How to Flash ROMs and Make Backups Without a Custom Recovery

How to Flash ROMs and Make Backups Without a Custom Recovery

Working with a rooted phone can be complicated. You need different tools to handle different tasks — some of which you can do on your phone, while others need a connection to a computer. It isn’t exactly that user friendly.

But what if there was a single app that could handle everything?

FlashFire is that app. It flashes ROMs, makes backups, and even installs factory images without losing root. Best of all, you don’t need a custom recovery or tools like Fastboot to use it — it all happens within Android.

Why You Should Use FlashFire

If you have a rooted phone and you install a lot of ROMs or other mods, then you’re no doubt well-versed in using a custom recovery like TWRP.

FlashFire offers much of the same core functionality of TWRP, but it runs in Android itself. You don’t need to reboot into recovery mode — in fact, you don’t even need a custom recovery installed at all. It just works like any other app.

flashfire

It makes flashing ROMs and making backups so much quicker and easier. And it also has a couple of useful extra features that you won’t find elsewhere. These include the ability to flash official firmware images on the device without needing to connect it to a PC, and the ability to create backups that you can restore via Fastboot — which makes recovering from problems super simple.

How to Set Up FlashFire

FlashFire is a root app that you can download for free from the Play Store. It’s made by Chainfire, the developer behind apps like SuperSU and the blue light filtering app CF.lumen.

As is common with Chainfire’s apps, you can upgrade to a Pro version through an in-app purchase, but there’s also a “Freeload” mode where you can unlock the Pro features without paying. You’ll find this in the app’s settings page. (Obviously, supporting developers financially is the preferred option, since it encourages them to keep working on their products.)

set up flashfire

When you launch the app for the first time, you’ll be prompted to grant it root permissions. Once done, it’ll complete its setup process and you’ll need to click through the disclaimer. As always, make sure you have backups available before you attempt to flash anything.

The app now opens into the Actions screen. From here, tap the + icon in the bottom corner to begin a new task.

Making Backups With FlashFire

FlashFire enables you to make full backups of your device. These backups are designed to be restored through the app, but also include a TWRP-compatible file that you can restore through a custom recovery in an emergency.

To make a backup, tap the + icon and select Backup, followed by Normal.

Under Location, select where you want to save your backup. It will go to internal storage by default. If you have a memory card, then you’ll also have an option to save it there, while the ADB option lets you back up to your desktop computer.

normal backup flashfire

Next, add a descriptive name, then choose what you want to include in your backup. It’s a good idea to keep the default options for this.

Confirm the selection, and you’ll return to the Actions screen. All the actions are shown in their own individual cards — swipe them away to remove them.

confirm backup flashfire

When you’re happy to proceed, tap the big Flash button. The whole process takes quite a while, and the screen will go black along the way. The phone will reboot when it’s done, so don’t touch it in the meantime.

How to Restore a Backup in FlashFire

To restore a backup open FlashFire and hit the + icon. Choose your backup and the parts you want to restore (it’s all selected by default). Then tap the check mark, followed by Flash to begin.

restore backup flashfire

If you ever find your phone won’t boot, and you have a FlashFire backup saved, you can recover it through TWRP.

After booting into TWRP, go to Install > FlashFire > Backups and locate your selected backup. Inside you’ll find the file twrp.zip. Just flash that to restore your phone.

recover twrp

Make a Fastboot-Compatible Backup

You can also make a Fastboot-compatible backup in FlashFire. The process is basically the same as making a normal backup, only you need to be sure to select Fastboot as your backup type.

Fastboot backups aren’t designed to be restored through FlashFire, so are less useful and convenient for most users. The backup is in the form of a ZIP file with a flash-all script included inside. You need to copy the backup to your desktop computer and restore it via the Fastboot app. If you don’t know how to do this, read our primer on Fastboot to get up to speed.

Flash a ROM With FlashFire

One of the things that makes FlashFire more usable than a custom recovery is that you can queue multiple actions and have them all executed in one go. This is useful when you’re flashing a ROM, as you often need to wipe your data as well.

To begin, download a compatible ROM to your phone.

In FlashFire, tap the + icon and select Wipe. Keep the default selections and then tap the check mark to confirm.

Now tap + again and select Flash ZIP or OTA. Select the ROM you downloaded, and tap the check mark to confirm in the Options screen that follows. You shouldn’t need to change the defaults here.

flash rom flashfire

Back in the Actions screen check that your selected actions are listed in the order the app will perform them. If they’re in the wrong order, then hold your finger on one and drag it down to the right place. Swipe away any surplus actions.

Finally, tap Flash followed by OK to begin.

Install Official Firmware Updates

You can install official firmware through FlashFire, something that you’d normally need to do by connecting your phone to a desktop computer.

Download the firmware image to your phone. Tap the + icon in FlashFire and select Flash firmware package. Locate the downloaded software, then wait a minute or so while it is unpacked and analyzed.

factory image

Choose the partitions you want to install. This will most likely be the pre-selected ones, and don’t select any of the protected partitions. Tap the check mark to confirm.

inject supersu flashfire

Back in the Actions screen, EverRoot will be listed as an action. This will attempt to root your phone after flashing and install the SuperSU app. If you don’t want this, tap on it and deselect Inject SuperSU. When everything looks good, tap Flash to begin.

The Essential ROM Flashing App

FlashFire is an extremely powerful tool, and a very effective way to flash ROMs and system updates, make backups, and restore your phone if you ever encounter any problems.

Even if you’re familiar with using TWRP, it’s worth keeping on hand for making backups over ADB, or installing factory images more quickly. And if you’re new to rooting and flashing, FlashFire makes the whole process more accessible than ever.

Have you used FlashFire? What do you like, or not like, about it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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