Roo’s “Must Have” Root Apps

January 1, 2011

Android, Mobile Phone, Technology

On July 26, 2010, the Library of Congress ruled that rooting your phone is legal.  Indeed, it is now a legal exception to the DMCA and its prohibitions against copyright infringement.

So my phone is rooted.  And I can’t imagine running an Android phone without root authority.  But what can you do with root?  I’ve learned that the best way to teach is by example.  So here is the list of things that I do which require root:

  • I use adb to push content to my phone.  And I use adbWireless to avoid connecting my phone to my PC.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do use the wired USB sometimes.  But there are times that I need adb and I don’t want to un-mount my SD card from my running phone.
  • Every sysadmin needs a good terminal emulator.  And Android has a whole lot of them.  But I use the Better Terminal Emulator Pro.  It does the basics well.  And it also adds Dropbox and SSH support.
  • Bootstrap Recovery is a must-have if you ever do decide to go beyond root and install a custom ROM.
  • NTPClient is a great way to set the time on your phone.  Does the network do this for you already?  Well, yes it does.  But don’t you want to be in sync with the US Naval Observatory?
  • If you want to ensure your anonymity and your privacy on the network, then you might want to consider Orbot.  When used with root, you can transparently proxy all IP traffic through an encrypted tunnel.
  • If you don’t want to use Orbot’s transparent proxy, then you will need to be able to set the proxy for your browser.  I use the HTTP Proxy Settings tool to set the proxy for Android’s default browser.
  • If you decide to deploy custom ROM images onto your phone, then you need a tool to backup ROM images and/or deploy these ROM’s on your phone.  ROM Manager is the preeminent tool to manage all of your custom ROM’s.
  • There are a lot of file managers.  But the best of the best is Root Explorer.  It does it all – including digging into the all-important data folder.
  • There are times when only a good protocol analyzer can solve a problem on your network.  For such times, the typical solution has been WireShark.  So the Android equivalent of Shark for Root is a must-have for any self-respecting system administrator who has an Android phone.
  • Whether you are a blogger or just a sysadmin, there are times when you have to get a screenshot from your phone.  And you can’t always be certain that you will have a USB connection to a system that has adb installed.  For these times, I use ShootMe as a means of quickly capturing a screenshot (see above).
  • Titanium Backup is the best Android backup app out there.  Whether or not you load custom ROM’s, you still need to backup and restore your phone.  A good backup is a must-have.
  • One of the best reasons for rooting your phone is to be able to tether other devices to your phone.  Wireless Tether is a simple and powerful tool that justifies all the effort you put into rooting your phone.

These are the root apps that I use.  They may be a good start for you and your phone as well.


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