I would like to backup and restore manually all partitions. I know this is not the first time this issue has been raised. There are already many links and questions on this issue, and I have reviewed most of them probably.

The suggested answers are divided to the following:

  1. Root the device, install appropriate recovery tool (nexus root toolkit, TWRP or clockworkmod recovery), and boot into recovery, then do the backup from the tool.

  2. Other solution suggest to use "dd command" but only for boot partitions, not all partitions. I'm not sure why. for example the follwing page warns not to use dd on system partition: http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile/how-to-backup-your-android-phones-boot-recovery-and-system-partition-images/

I wonder how the suggested tools are capable of backup all partitions. If "dd command" is not used, what is the way to manually backup all partitions (which is probably the way these tools do backup in source code) ?

  • You can pull using dd or cat other partitions as well. All you need is a custom recovery or root access (adbd as root is better). To restore, you need to push the image back. I've done that on recovery, boot, system and frp partition. – Firelord May 10 '16 at 14:26
  • the link above with the warnings not to copy other partitions make any sense to you ? – ransh May 10 '16 at 14:52
  • The article is from 2010 and seems to be relevant to MTD based device (because that's what it has been tested upon). I should've been explicit in my last comment that I tested upon an eMMC based device (Nexus 6). Related: github.com/ameer1234567890/OnlineNandroid/wiki/… – Firelord May 10 '16 at 14:58

the reason for warning regarding backup is, dd just copy block wise everything, not caring about content. it clones the partition. of course you can use dd also for backup /system or /data partition in recovery mode.

but in normal mode you should not use dd for mounted partitions, content may change during progress (android is running) and you probably get inconsistent/unreadable result. unmount the partition first.

another way is to create a tarball archive. thats what nandroid backup does. but with same warning - better do this "offline" in recovery mode, not in normal mode

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