How to install TWRP recovery on Android smartphones

How to install TWRP recovery on Android smartphones

TeamWin Recovery Project, more widely known by its TWRP abbreviation, is the most popular custom recovery solution for Android devices. For the unaware, TWRP replaces the default recovery environment that came with your device, so you can root your device via Magisk, flash custom ROMs and kernels, create full backups, and so on. If you’re wondering how to get TWRP on your device, this guide should help you with that. In case you don’t see your device listed or you see a misplaced link, send a message to Skanda Hazarika (SkandaH on the forums) with the device details.

Table of Contents:

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Why TWRP for Custom Recovery?

One of the reasons Android modders swear by TWRP is its active development and support for a wide variety of devices, with new devices being added to the official build roster regularly. Thanks to the open-source nature of the project, aftermarket developers can also port TWRP unofficially to many other devices. The internal structure of the custom recovery is quite modular, which is why you can find numerous forks as well as further functionality enhancements such as dual boot mods based on TWRP.

DISCLAIMER: Replacing the stock recovery with TWRP usually needs an unlocked bootloader, which may void the warranty on the device. It may also make the device unstable or if not done properly, may completely brick the device. XDA and the author do not take any responsibility for your device. Install TWRP at your own risk and only if you understand what you are doing!


How to install TWRP on a popular Android smartphone

Have you already unlocked the bootloader of your device? Eager to enjoy the first step towards the aftermarket development scene? Head to the following section to begin the journey. You should find device-specific TWRP installation guides for the latest flagship models from every major OEM below.

ASUS

For other ASUS devices, kindly check out the ASUS section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.

Google

For other Google devices, kindly check out the Google section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.

Motorola

Sr. No. Device Codename and Device Forum TWRP Installation Guide
1. Motorola Edge Plus burton Click Here
2. Motorola Moto G100/Edge S nio Click Here
3. Motorola Edge 20 Pro/Edge S Pro pstar Click Here

For other Motorola devices, kindly check out the Motorola section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.

OnePlus

For other OnePlus devices, check out the OnePlus section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.

Samsung

For other Samsung devices, kindly check out the Samsung section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.

Sony

For other Sony Xperia devices, kindly check out the Sony section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.

Xiaomi

For other Mi, Redmi, and POCO branded devices, kindly check out the Xiaomi section of our forums. You should be able to find similar fine-tuned guides for your device under the device sub-forums. You can also follow the generic TWRP installation guide from this tutorial.


How to install TWRP on any Android device

Before getting started with TWRP, make sure that:

  1. You have access to a PC/Mac with adb and fastboot installed.
    • On your device, go into Settings -> About and find the Build Number. Tap on it 7 times to enable Developer options. Go back to the Settings menu and find the Developer options entry (on older Android versions), or tap on System -> Advanced, and go into Developer options. Finally enable USB debugging.
  2. The bootloader of the target Android device is unlocked.
    • For Samsung devices, unlocking the bootloader will trip KNOX.

Step 1: Downloading TWRP for your device

Let’s start by downloading the appropriate TWRP image for your device. You can find a list of devices that are officially supported by following the link below.

Download TWRP

As mentioned earlier, you may also find unofficial TWRP builds for your device in our forums.

Step 2: Flashing TWRP

Since TWRP replaces the stock recovery image of your device, the installation process depends on the target device’s partition scheme. Users can easily check it by running the following command in ADB shell or a Terminal Emulator app:

getprop ro.build.ab_update

This will return “true” if the device supports A/B partitions. On legacy A-only devices, the output should be blank.

Case I: Devices with A-only partition scheme

If you have a device that still uses the A-only partition scheme, then you should be able to directly replace the stock recovery image with TWRP via Fastboot.

  1. Copy the TWRP image to a suitable location on your PC. You can even put it on the folder where the Fastboot binary is located.
  2. From your PC, open a command prompt/terminal and type:
    adb reboot bootloader
  3. Rename the TWRP image to twrp.img and type:
    fastboot flash recovery twrp.img[[!!]]fastboot reboot
    • Many devices will replace a custom recovery automatically during first boot. To prevent this, search to find the proper key combo for your device to enter recovery. After typing ‘fastboot reboot’, hold the key combo and boot to TWRP.
    • You can also try to temporary boot the downloaded image using the following command:
      fastboot boot twrp.img
    • Once TWRP is booted, TWRP will patch the stock ROM to prevent it from replacing TWRP. If you don’t follow this step, you will have to repeat the install.
  4. Congrats! TWRP is now successfully installed on your device.

Power users can also flash the custom recovery without using a PC, but the process needs root access. To do so, download the appropriate TWRP image file to your phone, rename it to twrp.img, and place it in the root of the internal storage (/sdcard). Run the following commands via adb shell or a terminal emulator app:

su\ndd if=/sdcard/twrp.img of=/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/recovery

On some rare occasions, your device doesn’t feature a standalone recovery partition. Instead, the recovery is part of the boot image. The TWRP maintainers for such devices may repurpose a different partition as the recovery environment. As a result, the aforementioned flashing process might need some tweaking on those devices.

Case II: Devices with A/B partition scheme

In case of a device having A/B partition scheme, the recovery environment is fused with the boot image. Due to this design, you need to temporarily boot TWRP first and later perform a more permanent installation within the custom recovery environment.

  1. Copy the TWRP image to a suitable location on your PC. You can even put it on the folder where the Fastboot binary is located.
  2. From your PC, open a command prompt/terminal and type:
    adb reboot bootloader
  3. Rename the TWRP image to twrp.img and type the following to boot it temporarily:
    fastboot boot twrp.img
  4. Copy the twrp.img file to the device:
    adb push twrp.img /sdcard
  5. Navigate to the Advanced menu of TWRP and tap on “Install Recovery Ramdisk”:
    Install recovery ramdisk option under TWRP
  6. Choose the twrp.img file from the device’s internal storage.
  7. Swipe to install and then reboot.
  8. Congrats! TWRP is now successfully installed on your device.

Special Case: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy devices don’t a traditional Fastboot interface, hence the installation process of TWRP on them is quite different.

  1. Download and extract Odin (Samsung’s Flash Tool) to your computer.
  2. On your PC, download the *.tar image of TWRP for the target device.
  3. Reboot to download mode. Open Odin on your PC, and flash that tar file in the [AP] slot.
  4. Hold the recovery mode key-combo (usually volume up and power) while Odin is flashing until you are in TWRP environment.
  5. Once you’re in, you may need to flash Multidisabler to semi-permanently disable a number of device protection features and services that become problematic on a modified device.
  6. Congrats! TWRP is now successfully installed on your device.

Step 4: Verification

The last step is to verify that the custom recovery is working properly. Use the device-specific key-combo or the adb reboot recovery command on an already running device to boot to the recovery mode. If you can see the menu like the one shown below, it means you have successfully install TWRP. Great job!

TWRP main menu

Lastly, be sure to download the official app for the custom recovery project from Google Play. The app will alert you when new versions of the custom recovery are available. It’ll also let you download the latest version right from your device, provided you’ve root access.

Official TWRP App
Developer: Team Win LLC
Price: Free

Different Functions and Features in TWRP

Alright, you have successfully installed TWRP on your Android smartphone. Now what? When you boot into TWRP for the first time, it might seem quite intimidating. You will see a ton of options and it’s important to know what you’re doing. You don’t want to end up wiping your system partition by mistake and be stuck without an OS to boot into! Here are some brief explanations on what each option in TWRP does and why/when you would need to use it.

Install

This is the first option you see as soon as you’re in TWRP and is probably the main reason you even installed a custom recovery. The main purpose of a custom recovery like TWRP is to flash zip files or img files. This can be a custom ROM, a tweak, a custom kernel, or a package like Magisk to root your device. Selecting this option will show you the list of files and folders on your phone’s storage.

You can select the zip file that you want to flash from here and install it. If you wish to install an img file like a kernel or a different recovery, select the Install Image option at the bottom right. You can even switch between multiple storage options like your phone’s internal memory, an external SD card, or even a USB drive connected via OTG, based on where your file is stored.

Wipe

This is essentially the option to factory reset your device, but with granular control. You can wipe specific portions of your device from this section like the cache, data, etc. Generally, you will need to wipe your device via this option before installing a custom ROM. You can read more about what specific partitions you need to wipe by heading to our how to install a custom ROM tutorial.

Be careful about what you wipe here. If you’re unaware of what you’re doing, you can end up wiping your system partition and end up without any OS installed or wiping your internal storage and losing your photos and files.

Backup

This is quite straightforward. You can take a backup of your complete smartphone via the backup option. It’s one of the best ways to take a backup of your Android phone since it includes everything from homescreen setup to contacts, messages, apps, and app data. It essentially clones your phone the way it is and creates a backup file that can be restored in case you end up bricking your device.

It’s always a good idea to take a full backup of your phone via TWRP before modifying something. You can even backup your EFS partition from here which has saved me several times when I lost my IMEI after flashing a new ROM a few years back. You can choose to take a backup into your internal storage, an external SD card, or a USB drive via the Select Storage option.

Restore

If you have a TWRP backup that you’d taken previously, you can restore it from this section. If you ever end up in a bootloop or face issues after making any changes to your phone, you can restore a backup to make things right.

Mount

Every phone has certain partitions where corresponding data is stored. There’s the System partition where your OS is installed, the Data partition where all your files are stored, the Cache partition where cached data is stored, etc. This section allows you to mount or unmount these partitions inside TWRP. In simple terms, you can decide whether or not you want certain partitions on your device to be accessible via TWRP.

TWRP Mount options

For example, If you mount the Data partition, you will be able to view and make changes to the files stored on your device. If you unmount the Data partition, TWRP won’t be able to access your storage. If you’ve connected an external USB drive via OTG to flash files or take a backup/restore it, you will first have to mount it via this section by selecting the USB-OTG option. You can also enable/disable MTP from here. if MTP is enabled, you can access your phone’s internal storage while in TWRP itself when it’s connected to a PC.

Settings

This panel is similar to the Settings menu on Android. You can change various functions like time zone and format, vibration intensity, navbar orientation and style, screen brightness, and the language inside TWRP.

Some unofficial versions of TWRP like Orange Fox Recovery even have the option to change themes inside the Settings tab.

Advanced

The Advanced section in the TWRP menu gives you the option to copy logs if there are certain error codes you want to share later.

You can also access the terminal from here, sideload apps and files via ADB, and also use an in-built file manager if you want to make changes to some files. There’s also an option to partition your SD card here.

Reboot

Once you’ve flashed a file or finished whatever work you had booted into TWRP for, you can reboot into the system from here or choose to power off your device.

Reboot options

You also have two other options. The first one is to reboot back into recovery, and the second one is to reboot into the bootloader which essentially puts your phone in fastboot mode. This is helpful if you want to flash something via fastboot on your PC.


We hope this guide not only points you towards the right threads for installing TWRP on your device but also provides general TWRP installation instructions that can be applied for a large majority of Android devices generally. We’ll be updating this guide with links to further guides for specific phones, so check back again in the future!

About author

Skanda Hazarika
Skanda Hazarika

DIY enthusiast (i.e. salvager of old PC parts). An avid user of Android since the Eclair days, Skanda also likes to follow the recent development trends in the world of single-board computing.

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