July 7, 2011 | by Tony Price
So you have decided to take the plunge and root your Android phone. After that, you took the time to figure out what you could do with a rooted phone. While the suggestions Andrew made on a post back in 2009 are great, times have changed and there’s more to having a hacked Android phone.
What you ask? Apps that need root access, of course! Here is a list of 5 apps that we think every root user should use. There is no real order to the apps because the list is not made according to ranking. I think every rooted phone should probably have them all.
Click the “Install App” button to be taken to the Android Market page and initiate a download for the app.
1. Titanium Backup (Free, Pro Version ~$6)
One of the most important things to do with any computer-like device is back up your data. That idea holds true for your phone as well. The easiest way to back up your applications on Android is to use Titanium Backup.
TB has a very simple interface with an extremely powerful set of tools. You can use it to backup and restore apps, app data, and system data.So if you backup Angry Birds and reset the phone, Titanium can reinstall your backup and have your saved levels included. You can even save the backups to your computer, which is helpful when you do a clean ROM installation.
While you can use the app entirely with the free version, I highly recommend that you spend the 6 bucks for a Pro key. With the Pro key, you get the ability to automatically resort your apps, instead of individually like with the free version.
2. SetCPU ($1.99)
Rooting your phone gives you access to a number of deeper system settings. One of the most popular uses of root is to overclock or undervolt your CPU. This can hold a number of benefits, and SetCPU is probably the most user friendly way to do either of those.
WARNING: It is very easy to cause your phone to stop booting when you play with CPU settings. If you don’t provide enough power to the chip, or push it too far, you will cause problems. Another issue that can arise is battery drain.
On the flip side, you can also increase battery life by underclocking/undervolting your CPU. Just be careful with this one. I personally have increased my phone’s battery life substantially this way. You can click here to read our full review of SetCPU. Be warned that there have been new features added since the review, tho.
3. ROM Manager (Free, Premium ~$6)
If you root your phone, then chances are that you would run a custom ROM as well, which has a number of benefits to installing a custom ROM. You can often get a slimmed down version of Android, or even a newer version of Android. For my phone, I run the CyanogenMod nightly, which gets updated every day.
The easiest way to handle these updates is through ROM Manager. With my Premium license, I get a notification that a new version has been released. I can download and install it, all without needed to touch my computer. I find it much more convenient than installing the ROMs manually.
The other benefit of ROM Manager is its backup and restore capabilities. You can create android backups of ROMs, and restore them, through the Clockwork Mod Recovery that ROM Manager provides. When you update your ROM, you are given the option to backup a working ROM before you install. I recommend that you do that every time. Just remember to clean them out every so often.
4. Root Explorer (~$4)
When I got my first Android phone, my first frustration was dealing with the filesystem. I had become used to being able to access all my files on my PC. With an unrooted device, I felt so restricted from the files that belonged to me. That’s why my first root enabled app was Root Explorer.
As I implied above, Root Explorer is a file system tool. While that may seem like a horribly geeky app, its actually extremely useful. If you want to make certain modification to your phone, you will need to have full file system access. You can also use it to move files around without accessing your phone through your PC, where you don’t naturally get full access either.
5. Wireless Tether (Free)
This last app is the most shady on our list. Many users root their phones to unlock features that are normally locked down by carriers, and one of these is tethering. One of the most highly rated apps for free tethering is Wireless Tether. The idea is simple: it creates an ad-hoc wifi network that lets you use your cellular (3G/4G) internet with your other wifi devices. It’s sort of like the hotspot feature sold by carriers, but you don’t have to pay an additional $20-$30 to get it.
As I said, this is a shady app because carriers argue that it is against their terms. Some carriers block it from the Market and others even threaten to hit you with a feee if they figure out that you are using WiFi tether. You should be careful if you don’t want to get into a fight with your cellular provider.
Those are our Best, What are yours?
So there you have it, 5 of the best apps for rooted phones. If you have a favorite rooted app, we would love to hear about it. Hit us up with a comment and tell us what you think.