Even though a Pie Controls feature isn’t baked into CyanogenMod, there’s a way for you to get this functionality and here are the steps you need to follow.

Older versions of CyanogenMod had pie controls built right into the custom ROM but lately that has stopped. I don’t recall this feature being present in CM11 and I have yet to see it implemented into CM12 or CM12.1 either. Pie Controls is something that I started using with Paranoid Android and I have always done what I can to enable it in any version of Android that I use.

With CyanogenMod not adding this feature natively, we have to do a little hacking in order to get it working on any smartphone that runs CyanogenMod.

Now, if you’re using CyanogenMod on a Samsung device then it might be a little different since you have the ability to disable those capacitive touch buttons from within the Settings. At least I was able to control this with CM12.1 on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. I assume that this could be different with the number of Samsung devices running CyanogenMod right now so you may have to adjust this tutorial to match those devices. Still, almost all of the other popular Android devices are not using capacitive button and have opted for software navigation buttons instead. So let’s talk about what we need to do in order to enable pie controls for those devices with software navigation buttons.

CyanogenMod Pie Controls

  1. Enable Root Access
  2. Download and Install the Build.Prop Editor
  3. Open the Build.Prop Editor Application
  4. Grant Root Access to the Build.Prop Editor Application if it Asks
  5. Press the Pencil Button at the Bottom(or tap the 3-dot menu at the top right and then press edit)
  6. Scroll All the Way Down
  7. Create a New Line a the Very Bottom
  8. Add in the Following Text. . .
  9. qemu.hw.mainkeys = 1
  10. . . .Then Press the Disk Icon at the Top Right to Save
  11. Grant Root Access to the Build.Prop Editor Application if it Asks
  12. Wait for the Spinning Circle to Stop(this can take some time)
  13. You Should Get a Toast Message Saying the File was Saved
  14. Press the Home Button to Exit the Build.Prop Editor Application
  15. Download and Install the Pie Control Application
  16. Configure the Pie Control Application How You Want it(remember to tap the apply button)
  17. Press the ‘Apply’ Button at the Bottom
  18. Close/Minimize the Pie Control Application
  19. Reboot Your Nexus 6


If you’ve been following the tutorials that I’ve been writing here then you probably see how this is very familiar. Since the Pie Controls feature isn’t build into CyanogenMod, we have to hack our way into the OS in order to replicate the feature. LMT Launcher is another popular Pie Control application so if you want to use that instead of the application called Pie Control from the Google Play Store then you have the choice to do that. I like the graphical interface of Pie Control more than LMT Launcher so that is why I recommend it here. I also recommend that you create a Nandroid backup in your custom recovery of choice(TWRP, CWM, etc) before you start with this tutorial.

You’ll need to have root access enabled in CyanogenMod before you can start this because editing the build.prop file requires root access. If you want, you could disable root access after you have made your build.prop edits as you will no longer need it in order to take advantage of Pie Controls. So once you have this build.prop file editor downloaded, you can launch it and if you get prompted, then give it root access. However, you might not be asked about root access until you try to save the changes. You’re basically just adding a new line to your build.prop so you’ll scroll all the way down to the bottom and create a new line if you need to.

As you can see above, this is what my build.prop file looks like after I have made the edit and this is the change that disables the software navigation keys. You just need to type(or paste) that code into the very bottom of the build.prop file and then you’re done. Safe the build.prop changes and wait for the toast message that tells you the file has been saved. When the file is saved, you won’t notice any changes with the navigation buttons until you reboot. However, before you reboot, I recommend that you go ahead and open up the Google Play Store and then download the Pie Control application(or do a Google search for LMT Launcher and download/install it instead).

Either way you choose, the end result is the same, only with different applications giving you that pie control interface. You’ll need to launch the Pie Controls application and set it up exactly how you want. By this I mean that you’ll want to configure it to activate on the left, right and/or bottom of the screen, you’ll need to configure if you want it with a clock, and you’ll want to configure the color as well as which buttons you want to be used. I believe it supports up to 5 buttons for each layer and it supports a couple of layers.

As you can see, I like things to be simple and minimalistic so I choose the basic black color with just the back, home and overview buttons. You’ll want to play with the configuration settings though because there really are a lot of different features and buttons that you can pack into this. Since this disables the swipe up from the bottom shortcut for Google Now, I have enabled it so that when I long-press on the home button, it activates Google Now.

Let me know which pie control setups you like the most and feel free to post a screenshot of your setup as well.


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