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25 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Whatever it was that tempted you to root your Android device in the first place, the deed is done, the line has been crossed, and there’s no turning back now. But since you’ve pulled the fateful trigger, why not download a few apps that take advantage of your smartphone’s newfound freedom? There’s a veritable boatload to choose from: software that can customize the look of your device, tweak and optimize its hardware, help you to manage the apps installed on it, enable its hidden hotspot and secure networking features, and so, so much more.

Sure, Google doesn’t necessarily recommend that you root, but it’s not explicitly frowned upon either, either. So take some time, read our step-by-step guide on how to root your Android device, and then return here. We’ve hand-picked the apps and utilities from Google’s Play Store and beyond, that will take the fullest advantage of your newly rooted device’s capabilities.

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 — they might run, but some features and functions are likely to be missing. For that reason, we’d suggest holding off on installing “root apps” until after you’ve rooted your device.

Related: Is your smartphone full of bloatware? Here’s how to disable apps on Android

When hunting for root apps in the Play Store and elsewhere, it’s important to apply the same common sense rules you would when downloading any app: always check the reviews, stick to apps with a good rating and a high number of downloads, and check the comments for anything out of the ordinary. Google’s built-in malware-scanning Android tools have improved substantially in recent years, but they’re no substitute for vigilance.

Premium root apps

Sixaxis Controller ($3)

sixaxis_controller
If you’re an avid mobile gamer, you’ve surely brushed up against the limitations of touchscreen controls in, say, first-person shooters. Some genres are simply better played with a physical controller, and if you have a spare PlayStation Sixaxis lying around, it should fit the bill just fine. The aptly-named Sixaxis Controller lets you pair a PlayStation 3 or 4 controller with your Android device via Bluetooth, allowing you to use the controller as a native gamepad. You can also use said controller as a keyboard and mouse for navigation purposes, or map its buttons to your device’s screen for titles that don’t officially support controllers. Just make sure to use the Sixaxis Compatibility Checker before shelling out cash for the premium version, as it’s not compatible with all devices.

Download now from:

Google Play

ROM Toolbox Pro ($6)

rom_toolbox

If you want to save yourself some time, and potentially some money, then you might opt for this all-in-one download that combines a host of handy root apps into a single package. It includes tools for installing and backing up software, managing apps, customizing your device’s startup routine, tweaking internal hardware, partitioning storage space, and more. And driving those features are a bevy of apps, among them Build Prop Editor, SetCPU, Terminal Emulator, and Titanium Backup, Script Manager, SD Booster, and Font Installer, and Boot Animation Installer, that would cost five times as much purchased individually. ROM Toolbox Pro, it’s safe to say, is a slam dunk of a rooted deal.

Download now from:

Google Play

GL Tools ($3)

gl_app
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.

Download now from:

Google Play

GMD GestureControl ($6)

gesture
Could you be getting more out of gesture controls? The answer is – yes, if you use the GMD GestureControl app. There are a number of multi-touch defaults, so you can swipe four fingers right or left to cycle through apps, or use a series of other gestures to launch and kill apps, or even use the controls within apps, such as playing music or tweaking the volume. What makes this app special is the ability to create your own custom gestures. It works best with Android tablets, but you can use it with smartphones too.

Download now from:

Google Play

Root Call Blocker Pro ($3)

call_blocker_pro
The scourge of spam calls and texts can be effectively ended with this app. It’s a powerful tool for blocking specific numbers or simply rejecting unknown, withheld, private, and restricted numbers. On rooted devices this can be done without your phone even ringing, so the spam really is kept completely out of sight, which isn’t the case with many call blocking apps. There’s a free trial version that lets you try it out before you buy.

Download now from:

Google Play

Tasker ($3)

tasker
Combine Tasker with your rooted Android device and you have a toolbox that’s capable of automating everything from the simplest tasks to impressively complex ines. It works without root, but it’s more powerful on rooted devices. You are going to want to work through the tutorials if you expect to get the most from this app, but it’s worth it. Start off with simple things like automatically launching the music app of your choice when you plug in your headphones in, or turning on Wi-Fi when you fire up the browser, and build your way up to more complicated scenes.

Download now from:

Google Play

Free root apps

Wi-Fi Key Recovery

wifi_key_recovery
Forget your Wi-Fi password? You’re not alone. Luckily, though, there’s an app that makes recovering it significantly easier: Wi-Fi Key Recovery. Using your phone’s root capabilities, the tool can reveal the passwords of secured hotspots for which you’ve previously connected. That may sound illicit, but there’s no need to call the cyber police — Wi-Fi Key Recovery can’t crack the passwords of unfamiliar networks. Rest assured that your secrets are safe.

Download now from:

Google Play

Viper4Android

viper4android
Viper4Android isn’t the most intuitive root app on the block, but it is one of the most versatile. At its core, it’s a replacement for your phone’s audio processing software — it grants you functions that you otherwise wouldn’t have. These include basic equalizer tweaks that allow you boost the bass and enhance various frequencies, for example, along with tools for enabling virtual surround sound. Keep in mind that the installation process isn’t for the faint of heart, however, and the list of supported devices frequently changes.

Download now from:

Google Play

Rec

rec
Have you ever landed an epic stunt in Asphalt that you wish you could share with your friends, or find a really neat Easter egg in Android that you desperately wanted to post on YouTube? With Rec and a device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer, you can. Rec can effortlessly capture the content of your screen for later viewing and editing, and perform a host of other useful tasks. It’ll capture the audio from a 3.5-millimeter mic, if you’ve plugged one in, and automatically show “screen touches” — i.e. spots on the screen you’ve tapped with a finger. A final, fun feature? You can shake your device to stop recording.

Download now from:

Google Play

LiveBoot

liveboot
Wonder what your Android phone is actually doing as it’s booting up? Turns out a whole lot is going on, though it’s normally hidden behind the facade of a pretty animation. If ever your geekier side wins out, you can opt to see a scrolling text log of all the booting tasks and self-checks your phone is performing as they happen with LiveBoot. It’s incredibly customizable — you can change the text color and content of the messages, for instance — and all of the info is placed atop an animation. It’s compatibility requirements are a bit more stringent than some other root apps on the market, however, meaning you’ll need a device with Android 4.3 and or newer.

Download now from:

Google Play

Servicely

servicely

Notice that your device’s battery is draining quicker than it ought to? Rogue apps are the culprit more often than not, specifically apps with ongoing background tasks that run without your knowledge. Short of uninstalling the offending software, there’s typically not much you can do. But Servicely, a relative newcomer to the root app scene, promises to expose the bad actors. And better yet, it lets you suppress them. The app will check at a specified interval to see which unwanted services are running in the background and, depending on how it’s configured, kill them automatically or notify you of their misbehavior. It’s one of the best ways to extend your device’s battery life short of buying an external battery.

Download now from:

Google Play

Flashify

flashify
If you’ve got an insatiable hunger for customization or an unscratchable itch for tweaking, chances are you’ll love Flashify. It’s an app that allows you to bundle together an abundance of software — ZIP folders, kernels, recovery images, boot images, etc. — in a queue that can be flashed sequentially. Best of all, though, is that the app handles every installation. Typically, this degree of modification requires rebooting your device into recovery mode. The app also houses a backup and restore function that uploads your device’s essential files to cloud services such as Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive. How’s that for convenient?

Download now from:

Google Play

Adblock Plus

adblock_plus
If there’s one thing on which the internet can largely agree, it’s that most apps are annoying. Worse still, some are intrusive — they can track your browsing habits and history long after you’ve moved on from them. Luckily, there’s a fix in the form of Adblock Plus, a root app that not only prevents advertisements from loading on the webpages you visit, but suppresses them in apps such as Facebook and Snapchat. It’s customizable — you can whitelist individual apps and sites — and it can show ads that the Adblock community has deemed harmless or unobtrusive.

Download now from:

Adblock Amazon

Device Control

device_control

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.

Download now from:

Google Play

SuperSU

supersu
This is an alternative to Superuser that helps you to keep track of which apps to which you’ve granted root permissions. It saves you from having to undergo the process repeatedly by remembering your choice next time an app requests that level of access. You can get an at-a-glance overview of what permissions you’ve granted, too, and it logs how often they’re requesting root access. The Pro version gives you some extras — e.g., like PIN protection — for $3.75.

Download now from:

Google Play

System App Remover

system_app_remover
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 just about anything. You can also get rid of multiple apps at once, or rename them, move them, and re-organize them. It automatically backs up all the apps you uninstall so you can test for stability issues and, if need be, restore the ones you’ve removed.

Download now from:

Google Play Amazon

Titanium Backup

titanium

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 — basically, 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.

Download now from:

Google Play

ROM Manager

rom_manager
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). The premium version packs a few extras, chiefly update notifications and automatic backups.

Download now from:

Google Play

WiFi Tethering

wifi_tether
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.

Download now from:

Google Play Amazon

Greenify

greenify
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.

Download now from:

Google Play

System Tuner

task_manager
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.

Download now from:

Google Play Amazon

ES File Explorer

es_file
Dig into your file structure and Android’s entire file system with this handy management app. You can do whatever you need to your files, it’s easy to search, view, edit, and move them. You can categorize, encrypt, and compress. It can also serve as a cloud storage client so you can share files easily. Throw in task management and remote access functionality and it’s not hard to see why this free app is so popular. This is a great app whether you’re rooted or not.

Download now from:

Google Play Amazon

DataSync

data_sync
If you’re playing a game on your smartphone and you want to switch to your tablet, but pick up where you left off, this app can make it happen. It allows you to use your Wi-Fi connection to sync app data with other Android devices. You can also sync to the cloud for later if you’re not at home. A couple of bucks unlocks the ability to sync via NFC or Bluetooth, and it lets you schedule automated syncing.

Download now from:

Google Play

Quick Boot

quick_boot

Sometimes, you just want to quickly switch your phone off and on without having to fool around with the power button. That, simple as it seems, can be a Byzantine proposition, as a number of Android phone makers don’t offer a software option for rebooting your device. Luckily, there’s a root app called Quick Boot for that, which adds a menu from which you can quickly power cycle your handset. There’s a tad bit more to it — you can boot into your phone’s recovery menu or bootloader, and it’ll show you hardware and network information about your device — but essentially, it carries out a single function.

Download now from:

Google Play

DiskDigger

diskdigger
Everyone knows the pain of accidentally deleting a photo, but if your device is rooted then you should be able to retrieve that lost image, and it won’t cost you anything. This simple app does exactly what it says it will: it undeletes and recovers lost images or photos from your internal memory or your memory card (even if it has been reformatted). You can restore the files or send them directly from the app by email.

Download now from:

Google Play