How to Create and Restore Nandroid Backup on any TWRP Supported device?

Android is the most popular operating system in the world. And we know that it’s endless customization makes it most popular. It beholds a plentitude of options at hand. Thanks to its open-source nature, the possibilities are endless. Every manufacturer ships their device with a locked bootloader to stop the users from tweaking the device. Ultimately they want their users to use their software. However, many tech enthusiasts go a step ahead and explore the unhidden territory. And that’s why they need an unlocked bootloader. After that, they can easily install many types of custom Roms, start tweaking their device with TWRP or root their device via Magisk to try tons of firmware.

But these steps are always risk-taking. Just a slight error and you might end up in a boot loop or even worse can happen like bricking the device. In this scenario, you have to go to customer care to repair the device but your all data will be reset then. So what to do this time? Well, there is a pretty easy method to deal with such cases and that’s where the Nandroid Backup comes to play. Using this backup you can restore your android device to a working state in no time.

If you don’t know about custom ROMs or the term “Nandroid”, don’t worry using this backup will surely help you in any worst possible scenarios. In this article, we will guide you on how to create and restore Nandroid backup on any TWRP supported device.

What is a Nandroid backup?

Nandroid or NANDroid comes from Nand flash memory which is a type of non-volatile(permanent) storage and Droid comes from Android. If you don’t know, NAND flash memory is used in different types of storage devices to store data including – USB flash drives, SD cards, solid-state drives etc.

Android also uses NAND flash memory to store data that includes personal data, as well as system files(even the entire Operating system). Do you know that you can’t do a complete backup using cloud or other backup solutions? That’s why Nandroid backup is better as it allows you to completely backup your Android Device. With this backup you are not just backing up apps and personal data, it can create a perfect copy of the entire android system.

You can use any custom recovery to create a Nandroid backup. But the best option would be using TWRP recovery. TWRP makes nandroid backups, which are near-complete images of your system. Instead of using them to restore individual files or apps, you can use this backup to restore your phone to exactly the state it was in when you backed up: the version of Android, your wallpaper, your home screen, right down to which text messages you had left unread.

TWRP backup includes:

  • The operating system itself (system and system image of stock or custom ROM)
  • Boot partition
  • All Data excluding storage.
  • Recovery partitions
  • All system settings
  • All stored passwords, including Wi-Fi passwords
  • Vendor and Vendor image

TWRP backup doesn’t include:

  • Camera Images
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Downloaded files and folders
  • TWRP will not include any files or folders under /data/media or any data that you or any app has stored in the internal storage.
  • You have to take the backup of these internal storage files manually by transferring it to a PC / MAC or any other device or service like Google Drive, Dropbox etc.

Requirements

First of all, you have to know about the requirements for using Nandroid Backup. Here is the list for you.

  • Custom Recovery Installed on your Phone (TWRP recovery).
  • Free space in phone or SD card to store backup files. (Backup files can be large)
  • Nandroid Backup using TWRP will not backup storage files like pictures, music or downloads. Make sure you backup all such files manually.
  • NANDroid Backup created by one recovery can only be restored by the same recovery.

How to create a Nandroid backup?

Now, you know what Nandroid is and what it is used for, let’s see how to create one.

  1. So start by booting your device to TWRP Recovery. Either use the hardware key combinations for your device or use the ADB Commands – adb reboot recovery. For the latter, open the command prompt windows inside the platform-tool folder(part of Android SDK and platform tools). Then connect your device to PC via USB(with USB Debugging enabled) and enter the command.     
  2. Inside the TWRP Recovery, tap on the Backup option.
  3. Next, select the partitions to backup. It is highly recommended to select all the available partitions. Although the Data partition will be quite heavy, yet it holds the data of all the system and preinstalled apps. Therefore, it is advisable to select that as well.
  4. You could also change the backup location. By default, Internal Storage is selected. To change it, tap on the Select Storage option and choose Micro SD Card or USB OTG (if supported).
  5. If you wish, you could also change the name of the backup that is about to be created. just tap on the Auto-generate keyword right below the Name field and enter the desired name.
  6. So with all the partitions selected, perform a right swipe on the Swipe to Backup button situated at the bottom. You will now have to wait for quite some time, depending on the size of the partitions, the backup process might take some time (especially the Data partition takes a lot of time).
  7. Once done, you could see the <Backup completed in x seconds> message. After that, you could now boot your device back to System.

So this was all the required steps to create a Nandroid backup via TWRP Recovery. It is highly recommended to make a copy of this backup in the SD Card or a pen drive (if you have a USB OTG cable). This is because if your device ends up in bootloop or gets bricked, it might be quite difficult to access the internal storage and hence the backup.

How to restore a Nandroid Backup

Now that the backup has been successfully created, let’s check out the steps to restore this Nandroid backup via TWRP recovery.

  • First off, boot your device to TWRP recovery via hardware key combinations. Or you could also enter into the fastboot mode, then use the Volume key to bring about the Fastboot option and Power key to confirm the selection.
  • Inside the TWRP Recovery, tap on Restore. Under Select Package to Restore, choose your desired backup. If the backup is placed in SD Card or USB, tap on Select Storage and select the desired storage.   
  • Now make sure that all the partitions have been selected for restoration. Once done, just perform a right swipe on the Swipe to Restore option and wait for some time.
  • This Nandroid Restore via TWRP recovery will also take some time to complete. Once it does, you could now boot your device back to System. 

Move Nandroid Backup to PC

For tech enthusiasts, who love to tinker with stuff, it is recommended to take Nandroid backup at a regular basis so that you have the recent version to restore to. Judging by the size of my one backup (approx. 13GB), it will be a good idea to move all the backups to a more convenient place.

Keeping all backups on the android phone will be like putting lock and key together. If your phone’s internal storage or SD card gets erased accidentally, you’ll lose all the backup. TWRP stores all backup files under TWRP/BACKUPS. Connect your phone to PC and find TWRP folder in your internal storage and transfer NANDroid backup to PC.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you are a flash-maniac who loves to try different custom ROMs or an enthusiast who wants to customize the android device to his/her heart’s content by flashing different mods on your android device.  

It is always a good idea to have a NANDroid backup around.     

Anytime you end up in a bootloop or brocked device, just follow the above steps to restore the Nandroid backup and make your device working again.