What apps with root access do you use?

Many people are talking about whether a phone should be rooted. There seem to be many proponents. I’ve only ever used a single application that needs root access (Titanium Backup). So I wonder whether I’m missing out.

  • What apps do you use that only work with root access?
  • What do you use them for?
  • Why do they need root access?
  • Do you recommend them?
  • Are there alternatives?

Root apps I do use:

AdAway (extremely good system-wide adblocker!)
BusyBox Pro
Root Explorer (i think there are better ones, but I have it and use it sometimes)
Titanium Backup (great backup app; only the GDrive sync is a bit broken for me…)

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Reasons to use AdAway and Titanium Backup are immediately obvious to me. But why do you need BusyBox and Root Explorer? What is your usecase?

BusyBox: a program I used needed it (I am not exactly sure which one right now)
Root Explorer: it’s just the file explorer I use when either navigating through “protected” space or just downloads and other files

And why do you navigate "through “protected” space? Isn’t everything important to users accessible with the normal file system app?

One example is that I extracted the paid (in-app purchases) skins from Minecraft PE :blush:

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In my list (all apps that I ever allowed superuser access to) I have:

  • BusyBox (I never actually used it but it’s needed for the next app)
  • /system/app mover (I first needed it for µg Unified Nlp, but now that works as a user app. Last time I used it to make F-Droid a system app)
  • F-Droid (If you make F-Droid a system App and allow it superuser access you can uncheck “unknown sources” and still install apps from F-Droid)
  • AdAway (as mentioned above)
  • FasterGPS (well to get a faster GPS fix)
  • FP1-EPO-Autoupdate (I don’t use it anymore atm.)
  • (Fairphone Updater)
  • Power Toggles (It’s my favorite proprietary app. It’s a widget which can toggle all kinds of system settings and other stuff)
  • Simple Explorer (Like Root explorer. Every now and then it’s useful to be able to see everything that’s on your phone.)
  • Xposed Installer (To install GravityBox)
  • GravityBox (To change some of the Appearance and functionality of the phone.)
  • Autostarts (To keep some apps from autostarting at startup or triggered by other events. E.g. can be used to keep the Updater App from constantly trying to update.
  • Android IMSI-Catcher Detector (I don’t think I really need protection from IMSI-Catchers in Austria but I use the App to contribute to free Location Databases.)
  • Titanium Backup (as mentioned above)
  • aLogcat ROOT (I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet, but I’m trying to learn how to log bug reports.)

I’m not sure that’s really all. If I find/remember more I’ll edit the post.


No, for example the calendar database is not accessible via the default data manager.

@paulakreuzer: I didn’t know that making F-Droid a system app, let’s you uncheck “apps from unknown sources”. But you need /system/app/mover (which requires busybox) for that… Are there other ways to make apps to system apps?

I moved 8 posts to a new topic: How to uncheck “unknown sources” for F-Droid

Let’s see:

  • Titanium backup (obvious)
  • Xposed
  • Gravity Box (I find the FP1 simply unusable without this, e.g. GPS)
  • Xprivacy (obvious)
  • Clean Master (when granted root access, can manage / disable autostart apps)
  • ES File Explorer

Does GPS really improve that much with Gravity Box? Occasionally my phone also seems slow to get a GPS fix. Does that improve noticeably?

Are there any drawbacks to installing the Xposed framework (it is necessary for Gravity Box, isn’t it?).

As far as I understand it the Xposed installer itself does nothing, it’s just needed to install the modules. So there is no drawback.

Gravity Box has a fix if you have the problem that your location is sometimes calculated inaccurately although you have a GPS fix. It doesn’t help with the TTFF (time to first fix)

For more info see the gps guide

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It (Gravity Box) improves accuracy mostly, not speed of getting a fix. That is unfortunately still “hit or miss” sometimes. What I’ve found helps is: only try to get a fix when you have a reasonably clear view of the sky, and have the phone unplugged. The phone can be plugged in once you have a stable fix, and it will hold onto that fix reasonably well.

But Gravity Box has other nice features as well, like making the shortcut pull-down menu a little more useful.

Gravity Box indeed needs Xposed. There’s no downsides to Xposed in my opinion. Except that you do open a potential hole into the system. So you’d better know what you’re doing.

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Or like making the notification bar orange. :sunglasses:


AFWall+ (permanent)
Autostarts - for getting rid of repeated searching for FP updates. Have also blocked autostart of a number of google services that I don’t use.
DiskUsage - for clearing internal storage before the unified partition update was available, don’t use it any longer
FP Updater (permanent) :wink:
FP1-EPO Update
Power Toggles (permanent) - a widget actually. Don’t know why it requires root access but it does, e.g. for enabling GPS
Shell Terminal
Xposed with GravityBox - for disabling 2nd SIM indicator, 360 degree screen rotation
X-plore - file manager



I use:

  • AFWall+: To control witch App is allowed to acess the network. This can also be done by XPrivacy but AFWall is more confortable and allows to allow access for one network kind (for example WIFI) and disallow it for an other (Mobile, VPN etc.).
  • Xposed with XPrivacy, GravatyBox and (still Testing) greenify: The XPosed Framework covers every Android System Call and allows its Plugins to control them. This makes it possible to change almost everything in your android System. This forces the system deeply but offers uncountable possibilitys. I use the Plugins: XPrivacy - Allows to detract Apprights. Sometimes by giving fake Data (if the App tries to identify your location a random location becomes returned) or just deny the access (an App wants to connect the Internet but is aways told that the phone is not connected). GravityBox - I installed this, because I wanted a transparent notification bar. I also tweaked some other optical things usig it. Greenify - sends selected Apps to a deep sleep while I don’t use them this should save energy.
  • LagFix: If Flash Memory (like it is used in every phone) is used with FileSystems witch are developed for classical hard-drives or floppy-disks (like every one I know) they become very slow after a wile (if files become deleted on this systems. Simplified the system will forget where the free places on your Flash memory is and hast to search for them every time it tries to store something. That fore most Unix Systems are using the Tool fstrim for such devices (like SSD-drives) to hold an index to find free parts quickly. Unfortunately google forgot this until Android 4.3. This tool simply catch this up for older Android Versions.
  • SytemApp remover: to uninstall unused google Apps and services
  • FolderMount: To move App folder to the physical SD-Card witch allows me to use the hole 80 GB of my system for Apps if I want to.
  • DisableService: To prevent services (mostly installed by third party apps) to start with the system. Should make the phone quicker (by not doing so much things at the background) and the battery live longer.
  • ES FileExplorer: To manage my files where ever they are.

Good point. I am using AIDE (http://www.android-ide.com/) to do development on my fairphone. Then I need access to the “closed off areas” of the file system to debug and check the files my apps are creating, so I have installed a file browser and a file editor that both are running with root acces

Seems for some kind of functions like shutdown :slight_smile: See here

all apps that I ever allowed superuser access:

AdAway (Security)
AFWall (Security)
DisableService (!)
Greenify (Powersaver)
Secure Settings (Plugin for Tasker)
System App Remover (Cleaner)
Tasker (Automation,. My Favorite app)
xposed.installer (To install GravityBox, XPrivacy, App Settings, Secure Settings, Bootmanager)

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You (unfortunately) need root access to use different passwords for device encryption and screen unlock: http://nelenkov.blogspot.de/2012/08/changing-androids-disk-encryption.html