Many custom recoveries, like TWRP, have an option to use compression when creating nandroid backups. By default, this option is typically disabled.

Is it safe to use the compression option? Are the only downsides the time that must be spent to compress the nandroid and the possible need for temporary working space to perform the compression?

Any other reasons why that option is typically disabled by default?

  • 1
    Good question. There must be some reason, as in previous versions (a couple of years ago) compression was enabled by default (at least with CWM).
    – Izzy
    Nov 21 '15 at 12:16
  • @Izzy, perhaps the reason is, a couple of years ago, most of the devices did not used to come with lots of storage space and external SD wasn't that cheap to buy, so compression can be justified for that time. That doesn't seem to be the situation nowadays, or does it?
    – Firelord
    Nov 21 '15 at 20:48
  • 1
    Faster ≠ Safe(r). I can't see a good argument against compression except for faster access – but when things are fine, the latter is no argument anymore. Afraid only one of the "Nandroid devs" can answer this – and hopefully one turns up here to do so.
    – Izzy
    Nov 21 '15 at 21:08
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    @Izzy Exactly. The whole point of a nandroid is to have working backups. If the compression jeopardizes the integrity of the backup (or the restore process) in any way, it's not worth it. If it does not, then it seems like the best choice given how quickly nandroids will fill up even 64GB of storage. Nov 21 '15 at 21:24
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    That might even be one of the reasons behind it: backups get ever bigger. So for compressed backups, one first needs the uncompressed size, then compress it, and only then free the space – unless one "pipes" the copy process. The first would "wear out SD faster" (as if we'd do a Nandroid every minute!) and might be an issue with available free space – but I see no integrity risk here. Not sure about "piping" and what the risks should be with that. Leaving piping out of the equation: if compression fails due to no free space, one still has the uncompressed backup. So what? I've got no clue.
    – Izzy
    Nov 21 '15 at 21:49

Hope this helps


I've used compression for a long time, won't stop anytime soon.


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