.
By Ian Cameron Smith. It
displays a lot of sensor outputs. The user interface imitates a Star Trek
tricorder. Since the UI imitation was not licensed, the copyright holders
put a DMCA takedown demand on the Market. However, copies can be found
floating unofficially on the web; look for
By Lysesoft. Simple FTP client, useful for getting photos onto and off of the pocket computer, if the destination has a FTP server. Also can act as a SCP or SFTP client. In the sharing dialog of another app, if you pick AndFTP and give user@host as the destination, it appears to use SFTP.
By Friedrich Schäuffelhut. You can set up a VPN tunnel to a
remote OpenVPN server using this protocol. The
configures and launches the tunnel; the
Installer app downloads the
binary program and only has to be run once. See here for a link to the
I'm using OpenVPN Installer version 0.2.4; it succeeded with no drama beyond a lot of superuser requests (granted). I used the normal installation options: /system/xbin/openvpn and /system/xbin/busybox ifconfig. As mentioned in the above link, I am using the patched installer from bcafa…@gmail.com.
Unfortunately the server does not start and gives no errors in the log file. Currently blamed on SELinux. Fixing this is going to take some hacking.
You can set up a VPN tunnel using the IPSec standard protocol. StrongSwan is extensively tested for interoperation with other IPSec software and dedicated appliances, provided they will accept your authentication. See here for a link to the setup procedure. So far, it connects right off to the endpoint on Jacinth. I'm using DNS forwarding to Jacinth. On a ping test to Sunset (publicly routable) with a numeric IP, it takes its time beginning the test but gets zero packet loss. Traceroute runs through the gateway (Jacinth), proving that the VPN is being used, though reverse DNS on the intermediate points takes a long time to time out. However, transport is very spotty. Far from all of the fault is with StrongSwan. Currently blamed on SELinux. Fixing this is going to take some hacking.
By galexand. You can use SSH to connect to the pocket computer from another machine, like my backup server. See here for the nightmare setting up the SSH server. But I eventually got it into a useful if not perfect state.
By Michal Kowalczuk. Provides the normal rsync command, for scripting, and a GUI to run it. Mainly useful for making backups.
By Ice Cold Apps. Ad supported, or paid. This creates a NAT rule (IPv4 only) so if a remote host connects to your phone's source port, e.g. 22 for SSH, it will be forwarded to a different destination port where the server is actually listening. See under SSH server setup for comments on how to set up Port Forwarder Ultimate.
Port Forwarder Ultimate uses a surprising amount of battery considering that all the work is done by two iptables rules, which are inexpensive and not billable anyway. During about 13 hours, it used half the energy that the screen did. Don't start it at boot, and turn it off when not in use.
By Evan He. When you run a VPN you may not be able to route to the DNS servers formerly used, depending on the settings. Use this app to switch to an accessible DNS server.
By Hurricane Electric. Ping, traceroute, portscan, DNS lookup, all the most useful network operations from your pocket computer.
By Farproc. Shows the signal strength of detectable Wi-Fi access points. Very useful. Ad supported.
By TKj. A remote control for a MythTV DVR.
A remote control for a Honeywell smart thermostat.
Can report your phone's physical (GPS) location if you lose it.
Various countermeasures if it's stolen. The cloud server is at
To use it, you need to authenticate with Google OpenID (
account). You can make it send SMS to the phone, or send messages
by hand (PIN required), to sound an alarm, retrieve GPS or other location,
or do various anti-theft countermeasures. [Set up and tested.]
If you have multiple phones make sure you're setting up and testing the
Android Device Manager by Google is a similar product (which appeared after Lost Android). It also can report the device's location, make the device ring, reset the lock screen PIN, or erase all data. But Lost Android can do more, and I think I won't switch to the Google product.
The standard on-screen keyboard.
By Klaus Weidner. This keyboard has all the punctuation up front, like on a desktop keyboard. Plus arrow keys, which the standard one doesn't have. But the keys are necessarily narrower, so I switch between keyboards, even in the middle of a document, depending on what I'm writing.
By NNDC, Brookhaven National Lab. This is not a
payment app, it is a collection of nuclear properties of isotopes.
By GHCV. Chemical and physical properties of the elements, glorified periodic table.
This is where you can obtain apps (some free, some cost money), and where
you can purchase various DRM-controlled music, videos, and e-books.
Formerly it was called the Android Market, a much less juvenile name.
According to Nathan Snyder on AndroidAuthority dated
2012-08-09, three gapps packages are needed for this:
GoogleLoginService.apk, GoogleServicesFramework.apk, and the very
revealingly named Phonesky.apk. It looks like in CM-12 based on Android
Lollipop, the names have changed.
When apps have updates, you are automatically notified. You could set the program to update automatically, but I prefer to read the changelog first. Do not neglect app updates.
You can pay for non-free apps with your Google Wallet.
Backend for using the Play Store; manages app downloads and probably a lot more.
Set this up [done]. Test NFC payment.
Needs a lot more testing and practice. See the gallery of test pics.
Something messes up both OpenVPN and StrongSwan. Also WiFi Hotspot. You can't start OpenVPN. You can't get proper routing through the other two. DNS is totally hosed. Blame it all on SELinux.