best custom ROMs for Nexus 7

10 Best Custom ROMs For Nexus 7 to Freshen The Interface

The 2nd generation Nexus 7 is definitely a major improvement from the first one and it is still one of my favorite Android tablets. While there are plenty of apps, games, cool cases and amazing accessories for your Nexus 7, you might be feeling left out when looking at some of the other recent Android tablets. The great news is that no Android device can become so old that you need to replace it and there’s always something you can do in order to get back that feeling when you first purchased the device.

Even if you’re really happy with your Nexus 7 in terms of battery life and performance, you can always enhance the user interface. Custom ROMs can really liven up any Android device and with the tons available for the Nexus 7, you have a lot of options to choose from.

After looking at some of the most popular ROMs for the Nexus 7, I’ve come up with a list of the 10 best custom ROMs for Nexus 7. This way, you get the 10 best ROMs at you fingertips without installing and trying out any of the ROMs available for the Nexus 7.


Before installing any custom ROMs, make sure that your Nexus 7 is rooted. Rooting and installing custom ROMs will void your warranty and this is a risky process so you should only do it at your own responsibility. That being said, most people find it extremely easy by reading the developer specific instructions. Make sure that you create a full backup of all your important files using either the default Android backup feature or through a third-party app from the Google Play store.

Below the description of each ROM, you’ll find a link to XDA Forums so that you can find out more about the ROM and also get the developer specific instructions. Even though most custom ROMs use standard installing instructions, others require special instructions so make sure you read completely what the developer has to say.

1. CleanROM


CleanROM is one of the best custom ROMs for Nexus 7. The ROM focuses on stability, speed, smoothness and being clean. Based on stock 4.4.4 KitKat, the ROM is perfect for users who are looking for a stock Android experience, but also want performance enhancements on top. The ROM features ART compatible power menu, Android L boot animation and init.d support.

Notable Features:

  • Qualcomm optimizations
  • Pre-rooted
  • Improved battery life
  • Performance optimization
  • Extremely stable

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2. DarkKat


DarkKat is another popular custom ROM available for the Nexus 7 and as the name suggests, it is also based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The ROM brings certain popular functions from different ROMs, such as Cyanogenmod’s backup feature. The ROM features an expanded desktop, carrier label customization, volume panel tweaks and custom animations.

Notable Features:

  • Heads up notifications
  • Slim and default recent apps menu
  • Customizable RAM bar
  • Status bar brightness slider
  • Status bar screenshot delete feature

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3. SinLess ROM


SinLess ROM features a clean Android 4.4.4 base and it focuses on performance and stability, without compromising on the battery life. The ROM is rooted, buttery smooth and is debloated. The ROM brings gravity box, Google home launcher, Sqlite tweaks, Viper4Android and Pie.

Aside from that, it also features adobe flash player, Apollo music player, EsFile Explorer, HK theme manager, xposed installer and init.d tweaks.

Notable Features:

  • Performance tweaks
  • RAM optimization
  • Latest BusyBox
  • System tweaks
  • AOSP browser

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4. Exodus ROM


Exodus comes from the same people who released the popular Genesis ROM. The ROM is based on Cyanogenmod and features an Android 4.4.4 KitKat. As it is based on Cyanogenmod, you’ll also get the popular CM theme engine and CM optimizations. Titanium backup also come pre-installed with the ROM.

Aside from that, the ROM also features Cyanogenmod’s profiles and protected apps. Bloatware and unneeded features have been removed to make the ROM as clean as possible.

Notable Features:

  • SwagPapers and Cyanogenmod wallpapers
  • AOKP ROM control
  • Original Nexus boot animation
  • Fast charge supported
  • Modified kernel with optimizations

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5. The Schism ROM


Based on Mahdi-ROM, this particular custom ROM is slightly different from all the ROMs available for the Nexus 7 as it focuses on closing the gap between Android and Google apps as the UI is inspired by Google apps.

The ROM brings several new features, including Peek from AOSP, one click scroll, DSP manager theming, battery bar, Schism OTA updates, gesture unlock and ASOP recents menu. This is one of the best custom ROMs for Nexus 7.

Notable Features:

  • Active display
  • Heads up notifications
  • Notification panel redesign
  • Lockscreen tweaks
  • Floating window updates
  • SlimePie

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6. SlimKat


SlimROMs are quite popular amongst various Android devices as they are slim, fast and bring additional features. SlimKat focuses on a slimmed down version of KitKat, while still providing a lot more than some other lightweight ROMs. This ROM brings the popular slim dark interface that offers buttery smoothness, but also looks quite elegant.

Aside from that, the ROM also features SlimCenter for additional downloads and contact information. SlimKat also brings two different camera modes, including smart capture and true view. If you’re looking for something clean and lightweight, while having lots of different features, then this is probably the ideal ROM.

Notable Features:

  • Full system keyboard controls
  • Custom shortcuts
  • Performance tweaks
  • Bloatware free

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7. Bulletproof OmniROM


OmniROM is another feature-rich best custom ROMs for Nexus 7. This particular ROM is an unofficial build of OmniROM, but it is fully stable. The ROM features the bulletproof kernel and is rooted with the latest version of SuperSU. Aside from that, the ROM also brings floating window, ART optimizations, USB-OTG support and the latest quiet hours.

Notable Features:

  • Lockscreen notifications
  • Heads up notifications
  • Updated animation controls
  • Dalvik tweaks

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KANGAKAT is another stable ROM available for the Google Nexus 7, featuring a clean and fast user interface. It features the stock kernel, zipalight script, sqlite script and the latest BusyBox. Aside from that, it also features an ad blocker.

Notable Features:

  • Latest SuperUser
  • ADB remount
  • Extended reboot
  • Flashable add-ons

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9. IceCold ROM


IceCold ROM is based on AOKP and is modified to add features missing on pure AOKP. The ROM brings several additional features, including wakelock blocker, animations for framework, volume cursor and LCD density changer.

Notable Features:

  • HALO
  • Pie
  • Gesture anywhere
  • Active display

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EHNDROIX V is another best custom ROM for Nexus 7 and this particular ROM is also quite popular on other devices, such as the Nexus 5. Based on CM11, this particular ROM has been fully customized so that even the tiniest of details can be seen. Aside from that, performance and battery life have also been improved significantly for the best possible experience.

EHNDROIX V runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and you can update the ROM directly using the OTA update centre. Some other features include Nova launcher, dashclock lockscreen, Google public DNS, customizable quick settings panel, EHNDROIX wallpapers and ad blocker.

Notable Features:

  • Titanium backup
  • Catchy ringtones and notification/alarm sounds
  • Battery and system tweaks
  • Heads Up from Android L

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Custom ROMs are a great way to not only change how the software looks and feels, but they can also improve battery life and performance significantly, making the device a lot more productive. Whether you want to improve the performance of your Nexus 7 or you just want something fresh, you can install a ROM based on your preferences. The 10 best custom ROMs for Nexus 7 mentioned above should cater to the needs of almost every user so you don’t really need to look at other options. Before installing any ROM, make sure that you backup your device and do this at your own responsibility. If you think I’ve missed a best custom ROM for Nexus 7 that you like or if you have any questions, feel free to mention them in the comments sections below.

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