In this tutorial, I will guide you through the easiest and most reliable way to completely and 100% backup and restore your Android phone. You will be able to fully backup phones like Tecno, Infinix, Innjoo, Gionee, Xiaomi, Samsung, HTC etc. and all its content.
You may be wondering what complete backup entails. If you are thinking of backing up just your address book or your emails, or your those selfies from that party, NO sir! I mean a complete backup of EVERYTHING in have in the internal memory of your Android phone.
A complete backup is essentially a full image of your phone’s content that you can restore in the event where something goes wrong. This image will be copied to your SD card which you can recopy into your computer or backup in any online storage.
Remember how you are able to image your computer’s hard drive before swapping hard drive? Yes, the principle is basically the same.
There are several reasons why you need to perform a complete backup of your Android. Here are some:
- You can stop worrying about forgetting to or being unable to back up certain components of your phone, such as text messages – Nandroid backs up everything.
- You can try out new ROMs, switch between them and the original stock any time by backing up and restoring full images.
- You will be able to restore to not just your physical phone, but also to any other phone of the same model. Lost your handset and got a replacement? No problem – restore your latest backup and it’s as good as the one you had lost.
Before we proceed, here are some things you should take note of:
…Before You Proceed
- This won’t work if you’re only trying to restore certain elements like emails. So when you restore from a full image backup, you have to restore all or nothing. In fact,
- Be warned that there is slight chance that something may end up not working. Though Nandroid platform is tested and confirmed, there is a possibility that you may not be restored as expected. So, before you start, copy the stuff you can’t afford to lose somewhere before starting and make sure you are OK with losing the rest in case something goes wrong. Google cloud storage has already taken care of your contacts and the list of applications so don’t need to back these up separately.
No worries, what is required to completely backup and restore Android phone is in two simple steps and depending on your skills, anywhere near 15 minutes to an hour to finish will be enough to complete your first backup.
Step 1. Root your phone
Step 2. Install Nandroid Backup
It is as easy as 1,2! Now let’s explain in more details the backup/restore themselves…
Step 1. Root your phone
Rooting unlocks the full potential of your device—if you want to be able to control everything, backup everything, customize everything, and do all sorts of fun things like install custom ROMs and get Android Nougat ahead of the pack—you’ll need to root your Android smartphone.
We have a full explanation of the most important benefits that come with rooting your Android phone right here.
Because rooting each phone is different, the easiest way to figure out the right way for your model and Android version would be to just Google “YOUR-PHONE YOUR-ANDROID-VERSION root”.
Step 2. Install Nandroid Backup
NANDroid is an application that allows you to backup your phone and restores 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.
Getting Nandroid backup onto your phone can be done in different ways and here we will use the simplest of all approaches – using the ClockworkMod ROM Manager application which also comes with a whole bunch of other useful stuff. It can only be used on rooted phones.
This is the easiest part. Hrm, come to think of it, everything described here is pretty easy but installing an application from the Android Market – what can be easier?
- Access the Android Market by loading the Market app.
- Search for “ROM Manager”.
- Install ClockworkMod ROM Manager.
Here is the direct link from Google Play Store:
[pb-app-box pname=’com.koushikdutta.rommanager’ name=’ROM Manager’ theme=’discover’ lang=’en’]
And now you’re done with step 2. Did I mention this was the last step?
Back Up Your Phone
Now, let’s do the actual backup:
Now we can do the actual backup.
The backup itself will take about 5-10 minutes and will produce a new time-stamped directory on the SD card. This directory will contain all of the files needed for restoration – they comprise your full backup.
Now, before we can back up, we need to install a Recovery Image specific to your phone. Don’t worry – ROM Manager does it for you automatically with only a press of a button.
A little about recovery image:
This recovery image contains a boot loader which replaces your original boot loader. The boot loader gives you the ability to run Nandroid backup and restore commands outside of the OS. It also lets you install ROMs but we will not do that today.
Recovery images vary from one phone model to another, and ROM Manager automatically figures out which one you need. These recovery images are not created by one person – there is a large community effort behind them, and the ROM Manager simply brings together in one convenient package.
Disclaimer: Flashing a recovery image most likely voids your warranty.
Ok, let’s install the Recovery Image:
- Then open the ROM Manager app.
- Select the “flash ClockWorkMod Recovery” option.
- Confirm your autodetected phone model.
- Wait for it to download.
Here you go, the setting up process is complete.
IMPORTANT!!!: Then you should know that not all the smartphones are being able to support the tool. So, before starting to do something, check here and see if your phone is on the list. If your phone is unsupported by the ROM Manager, this backup solution will not work for you, at least not until the app starts supporting your phone.
Your First Backup
Successfully installing the recovery image is the first step. Now, you are ready to start your first backup.
- Just select “Backup Current ROM” and follow the prompts.
- The backup will be completed once you reboot the smartphone.
Grab a smoothie and relax. After the backup is complete, your phone should boot back up normally. You’re done!
- Now, if you decide to install a custom ROM into the system and something wrong happens just restore the backed up firmware by opening the app again and choosing “Manage and Restore Backup” and then “Restore”.
- You will have the old OS as soon as you reboot the device.
Normally, the backup should be located on your SD card in the clockworkmod/backup/SOMEDATETIME directory.
Restore Your Phone
If you ever need to restore from a previous complete backup of your OS done in the above steps – Maybe you forgot something in the original installation or want to go back to stock to apply an update your carrier finally published – It is simple.
The restore process will take you back to your original OS as if nothing ever happened and it’s just as easy as the backup process. Cool right? Let’s begin.
Restoring is just about as easy as backing up:
- Load ROM Manager and select “Manage and Restore Backup”, basically, repeating step 2.
- Select the backup, which includes the OS itself and all the apps, settings – everything that you backed up, from the list.
- Click Restore. You can also rename and delete your backups from this menu.
I sincerely hope that this guide was clear and helpful. Of course, if you have any questions or corrections, feel free to share them in the comments.
Support Koushik, the ROM Manager creator, by purchasing the Premium version which comes with a few added benefits that automate installing and updating custom ROMs.
Maybe you will prefer a video guide on, here you go.