How to Unbrick Your Android Phone: 4 Methods for Recovery

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How to Unbrick Your Android Phone: 4 Methods for Recovery

So your phone has been bricked. You flashed a ROM, installed a mod, changed a system file, or did anything else, and your phone no longer boots.

Don’t be alarmed! It is almost probably repairable. Here’s how to fix a bricked Android phone.

What Do the Terms ‘Bricking’ or a ‘Bricked Phone’ Mean?

Essentially, ‘bricking’ your phone implies that your formerly functional gadget is now only as useful as a brick. A ‘bricked phone’ is often unresponsive, will not turn on, and will not work properly.

How Is Your Phone Bricked?

The procedures for unbricking a phone vary depending on how it became bricked in the first place. There are two kinds of bricked phones:

  • The supple brick. The phone stops on the Android boot screen, becomes stuck in a boot loop, or just enters recovery mode. It’s soft bricked as long as anything occurs when you click the power button. The good news is that they are rather simple to repair.
  • The tough brick. Nothing occurs when you press the power button. Hard bricks are often caused by problems such as trying to flash an incompatible ROM or kernel, and there is no software remedy for them. Hard bricks are bad news, although they’re quite uncommon.

You’re most likely soft bricked, and you’ll see something similar to the picture above. While the variances in how different devices function make it difficult to come up with a one-size-fits-all approach to unbrick Android, there are four basic strategies you may attempt to get back on track:

  • Wipe the data before re-flashing a custom ROM.
  • Disable Xposed modifications through the recovery menu.
  • Restore a Nandroid backup
  • Flash a factory image

Before you begin, make sure your phone and PC are all set up and equipped with the necessary tools.

What You Need to Unbrick an Android Phone

Most likely, you already have the majority of the equipment required to unbrick your phone. You should be acquainted with how they function since you used them to root your device and flash ROMs. Nonetheless, double-check before you start.

The most significant aspect is a personalized rehabilitation. This was most likely installed when you rooted your phone, however it may occasionally be overwritten or removed totally by the default recovery. If you must reinstall it, we suggest using TWRP. It’s a fully-featured custom recovery with builds for the majority of popular devices.

Following that, you may need Fastboot and ADB. These are often used for rooting and flashing system modifications, and both are available on the Android Developers website. If you’re unfamiliar with Fastboot and ADB, check out our introduction.

Finally, some firms use the usage of specialized software to flash factory visuals. You should try to avoid doing this, but if you must, you may use Odin for Samsung, the LG Flash Tool for LG devices, or the ZTE Unbrick Tool for ZTE devices. Just make sure they support your exact device model.

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Most of these programs will allow you to use a PC to repair a bricked Android phone. However, you may often do the task straight over the phone.

1. Wipe Data and Re-Flash a Custom ROM

If you flashed a ROM and now Android won’t boot, try this technique.

One of the most common reasons of soft bricking your phone is having issues when installing a fresh custom ROM. The most common cause of this is because you did not erase your data first.

This is known as a “dirty flash,” and it happens when you opt to avoid the hassle of having to restore your applications and data by flashing a fresh ROM on top of your old one. You can often get away with it if you’re flashing a newer version of your current ROM, but you must always delete your data before flashing a different ROM.

Fortunately, it’s simple to repair—-as long as you’ve properly backed up your phone. If you haven’t, you’ve learned a valuable lesson the hard way. Take the following steps:

  1. Start your personalised recovery.
  2. Navigate to the Wipe menu and choose Advanced Wipe.
  3. Check the Data box (you may also clean the system, ART cache, and cache again), then click Confirm.
  4. Re-flash your custom ROM.

Wiping your data is equivalent to doing a factory reset, however it should not be used to clean your internal storage or SD card (although, again, you should back it up just to be safe).When you restart your phone, the Android setup screen will appear. Your applications should begin reinstalling automatically when you input your Google account credentials.

You may recover your data from your Nandroid backup if necessary. See the Restore a Nandroid Backup section for further information.

2. Disable Xposed Modules in Recovery

If you encounter boot loops after installing a new Xposed module, try this technique.

The Xposed Framework isn’t as popular as it once was, but it’s still an easy and hazardous method to modify your phone.

The finest Xposed modules are so simple to install (many are accessible in the Play Store) that they fool you into thinking you’re safe. Even though they might damage your phone, it’s unusual that anybody creates a Nandroid backup before downloading a new Xposed module.

Use ADB Push to Install the Xposed Uninstaller

If your Android version supports it, the Xposed Uninstaller is the ideal tool for dealing with these issues. This is a simple flashable ZIP file that you may install through recovery to uninstall Xposed from your device.

If you don’t already have it on your phone, you may put it on an SD card or use the ADB push technique to transfer it over:

  1. Save the Xposed Uninstaller to your computer’s desktop.
  2. Connect your phone over USB to your computer and boot into recovery mode.
  3. Start the command prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Mac) and use the cd command to get to the directory where adb is installed.
  4. Type adb push [complete path to xposed] [destination path]. On Mac and Linux, start the command with./ (for example,./adb).
  5. When the file has completed copying, run it through the recovery.
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How to Disable Xposed Modules in Recovery

If you can’t use ADB push or the Xposed Uninstaller, try one of these alternatives.

This method lets you disable Xposed through recovery:

  1. Boot into recovery mode, then choose Advanced > Terminal command.
  2. Make a file with the name /data/data/
  3. Reboot your phone.

This method prevents Xposed modules from starting:

  1. Enter recovery mode and choose File Manager.
  2. Go to /data/data/ and remove the file modules.list.
  3. Reboot your phone.

None of these options will reverse any modifications done to your system by the modules. If these adjustments bricked your phone, you’ll need to restore your Nandroid backup.

3. Restore a Nandroid Backup

If you need to delete additional system changes, replace a changed system file, or if the ways above didn’t work, use this approach.

Nandroid backups serve as a safety net for Android modifications and changes. It’s a comprehensive picture of your phone, including not just your data and applications, but also the operating system. You will be able to restore your soft bricked device as long as you have access to your custom recovery and a Nandroid backup. To do this:

  1. Boot into recovery mode and choose Restore.
  2. Choose your backup from the list, confirm, and wait for it to be restored.
  3. Reboot your phone.

Nandroid backups are a hassle to create. They require time and cannot be completed in the background. But they’re worthwhile since they’re the quickest method to unbrick your phone.

Recover Data From a Nandroid Backup

A Nandroid backup might also come in handy if you have to delete your data and didn’t back it up in a format that could be readily restored. It is possible to remove select components of a Nandroid, allowing you to restore your applications and data without restoring the operating system.

Here are the instructions for this:

  1. Start Android and download Titanium Backup from the Play Store. While this software hasn’t been updated in quite some time, it remains one of the better solutions for this purpose.
  2. Select Special Backup/Restore > Extract from Nandroid Backup from the menu.
  3. Choose a backup from the list.
  4. Select whether you want to restore applications, data, or both (or hit Select All).
  5. To begin the restoration procedure, tap the green check symbol.

4. Flash a Factory Image

Try this method if: None of the other options work.

If all other efforts to unbrick Android have failed, the only option left is to re-flash a factory image. This returns the phone to its original condition and wipes all of your internal storage and data. It will also unroot your device.

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Because it removes everything, you may want to consider flashing a stock ROM first. OnePlus really provides flashable ROMs for recovery rather than factory images, and has comparable for almost every device. For extra convenience, you may be able to flash a pre-rooted stock ROM in several circumstances.

The difference between flashing a factory image and flashing a ROM is that it is done through a link to your desktop computer rather than through recovery. Some devices utilize the Android SDK’s Fastboot utility, while others use bespoke software. Samsung, for example, use the Odin tool.

The directions for flashing a factory image change for each device due to the various techniques employed. Furthermore, not all manufacturers make their firmware publicly accessible, therefore you must get it from unauthorised sources.

Here are some links to factory pictures for prominent Android brands:

What About Hard Bricks?

Hard bricked phones are typically more difficult to repair, but they’re also considerably more unusual.

How to Unbrick a Hard Bricked Android Phone

First, make sure the phone is indeed bricked by plugging it in and let it charge for a bit. Hold the power button down for 10-15 seconds (or pull the battery if you have an older device) to try to reset it. You should also try connecting it into your computer; if it is not recognized by your PC, your phone is most likely hard bricked.

If it is clearly hard bricked, you may be out of luck. A USB Jig, a little gadget that fits into the USB port and puts the phone into Download Mode to reload the default software, can resurrect a few phones.

On eBay, you can get USB Jigs for hard bricked phones for a low price, but only for a limited number of ancient smartphones. Even so, there is no assurance that they will function.

Aside from that, you may need to send your phone in for repair (though rooting it may have invalidate your warranty) or find a local phone repair person. However, you will almost certainly need to purchase a new gadget.

Tweak Android Safely

Hopefully, this article has assisted you in unbricking your Android device. And hopefully, your experience hasn’t turned you off from rooting and hacking Android.

However, if you choose to play it safe in the future, you may still have a lot of fun with your phone. For more fantastic ideas, check out our guide to the top Android changes you can do without rooting.

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