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How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

There are occasions when getting into Android’s bootloader or recovery systems is necessary—perhaps the OS is having issues and you need to factory reset, or maybe you want to root your phone. Fortunately, booting into the bootloader and recovery are both very simple. Here’s how to do it.

How to Access Android’s Bootloader

Getting into the bootloader isn’t necessarily something you’ll need to do often, but it’s definitely something that’s good to know how to do just in case. There are two different ways to go about accessing the bootloader: directly from the device or using commands on your PC. Let’s cover the former first.

Accessing the Bootloader Directly from the Device

To get into the bootloader without using a computer, the first thing you’ll want to do is completely power the device down. The following instructions should work on 90% of the intended devices, but if for some reason you’re having issues, you may have to look up further instructions for your specific handset:

  • Nexus and Developer Devices: Press and hold the volume down and power buttons at the same time. When the Google splash screen appears, release them.
  • Samsung Devices: Samsung devices don’t have a traditional bootloader, but something the company calls “Download mode.” To access it, press and hold the volume down, power, and home buttons until the Samsung logo shows up, then release. Be warned, however, it’s basically useless without a computer. Press and hold home, power, and both volume buttons to exit download mode.
  • LG Devices: Press and hold the volume down and power buttons until the LG logo appears, then release them. If this doesn’t work, you may have to release the power and volume down buttons for a second when the LG logo appears, then re-press them until the bootloader shows up.
  • HTC Devices: Press and hold the volume down button, then power up the device while keeping the volume down key pressed. The bootloader on HTC devices is referred to as “fastboot mode.”
  • Motorola Devices: Press and hold the volume down and power buttons for a few seconds.

With all the above commands, the bootloader may take a few seconds to show up after you release the keys. When it does, you can continue with whatever it is you need to do.

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

Accessing the Bootloader with ADB

You can also boot into the bootloader with the Android Debug Bridge utility, also known as ADB. You’l need to install and set up ADB first using these instructions. To further simplify executing commands from your computer, you may also want to add ADB to your Windows system PATH.

Once you’ve got all that set up, getting into the bootloader is the simplest thing you’ll ever do. Open a command prompt inside of Windows and type the following:

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

Boom. The device should reboot and you’ll be in the bootloader.

It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t work on Samsung devices—they just reboot back into Android.

How to Access Android’s Recovery Environment

Once you’re in the bootloader, you’re already halfway to accessing recovery on most devices, though you can use ADB as well.

Accessing the Bootloader Directly from the Device

Boot into the bootloader using the above instructions, then use the volume up and down keys to navigate through the menus. Hit the power button to execute the selected command:

  • Nexus, LG, and Motorola Devices: Use the volume buttons till you see the “Recovery mode” option, then hit power.
  • HTC Devices: Select “HBOOT” first, which will open a new menu where you’ll select “recovery.”
  • Samsung Devices: With the device powered down, press and hold power, volume UP, and the home button. An update screen will appear for a few seconds, then it will launch recovery.

Some devices may take you straight to the recovery menu, but on others, this will take you to a screen with an Android and a triangle.

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

To access recovery mode options, you’ll want to hold down the Power button and tap volume up. The Android System Recovery menu should appear, and you can perform whatever operations you need.

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

Accessing Recovery with ADB

You can also boot into the bootloader with the Android Debug Bridge utility, also known as ADB. You’l need to install and set up ADB first using these instructions. To further simplify executing commands from your computer, you may also want to add ADB to your Windows system PATH.

Once that’s taken care of, it’s another super simple command to enter recovery mode:

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

Poof! Like magic, your Android device will power off and reboot into recovery. From there, you will use the volume buttons to navigate the list and the power button to execute the desired command (unless you’ve flashed a custom recovery like TWRP, in which case you can touch the screen to access different options).

While the bootloader itself is relatively useless without access to a computer (for fastboot, or ODIN on Samsung devices), recovery can be a game changer if your device won’t even fully boot into the operating system. Just jump into recovery and perform a factory reset. Life, saved.

Business and Process integration

Besides normal booting of an android device, there are two more systems maintenance mode. The bootloader or fastboot mode and the recovery mode. We can get into both the modes via startup key combinations or by using adb commands.

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments Android booting process, recovery mode, boot-loader/fastboot mode

What is a bootloader and how to get into the bootloader mode on your android device?

A bootloader is a computer program that loads an operating system (OS) or runtime environment for the computer after completion of the self-tests.

Bootloader is like BOIS to your computer. It is the first thing that runs when you boot up your Android device. It packages the instructions to boot operating system kernel. Basically, Android device has a storage space(disk) that has several partitions, which holds the Android system file in one and all the app data in another. Bootloader serves as a security checkpoint that is responsible for checking and initializing the hardware and starting software. You can get into this mode using adb command as well as by pressing device-specific buttons.

To enter into fastboot mode using adb command use the following steps:

  1. Ensure you have adb and fastboot tools installed on your system
  2. Appropriate usb drivers installed on the PC for your android device
  3. USB debugging is activated on your phone
  4. Connect your android device with your computer over a usb 2 port

Test the connectivity using the following command (provided your phone screen is unlocked)

should give output such as
List of devices attached
…………………… device

to get into fastboot mode use the following command

Once you enter your device screen shall indicate that has entered in fastboot mode

the following command will list the connected device which is in fastboot mode

shall display something like

On the device screen you should see something like the following

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments
Some of the most commonly used “fastboot” commands include:

  • flash – rewrites a partition with a binary image stored on the host computer
  • erase – erases a specific partition
  • reboot – reboots the device into either the main operating system, the system recovery partition or back into its boot loader
  • devices – displays a list of all devices (with the serial number) connected to the host computer
  • format – formats a specific partition; the file system of the partition must be recognized by the device

to get out of the bootloader/fastboot mode

Fastboot/recovery more (Summery)
Fastboot mode/recovery mode is mostly used to erase or install various images such as system, boot, userdata, and more. You may end up using fastboot tool and fastboot/recovery mode when you are installing a custom rom or restoring factory image on your android device.

What is android recovery mode, custom recovery and how to get into the recovery mode?

Android devices come with Google’s recovery environment, this is also known “stock recovery.” You can boot to the recovery system by pressing device-specific buttons as your android device or use adb command that boots your device to recovery mode.

These options can be selected using the volume up/down button and power button. In this mode, adb or fastboot tools has no use.

There are various custom recovery /third party recovery environments are available such as Cyanogen recovery, ClockworkMod recovery (CWM), Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) etc. You can install custom recovery from the bootloader/fastboot mode. Custom recovery images are usually has additional features such as better backup and recovery. In general, custom recoveries are only necessary if you plan on flashing a custom ROM. Most Android users wouldn’t even notice a difference between a device with the stock recovery system installed and one with a custom recovery.

To enter into recovery mode using adb command use the following steps:

  1. Ensure you have adb and fastboot tools installed on your system
  2. Appropriate usb drivers installed on the PC for your android device
  3. USB debugging is activated on your phone
  4. Connect your android device with your computer over a usb 2 port

Test the connectivity using the following command (provided your phone screen is unlocked)

should give output such as
List of devices attached
…………………… device

to get into recovery mode use the following command

How to enter android’s bootloader and recovery environments

Once in recovery mode, shall see a recovery menu, which provides list of fixed options. such as

  • reboot system
  • apply update from SD card
  • apply update from cache
  • wipe data/factory reset
  • backup user data
  • restore user data

To exit the recovery mode, select reboot system now and the system will boot back into the installed system.