What is Recovery?
In the world of Android, Recovery is something that you cannot ignore even when you are a probie player. (Those who stick to factory settings and expect no personalization not included.)
Recovery, in Android, refers to the bootable partition, in which the recovery console is installed. It contains tools to help repair your installations as well as install official OS updates by using a combination of key presses or instructions from a command line sometimes. Android is open, meaning the recovery source code is available, so that building a customized ROM is relatively easy.
What is Recovery for?
A few years back, mobile phones were fairly simple, even with the advent of ones with camera. We do few things more than making voice calls and sending texts. Now is a totally different story that it is more akin to portable computers in our pocket. With increased complexity has also brought the need for features in case something goes wrong. Recovery is definitely the vital one.
Most Android devices are defaulted with a fairly simple recovery mode that can be used to fastboot the device, recover, wipe data and find other info about your device. Just like a lot of other things with Android, even the Recovery Mode can be customized to do more things.
Stock Recovery & Custom Recovery
The stock recovery is pretty limited by design with the main purpose to delete all user data and files, or to perform system updates. Usually you can do these operations manually by booting into recovery yourself. Like factory reset, recovery is what boots up and erases the files and data. The same goes with official OS update installation. Useful, but it's quite limited.
Custom recovery, otherwise, offers much more. Usually coded for backup and restore functions, selective deletion of data can be quite convenience for you. It is also modified to allow update packages that have not been digitally signed by official sources. And also, you are able to copy files to the SD card without having to remove it or reboot into Android by mounting various partitions. Famous ones are Clockwork or Amon Ra. The extra functionality built in makes Recovery no less important.
How to enter Recovery?
The way to enter depends on the model and your device manufacturers. More information please go to your phone model section and find relevant tutorials.
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