In this instruction - step by step on how to install custom recovery on Android using the example of the currently popular version of TWRP or Team Win Recovery Project. Installation of other custom recovery in most cases is performed in the same way. But first, what it is and why it might be required.
All Android devices, including your phone or tablet, have a pre-installed recovery (recovery environment), designed to reset the phone to factory settings, the ability to update firmware, some diagnostic tasks. To start the recovery, you usually use some combination of physical buttons on the turned off device (it may differ for different devices) or ADB from the Android SDK.
However, pre-installed recovery is limited in its capabilities, and therefore, many Android users have the task of installing custom recovery (i.e., a third-party recovery environment) with advanced features. For example, the TRWP considered under this instruction allows you to make full backups of your Android device, install firmware, or gain root access to the device.
Attention: all the actions described in the instructions, you perform at your own peril and risk: in theory, they can lead to data loss, to the fact that your device stops turning on or works incorrectly. Before completing the described steps, save important data somewhere other than your Android device.
Preparing for TWRP custom recovery firmware
Before proceeding with the direct installation of third-party recovery, you will need to unlock the bootloader on your Android device and enable USB debugging. Details of all these actions are written in a separate instruction How to unlock the bootloader bootloader on Android (opens in a new tab).
The same instructions also describe the installation of the Android SDK Platform Tools, the components that will be required for flashing the recovery environment.
After all these operations have been completed, download custom recovery suitable for your phone or tablet. You can download TWRP from the official page https://twrp.me/Devices/ (I recommend using the first of two options in the Download Links section after choosing a device).
You can save this downloaded file anywhere on the computer, but for convenience I “put” it in the Platform-tools folder with the Android SDK (so as not to indicate the path when executing the commands that will be used later).
So, now, in order about preparing Android for installing custom recovery:
- Unlock Bootloader.
- Enable USB debugging and you can turn off the phone for now.
- Download the Android SDK Platform Tools (if it was not done when the bootloader was unlocked, i.e. it was carried out in some other way than the one that I described)
- Download file with recovery (.img file format)
So, if all the actions are completed, then we are ready for the firmware.
How to install custom recovery on Android
We begin to download the file of the third-party recovery environment to the device. The procedure will be as follows (described installation in Windows):
- Switch to fastboot mode on android. As a rule, to do this, on the device turned off, you need to press and hold the sound and power reduction buttons until the Fastboot screen appears.
- Connect your phone or tablet via USB to the computer.
- Go to the computer with the Platform-tools folder on your computer, while holding Shift, right-click on an empty spot in this folder and select “Open Command Window”.
- Enter the command fastboot flash recovery recovery.img and press Enter (here recovery.img is the path to the file from the recovery, if it is in the same folder, you can simply enter the name of this file).
- After you see a message that the operation has been completed, disconnect the device from USB.
Done, custom TWRP recovery is installed. We are trying to run.
Starting and initial use of TWRP
After completing the installation of custom recovery, you will still be on the fastboot screen. Select Recovery Mode (usually with the volume keys, and confirm with a short press of the power button).
At the first boot, TWRP will prompt you to select a language, as well as select a mode of operation - read-only or "allow changes."
In the first case, you can use custom recovery only once, and after rebooting the device it will disappear (i.e., for each use, you will need to follow steps 1-5 described above, but the system will remain unchanged). In the second, the recovery environment will remain on the system partition, and you can download it if necessary. I also recommend that you do not check “Do not show this again at boot time”, as this screen may still be needed in the future if you decide to change your mind about allowing changes.
After that, you will find yourself on the main screen of the Team Win Recovery Project in Russian (if you selected this language), where you can:
- Flash ZIP files, for example, SuperSU for root access. Install third-party firmware.
- Perform a full backup of your Android device and restore it from backup (while being in TWRP you can connect your device via MTP to the computer to copy the created Android backup to the computer). I would recommend to do this action before proceeding with further experiments on firmware or getting Root.
- Reset the device with data deletion.
As you can see, everything is quite simple, although some of the devices may have certain features, in particular - an incomprehensible Fastboot screen with non-English language or the lack of the ability to unlock Bootloader. If you encounter something similar, I recommend looking for information about the firmware and installation of recovery specifically for your Android phone or tablet model - with a high probability, you can find some useful information on thematic forums of owners of the same device.