How to make a Nandroid backup of your Android phone

nandroid-backup

One of the (many) good sides of having an Android phone or tablet is being able to customize it using custom ROMs or launchers. However, if you are not so sure what you are doing while you install another ROM or if you change from one to another every other day, knowing that you can get recover your whole system to a certain point in time is very convenient.

Basically, this so-called Nandroid backup can save you a lot of trouble in case you soft-brick your device. In just a few clicks, your whole system is restored and your device is fully functioning again, as if nothing ever happened. In this short guide, I’ll give you the simple steps so that you can make a backup yourself to be on the safe side. I’ll also show you how you can transfer your backup to your computer so that you don’t need to keep it on your device to save space.

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How to do a Nandroid backup

1. Prerequisites

In order to be able to make a Nandroid backup, your Android device has to be rooted and needs to have a custom recovery tool. If your device isn’t rooted, don’t worry and check out our rooting how-to.

2. Go into recovery

To get into your recovery, you first need to boot your device into the bootloader. With many devices, this can be done by turning it on holding down the volume-down and power button. However, since it depends on what device you have, here’s a complete list with all the different ways to boot into bootloader.

Once you managed that, simply navigate with your volume buttons to “Recovery mode” and select this option. Now your device will reboot into your custom recovery.

3. Do the nandroid backup

Once you’re inside the recovery it’s a piece of cake, no matter if you’re using ClockWorkMod or TWRP as recovery. Here are the two different, yet similar ways to go from here:

20151226_160717CWM Screenshot

TWRP:

  • Go to “Backup”
  • Choose the partitions you want to back up. If you’re not sure what to choose, simply leave the default selections.
  • Make the backup by swiping to the right at the bottom.
  • Your device should now perform the backup process, once that’s done you can reboot your device.

CWM:

  • Go to “Backup and restore”
  • Choose “Backup”
  • Your device should perform the backup now
  • After successful completion, select “Go back” and choose “Reboot system now” to reboot your device.

4. Transfer the Nandroid Backup to a computer

Now, depending on how many apps and files you installed, your backup might take away quite some space. To avoid that, you can transfer the whole Nandroid backup to your computer and delete it on your device. Should you ever need to restore your device, you only need to transfer it back.

TWRP:

Connect your device to your computer and go to the TWRP folder on your device. In there, a folder containing your backup can be found. If you have several on your device, they will be separated so that you can choose only the folder you need. After you successfully copied the folder, you can delete the one on your device.

CWM:

The approach is the same as above. The location of CWM backups are usually located in /data/media/clockworkmod/backups. This means the data folder situated in the root folder, not the sdcard folder. People have been reporting that they were not able to “see” the backup files and, therefore, not able to copy them. One approach is to use your favorite Android file explorer app and copy the backup folder to another one such as your camera folder “DCIM”. Now, check this folder using your computer to see if the backup is visible.

5. Restore your device using your Nandroid backup

That’s an easy one as well. Simply boot into recovery, select “Backup” or “Backup and restore” in CWM and choose the restore option. Now you can choose the backup you want to use and restore your device. Once that’s finished, reboot your device and you’re done!

I hope these steps help you making a Nandroid backup. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Are you interested in more Android related guides?
Have a look at our Android knowledge database.

Marc is an online marketer, avid blogger and technology enthusiast. His focus is on Android, tech and gadget reviews. He likes spending time travelling and reading all about what's going on in the tech world. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.
  • Jolly Smith

    Thanks for telling us about Nandroid backup.
    via codingbrains .com

    • You’re welcome Jolly.

      • ricardojones

        can u get a clockwordmod for alcatel one touch 4033A (i dont have play store any more i moved it to user application and uninstalled it. now i dont have any)

  • SIRAJUDHEEN THACHARAKKAL

    my s3 mini is dead
    not on

  • Vaskesd

    Can I make backup from one tablet (clear factory ROM), save to PC and recover another tablet (exactly the same manufacturer, exactly the same model) with messed ROM?

    • antep

      do you find the answer? can you share it?

    • PIELOVER25

      If they are the same manufacturer and model like you say, then they should be fine to restore from one to another like you are asking to.
      Hope this helps! 😛

  • Clarence Alexander Wright

    anyone ere has ever fix a hard brick alcatel 4033a ?

  • Shawn

    I have to send in my nexus 5 because of the speaker volume issue…will doing an Nandroid backup of my device before hand also backup the custom kernel that I’m using with stock android ? Also, I’m guessing that it doesn’t preserve root so before I restore this backup on my replacement Nexus 5, I’ll have to root again and install TWRP in order to restore the backup.

    Thanks.

    • A proper Nandroid backup backs up EVERYTHING (incl sd card) so if you install on an identical model the root will be preserved.

  • Thanks for the post. Im going to try it.

  • BeloSol

    CWM hasn’t been built for my phone, running Gingerbread. What are the options available to do a full image / nandroid backup, and restore it?

    • Pranav Agumbe

      get titanium backup

  • Manor Sharma

    4.2.2 Running On MMX A76

    But after full root and verified root the cwm twcm recovery not working not showing even how to install them plz help thanks my mail id manorsharma38 [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Too focused on doing a nandroid backup and forgot about sdcard. Only realized it after flashing new ROM. 🙁

  • Androidian

    Nandroid backups backup everything, including your root. Restoring is just like reverting your phone back to exactly the moment you backed it up.

  • Tom Steele

    I am so lost.

    I’m under the impression that a nan droid backup is an image?

    So I can restore that image and have my phone exactly as it was at that point and time?

    Ok, so I have root, pro titanium, super su, busybox and several other apps that I know little or nothing about.

    What APP do I need to make a nandroid backup?
    What APP do I need to recover to a nandroid backup?

    I have downloaded twrp manager and it wants me to pay for ad removal, pay for live backup, pay for future updates. It seems scammy.

    I don’t know which apps to download for cwm or twrp.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Shahrez Qureshi

      You need a Recovery (CWM, TWRP)
      If you have rooted your phone following the proper instructions, you’d definitely have one installed.
      Boot into Recovery and follow.

      • Tom Steele

        I used towel root, so I’m not very savvy. I also have titanium pro and super su and busybox. I don’t know how to get a recovery. I see CWM and TWRP on the play store, but they don’t look “official” – maybe they are? I don’t know how to use either or what the terminology is…

        I was hoping it would be something simple and obvious like BACKUP or MAKE RECOVERY and hit a button.

        • Shahrez Qureshi

          No they aren’t, for most of the stuff like recoveries and kernels always head to XDA that’s the most reliable resource for that kind of stuff.
          Now, recovery is usually named as recovery.img it is required to flash the SuperSU (the binary which roots the phone.
          One has to flash the recovery, using adb in fastboot mode.
          Go to XDA Forums, search for your device there and head to General section.

    • ricardojones

      download lucky patcher that will unluck it to premium (u dont have to pay for it)

      • Bret Zamzow

        Wow, really? Thanks for telling people to streak from developers that work extremely hard to create this stuff. BTW, I’m one of the owners of the company that makes TWRP Manager.

        • Rakesh Tiwari

          I hope you may find a way to block patchers like this to prevent piracy of your products.

        • Total Faith

          Hey :/
          As you are somehow good with this nandroid backup and restoring thing, could you explain me something?

          1. Can I use the nandroid backup from PhilZ touch recovery and restore it with TWRP?

          2. To which folder do I have to put the nandroid backup file?

          • Bret Zamzow

            No, you cannot take a backup with Philz and restore it in TWRP.

            When you take the backup, it automatically puts it in the correct directory.

          • Total Faith

            Thank you! Although I found that already out yesterday ;P

    • theRPGmaster

      Search up how to install TWRP on your device, and then open TWRP (depending on how you go into the recovery menu on your device)

  • Montarion

    You didn’t explain restoring for twrp…

  • Adam

    My cwm says it failed to backup /system? Why did this happen?

    • Sayan

      backup to your external sd card,change the storage in backup(twrp).It will work then i guess

  • Michael Rowedder

    Question about transferring backup folder from pc back to device, I’m using the CWM recovery, in what folder do you copy it back into on the device when needed, the same place as from where it was copied from /data/media/clockworkmod/backups or can you copy it to sd card and restore from there

    • ᔕTOᖇᗰ ᔕᑭIᖇIT

      I don’t think it will be required to put the backup in same place since all you need is to specify location when you were restoring the data. So better to keep it in outermost location of your sdCard / internal

  • antep

    my phone is dead. Can I restore clockworkmod backup in a different device? should the new device be the same brand/model with the original?

  • zafer

    thank you sir…

  • vijaykmr

    I am using OngoSync App(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ongosync), to backup all data(contacts, call logs, sms, mms, any files like pics, voice, pdf,doc,etc…) from my Android device. This backedup data can be viewed by logging to http://www.ongosync.com. This data can be restored to Android device.

  • batman

    Thanks for providing info on Nandroid backup.. That was very useful.
    So now i have taken a Nandroid Backup. I took it because i wanted to install a new rom. So i just wanted to ask, what should i do if i just want to recover media files or apps + data.

  • ScattyKatty

    I keep hearing about the different kernels you can use with roms. Will making a nandroid backup image also backup the stock kernel or is separate?
    Thanks in advance I’m getting ready to flash my first rom and it requires a custom kernel and I don’t like to do things without fully understanding what I’m doing first.

  • Umar Azmat

    here is a question when i first rooted my phone, it hace cwm recovery mode. and i made a backup of my existing system around 800b file. but the things is i cant restore that backup.
    the backup file made this name and i have no idea how to do it.

    “userdata_20131227_090252.backup”

    now is this really a cwm backup file? and i didnt used twp.

  • george

    Hello guys i have rooted my phone installed CWM and made i backup but not in an external sd card. Now i want to restore my backup but i dont have enough space, so i transfered my backup to my pc and then to an external sd card. I have tried to restore my backup from the external sd card but is not recognised….what can i do..??

  • Amirali Somji

    i get a NO COMMAND screen when i go into recovery on my moto x 2014 – can someone assist?

  • john

    Cant just navigate to the folder with TWRP. It’s in the root directory, not accessible when connected to PC.

  • Craig

    I never take the time to comment. But thank you so much! That saved me a lot of time 🙂

  • Noor Alhuda

    How can i retrieve deleted images from my Samsung Galaxy tab 4 that I have deleted a week ago? .. I’m beginning to think that it’s not possible! That’s how i found out about rooting. Thank you and i hope you can answer me soon.

  • Rashmiranjan Tarenia

    Sir can i backup my Rom in my micromax a106. But sir i want to know that, what is the size of my Root path. If the Root path size is too small then when i backup my Rom it going to a soft bricks. So plz help can i do this in my micromax a106 or not

  • Ashish Apte

    Every time I try to boot into custom recovery with various combinations (rom manager, G pro recovery, freegee, using volume and power key etc.), I an not able to do it. I get a message as under: Secure booting error, cause: boot certification verify..with LG logo. When I boot the phone normally I can perfectly use phone. I use LG Optimus G Pro E 988 India version… Any help please….

  • Joanna Whisitt

    can I backup my android data to my iPhone?

    • Ichbin EsNicht

      BLOND

    • Total Faith

      No. And why are you on an Android page anyway? :/

    • Rakesh Tiwari

      What R U Smoking?

  • Binoy db

    I own a Samsung Galaxy Grand max running on Kitkat 4.4.4, and have recently rooted my phone. Read in many articles that you need to have a custom recovery before installing a new custom ROM.
    I want to flash a new custom ROM (such as CyanogenMod) , but contemplating on it as there is no CWM or TWRP recovery built for my phone model. Would it be safe for me to go ahead with installing a new custom ROM after I back up whatever I can, with Titanium back up? Can “Flashify” help me in some way? I am in a fix. Please help.

  • Binoy db

    I own a Samsung Galaxy Grand max running on Kitkat 4.4.4, and have recently rooted my phone. Read in many articles that you need to have a custom recovery before installing a new custom ROM.
    I want to flash a new custom ROM (such as CyanogenMod) , but contemplating on it as there is no CWM or TWRP recovery built for my phone model. Would it be safe for me to go ahead with installing a new custom ROM after I back my system apps+data, with Titanium back up? Can “Flashify” help me in some way? I am in a fix. Please help.

  • Sachin

    I am on cm13 and want to restore back to stock. I did take backup before flashing cm. Do I need to do formatting before following steps u mentioned above?

    • Ventus Rhapsodos

      Use advanced wipe, tick everything except Int. Storage.
      Slide if using TWRP. Then click restore after wiping. Pick the correct backup file. Reboot

  • Krish

    Thanks for the post! Just followed your steps and it worked without any errors.

  • Qian377

    App backup&restore is enough.

  • Shahzia

    Is it safe to copy back up file to pc and delete in my android then copy back to SD card when we need it? Has anyone try it? Does twrp/cwm recognize the back up file?
    I’m already copy back up file to pc and still doubt to delete in my android sdcard. I’m afraid that cwm doesn’t recognize it, when I need to recover my phone to my previous rom (stock).

    Thanks, and sorry for my English.

  • I did a /boot, /system backup and a /boot, /system, /data, /cache backup of my stock ROM using TWRP before flashing CyanogenMod 13. Upon the realization that the Phone and Messaging Apps are different for different Android distros (could not restore messages), I tried to restore my stock ROM so that I could back up my call log and messages using SMS Backup & Restore.

    Bad idea; soft bricked my phone. I had to download a stock recovery and do a factory reset. Hoping to try again this weekend though.