Sunday, February 14, 2016

Essential Android software for power users

Similar to my Windows tools post, this one focuses on tools that make life a lot easier - on Android - or help you pinpoint and troubleshoot problems.


If you cannot live without an ad blocker, this is probably the best one to use. Requires the F-Droid store.

Root Explorer

Quite expensive at 4 USD but I think it's worth the money - if you have root that is.
You can find files, pack/unpack archives, change permissions, move stuff around, handle multiple tabs and work with SMB and FTP shares, Google Drive, Dropbox.
There might be some free alternatives (ES File Explorer, Root Browser) around but at that time (~2012) there weren't many tools like this..

Titanium Backup

Another paid tool, even more expensive (6 USD, I might've paid less) but I've used it hundreds of times. It does require root as well.
You can back up an almost complete state of your phone/tablet and restore it to another device.
The backups can be shared between accounts, so you can restore a purchased program with complete settings on another account/device.
I run a weekly backup and just dump the complete contents of the internal and external sd cards to the NAS. Later in time I delete obsolete backups, but they are really handy when things go wrong or if/when you lose your phone.


A TODO app that is lightweight, free, has only the needed features and syncs across devices. I just wish it had web access.

Terminal Emulator

Kill processes, change permissions, run top or logcat and do generic *nix stuff. Hard to use without a real keyboard, but it's not the application's fault. Hacker's keyboard helps though.

Micro CPU Monitor

See in one glance whether something is eating up the CPU. Then open up the developer tools, check 'Show CPU Usage' and see who is at the top. Or open terminal emulator and start killing stuff. Has saved my battery many times in spite of hanging applications.

Nova Launcher

You've spent days setting up your desktop icons and widgets - then you install an update or switch to a another phone and everything is gone, because the new phone uses a different launcher. This is the solution to that and provides other nice features.

Samba File Server

Access your phone's storage as a network share. Handy if you don't want to connect it to a computer or you have automatic backup scripts running on a NAS machine.

Soft Lock Screen

Remove the wear and tear on that power button.

Honorable mentions:
Hacker's Keyboard - add arrows, modifiers and function keys to the keyboard
Alarm Clock xTreme - if you have trouble waking up this is for you
Pocket - share web pages between devices. Can cache them for offline viewing
RealCalc - a decent scientific calculator
SecondScreen - adjust HDMI output parameters: resolution, overscan, DPI, ...
Trickster Mod - play with max/min CPU frequencies and schedulers, see actual sleep time
Google Translate - the picture translate mode is really useful, when it works. Real-world scenario:

VpnRoot - can create a VPN connection without enforcing security on your phone
QuickDic - an offline dictionary, useful when abroad with no internet connection.

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