How To Backup and Restore Your Android Phone

Weary of rooting your device? Maybe you just want to try that new experimental ROM? There can be many reason to be worry about messing with your phone, but with all the built in back up features rooting provides you, its never been easier to just hit “restart” and try again. So here’s how to backup and restore your Android phone so you can take full advantage of it fearlessly.

I. Before You Begin

1. If you have not already rooted, you need to do that and flash a custom recovery image. So if you have Donut on your phone you need to follow this procedure (just do the How To Downgrade/Unroot procedure and the How To Root procedure so that you have a custom recovery image, don’t load a ROM, Radio, or SPL yet).

If you have a Nexus One, do this procedure to gain root, then do the next procedure but STOP after Section II.

2. Once you have a custom recovery image then you can proceed.

II. Boot into Recovery

1. Depending on your phone it is a different button combo to get into recovery mode, but simply turn off your phone then turn it back on by holding down Power and [whatever your button is listed below] until you get to your custom recovery screen. (If you get to an ! screen, that is the original recovery screen that came with Android and means you did not flash a custom one, go back to Section I and do the unroot and root procedures then come back):

G1, Dream, MyTouch, Magic, Hero – Hold HOME and Power while the phone is off to get to recovery.
Nexus One – Hold Volume Down and Power to get to bootloader mode, then use the volume keys to get to the Recovery option and press the power button to reboot into recovery.

2. Once you are in recovery mode, you can go to the next step.

III. Performing a Nandroid Backup

1. Once in recovery mode, simply use the trackball to select the option that says Backup (on different recovery images it says different things but it will say something like backup or Nand backup or Nandroid backup).

2. Once you push that it will backup your entire phone to your SD card. Now that you have that (I would recommend copying the entire nandroid folder to your computer so you never delete it off the card on accident), you can now load ROMs, Radios, etc. and know you can always get right back to this point by putting that Nandroid backup on the root of you SD card and get it back.

IV. Restoring a Nandroid Backup

1. Simply put the nandroid folder back onto your sd card (if you removed it).

2. Boot into recovery mode.

3. Select Restore (may be called Nand or Nandroid restore as well) and wait for it to finish.

4. Once done, click reboot phone and you’re back to the way things used to be.

  • gilbert

    @unlockr i think u forgot a step when restoring nano backup. when restoring u have to do a wipe-data first then restore, cuz otherwise it wont come out right. ull end up having alot of f/c msgs. Good work guys for helping everybody out. 😀

    • Gilbert,

      Wow, totally forgot about that. Thanks! Will add it now. 🙂

  • Apart from Nandroid which is (of course) a godsend, I have developed an app that can backup all apps (+ their data + their market link) and the phone settings individually and without a reboot. It’s called Titanium Backup.

  • jerrycycle

    FYI for nandroid to work without getting a error the battery need to be higher the 30%.

  • Bishar

    Fantastic, Thank you theunlockr, you’re really doing a great job, thank you Mr gilber 2

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  • Unlockr

    I backed up my phone and then put the updated Cyanogen ROM over the older Modaco ROM with the Nexus update. I now cannot shut off my wifi. I was going to do a wipe and reinstall Cyanogen ROM, but the wipe function in recovery gives 4 or 5 choices. Which one do I do? Help.

    Thanks, Dennis

    • Dennis,

      The first option, but it doesn’t hurt to do all 5 one at a time.

  • devo229

    Dennis did you put beta 5 on? if so just put beta 4 back on that fixed the not being able to turn wifi off..

  • To All;

    I did the full wipe and then put the cyanogen beta5 and android add-ons back on. That fixed the wifi problem. Unlockr, thanks for the help. Now, the 3g problem seems to be a design issue. Will that be the same on all or some HTC phones? I have a Nexus One.

    Take care, Dennis

  • Unlockr:

    I stand corrected. I activated my Wifi and now I cannot shut it off. I removed the wifi network and then tried to turn off the power in settings and/or the power widget. It tries to turn off and then comes back on. Any suggestions? I guess it is a problem with the Cyanogen beta5 ROM.

    Thanks, Dennis

    • Dennis,

      I have the same issue, did a Wipe and reinstalled the ROM and it fixed it for now. It seems to be an issue for Cyanogen.

  • Thanks. I wiped it and restored my old ROM. Wait for an update.
    Take care, Dennis

  • alpha124

    just a quick question: will restoring the nandroid backup also restore back the Radio and everything?


    • Xdjneo

      Nope the nandroid does not restore the Radio/baseband

    • Xdjneo

      Nope the nandroid does not restore the Radio/baseband

    • Xdjneo

      Nope the nandroid does not restore the Radio/baseband

  • gthang4123

    I’m guessing this doesn’t happen but when you backup and restore the phone does it keep all the text messages?

  • tony

    i stupidly installed apps2sd from a package of apps not knowing what it was it stopped anything from working on my 32a magic, i uninstalled and rebooted hoping for cure but now my phone hangs at the hami start up screen i can get into the recovery console and stuff and i have factory wiped my phone repetedly i have also tried different sd cards and booting with no sim etc but to no avail please HELP

  • Demond,

    It will restore to whatever you backed up, whatever OS, Recovery, etc you had when you backed up. That is what you will get back to.

  • Crklyndodger

    Tried some ROMS out and now I want to get back to Android 1.6 for MyTouch 3G. How on earth do I do this?

    • Crklyndodger,

      Goto our How To Unroot the MyTouch procedure…

  • Jeton

    Dude i installed the apk onto my phone and teh recovery image but when i click backup it says “Backup FAILED: Could not run commmand. HElp me? =)

    • Jeton,

      What APK? Follow the procedure and it will work.

  • Mr. Shickadance

    hey guys….i did a root on my nexus 1 and insatlled the latest cyanogen rom….but now tghe market icon is gone…how and where do i get it back on my phone so i can access the market??

    • Mr. Shickadance,

      After you load his ROM you need to load the Google Addon he provides as well after. It will give you your Google apps back (Market, Gmail, Gtalk, Maps). Read his instructions for flashing his ROM on the page for more information.

  • Maximus

    Hi unlockr, Thanks for answering my questions. What I am wondering that since you require root access for nandroid to work, you can never backup original 1.6(donut) on mytouch.Because once you go back to 1.5(cupcake), you can only backup cupcake.
    So incase of restoring to donut, you would install cupcake and call tmobile for the OTA upgrade.
    I was wondering if there is another option.
    Am I right? Sorry for the ignorance.

  • EJ

    TheUnlockr – I just want to say thanks….

    I actually followed all the directions for rooting my Sprint HTC Hero….did all the commands and never received errors….though for some reason I have no way of determining if i actually got root access. I downloaded telnet and tried to connect to local host and it gave me an error….I was not sure if it was supposed to stay on the default port of 23 though I could not telnet. My question is have you ever encountered anyone doing the rooting and not receiving errors though still not actually gain root access?
    This is my issue. Did I actually do something wrong? Please advise and thanks for your contributions!

    • Ej,

      Try a different app like terminal and type su and hit enter. If it gives you a # symbol you have root otherwise, you don’t.

  • EJ

    I downloaded Terminal but you cant type anything and it puts out some funny symbold when you roll the track ball around. It just sits on a $ with a blinking cursor initially.

    I am not sure how I could have taken the steps to root and not error on anything and still not be rooted.

  • EJ

    Unlockr u are truly my hero…
    I figured out holding “menu” brings up the keyboard.
    I type SU hit ENTER and it gives me a #
    So now that I have root access can you point me in the right direction of getting information to install apps on the card instead the phones internal memory….

    thank you so much.

    • EJ,

      Welcome! 🙂
      Too be honest easiest way to do that is to download and install a custom ROM that has Apps2SD enabled automatically.

  • jack2k5

    After unlock and rooted, i tried to enter the recovery mode. But I can’t. When I select recovery, it just gave me an exclamation warning mark (!) with a little android standing on side of the mark. Can anybody tell me what I did wrong?

    • Jack2k5,

      That means you don’t have a custom recovery image. If you did our rooting procedure (for most phones at least) you finish with root access and a custom recovery image. You need the custom recovery image to backup and restore your phone.

  • jack2k5

    Dear TheUnlockr,

    I follow ur procedure in rooting. But after clicking installing superboot from my pc. the command prompt came up and went away saying okay. I am not sure if rooting is done.

    Where may I find my custom recovery image? I was going to back up before I fresh the cyan image.

    I am sure my phone is unlocked and connected to my pc. But I am not sure if it is rooted now.


    Wuts up Unlockr, I just wanted to know, how to unroot the N1??? I just got mine n would like to root, but I would also like to have the option to go back to stock in case of future updates

  • andre shorter

    this is my first time unrooting any phone and your videos were awesome. i was able to put the sense ui on my nexus one. the biggest problem i have is that i can’t connect via wifi and i’m unable to get 3g coverage. i’m only getting edge coverage. what is the process to remove the custom rom and go back to the factory settings?

    • Andre,

      Before you do that, just flash a different ROM and see if that fixes it. Also make sure you do a factory wipe in recovery mode before you flash the rom (should fix most issues).

  • eddie712

    my first time love your vids by the way I was rooting my cliq and seem to had run into a problem my phone would get past the moto symbol but get to a **security on, fastboot disabled**. didnt get a chance to back any thing up went right for the rooted update what do i do?

    • Eddie,

      Now that you are rooted do you have a custom recovery image? If so just boot into recovery and make a bAckup now, in case you run into issues later you can get back to this state at least.

  • eddie712

    got the recovery image after i the rooted update i tried to flash a “update_BL_0x517_tmo-morrison-viper-1.3.18-P3-supermonster-customer” from the stock recovery image then it wouldnt let me do it so i wiped and reflashed the rooted update but this time it said some thing about an E:no signature(783 files)E: verification failed please help!!! What to do next?

  • andre shorter

    hello, unlockr. i’m still marvelling at my nexus one. i tried wiping the rom and reflashing but the wifi still doesn’t work. the issue w/ 3g is something i can deal w/ because it’s an issue w/ google. is there anything u could suggest that i could do to get my wifi working?

  • Gary Tan

    Hi,i did a How to root Hero with one click. I can get to the recovery screen,but when i tried to do nand backup,it reads Error : Run ‘ via adb’.I cant do abd so what can i do to do a backup?

    • Gary,

      Reformat your sd card and try again.

  • andre shorter

    @unlockr…i know there are kernels for the cyanogenmod rom to improve battery life. are there any for the modaco sense ui rom?

  • Gary Tan

    Hi thanks for your help.The problem is cause by the SanDisk c4 4g micro sdcard, after changing to a Kingston 4g c4 micro sdcard,all i needed to do is unmount the 2g sdcard put in the new one ,format,copy all the backup file and it is now run with more memory.i own a hero htc phone(singapore).
    Firmware – 1.5
    kernel version -2.6.27-44690clahtc-kernel@and18-2
    build number-2.73.707.9 146733 CL#62020 release-keys
    software version-1.0.0A6288
    i did an “one click to root hero” with-
    and were able to go into the recovery menu.


  • bhellim

    Hi I also have this problem “Error : Run ‘ via adb”.Already formatted my sd card but it’s still the same?I can’t use any of my Nandroid backup, any more tips? thanks

  • Aimar

    Hi, this prob a daft question. But i’m trying to root my htc hero (orange), I have downgraded to the one required, but one the second step, it says that i need to ‘format’ my sd card. I want to backup all my stuff on the phone before rooting, but in all the steps so far, i hesitate to format sd card. please help


    ps awesome site

  • andre shorter


    this is a noob question. since i’ve added custom roms onto my nexus one, i noticed that files have been placed on my sd card. am i able to remove these files without any adverse effects to my phone? i realize i have some backup files for nand and titanium backup as well as photos i’ve taken.

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  • junky

    hey unlockr is there a way we can unroot our n1 back to the stock rom? i don’t care about the lock bootloader but i just want to put the n1 back to its stock rom without having to use the custom roms. because i want to get the ota update of froyo. if there is please make a tutorial video on it plz.

    • Junky,

      You should still get it even with a custom ROM on your phone (itll just overwrite your ROM).
      Anyway though, there will be a custom 2.2 ROM within the next day or so, we’ll post it here. You’ll most likely get that from us here faster than getting the OTA…

  • Garth

    i stupidly deleted my backup file from the sdcard so i cannot restore. I rooted and installed Demoshadow rom and i am having problems getting a new rom to load. Demoshadow keeps loading and leaving me with clock error. how do I restore the default rom or change to a different rom?

  • Garth

    i have the cliq

  • josh

    Having the same problem as jack2k5 did on 7 April on my n1. His second response describes my problem. Little help?

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  • church

    Is there a guide to backing up the stock Rom without rooting? I have an Orange UK desire and the stock Rom has not surfaced yet. I would like to make a backup of that before flashing stock HTC Rom. Thanks

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  • Kyle

    Hi, I recently tried rooting my phone and unfortunately when I restarted the phone I get the LG loading splash screen and nothing ever happens…tried to restart in recovery mode but get absolutely nothing…it’s an Optimus S for Sprint…any help? Also I can’t get it to connect to USB since it does nothing….did I make a paper weight or is there a way back? and what files would I need as well as where could I get them?

  • Sorry but we don’t have that phone on the siteso wouldn’t know how to help you or what you did to root it. Google for a solution or check with whoever helped you root it.

  • Sorry but we don’t have that phone on the siteso wouldn’t know how to help you or what you did to root it. Google for a solution or check with whoever helped you root it.

  • Sorry but we don’t have that phone on the siteso wouldn’t know how to help you or what you did to root it. Google for a solution or check with whoever helped you root it.

  • mrsilent

    Does not backup radio basebands. Bricked my milestone by installing new bb. Nandroid restored but WILL NOT RESTORE BASEBANDS. Wish people would clarify that.

  • mrsilent

    Does not backup radio basebands. Bricked my milestone by installing new bb. Nandroid restored but WILL NOT RESTORE BASEBANDS. Wish people would clarify that.

  • mrsilent

    Does not backup radio basebands. Bricked my milestone by installing new bb. Nandroid restored but WILL NOT RESTORE BASEBANDS. Wish people would clarify that.

  • Jonathonheat5

    man idk what to do:/ i open the recovery flasher and press back up recovery imagae but it keeps on saying backup failed help anyone? im on a mytouch 3g 2.2.1

    • Siphomie4life

      It used to happen to me on my G1 it was usually because the phone wasn’t charged enough to complete the task try that and if not try backing up using mybackup pro works great

  • Dr-almoamni2007

    after i use one click root >>>>>>>its root now thanx
    but i cant get to recovery screen >………..just warining sign triangel
    ???????????ples helpe
    also what is the best arabic room >>>>htc magic tmobile
    and do i need unlocker code for gsm in new room ?
    how i get it ?
    do i lose the root also ?

  • Dee

    “Weary” and “wary” are two different words.

    Raise the bar a bit, please. Thanks.

  • for some reason after rooting my my sensation i cant download apps from the market any more, it will start and disappear outta nowhere


  • Iamrebel125

    when i flash a custom rom will it delete my apps?

  • Tatum

    What if your phone does not work. The corner of my phone got smashed and the touch will not work. We talked to Bell and they said we could back it up, but we can’t. Please help!