How to Flash ROMs and Make Backups Without a Custom Recovery

Andy Betts 17-07-2017

Working with a rooted phone What Is Rooting? What Are Custom ROMs? Learn Android Lingo Ever had a question about your Android device, but the answer had a bunch of words in it that you didn't understand? Let us break down the confusing Android lingo for you. Read More can be complicated. You need different tools to handle different tasks — some of which you can do on your phone, while others need a connection to a computer. It isn’t exactly that user friendly.


But what if there was a single app that could handle everything?

FlashFire is that app. It flashes ROMs, makes backups, and even installs factory images without losing root. Best of all, you don’t need a custom recovery or tools like Fastboot to use it — it all happens within Android.

Why You Should Use FlashFire

If you have a rooted phone and you install a lot of ROMs or other mods, then you’re no doubt well-versed in using a custom recovery like TWRP What Is a Custom Android Recovery? Getting Started With TWRP What is a custom recovery on Android? What can you do with it? We explain Android recoveries and show you how to get TWRP. Read More .

FlashFire offers much of the same core functionality of TWRP, but it runs in Android itself. You don’t need to reboot into recovery mode — in fact, you don’t even need a custom recovery installed at all. It just works like any other app.



It makes flashing ROMs How to Install a Custom ROM on Your Android Device Ready to revitalize your Android phone or tablet? Installing a custom ROM is the best way to do that -- powering it up with even better performance and features. Read More and making backups What Is A Nandroid Backup and How Exactly Does It Work? You need that backup at the ready. Read More so much quicker and easier. And it also has a couple of useful extra features that you won’t find elsewhere. These include the ability to flash official firmware images on the device without needing to connect it to a PC, and the ability to create backups that you can restore via Fastboot — which makes recovering from problems super simple.

How to Set Up FlashFire

FlashFire is a root app that you can download for free from the Play Store. It’s made by Chainfire, the developer behind apps like SuperSU and the blue light filtering app What Is a Blue Light Filter and Which App Works Best? These blue light filter apps for Android will help you get a better night's sleep, even when using your device at night. Read More CF.lumen.

As is common with Chainfire’s apps, you can upgrade to a Pro version through an in-app purchase, but there’s also a “Freeload” mode where you can unlock the Pro features without paying. You’ll find this in the app’s settings page. (Obviously, supporting developers financially is the preferred option, since it encourages them to keep working on their products.)

set up flashfire


When you launch the app for the first time, you’ll be prompted to grant it root permissions. Once done, it’ll complete its setup process and you’ll need to click through the disclaimer. As always, make sure you have backups available before you attempt to flash anything.

The app now opens into the Actions screen. From here, tap the + icon in the bottom corner to begin a new task.

Making Backups With FlashFire

FlashFire enables you to make full backups of your device. These backups are designed to be restored through the app, but also include a TWRP-compatible file that you can restore through a custom recovery in an emergency How to Unbrick Your Android Phone: 4 Methods for Recovery Is your Android phone bricked? Follow these tips to unbrick Android and get your phone back to working order. Read More .

To make a backup, tap the + icon and select Backup, followed by Normal.


Under Location, select where you want to save your backup. It will go to internal storage by default. If you have a memory card, then you’ll also have an option to save it there, while the ADB option lets you back up to your desktop computer.

normal backup flashfire

Next, add a descriptive name, then choose what you want to include in your backup. It’s a good idea to keep the default options for this.

Confirm the selection, and you’ll return to the Actions screen. All the actions are shown in their own individual cards — swipe them away to remove them.


confirm backup flashfire

When you’re happy to proceed, tap the big Flash button. The whole process takes quite a while, and the screen will go black along the way. The phone will reboot when it’s done, so don’t touch it in the meantime.

How to Restore a Backup in FlashFire

To restore a backup open FlashFire and hit the + icon. Choose your backup and the parts you want to restore (it’s all selected by default). Then tap the check mark, followed by Flash to begin.

restore backup flashfire

If you ever find your phone won’t boot, and you have a FlashFire backup saved, you can recover it through TWRP.

After booting into TWRP, go to Install > FlashFire > Backups and locate your selected backup. Inside you’ll find the file Just flash that to restore your phone.

recover twrp

Make a Fastboot-Compatible Backup

You can also make a Fastboot-compatible backup in FlashFire. The process is basically the same as making a normal backup, only you need to be sure to select Fastboot as your backup type.

Fastboot backups aren’t designed to be restored through FlashFire, so are less useful and convenient for most users. The backup is in the form of a ZIP file with a flash-all script included inside. You need to copy the backup to your desktop computer and restore it via the Fastboot app. If you don’t know how to do this, read our primer on Fastboot How to Use ADB and Fastboot on Android (and Why You Should) Learning to master ADB and Fastboot can make your Android experience a whole lot better. Read More to get up to speed.

Flash a ROM With FlashFire

One of the things that makes FlashFire more usable than a custom recovery is that you can queue multiple actions and have them all executed in one go. This is useful when you’re flashing a ROM, as you often need to wipe your data as well.

To begin, download a compatible ROM 12 Reasons to Install a Custom Android ROM Think you don't need a custom Android ROM anymore? Here are several reasons to install a custom Android ROM. Read More to your phone.

In FlashFire, tap the + icon and select Wipe. Keep the default selections and then tap the check mark to confirm.

Now tap + again and select Flash ZIP or OTA. Select the ROM you downloaded, and tap the check mark to confirm in the Options screen that follows. You shouldn’t need to change the defaults here.

flash rom flashfire

Back in the Actions screen check that your selected actions are listed in the order the app will perform them. If they’re in the wrong order, then hold your finger on one and drag it down to the right place. Swipe away any surplus actions.

Finally, tap Flash followed by OK to begin.

Install Official Firmware Updates

You can install official firmware through FlashFire, something that you’d normally need to do by connecting your phone to a desktop computer 3 Ways to Get Your Rooted Android Phone Back to Stock This is the easiest way to get your rooted phone back to stock. Read More .

Download the firmware image to your phone. Tap the + icon in FlashFire and select Flash firmware package. Locate the downloaded software, then wait a minute or so while it is unpacked and analyzed.

factory image

Choose the partitions you want to install. This will most likely be the pre-selected ones, and don’t select any of the protected partitions. Tap the check mark to confirm.

inject supersu flashfire

Back in the Actions screen, EverRoot will be listed as an action. This will attempt to root your phone after flashing and install the SuperSU app. If you don’t want this, tap on it and deselect Inject SuperSU. When everything looks good, tap Flash to begin.

The Essential ROM Flashing App

FlashFire is an extremely powerful tool, and a very effective way to flash ROMs and system updates, make backups, and restore your phone if you ever encounter any problems.

Even if you’re familiar with using TWRP, it’s worth keeping on hand for making backups over ADB, or installing factory images more quickly. And if you’re new to rooting and flashing, FlashFire makes the whole process more accessible than ever.

Have you used FlashFire? What do you like, or not like, about it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image Credit: Bloomicon via

Related topics: Android, Android Customization, Android Rooting, Custom Android Rom.

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  1. David Martchouk
    July 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    So your device doesn't already have to be Rooted for this app to work? The app will Root the device for me?

    • Frans
      July 19, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      FlashFire is the most advanced on-device firmware flasher available for rooted Android devices.

  2. ZentixZaneic
    July 17, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Just out of curiosity, I probably have this wrong, but were these screenshots taken on the Nextbit Robin?

    If so, how good of a device is it today?