Essential apps for rooted Android devices (and those about to root)

by Marty Gabel

Rooting your Android device unlocks some of its inner potential. Manufacturers and carriers commonly offer their own Android skins and apps, but if you want to run a custom ROM (or skin) and perhaps even rid the device of apps you don’t want or need, rooting is the way to go. Rooting can often lead to performance updates and free your device from other limitations. Exercise caution though – every device is different and you will need a little technical knowledge and follow instructions carefully for your particular device. Before you get started, or just after you’ve gone through the unlocking/rooting process, you should make sure you have the following apps on hand.

Titanium Backup ★ root

It’s critical to stress the importance of this app. First off, it backs up all your apps and their data before you start rooting your device, which is hugely valuable as you’ll likely need to wipe your device. In addition, it will freeze various system (and non-system) apps that take up a lot of memory or run in the background constantly. That way, you’ll be sure to see speed and memory increases once you’re rooted and running a custom ROM. Titanium offers a pro key unlocker which offers even more features.

ROM Manager

Here’s another essential download. ROM Manager offers a number of important features for rooted users. Firstly, there is ClockworkMOD Recovery. This is almost like the ‘BIOS’ of traditional PCs that allows you to factory reset your device and also to recover its operating system if something goes awry. ROM Manager simplifies the installation of custom ROMS, and lets you make backups of those ROMs just in case. While unlocking then rooting an Android device may seem complicated at first, apps like Titanium Backup and ROM Manager, certainly make the process more efficient. A premium version is offered which gets rid of the ads.

Superuser

Although a lot of ROMs will already come with this pre-installed, it is still an essential app to have if you’re newly rooted. You pretty much gain ‘administrative privileges’ when you root your device, and the Superuser app helps you maintain that control over all the apps you install so you can access them or uninstall them. Once again, this may just exist on your recently downloaded ROM, but if its not there and you experience access issues, Superuser is there to help.

SetCPU for Root Users

Your mileage may vary on this one, depending on the power of your Android smartphone or tablet, but SetCPU is a handy tool that lets you take control of a number of setting most manufacturers and carriers don’t usually let you touch. You can set your CPU to run faster when performing certain tasks (like gaming), but it’s not always about speed. You can safely underclock your device too, say at night or when the phone is sleeping, which can save on battery life.

ROM Toolbox Lite

Also available as a pro version, ROM Toolbox offers pretty much all the features rooted users need in a single app. While some users prefer individual apps for each purpose, there’s no denying that ROM Toolbox offers a lot for the newly-rooted smartphone/tablet owner including the ability to download and flash ROMs, app backup, CPU speed control, a root file browser, a scripter, an ad-blocker and theme manager. It’s easy to use and gets regular updates.