What is recovery? In Android, recovery refers to a dedicated boot partition that has the recovery console installed. A combination of keystrokes (or instructions from the command line) will boot your recovery phone where you can find tools to help repair (repair) your installation as well as install official OS updates. Since Android is open source and has source code to restore, creating a custom version with lots of different options is also relatively easy. Let’s look at both options.

The recovery margin is quite limited, but that’s by design. Its main purpose is to remove all or some user data and files, or perform manual system updates with signed and verified delta update packages. Usually both of these operations are run from a running Android system, but you can do something manually and boot into recovery yourself. When you tell your phone to reset, a restore is what downloads and wipes files and data. Similarly with updates — when we reboot to install an official OS update, this is done in recovery mode. In the Recovery section, we also manually install official OS updates downloaded from the Internet. This is very useful, but limited. Different manufacturers use different recovery methods, but they all perform the same basic function—providing the tools you need to recover a working system.

Android custom recovery offers a lot more. They have been coded to provide backup and restore functionality, selective data deletion so you don’t have to wipe everything, and have been modified to allow update packs that were not digitally signed in official sources. You can also mount various partitions to copy files to the SD card without having to delete it or reboot in Android. Because of the built-in additional functionality, they are quite an essential tool for people who want to hack their Android phone or tablet. Restores aren’t as good as custom ROMs and don’t get the same love from users as Android custom builds, but they become even more important in the end. Without them, none of this custom ROM would be possible.

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