For the final (for now) portion of the “Why Root” series I will discuss some other apps that are only available on a device that is rooted. Well they may be listed on here as “only available”, keep in mind that they may be install-able on a non-rooted phone but they probably won’t work, or do anything at all.
Description: Superuser is the main app that allows you to grant Superuser rights on your phone. Any of the apps on this page, or any app that requires root will need your permission to use the seperuser ability. This app allows you to save that permission and remember it for the next time you use the app. It is preloaded on a majority of the roms and root packages out there, but just incase it isn’t you can get it for free on the Android Market. The barcode and links on this page link directly to the Market page, so they will work on your computer or phone. From the Developer: Grant and manage Superuser rights for your phone. This app requires that you already have root, or a custom recovery image to work. Note: App and binary will have different versions. The app is updated more often than the binary is. Install fixed for CM6 Stable If install fails, check http://bit.ly/su2xx for a solution
Description: This is the first app I install after a reset or flashing a new rom. It allows you to backup your apps, mass move your apps to the memory card, and much much more. From Developer: EXTREMELY powerful tool. Backup ALL apps, Market links, remove bloatware & MORE! ☆Over 2 million users, 23+ languages! ☆Needs ROOT, Android 1.5-3.1+ ☆PRO Key is available on Market! ☆Voted #1 TOP ROOT APP on Twitter. ☆Problem? See matrixrewriter.com/wiki ☆Internet used for Dropbox/Changelog ☆AVOID “unofficial” TB versions: they cause infamous “package signature” errors! ☆ ☆ ☆ The ONLY tool that can backup, restore, freeze (with Pro) your apps + data + Market links! Fully supports protected and system apps! 0-click Batch/scheduled backups! Can move apps (or app data) to/from SD card! The PRO version adds 0-click batch restores, Dropbox sync, conversion between user system apps, Dalvik cleaner & MORE!
Description: Rom Manager was previously covered on this site, but is required on any list of root apps. It gives you the easiest way to download and flash a custom rom onto your phone, plus be able to make a backup of your current setup, and restore it too. This is the 2nd app that I install (after Titanium Backup). From the Developer: Must have app for any root user. Make backups, flash ROMs, and own your device. *June 15, 2011* I am aware of the recently introduced force close bug, and would like to apologize. I have updated a fixed version, 18.104.22.168. Please let me know if that works! ROM Manager is THE MUST HAVE APP for any Android root user. (Over 1.3 million downloads and counting!) * Flash your recovery to the latest and greatest ClockworkMod recovery. * Manage your ROMs via a handy UI. * Organize and perform backups and restores from within Android! * Install ROMs from your SD card. * Install your favorite ROMs over the air!
Description: Drocap fills a big gap that Android hasn’t officially incorporated, Screenshots. It gives you the ability to take a picture of your screen, which is great for sharing what is on your screen with the web, or through a picture message. As you use it you will find a million uses for it. From Developer: Screen Capture Utility. WARNING: You need root permission for use drocap2. Tap start button and shake the device or wait for timer to capture screen image. You can also make a capture trigger from Notification bar. This works well with “superuser whitelist” environment.
Description: As the only paid app on this list (unless you consider pro or upgraded versions) this is a must have app for anyone with root. there are tons of tutorials that tell you how to use this app to remove apps that are preinstalled, like all the bloatware… From Developer: Root Explorer is the ultimate file manager for root users. Access the whole of android’s file system (including the elusive data folder!). Features include SQLite database viewer, Text Editor, create and extract zip or tar/gzip files, extract rar archives, multi-select, execute scripts, search, remount, permissions, bookmarks, send files (via email, bluetooth etc), image thumbnails, APK binary XML viewer, change file owner and group.
For the 3rd installment of Root – The “What?” “Why?” “How?” I will be covering an option for root users called overclocking (or underclocking – depending on what you are looking to do). Overclocking is the process of speeding up your processor. In the case of a lot of phones the manufacturer will underclock the processor, essentially slowing it down a tad to give you the benefit of better battery life. A couple of examples of this are the original Motorola Droid (Verizon) and the HTC EVO Shift (Sprint).
With overclocking you have the ability to undo what the manufacturer has done and then some. On some devices where the manufacturer has set the speed at 500MHZ you have the ability to overclock it to 1.2GHz, or even faster. Therefore you end up with a crazy fast phone that would have the ability to run the latest cutting edge game without having to shell out the money for a new device.
So you are probably asking what the downside to this is? Well aside from the possibility of ruining your phone (as with anything root) you will notice a drastic decrease in the battery life. Which is why I mentioned that the manufacturers will underclock the devices to give them a battery boost. So for the people not looking for performance, and just want to make it through the day without needing a charge on their way home from work, underclocking is a great option.
BUT: What if you could have the best of both worlds? The ability to jump the speed up for your games and slow it way down when it’s not in use. Well you can do that with the below apps. Just mess around with the profiles and you can set it to do whatever you want. Well check out the below recommended apps.
Name: Android Overclock by JRummy16
Description: Make your device blazing fast and save battery life by using this user friendly app! You can overclock to increase speeds or underclock to save battery life. Set custom profiles to increase performance to the max. Android Overclock also includes tons of extra tweaks and hacks to make your device truly your own. As shown on droid-life.com and other popular android news sites it is the user-friendly and easy way to fully customize your device.
Description: SetCPU is a tool for changing the CPU settings (capable of overclock and underclock) on a rooted Motorola Droid, Nexus One, G1, G2, Samsung Galaxy S, myTouch 4G, Motorola Xoom, or one of many other devices to improve performance or save battery. SetCPU also allows you to set up powerful profiles to change the CPU speed under certain conditions, such as when the phone is asleep or charging, when the battery level drops below a certain point, when the phone’s temperature is too high, or during certain times of day. See the screenshots for examples of how you might set up profiles.
You may have noticed that your Android device likes to consume a lot of battery. You don’t have to tell me about it. I am always thirsty for a nice fully charged battery – on the rocks, shaken not stirred… Delicious…
Well back on point. Battery life, and what you can do to keep it charged. Well it all starts with your charger. If you pay close attention to the fine print on the charger you will see a little number on there that tells you the wattage of the charger. Even though the chargers have the same end (most have micro USB) you will not get the same performance with a different charger. Especially for these gigantic screened newer models with all the newfangled features like 3D and dozens of built in types of wireless technology. If you lose your charger you will need to find something similarly rated to get the best performance out of your battery.
The next thing to keep an eye on is the notification area at the top of the screen. the more things that are up there the more processes are probably running on your phone, and the more things running, the shorter your battery life will be – along with the performance of the phone taking a hit too. As you can see by the screenshots below there is an app called Advanced Task Killer running. Although it is an app that claims to improve your battery life, remember that if it is always running in the background then it will have to take some sort of hit to your battery. Also – with the improvements made to the Android OS a task killer is no longer useful. It is all built in to the OS. So if you have one, uninstall it now.
For a more detailed look at all of the applications that are running in the background navigate to “Settings” – “Applications” – “Running Services”. This will give you all the details of what is currently running in the background in real-time. If you constantly see an app listed here that you don’t uses a lot consider uninstalling it. You have to weigh the pres and cons of these apps. Also keep in mind that the above and below screenshot was taken on an HTC phone, so your results may vary.
One other place that you can go to to lessen the drain of you battery is under “Settings” – “Accounts & Sync”. This gives you a list of what data is synchronized from the web into your phone. Things like your Google data will show up here, along with Facebook, weather apps, stock widgets, etc. If you don’t use it, uncheck it. See the final screenshot below:
So before you give up on your Android phone, or take it in for service because the battery isn’t holding a charge, try these simple tips. You will definitely notice an improvement in your battery life.
Some “Best of the Best” accessories for your Android phone: