How To: Create Nandroid backups and save everything on your Android device

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Nandroid Backup TWRP

The importance of backing your device up cannot be overstated and we have previously covered several topics that aimed to help you with the process such as our list of 5 backup solutions for non-rooted Android devices and a comprehensive guide to backing up your Android device. Today, we will be looking at yet another option that is reserved for rooted Android users and is widely considered to be the best backup solution available to Android users.

The Nandroid backup

When you look at pretty much any discussion for apps and guides in the rooting community, a Nandroid backup is sure to come up as it is frequently hailed as the only real backup solution for Android. Nandroid or NANDroid derives its name from NAND flash memory, the permanent storage memory that Android devices use. Basically, creating a Nandroid backup means creating a perfect image of your Android phone or tablet at the time of backup. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect as this backup will save everything in your Android device. Yes, anything that you can think of including the OS itself, all your apps, settings, personal data, accounts, passwords and even the progress of your games. By restoring the Nandroid backup, you are essentially sending your device back in time.  Installed a custom ROM but like the stock one better? Filled your device with malware from educational websites? Just restore your Nandroid backup and be done with it.

What you will need

While Nandroid backups can theoretically be made in any Android device, there are still some requirements that you must fill out before you can start. The most important of all is that your device needs to be rooted and have a custom recovery tool like TWRP or CWM which you should have anyway if you are rooted. We will also take a look at app-based solutions but more on that later. Furthermore, you will need to have enough space in your phone or SD card in order to create a perfect mirror copy of your device. As you can see, the majority of people with rooted devices can make Nandroid backups without any hassle so let us take a look at the required steps you must take to create them.

Nandroid backups via recovery

This is a very simple method that does not require any other tools except for the custom recovery you have installed in your device. The methods for CWM and TWRP differ only slightly so here is an overview of what you have to do.

To create a backup from either CWM or TWRP, one has to actually enter said recoveries first. Most of you should already know how to do this but the rest of you should know that most manufacturers offer different ways of entering the bootloader. Most devices have simple combinations such as shutting down your phone and then booting it up by holding the power and volume down (-) buttons together for a few seconds. If you are unsure about how to do it in your own device, a quick search online will give you details about your specific manufacturer.

As soon as you actually enter the recovery, creating a backup is very easy but the steps are a bit different depending on your recovery.

For TWRP:

TWRP Recovery

  • Tap on Backup.
  • Choose the partitions you want to back up or just leave the default settings if you are okay with them.
  • Swipe to the right at the bottom of the screen and the backup process should be initiated. When that is over you can reboot your device at any point.

For CWM:

CWM Recovery

  • Tap on Backup and restore.
  • Select Backup and the process will immediately begin.
  • Once it is over, tap on Go back and select the Reboot system now option to restart your device.

It really is as easy as that. The process may take a while to complete depending on the number of files you have in your system so sit back and relax while the backup is being created.

Nandroid backups with apps

Online Nandroid Backup

Messing around with the recovery tools may not appeal to some and the solution is simple: get an app. There is a reason that I mentioned TWRP and CWM first, however, despite the fact that it may seem a bit more difficult for some people. When it comes to Nandroid backups, apps are just not as reliable as the recoveries. Still, it cannot hurt to try them out and see if they work fine for you.

Ultimate Backup

You will need:

  • A rooted device with BusyBox installed.
  • An app to do the work for you. To start with, I would recommend trying Online Nandroid Backup and Ultimate Backup. Do note that some features may be limited to the premium versions of both apps but you should still try out the free versions first.