Whatever it was that tempted you to root your Android device, you’ll need the right apps to take advantage. You’ll find apps to customize the look of your device, tweak the performance, help you to manage files and apps, enable hotspots and secure networking, and a few other things besides. Google doesn’t necessarily recommend that you root, but it’s not frowned upon either, and so you’ll find most of the top apps for rooted Android devices in the Play Store.
We’ve already taken a look at how to root your Android device, now let’s take a look at how to get the best out of your rooted device.
Updated 3-27-2015 by Simon Hill: Removed DroidWall and Screencast Video recorder and tidied up text. Added ROM Toolbox Pro, Device Control, GL Tools, Super SU, and System App Remover.
Best apps for rooted Android devices
There are loads of great apps for rooted Android devices, but most of them won’t work on any smartphone or tablet that isn’t rooted, so don’t waste your time (if they do work it will be a limited subset of the full functionality). Apply the same common sense rules that you would to installing any Android app when you go shopping for rooted apps – only download from the Play Store, always check the reviews, and stick to apps with a good rating and a high number of downloads.
ROM Toolbox Pro ($6)
If you want to save yourself some time, and potentially some money, then you might opt for this all-in-one package that combines a host of handy root apps. It covers ROM and app management, scripting and start up, CPU and memory management, and a lot more. You’ll find apps like Build Prop Editor, SetCPU,Terminal Emulator, and Titanium Backup in here. You could spend five times as much buying them all separately.
Device Control (Free)
You can tweak all kinds of settings with this app including CPU and GPU frequencies, vibration strength, screen color temperature, voltage control, and kernel specific extras. There’s even an automation feature, app management support, and editors for system configuration files all built-in. As long as you know what you’re doing this is a potentially powerful app.
GL Tools ($3)
You can use this app to enhance the graphics on your rooted Android device as long as it has an OpenGLES 2.0-compatible GPU and an ARM or x86 processor. Use it to optimize shaders, decompress and resize textures, tweak resolution and rendering, and check the frame rate. It won’t work with every device so check compatibility before you buy.
This is an alternative to Superuser that helps you to keep track of which apps you’ve granted root permissions to. It saves you from having to grant them again by doing it automatically when the app runs. You can get an at-a-glance overview of what permissions you’ve granted and it logs how often they’re requesting root access. The Pro version gives you some extras like PIN protection for $3.75.
System App Remover (Free)
The first thing a lot of people want to do when they root is to rid themselves of bloatware and with this app you can uninstall anything. You can also uninstall multiple apps at once, rename apps, move, and re-organize them. It automatically backs up all the apps you uninstall so you can test for ill effects and stability issues and restore them if you need to.
Titanium Backup (Free, $7 Pro version)
As the name suggests, the primary purpose of Titanium Backup is to backup all of your apps, your data, and your device settings. You can automate these backups, and you can save the backup files to your SD card. If you plan on flashing a lot of ROMs, then this app is essential. For power users, the Pro version is well worth the outlay as there are no restrictions on your backups and schedules, and you can sync directly to cloud services like DropBox and Google Drive. The Pro version also allows you to freeze or completely uninstall bloatware that your manufacturer or carrier preinstalled. TB is one of those apps with a never-ending list of features.
ROM Manager (Free, $6 Premium version)
With ROM Manager you can back up your existing ROM, flash new ROMs, and install custom themes or kernels. It features a long list of ROMs which is frequently updated and you can install ROMs to the SD card or OTA (over the air). If you want to unlock features like premium ROMs, update notifications, and automatic backups, then you’ll need to spring for the premium version.
(ROM definition: ROM stands for Read Only Memory. On Android phones, it is when you install a new OS or OS version with related apps. It’s not for the faint of heart.)
WiFi Tethering (Free) (Google Play/Amazon)
Some carriers block wireless hotspot functionality, or they try to charge extra for it. If you root your Android device and download this app, then you can set it up as a wireless hotspot for other devices, such as your laptop or tablet, and use the mobile network to connect them to the Internet. Once you’ve installed the app, you can tether other devices to it via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The app supports encryption, it’s completely free, and it’s very easy to use, but you may encounter issues with specific devices.
Greenify (Free) (Google Play/Amazon)
If you’re convinced that some non-essential apps are running in the background and eating up your battery juice, or impacting on system performance, then you can do something about it. While other apps allow you to freeze or uninstall bloatware and unwanted services, Greenify is designed to put apps into a state of hibernation when you aren’t using them. The beauty of this is that you can use them as normal when you want to, but when you close them down they won’t be running in the background and consuming resources.
System Tuner (Free)
You can analyze exactly what is going on with your Android device and make a few tweaks to tune up performance with this free app. It enables you to tweak CPU settings, kill background processes and apps, backup and restore apps and their settings, tweak cache and memory settings, and a whole lot more. You can dig into exactly how your device is running, but exercise some caution before you start making changes.