How to Backup Your Android Device with Nandroid

Once you’ve got your device exactly how you want it, making a backup could save you a whole heap of hassle if you have any problems with your device in the future. A Nandroid backup will save your phone exactly as it is, and it’s easy to setup as long as you have a recovery service like CWM or TWRP installed.

Here’s everything you need to know about Nandroid backups.

(This can potentially void the warranty of your device.)

What is a Nandroid Backup?

Nandroid is a utility that you can use to make backups of your phone. It’s very useful if you run into issues with a root, or if you’re tinkering with advanced settings.

You can store the backup on your computer so it won’t take up memory on your device, and it’ll restore everything as it was when the backup was made.

It will make a backup of;

  • The OS (whether rooted or not)
  • All apps and games, as well as your saved data and progress
  • All photos, music and videos
  • Text and picture messages
  • Your login and account settings, system settings, and your stored passwords

Essentially, it saves everything.

All in all, it’s recommended to backup your data whenever possible.

Performing the backup can sometimes take a while. It could potentially only take a couple of minutes, but it depends on some factors, such as how many apps you have installed and how fast your SD card is. If it takes 15 minutes, (or even half an hour) try not to worry, but you can speed up the process by deleting apps and data that you don’t need beforehand.

Does My Device Need to Be Rooted?

The short answer is, not really. All you need is root access to the Android OS, but you may need to unlock your bootloader.You will need a recovery service such as CWM or TWRP to copy the data, so rooting your device is helpful.

If you’re interested in rooting, we have some guides available for a range of handsets such as rooting the Motorola Nexus 6.

(You can install TWRP by using developer options and USB Debugging on devices such as the Nexus 5, with no need for root access.)

 
Time: 1-5 Minutes

How to Make the Backup

The backup itself only takes a few taps once you’ve entered recovery mode on your device.

To get started;

  • You’ll need to go into Recovery Mode on your device. This is easy enough to do, and it’s usually done by holding the Volume Down and Power (Some devices access the bootloader using a slightly different combination of buttons, so don’t worry if it doesn’t work.)
  • Use the volume buttons to navigate to Recovery Mode, and press the Power button to confirm your selection.

Reboot your device when the backup is complete.

  1. If you’re using TWRP: (Team Win Recovery Project)

    TWRP

    TWRP is a dependable custom recovery service that is easy to use, first released back in 2011.

    • Tap the box called Backup. You’ll now have to choose which partitions to back up. Select Default if you just want to backup your device.

    Swipe right at the bottom of the screen and your phone will begin the backup process.

  2. If you’re using CWM: (Clockwork Mod Recovery)

    CWM_Example

    CWM is another service you can use to backup your device. The process is similar to the TWRP method.

    • Go to Backup and Restore and tap Backup.
    • Your device should now begin the backup.

    Tap Go back and tap Reboot system now. Your phone should begin to reboot.

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Transferring the Backup

What you’ll need:

  • Your Device
  • An SD card (or somewhere to store the backup depending on its size)
  • A USB cable for your device
  • Your computer

Once you’ve got your backup saved, you’ll probably want to transfer it across to your computer. It’s a good way to save space on your device and it means you’ll always have the backup spare in case of any problems with your SD card.

Transferring the file is a simple copy and paste job once you’ve connected your Android device to your PC via USB. (You’ll need to keep your device unlocked to be able to see your files.)

The backup will be in the directory used for the recovery mod you have installed. Have a look in the TWRP folder or the CWM directory. You should be able to drag the file across to your desktop.

If you can’t find the recovery file, check /data/media/clockworkmod/backups for CWM, or /0/TWRP/Backups if you’re using TWRP.

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How to Use the Nandroid Backup

You’ve already done most of the hard work, but to finish, here’s how to restore your device with the backup you made earlier.

  • Start off by booting into Recovery modeusing the same method listed above.
  • Tap the Backup optionand tap Restore.
  • You can now choose from any available backups. Make your selection and restore your device.
  • Reboot your device, and when it switches on it will be restored to when you made the backup.

That’s it, you should now have everything you need to make backups as and when necessary. (You should also be able to copy a backup from one device to another from your PC, as long as they are the same make and model number.)

If you run into issues during the backup process:

A few users have reported running into issues during backups, although they’re usually rare. Here are a few of the problems;

  1. Backup Problem 1: If the backup is taking worryingly long to complete(upwards of an hour)

    Solution: it’s best to try and wait it out, as you could have a lot of data to crunch.(That’s why it’s advised to remove any apps and data that you don’t want or need before you make the backup.) Your SD card could potentially also be a reason for slow speeds.

  2. Backup Problem 2: If you can’t access the backup properly while using TWRP

    Solution: you can check which files you’re backing up by checking and unchecking the boxes when you’re asked to select which partitions to include during step 1.

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Conclusion


You never know when you might run into an unexpected problem with your phone, be it dodgy malware or a problem with an update.

It’s always a good idea to backup your data, even if you’ve never run into any problems before with your device. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, and it doesn’t take too long to complete. If you can get into the habit of making backups, it’ll save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

If we’ve helped you to backup your device, or you have questions about rooting, let us know in the comments below.

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