Does your Android smartphone no longer start? Probably the phone went into bricked, a term that is used when the phone has suffered serious damage and seems dead, it does not start anymore.
You flashed a ROM, installed a mod, optimized a file system, did something like that causing the problem, and the phone did not boot. If your Android smartphone does not start, you’ll be looking for a way to unlock the phone and turn it on. Don’t be panic, it’s almost certainly solvable, it all depends on how it went in bricked.
- Soft brick: The phone is stuck in the Android startup screen, remains locked and starts continuously. Or simply in the process of loading the system goes directly into recovery mode. Until something happens in the ignition phase, this condition is called soft brick. The good news is that this problem is rather easy to solve.
- Hard brick: Press the power button and nothing happens, the phone will not start. In this case, we have a hard brick, and it may have been caused by procedures like trying to flash an incompatible ROM or a kernel, and there is normally no software solution for this kind of problem. Hard bricks are generally bad news, but fortunately, they are very rare.
You’re probably in a position to have a soft brick device. There are different ways of operating Android phones and this makes it difficult to consider all the solutions to recover Android phone if it goes into soft brick. We offer four tricks you can try to bring your phone back to life:
- Delete the data, then flash again a custom ROM.
- Disable the Xposed mod through recovery.
- Restore a Nandroid backup.
- Flash a factory image.
Before you start using these procedures when your Android smartphone does not start, make sure your phone and computer are set up and ready with the appropriate tools.
Android smartphone does not start: what do you need to recover it?
You’re probably already in possession of most of the tools you need to recover an Android phone that went in bricked. These are the same tools you used to get root permissions for your device and to flash a ROM, and you’ll probably also be familiar with how they work.
If your Android smartphone does not start, the most important tool is a personalized recovery. This is installed when root permissions are obtained on the phone, but it may have been overwritten during the installation of an original ROM, or it is no longer present due to a problem. If you need to reinstall it, I recommend using TWRP Recovery. Read the guide on how to install TWRP Recovery. It is a personalized recovery very easy to use and works on the most popular Android devices.
Finally, some manufacturers use specialized software to flash factory images. We hope you can avoid doing this, but if you need you can use Odin for Samsung, the LG Flash Tool to flash LG devices, and HTC Sync Manager for HTC devices.
1. Clean data and flash a custom ROM
Try this method if: you have flashed a ROM and now Android does not start.
One of the most likely causes of your phone’s soft brick is when you’re flashing a custom ROM and the process is not right. One of the most likely causes is that you have not deleted the data before.
Often this way of proceeding is defined as “dirty flash”, and happens when you choose to give up the hassle of having to restore applications and data, by flashing a new ROM on an old one. As a general rule, you can get away with it if you are flashing a more recent version of your existing ROM, but you should always delete the data each time you flash a different ROM.
Fortunately, this is an easy condition to solve if you have backed up all data correctly. If you did not, well, you learned an important lesson the hard way.
- Start custom recovery.
- Navigate to the Wipe option and choose Advanced Wipe.
- Select the Date box (you must clean the system, the ART cache and the cache again), then Confirm.
- Re-flash your custom ROM.
By cleaning up your data, you actually do a factory reset, but the procedure should not flush the internal memory or the SD card (even if, again, you need to back up to be safe). When you restart the phone, you will see the Android configuration screen. After entering your Google account information, applications should begin to automatically reinstall.
If necessary, you can restore data from the Nandroid backup. Below you will see the process for restoring a Nandroid Backup.
2. Disable Xposed Modules in recovery
Try this method if: you get cyclic starts after installing a new Xposed module.
Xposed Framework is one of the best phone modding tools, but it is also one of the most dangerous. Xposed modules are so easy to install – many of them are available in the Play Store – that there is a false sense of security. It is unlikely that someone will make a Nandroid backup before installing a new Xposed module, even if they can bricked the phone.
Use ADB Push to install the Xposed uninstaller
The best way to deal with these problems is to use Xposed Uninstaller. This is a small flashable zip file that can be removed by removing the Xposed modules from the device.
If you do not already have this file on your phone, you can put it on an SD card or you can copy it using the ADB Push method :
- Download the Xposed Uninstaller program on your computer desktop.
- Connect the phone to the computer via USB and start in recovery.
- From recovery, enable the data transfer mode and transfer the file you just downloaded to your phone.
- Flash this file via the Install zip function.
How to uninstall Xposed modules in recovery
If you can not use ADB Push, try one of these solutions.
a) This method disables Xposed:
- Start the phone in recovery, go to Advanced> Terminal command.
- Create a file called /data/data/de.robv.android.xposed.installer/conf/disabled
- Restart the phone.
b) This method prevents Xposed from starting:
- Start in recovery, select File Manager
- Switch to the /data/data/de.robv.android.xposed.installer/conf/ directory and then delete the modules.list file
- Restart the phone.
With none of these solutions, changes to the modules made to the system will be canceled. If the latter is the cause of the problem, you will need to restore the Nandroid backup.
3. Restore a Nandroid Backup
Try this method if: you need to remove other system mods or if the above methods have not worked.
Nandroid backup is the security network for Android mods and tweaks. It is a complete picture of the phone, not just of data and applications, but of the operating system itself. As long as you can access your personalized recovery and have a Nandroid backup, you’ll be able to get your phone up and running:
- Start in recovery and go to Restore
- Select backup, confirm and wait while restoring.
- Restart the phone.
Nandroid backups involve a bit of effort to get them done. They take some time and can not be done in the background. But it’s worth it: it’s the easiest way to unlock the phone.
Recover data from a Nandroid Backup
A Nandroid backup can also save your skin if you need to delete the data and you do not have a backup in an easily recoverable form. You can extract specific parts of a Nandroid, so you can restore your applications and data without having to restore your operating system.
- Launch Android and install Titanium Backup from the Play Store.
- Click on the menu button and navigate to Special Backup / Restore> Extract from Nandroid Backup.
- Select the backup from the list.
- Choose whether to restore applications, data, or both, and select them (or press Select All)
- Touch the green checkmark icon to start the restore process.
4. Flash a Factory Image
Try this method if: none of the other options worked.
When the Android smartphone does not start, if all other methods to recover it fail, the final option is to re-flash a factory image. This procedure restores the phone to its original state and will format the phone’s internal memory, as well as everything else. It will also delete root permissions on the phone.
Given that this process will erase everything, you can first try to flash an (original) stock ROM. For example, OnePlus for phone recovery offers flash-upgradable ROMs rather than using a factory image, and you’ll find similar procedures for almost all devices on xda-developers.com. In many cases, you’ll be able to flash a pre-rooted stock ROM for greater convenience.
Flashing a factory image differs from flashing a ROM from the fact that it occurs via a connection to the computer rather than through recovery. Some devices use the Fastboot tool of the Android SDK, but others use custom software. Samsung uses the Odin tool, for example, while HTC uses HTC Sync Manager.
Because of the different methods used, the instructions to flash a factory image are different for each device. And not all manufacturers make their firmware available publicly, so you have to find them on unofficial sources.
Here’s where to find factory images for some of the most popular Android brands:
What if the smartphone does not turn on because it is hard brick?
First make sure the phone is bricked – connect it and let it charge for a while. Try to reset it by removing the battery or by holding the power button for 10-15 seconds.
If your Android smartphone does not start and is definitely hard brick, then you’re just unlucky and it may be difficult to recover Android phone. Some phones can be resumed with a micro USB Jig, a small device that connects to the USB port and puts the phone in download mode to reinstall the stock firmware. These can be found cheap on Ebay, but only work for a very limited number of devices, and even in this case there is no guarantee that it will work.
Beyond that, you may need to send the phone for repair to recover Android phone (even if the root permissions on the phone probably canceled the warranty), or look for a local phone repairer. But most likely you’ll have to buy a new phone.