Installing a custom recovery is essential for anyone that loves to modify their Android device as and how they please. It has been so ever since Android devices made it to the scene. Over the years, the ClockworkMod recovery, commonly known as CWM recovery, was quite popular. These days though, TWRP is virtually the only custom recovery you will find for any device. So it really helps that it is actually pretty awesome. More and more devices are regularly added under the TWRP umbrella as soon as they get officially launched. Chances are if you have an Android device there’s a build of TWRP recovery for it. Here’s a general guide on how you can install TWRP custom recovery on any Android.
Download the Correct TWRP Image for your Device
To install something you do have to download it first, obviously. TWRP hosts all the various image files for the various devices on their own website. This makes it pretty darn easy to find them for a specific device. Simply go to the TWRP devices page, find your device in the categorical list or search for it. Many devices are supported via unofficial channels and might not be listed on the TWRP website. xda-developers.com is a good place to search for a TWRP build for such devices. Usually, all you have to do is Google “twrp name/model number of your device” and one of the first few search results will be for the desired xda thread.
Most Android devices these days ship with a locked bootloader. Installing a custom recovery image requires an unlocked bootloader. Fortunately, most OEMs also support unlocking the bootloader, although this does void the warranty in most cases. Some devices like those by Google or OnePlus can be unlocked by a simple fastboot command, but most will require you to obtain a key from the OEM. Different devices have different unlock methods so you will have to Google a method to unlock yours.
Install ADB and Fastboot
Using the ADB and Fastboot command line tools is the most popular and universal method to flash image files on Android devices, whether it be a boot image or a recovery image. Command line tools tend to scare some people away because it seems like a daunting task to use them. But typing commands is all you have to do and there are several guides all over the internet on which commands to type when. Installing ADB and Fastboot on your PC used to require downloading the full Android SDK but these days it’s a much easier affair. Just follow our guide here and you’ll be ready in no time.
Enable USB Debugging
To use ADB and Fastboot commands on an Android device, it is required that you first enable USB debugging. This can be enabled under Settings > Developer options. If you have any trouble finding it, follow our guide here.
Flash TWRP via Fastboot
Once you have the recovery image file, move it inside the adb installation folder. If you installed Minimal ADB and Fastboot following our guide, the adb installation folder will be C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Unless you changed it during installation. Otherwise, it is usually C:\Android\platform-tools. Moving the image file in the adb folder means you don’t have to type out the location of the image file saving some trouble if you are not that comfortable with command line tools. While we’re at it, it might be a good idea to also rename the recovery image file as twrp.img for ease.
In the adb folder, type cmd in the address bar and hit enter. This opens up a command prompt window within the folder. Now connect your phone to your PC with a USB cable and make sure you have the necessary USB drivers for your device installed. Look for a prompt on your phone asking to Allow USB debugging. If you don’t see it yet, type this command in the ADB window.
Now use the command below to boot your device into fastboot mode.
adb reboot bootloader
You can also do this with a key combination but that is, again, different for different devices. To flash the recovery image, use the following command.
fastboot flash recovery \path\to\twrp.img
Here, \path\to\ is the location of the image file which you don’t have to type if you placed the file in the adb folder. So the command effectively becomes
fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
You’ll see an OKAY message displayed almost as soon as you push the command. After which, you can disconnect and reboot your phone. TWRP recovery has now been installed.