For those of you who want to install custom ROMs on your Android smartphone or tablet, you will want to certainly learn how to backup and restore ROM. This will work on most Android smartphones with TWRP recovery installed including Galaxy Note 4/3/2/1, S5/S4/S3/S2, Note Edge, HTC One, Nexus 6/5/4/7/10, and many more.
You can use ClockworkMod (CWM) or TWRP recovery to do this. In this tutorial, I will use TWRP recovery to make a backup ROM then restore the ROM but CWM recovery should be similar but with different menus.
*Note: If for some reason you don’t have a rooted Android device, you can manually boot into recovery (for Samsung Galaxy devices, power off the phone and hold down Volume Up + Center Home + Power for 5 seconds, for HTC/Nexus devices, power off the phone and hold down Volume Down + Power buttons then select recovery). If you have another device, try googling on how to enter recovery mode.
Step 2. Once in TWRP recovery, choose “Backup”.
Step 3. Choose “System” and “Data”. This will backup your whole OS along with your settings, apps, app data but it will not backup contents of your internal storage/sd card such as personal photos and videos.
(Optional) You can backup ROM to your internal storage, micro-SD card, or a USB flash drive. I recommend using an OTG cable to backup to your USB flash drive (or also you can use OTG USB Flash drive) as backup ROMs can be fairly large (between 1-3GB) and your backup ROM will not take up space on your phone’s storage.
(Optional) Also, you can set your backup folder name to something memorable.
Step 4. When you are ready to backup, swipe to start the backup process.
Step 5. Once you are done backing up ROM successfully, you are good to go.
Step 6. Now you have a backup ROM, you can always restore your ROM anytime. For example, if you installed a new custom ROM but didn’t like it or didn’t boot, you can restore your ROM.
To do this, simple repeat Step 1 to boot into TWRP recovery then choose “Restore”.
Step 7. Choose the storage you used for backup then choose the Backup folder you want to restore. In this example below, you can see I have two backup ROMs I can choose from.
Step 8. Swipe to begin restore process.
Step 9. One restore is complete, you should see “Restore Complete”. If you see any errors, it could be still okay so reboot your phone to find out. (In this example, I got a “Failed” error but my restore worked just fine.)
Step 10. Once rebooted, you should find the ROM restored exactly same as when you backed it up.
Q: Does this work for all Android devices?
A: Yes, so long as you are able to install TWRP recovery on your Android device, this should work fine. (Most Android devices support TWRP except ones with locked bootloaders like AT&T or Verizon phones, which you may need to use SafeStrap recovery instead.)
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