Android Tips

What’s A Custom Recovery? Exploring CWM, TWRP, And Friends

For Android users, exploring new worldson their devices always seems to be hot favorite. And in this regard, flashing a custom ROM is a prerequisite as it allows them to go beyond conventional boundaries. But have you ever tried to know what is it and how it works. Can I perform custom recovery? Let’s dig deep and know more about it.

What’s a Recovery?

An Android device is made up of bootloader, radio, recovery, and system. The bootloader is the first piece of software that runs first when your device turns on — it controls whether to load the recovery, or load Android (“system”) and the radio. The radio is just the controller for your antennas.

The recovery is simply a runtime environment that can do various system-related tasks. The stock recovery on most Android devices can apply OTA updates, delete user and cache content, and allow external tools from a microSD card to execute functions.

What’s a Custom Recovery?

It is basically a non-stock recovery and is mainly installed over the stock recovery. There are many reasons why one would choose to go for this, however, the major reason is enhanced functionality. Its prominent features include:

  • An option to install third-party ROMs over the stock Android image
  • Run Nandroid backups — these are best backups and can save almost everything from your personal data to the operating system itself
  • Interact with the Android Debug Bridge, or adb, on a computer for debugging and other developer-type functionalities, which is otherwise only can be done while activating developer tools within Android
  • A more personalized and visually-enriched interface for the recovery, such as touch capabilities or an interface not driven by menu options.

In other words, custom recovery enables people to do various things that the manufacturer may not allow them to do with your device. They make the stock recovery extremely limited to save their device from unintended damage. However, there always remains an option of custom recovery.


The two widely known popular custom recoveries are ClockworkMod (CWM) and Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP). Both of them are absolutely perfect and come with great features.

CWM has been a preferred recovery choice for a long time and is largely used by developers, but TWRP has become more popular due to the inclusion of few more options, and is themeable. CWM is basically menu-driven and presents an uninteresting interface, however it works perfectly fine.

On the other hand, TWRP is more vibrant with large buttons that one can easily tap on to run. Furthermore, these buttons aren’t fixed in stone. For instance, after flashing a new ROM, it’ll replace one of the buttons with an option to wipe the cache and other associated functionalities. It also resides in the folder you explored recently, which is truly helpful if you possessvarious related files to flash that are all stored in the same folder. Both projects feature a long list of supported devices, therefore one would be able to find a recovery made for their respective device.

Custom recovery is a great option, and can be quite usefulin case you have a third-party ROM installed or even with your stock Android image.


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