Here are an incomplete list of aftermarket distributions, also known as custom firmware or custom ROM of the original Android operating system by Google. These ROMS are customized for various reasons, some for security while others for a better UI. Having said that, MIUI is the better OS when it comes to UI because it is inspired by iOS, whereas CopperheadOS is designed from ground up with security as its selling point.
Custom ROMs are one of the best advantages of rooting Android. With a custom ROM, you can enjoy a wide range of benefits – and yes, a few downsides. These ROMs works with most Samsung, Sony, Huawei, LG, HTC, Motorola, Oppo and more. Disadvantages of custom ROMs:
- May void warranties
- Custom ROMs may not work for all devices
- Need to root
↓ 01 – AOKP | 6.0 Marshmallow | 89 Devices
AOKP stands for Android Open Kang Project. It is a custom ROM distribution for several high-end Android devices. The name is a play on the word kang and AOSP (Android Open Source Project). The name was sort of a joke, but it just stuck, just like our infatuation with unicorns.
We fork the source code of Android that Google puts out in the open with every major version release, and we then add the magical unicorn bytes (read: we add some of the coolest features that are both useful and make your ROM awesome). With AOKP, you can generally do a lot more with your device than what you could do with the original firmware that came installed on it.
↓ 02 – CopperheadOS [ Security ] | 6.0.1 Marshmallow | 3 Devices
A hardened open-source operating system based on Android. The Android Open Source Project provides a robust base to build upon. The baseline security model and features are not documented here, only the CopperheadOS improvements. To summarize some of the standard security features inherited from Android:
- Full Disk Encryption at the filesystem layer, covering all data (AES-256-XTS) and metadata (AES-256-CBC+CTS). The encryption key is randomly generated, and then encrypted with a key encryption key derived via scrypt from the passphrase the verified boot key and the hardware-bound Trusted Execution Environment key which also implements rate limiting below the OS layer.
- Full verified boot, covering all firmware and OS partitions. The unverified partitions holding user data are wiped by a factory reset.
- Baseline app isolation via unique uid/gid pairs for each app.
- App permission model including the ability to revoke permissions and supply fake data. Most permissions are based on dynamic checks for IPC requests, while a small subset make use of secondary groups.
- Full system SELinux policy with fine-grained domains. There is no unconfined domain, and MLS provides very strong multi-user isolation.
- Fine-grained ioctl command filtering is done via SELinux. This is better than using seccomp-bpf to filter ioctl parameters since it’s per-device-type and lower overhead. This is currently used for socket ioctls, but is being expanded to cover everything.
- Kernel attack surface reduction via seccomp-bpf. The sandbox is entered after initialization to reduce the necessary system calls. This is currently done for the media extractor and codec services but is being expanded.
- Widespread adoption of memory-safe languages, including within the base OS.
- Higher-entropy ASLR than the upstream Linux kernel defaults paired with library load order randomization in the linker.
↓ 03 – CyanogenMod | 6.0.1 Marshmallow | 571 Devices
CyanogenMod is an enhanced open source firmware distribution for smartphones and tablet computers based on the Android mobile operating system. It offers features and options not found in the official firmware distributed by vendors of these devices.
Features supported by CyanogenMod include native theming support, FLAC audio codec support, a large Access Point Name list, an OpenVPN client, an enhanced reboot menu, support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB tethering, CPU overclocking and other performance enhancements, soft buttons and other “tablet tweaks”, toggles in the notification pull-down (such as wi-fi, Bluetooth and GPS), app permissions management, as well as other interface enhancements. CyanogenMod does not contain spyware or bloatware. In many cases, CyanogenMod may increase performance and reliability compared with official firmware releases.
↓ 04 – XiaoMi’s MIUI [ iOS Clone ] | 6.0.1 Marshmallow | 286 Devices
MIUI (which stands for Mi User Interface and pronounced “Me You I”, a play on the common abbreviation of the words user interface as UI), developed by Xiaomi Tech. The only advantage MIUI has over others is the similarity of UI with iOS.
↓ 05 – OmniROM [ Anti CyanogenMod ] | 6.0 Marshmallow | 35 Devices
OmniROM is a free software operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. It involves a number of prominent developers from other projects. The project is a reaction to the commercialisation of ROM project CyanogenMod.
↓ 06 – Paranoid Android | 6.0.1 Marshmallow | 48 Devices
Paranoid Android is a custom ROM aiming to extend the system, working on enhancing the already existing beauty of Android and following the same design philosophies that were set forward by Google for Android Open Source Project.
- Hover – Read and interact with your notifications as they arrive. Avoid distractions that would take you away from that awesome document you are working on or from that impressive trick video you are watching.
- Immersive mode – Hide the system bars globally. Give your apps more real estate to show colorful images, funny texts and entertaining videos on.
- Pie – Enhance the simplicity of the navigation bar while saving screen space on Immersive mode. Use the navigation buttons using simple swipes.
- Peek – Glance at your notifications when pulling your phone out of your pocket right after the notification buzz.
- Dynamic System Bars aka DSB – Merge your status and navigation bars with the surrounding content. Provide a smoother and more immersive experience.
- Theme Engine by CyanogenMod – Enhance your system, polish it, quickly make it be just the way you want it to be. Pick from the endless options available on Play Store.
↓ 07 – Indus OS [ South Asia Focused ] | 6.0 Marshmallow | 25 Devices
Indus OS is focused on creating a regional smartphone ecosystem through Simplification, Innovation & Content. The operating system is currently available in English & 12 regional languages (Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Odia, Assamese, Punjabi, Kannada, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Marathi)