Custom ROMs move fast... as long as you're willing to flash nightly builds. Just days after adding the settings search feature from Android L, CyanogenMod is getting some handy cursor control keys, but they're not where you'd expect – they pop up in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

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The feature comes courtesy of Roman Birg of AOKP fame, and now a CM employee. The arrow keys actually showed up in AOKP a while back (since removed), but Birg has just added the code to CM. The buttons only appear when you're in a text box, and allow you to move the cursor left and right without messing around with the little handle thing.

The buttons are on by default, but the button settings in CyanogenMod allow you to turn them off. It's a neat feature, but it does make the nav bar look a bit cluttered, and I'm not sure how this would work with the relocated keyboard selector in Android L (if it's still there in the final version). Well, it's a nightly, so things could change.

[+Roman Birg]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • danifeb

    Carbon ROM has got it already

    • retrospooty

      Yes, but CM is the ASOP base most go by (including carbon i believe), so if its there, now most custom ROMs will have it. This is a good thing.

      • Daniel Koman

        um, no? most custom roms are based on aosp, not CM.

        • retrospooty

          You are right, Carbon is based on AOSP. I just looked. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2635756

          But they are using alot of code from CM "We would like to thank CyanogenMod for their device trees, framework/settings mods and their code that was incorporated into this project."

          Still alot of ROMS use CM and then tweak further and slap their own name on. It's a KANG thang ;)

      • Aleem Qureshi

        CM is not AOSP based hasnt been since CM became its own company. CM uses CAF sources not AOSP, hence why AOSP kernels and mods do not work on CAF

        • jaylanPHNX

          That's their kernels. The ROM is AOSP. Kernel is a mix of AOSP with heavy CAF commits, making it incompatible with non-CAF AOSP ROMs. At least that's my understanding.

          • AOSPrevails

            CM ROMs are only compatible with CM/CAF kernels, hence why custom kernels like faux & ElementalX have to have CAF/CM versions just for it.

        • retrospooty

          I dunno... I still see a hell of a lot of other custom ROM's based on CM11. It is it's own separate base, but still a ton of smaller custom ROM's use it as a base, then further tweak.

    • AOSPrevails

      SlimKat(AOSP based) have this already as well.

      • Sean Stone

        They've had it for quite some time now. I want to say March or so?

        • AOSPrevails

          Probably, I have only recently jumped on SlimKat(left GravityBox in mid June b/c SlimRecent).

  • Andrew

    GravityBox has this option as well.

    • Henrique Persechini

      Cool, one more cool GB feature I haven't discovered

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    • oroboros74

      Really? I haven't seen it, and can't find it. Can you direct me to it?

      • Andrew

        It's under Navigation Bar Tweaks in the GravityBox settings. Make sure you turn "Master switch" to ON in the same section as well.

  • cherusker

    I hope they will integrate button long presses one day...

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    GravityBox also has this, though the arrows there look a little different to these

  • dude

    GravityBox didn't invent this, it's been on AOKP and other roms for a long time.

    • AOSPrevails

      Nobody claimed GravityBox invented this.

  • moelsen8

    this is awesome.

  • EnricoD

    OMG :O

  • Crispin Swickard

    I was very confused when I saw arrows pop up last night. its good to know it wasn't a bug, or something. it wasn't apparent what they did.

    • Leonardo Farage Freitas

      You are right, this can be misleading. But still, awesome feature. Hate messing around with that handler..

      • Crispin Swickard

        Yes, it is a nice feature to have. I really wish there was a better stock way to manipulating text fields. One of the big reasons I was hesitant to leave a slider phone with direction arrows on the keyboard to a touch only. I know there are some software keyboards that have direction keys incorporated in, but I sadly have never liked any of the alternatives to the stock one since the ICS days even.

        • Leonardo Farage Freitas

          Let's be reasonable, the screen can't get more clustered than having a keyboard open in it. So adding those arrows was a nice way of adding the feature. And it only shows when the keyboard is showing.

          I approve =P and IMO google should add something like this, instead of the keyboard selection button.

          • Crispin Swickard

            I am not against it at all. I am all for it. Its not the most elegant looking solution, but I am sure I will take advantage of it. :)

        • Leonardo Farage Freitas

          Someone on the thread mentioned an early version of CM using the vol keys for moving the cursor.. But depending the orientation the phone is, it could get uncomfortable..

          I like the way they handled the feature.

  • silicobat

    cm has jumped the shark, after kosh leaving i dont expect anything good coming from cm

  • tokuiten

    Took them long enough.

    AOKP and GravityBox have had them forever.

  • nebula

    I preferred to move the cursor with the volume keys. I think they had it in android 4.1 and removed it with the next android release.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's there now on my nightly and the OPO release build.

      • nebula

        Oh nice, I haven't used CM for a long time. I switched to paranoid android with the nexus 4 release and sticked with it since.

  • NF

    That doesn't seem like a good place to put it.

    • Leonardo Farage Freitas

      Why do you think that? I am not trying to bash your opnion. It's just that I think it's a great place for it. That was an unused space, and it only show when the keyboard is on the screen.

      Where would you place it? Or you wouldn't add the feature?

      • NF

        Well when we moved to touch devices, it gave the ui the chance to be more integrated with the content. We can touch to type, and scrolling isn't done with a scrollbar. By putting that option on the bottom, it just doesn't seem like the best place to interact with the content.

        Android provides a touch cursor for that, maybe the feature could always be present for easier backtracking.

  • Spasillium


  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    I just wish I could get a navbar in the S3 with CM. Since CM11 they removed that option =(

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      I think you can still add it with a build.prop edit. That's what I did when I had an S3.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        I don't know, I didn't want to hack my phone _that_ much. Does it cause any trouble?

        • vieuxfrancois

          No. Just add the line qemu.hw.mainkeys=0 in the build.prop
          To be added after each rom update.
          Visit XDA forums if you are really unsure of what to do :)

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Nice. I'll sure do (visit), since I don't even know where this build.prop thing is located - thanks!

        • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

          Zero trouble. See the post below, that's the exact code you need.

          The nav bar is already there, it's just disabled because of the hardware keys. All this does is tell your phone to turn on the nav bar.

  • Scott Harris

    I've got the 7/2 build, which is the latest when I look in CM updates, and it's not there...

  • Natakranta

    Slim ROM has it's own version of this feature for about 3 months already. Very useful.

  • ChrisRStewart

    The arrow keys actually showed up in AOKP a while back (since removed), but Birg has just added the code to CM. The buttons only appear when you're in a text box, and allow you to move the cursor left and right without messing around with the little handle thing. http://num.to/427-837-276-945

  • duke69111

    I don't use cyanogenmod, but those left and right keys are one of the most useful features on my g2.

  • http://www.gundamaustralia.com/ cameron charles

    this was basically my biggest pet peeve of touchscreens since day one the fidelity and care you need to move the cursor to the right spot, usually hidden under your thumb , is just annoying with touch, it was made better with the pointer type object you move instead of the cursor directly but it was still far easier just to backspace the whole thing and go again, tried the arrows in aokp and havent looked back, almost didnt stick with xposed until i saw GB had arrows too

  • cabbieBot

    has this already.

  • barrenwombat

    How do they have those long press punctuation symbols on google keyboard? Is that a CM feature?

    • Rafael Luik

      It's AOSP keyboard not Google's. I don't know whether it's modified though.

  • MikeOxlong

    Been using this forever, most recently in mahdirom. While now on the L preview, I do miss this functionality.

  • deltatux

    This is news, why? Other ROMs had it for the longest time, don't see people reporting on those ROMs...

  • Jon

    Does CM pay for all this covers? Who the fuck cares what they're doing??

    • dude

      I do, so fuck you. You're not chief editor.

  • blAze

    Cool feature!! Always thought nav bar could be more useful...this is a fine example, don't think it's cluttered boz it's only appering in textbox mode.

  • Konstantinos Pap

    Too bad the option provided in the Settings in order to disable them doesn't work.

  • flosserelli

    SlimKat has had this for awhile. Nothing to see here, please move along.

  • Whybother

    Not sure why anyone brothers commenting "ROM x has this already ". AP have a clear bias towards cm and report on features added there regardless of who actually developed it

  • Frank Wisper

    We'll see how this aligns to the input method selector in Android L which is at the same location as the right arrow.
    And my keyboard (SwiftKey) has those arrows already. (+up&down)

  • http://www.minusbaby.com/ minusbaby

    I like it now that I know what they're for.

  • Mathew Sullivan

    googled "left right arrows android keyboard" because i was wondering what the hell those things were..

    not that i would even use them, but the option is nice lol

  • Bartek

    How to disable arrow keys? My SlimKat ROM doesn't have any "Buttons" settings like in "original" CM :>