The process of installing CyanogenMod (CM) on a compatible device has traditionally been something shrouded in ADB commands and trial and error. For those uncomfortable with tinkering and messing around with unlocking a bootloader and flashing files to your device CyanogenMod can be very intimidating.
The CyanogenMod team knew this, so it released a Windows installer late in 2013 and as of early this week, the Mac version was made available. What this means for users is the ability to install the latest stable version of CyanogenMod in under 5 minutes.
Of course, before you dive into any of this make sure you back up your device. The installation process will delete all information stored on your device. Back up your photos, videos and anything else you deem valuable.
Before you get too excited, you'll need to look at the list of compatible devices. If your device is on the list, then head on over to the Google+ community page and download the CyanogenMod Installer app.
Another piece of the puzzle you'll need to put in place is the companion app for your Android device. This was the same app from the Play store. You can download the APK for the app by visiting get.cm/app on your Android device. After installing the app, follow the instructions on the screen. Then after a few basic tasks the app will tell you when you're ready to connect your device to your computer and run the CyanogenMod Installer app.
From here the process is incredibly simple. You connect your device, the installer identifies and then downloads the required files and packages. You'll be asked to touch your device only once, and that's to confirm you want to unlock your bootloader. Other than that, the installer takes care of everything. It's really important to make sure your device is charged, and you don't unplug or power off your device at any time during the installation.
The installer will let you know when it's finished. Total time from clicking on the Install button until I was watching my device reboot into CyanogenMod was 3 minutes. Actually, it took longer for my device to boot up the first time running CM 11 than the entire installation process did. There was a software update available upon first boot, but other than that it was the normal setup process for an Android device, but with the added flavor of CM 11.
I did run into an issue the first time I tried using the installer, which is expected since the product is technically in public beta.
When prompted to click on install after all of the appropriate files had been downloaded, I closed out the app and relaunched it. Upon relaunching the installer, it would close out on its own as soon as it recognized my device was connected. According to the support forums, this seems to be a common issue, and one that will hopefully be fixed soon. What I eventually figured out was the files were already downloaded, and once the installer tried to redownload them, it threw an error and closed the app. To get around this, I deleted the "cminstaller" folder that contains the downloaded files located in my Home folder. Your experience may vary.