Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Whatever it was that tempted you to root your Android device in the first place, the deed is done, the line has been crossed, and there’s no turning back now (even though unrooting is easy). But since you’ve pulled the fateful trigger, why not download a few apps that take advantage of your smartphone’s newfound freedom?
There are loads of great apps for rooted Android devices, but most of them won’t work on any smartphone or tablet that isn’t rooted — they might run, but some features and functions are likely to be missing. For that reason, we’d suggest holding off on installing “root apps” until after you’ve rooted your device.
Also, when hunting for the best root apps in the Play Store and elsewhere, it’s important to apply the same common sense rules you would when downloading any app: Always check the reviews, stick to apps with a good rating and a high number of downloads, and check the comments for anything out of the ordinary. Google’s built-in malware-scanning Android tools have improved substantially in recent years, but they’re no substitute for vigilance.
Premium root apps
Sixaxis Controller ($3)
If you’re an avid mobile gamer, you’ve surely brushed up against the limitations of touchscreen controls in games like first-person shooters. Some genres are simply better played with a physical controller, and if you have a spare PlayStation controller lying around, it should fit the bill just fine. The aptly-named Sixaxis Controller lets you pair a PlayStation 3 or 4 controller with your Android device via Bluetooth, allowing you to use the controller as a native gamepad. You can also use said controller as a keyboard and mouse for navigation purposes, or map its buttons to your device’s screen for titles that don’t officially support controllers. Just make sure to use the Sixaxis Compatibility Checker before shelling out cash for the premium version, as it’s not compatible with all devices.
XBooster Pro ($1)
If your rooted device is getting on a bit, then you probably want to squeeze as much performance out of it as possible. XBooster Pro gives you the tools to really eke the best out of your mobile hardware. Like the gaming modes we’re seeing added to many high-end gaming smartphones, XBooster uses its root permissions to shut down unrequired apps, so your phone’s hardware is able to focus on what really matters — smooth performance in your mobile gaming. While a dollar isn’t much, there’s also a free version if you want to check it out before you buy it.
GMD GestureControl ($6)
Could you be getting more out of gesture controls? The answer is – yes, if you use the GMD GestureControl app. There are a number of multi-touch defaults, so you can swipe four fingers right or left to cycle through apps, or use a series of other gestures to launch and kill apps, or even use the controls within apps, such as playing music or tweaking the volume. What makes this app special is the ability to create your own custom gestures. It works best with Android tablets, but you can use it with smartphones too.
Combine Tasker with your rooted Android device and you have a toolbox that’s capable of automating everything from the simplest tasks to impressively complex lines. It works without root, but it’s more powerful on rooted devices. You are going to want to work through the tutorials if you expect to get the most from this app, but it’s worth it. Start off with simple things like automatically launching the music app of your choice when you plug in your headphones in, or turning on Wi-Fi when you fire up the browser, and build your way up to more complicated scenes.