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Get to know Android recovery mode

If you think back a few years most peoples mobile phones were fairly simple affairs, even with the advent of camera phones. Now our mobile devices are more akin to portable computers in our pocket that are also useful at making voice calls and sending texts.

With this increased complexity has also come the need for features to be put in place in case something goes wrong.

Most Android devices come with a fairly simple recovery mode thats can be used to fastboot the device , recover , wipe the device and find other info about the phone or tablet. As with a lot of things with Android , even the recovery mode can usually be customized to do more things.

A custom recovery such as ClockworkMod makes backing up and installing custom ROMS a breeze , and allows for peace of mind when fiddling around with your device and changing its inner workings.

This tutorial will take you through the stages needed to boot into the standard Android recovery and some of its features, as well as what you can expect to find in a custom recovery and some of the benefits of using one.

Booting into recovery isn’t dangerous and cannot damage your phone, even if there is nothing wrong at the moment, this guide can prepare you incase something does happen to go awry.

  1. Booting into recovery mode

    How you get into recovery mode varies a little from device to device, but the process usually involves firstly powering off the phone or tablet. After that try holding down the ‘volume down’ button and turning the device back on.

  2. Alternative methods of getting into recovery

    You can also try holding the ‘volume up’ button , or the ‘Home’ key while turning the device back on again. Some devices don’t come with a recovery at all , although this is rare. Once you have booted the phone, you should see the splash screen and then the recovery.

  3. Standard recovery overview

    While each manufacturer’s screen can look a little different , usually you can find Fastboot, Recovery, Clear Storage , Simlock (for phones) and sometimes other info , such as the HBOOT version , which is the piece of software which first runs and tells it to load up the Android operating system.

  4. What is Fastboot , Simlock?

    You can navigate the menu using volume buttons, with power to select an option. Fastboot is a way of allowing the internal storage on your device to be modified. Simlock is a way to unlock your device so it can be used on different carriers, although you may need a key.

  5. Clear storage

    If you wish to sell your device, or are having serious problems you can use the ‘Clear storage’ option . This will wipe the device entirely so be very sure that you wish to get rid of all your data if you click on this item in the menu.

  6. Custom Recovery mode

    If you have rooted your device its highly likely that you installed a custom recovery at the same time. If you haven’t done this then its suggested that you do so, as losing all your settings and data can be a pain. It can be installed from the ROM Manager app.

  7. ClockworkMod options

    Press the volume buttons to get to ‘Recovery’ then press down on the ‘power’ button. The device will reboot in ClockworkMod. ClockworkMod makes it easy to install new ROMs , make backups of current ones , install add on zip files and perform a factory reset.

  8. Make a backup

    To make a backup of your current ROM, use the volume buttons to navigate down the the ‘backup and restore’ menu, then press power. In the menu press ‘power’ on the ‘Backup’ option. Backing up can take a while but makes a total image of everything on your phone except the Sdcard.

  9. Copy Backup

    Its always a good idea to copy off your backups to your home computer when they are finished. This means that even if you wipe the Sdcard by accident, or lose your phone and get a replacement you can restore. Mount the device using the USB cable and copy the folder clockworkmod/backup/[backup-date]

  10. Restore backup

    To restore a backup, so  simply use the power buttons to scroll down to the restore option and press power. Then you need to navigate to the backup image you want to restore, its usually ordered by date. Press the power button on the option to begin.