Rooting your Android-powered device used to be one of the only ways that you could make it do some relatively common stuff like take a screenshot or control your camera’s LED. Luckily today, many of those are built into the stock Android experience. Root still has its place, and there are still some very helpful apps that require root to be able to make your life easier.
Hit play and let’s take a look at seven root apps that I can’t live without, plus one utility that requires root, but isn’t really an app.
According to its developer, SuperSU is the “Superuser access management tool of the future”. Well hey! If it’s “of the future” it must be great! Actually, it is (that is to say it’s “great”; “of the future”, I suppose we’ll just have to trust the developer’s time traveling abilities).
SuperSU provides advanced management of superuser access rights for all of your apps that request root access.
Other superuser access management tools have proven to be problematic in recent versions of Android, so SuperSU was built from the ground up to counter the issues.
>Those soft keys at the bottom of your screen look pretty boring, don’t they? Thankfully, if you’ve got root access, SoftKeyZ lets you change them quickly and easily.
The app includes more than 150 different buttons that you can use in place of your old buttons, and it even has an online database where you can find even more, user-submitted ones.
The process to change them is easy, but it does require a quick reboot to apply the new images.
>SQLite Editor lets you create, edit, and delete records in any SQLite database on your smartphone or tablet. This lets you get at the settings that aren’t exposed through a control panel or settings dialog. I mentioned this app in a recent article detailing how to re-enable tethering in KitKat.
What’s more, it’s integrated with Root Explorer (which we’ll talk about later), so when you select a database file, it’s automatically opened in SQLite Editor instead of the built-in database viewer.
>Virtually every rooted application needs BusyBox to work their magic. Put simply, if you have a rooted phone, you need BusyBox. This app installs the BusyBox libraries and helps you manage them and keep them up-to-date.
Most rooting toolkits will include this or a similar app, so you likely already have it on your rooted device. If not, it’s still a good app to get, just to make sure you’re keeping everything current.
Most cell phones (smart or otherwise) get their date and time settings directly from the cellular network. That’s fine, but that means the clocks on your Wi-Fi tablets, computers, and laptops are all going to be off by anywhere from several seconds to several minutes.
That’s not necessarily a problem, but any parent of teenagers will tell you that being off by a minute will somehow invalidate your opinion in favor of their own. Don’t ask me how that works, but it does. Trust me on that one. This app makes sure that’s never a problem.
>Root Explorer is a pretty comprehensive file manager for root users. The app gives you read, write, edit, and delete access the entire Android file system (including /data and /system).
It’s got support for Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and even has network (SMB) support. As we mentioned before, it ties in quite nicely with SQLite Editor as well as Text Editor, and it even lets you create and extract zip or tar/gzip files, and extract rar archives.
>I run the Faux Kernel on my Nexus 5. It gives me pretty much everything you’ll get from Franco Kernel, but without the non-standard (and often problematic) boot.img.
Overclocking, undervolting, governor selection, Sweep2Wake, DoubleTap 2Wake, vibration adjustment, GPU settings, thermal management, charging tweaks, and so much more are all available with the Faux kernel, and are configurable through this app.
>TWRP Recovery isn’t an app per se, so we’ll count this as our “+1”. TWRP lets you flash ROMs, packages, and updates, as well as make and restore backups. It’s very full-featured and finger-friendly (which is a huge plus).
I don’t recommend TWRP for flashing a custom ROM if you’re coming from stock (CWM still seems to do better at that for reasons I cannot explain), but after I’ve got my custom ROM in place I quickly replace CWM recovery with TWRP.
What about you?
There are my top root apps that I just can’t live without. Now it’s your turn! Head down to the comments and share a couple of the root apps that you just can’t do without, and make sure to tell us why!