The best apps for a rooted Android phone
Despite having rooted my phone a number of times, I have never been able to find a coherent list of apps which take advantage of the features of a rooted phone. Today, I outline the list of apps which I use and state my reasons for not choosing the various other apps out there.
Most importantly, the choice of apps to have on a rooted phone all come down to the set up on the phone. For example, there’s not really much use having the SuperSU app if you’ve installed rooted via Magisk, because Magisk has all of the capabilities that SuperSU has.
For reference, my phone is the Moto G5 (cedric) and is currently running an unofficial build of LineageOS 14.1 - Android Nougat 7.1.2 (which can be downloaded here). I tend to use my phone for just playing mobile games, browsing Reddit and keeping in touch with friends on Whatsapp. Nothing more, nothing less.
Apps not to get
Every single “Best rooted apps” post that I’ve read online for the past 3 years or so have pretty much the same list. Greenify, the battery life improving app; Titanium Backup, the app and data backup app; Tasker, the app that lets your phone automate tasks - these apps always appear again and again.
With Android becoming better and better, Greenify’s battery enhancing features are now integrated into the Android system natively. In Android 6.0, the doze feature was implemented which reduces processing power when your phone isn’t in use. The other major issue with Greenify is that since you have the ability to hibernate background applications, incoming notifications from such applications may not be displayed until the corresponding app has been launched from the background.
You would think that after wiping my phone almost every week for a month I would have learnt to keep a backup of my phone, apps, contacts and photos … however this is not the case! Google has a pretty solid backup and restore system built into the cloud and using Google’s Photos app, images that you’ve taken are automatically backed up to the cloud. Restoring a phone is as simple as pressing “restore from cloud backup”, removing the need to keep local copies of your data!
Another downside with the Titanium Backup is the major difference between the free and ‘pro’ version, which offers multiple backups for apps, encryption and the ability to restore individual apps at a time.
Xposed is probably the most popular rooted app ever, which provides an entire framework on top of the system which allows you to change the system and other applications without modifying APKs (app executables). The major downside with Xposed is that certain apps are able to detect that your phone has been modified and may not function as intended. For example, Snapchat and various bank apps will not work at all if Xposed is detected on the system.
Despite this, Magisk is known for being able to ‘hide’ root status from other apps. However, even with Magisk, apps are still able to detect Xposed.
Gravity Box is one of the most popular utility applications which let you customize your android phone to your liking. Combined with Xposed, it allows you to access more system settings which can be customized. However Gravity Box is almost pointless if you use a decent custom ROM, such as LineageOS which has pretty much every feature built in.
Boot Animations lets you change the animation of starting up your android phone. This is definitely a DO NOT GET application. Modifying the boot animation for an android phone is very risky and in my case, it caused a boot loop which prevented my phone from starting.
Lucky Patcher allows you to modify APK files to bypass in-app purchases, block adverts and load custom patches into other applications. Of course, in-app purchases have gotten much more secure nowadays and using the Lucky Patcher on online game apps does not work. Again, certain apps do check to ensure they have not been tampered with, thus rendering the Lucky Patcher useless.
Apps to get
Now, these are the rooted apps that I use and to be honest, I don’t believe anything else that I’ve tried should be added to this list. It gets what I want to get done, and anything and everything else is handled by the custom ROM LineageOS.
It basically does what it says on the tin. Root Browser lets you browse the android file system with root privileges. Nothing more, nothing less to be honest. It’s basically a must have if you plan to snoop through the file system and put stuff wherever you want (or modify some game files for example).
Being able to change the system font for Android is one of my most favourite things to do. Very few android systems (Samsung phones) allow you to change the font and iFont has never let me down. The best feature that iFont has to offer is that it allows you to load your own fonts in addition to the ones which it supplies.