Quick hit little bonus today: rooting and customization have been on my mind a lot these last few days, so I’ve decided to close this little chapter with a quick sum up of the apps I use and enjoy with my rooted devices. Most anybody who has a rooted device can likely rattle this list off the top of their heads to anybody who asks; I’m posting it here because I often talk to people at length about the joys of using an Android phone, at length, generally while they’re holding their iPhone, occasionally against their will… and so many of them just didn’t see the value or point of rooting and hacking a phone.
Well folks, here’s a pile of apps that makes rooting worth it, that make the other benefits that come with rooting easier to grasp, and help protect you in case something goes horribly, horribly wrong.
ROM Manager – ClockworkMod (Free, Pro Version w/ access to premium ROMs, update notifications, enhanced support and more – $5.99)
Quite simply the bread and butter of any rooted user, this app gives you the tools you need (ClockworkMod Recovery, namely) and then some to be a ROM flashin’, MOD flashin’, KERNEL flashin’ fool. It walks you through making backups so when you try to apply an entirely new ROM (read that as ‘entirely new custom operating systems’) and it goes all poo-shaped on you, you can get back to what you had that worked and try something else, fast. ROM Manager also works as a browser of sorts for many of the latest and greatest ROMs out there, and it is nearly universal for any Android phone.
Titanium Backup – Titanium Track (Free, Pro Version unlock key for @ $6.58 with a metric fuck-ton extra features)
This is another oft-chronicled, discussed, practically legendary application unique to rooted phones. Rooted phones think about Titanium Backup when they masturbate.
This app not only functions as a full-on backup and restore for ALL OF YOUR APPS (emphasis on ‘all’) so that you can switch phones, wreck a phone, botch a hack, and still not lose so much as an Angry Birds save… it can also remove and/or “freeze” (disable completely and remove from your app drawer) any bloatware garbage your carrier slapped on your Android like so much clown make-up. Between these 2 features, you already have a godly app; lets not forget about its bazillion other features, such as batch backup & restore of apps + system data, integration with Dropbox, scheduled backups, multiple data profiles… all wrapped up in a surprisingly intuitive and sleek user interface.
DroidWall – Android Firewall – Rodrigo ZR (Free)
Amazing and simple app that ‘whitelists’ or ‘blacklists’ literally any app on your phone, governing whether or not they can connect to the 3G/4G or WiFi, period. An excellent tool for those on limited data plans, or need to know what’s eating their battery.
WiFi Tether (or some variant)
Exactly what it sounds like – Something that gives you the ability to make your phone into a wireless wifi hotspot, providing internet connections to other devices through its own 3g/4g. No link here, because these aren’t exactly kosher with carriers who think you should have to pay them 20 bucks a month or more for this service; the last thing I need is Big Red bringing the wrath, and squishing me like a very poor bug. To get one that is right for you, start your search in the subforums for your phone model at xda-developers and rootzwiki.
Root Explorer – Speed Software ($3.99)
Very easy to sum this up – the best File Manager for rooted phones. Allows full access to the usually deeply guarded guts of the Android system. These guys still honor the 24 hour refund policy – largely because they seldom have to give refunds.
BetterBatteryStats – Sven Knispel ($2.89)
Fantastic analytic tool, particularly for those of us who frequently switch ROMs and run into issues with their batteries are quickly draining, or displaying the wrong stats, thus indicating that its time to wipe those dirty stats. Lots of metrics and graphs involved, quite technical, but even the layman can extrapolate important info from this app, and find ways to gain more battery life.
SetCPU for Root Users – Michael Huang ($1.99)
Another one of those no-brainers, SetCPU is the governor of choice for overclocking and undervolting. Juice your phone up to the heights of the processors’ potential, or bring it down so that the battery lasts for ages. You can even set profiles for different situations; for example, once the battery is lower than 50% on its charge, it will lower the CPU to get some extra time out of it.