Any Android device can get bricked when you perform advanced actions like flashing a custom rom or rooting the phone. The fear of bricking their device keeps many Android users from going advanced and thus prevents them from enjoying the many perks of rooting. Prevention is better than cure, they say. So, first, we shall talk about various precautions following which can help you prevent turning your phone into a brick. And if you have already bricked your phone, we shall also tell you some secret ways to get your phone up and running, like it did in the good ol' days.
How to prevent bricking your Android device:
- Never ever flash anything that is not meant for your device. If you are not sure whether something is meant for your device, post a comment. You might sound stupid at places, but isn't that better than bricking your device? In the Android world, only apps and a few other generic zips are the only things that works good on all devices. Unless it's explicitly mentioned that the stuff you are looking at will work on all devices, don't risk trying it. This is one of the first and foremost things I expect every Android user to know before they start performing any android tutorial on their device.
- Keep USB Debugging enabled on your device. This will help you unbrick it if something bad happens. Here's how to do that across various Android versions:
- On Android 2.3 and below, go to Settings > Applications > Development. Tick the USB Debugging Checkbox to enable it.
- On Android 4.0 and 4.1, go to Settings > Developer Options and enable USB Debugging from there.
- On Android 4.2, go to Settings > About Phone. In this screen, find something called Build number. Tap on it seven times to unlock Developer Options on your device. Then, follow the instructions for Android 4.0 and 4.1
- Take a nandroid backup. A nandroid backup of a device is the full backup of your android phone which can be restored at any point of time to bring it back to the same state when it was backed up. Obviously, when you backup your device, it is not bricked. And when it gets bricked and you restore the nandroid backup, it is not bricked! To take a nandroid backup of your device, you need to have a custom recovery like clockworkmod or TWRP. As an extra step of precaution, copy the backup files to your computer's hard disk or at any other place you consider safe so that you don't end up accidentally deleting them from your sd card.
These were the main things that you should help you prevent bricking your device. But what if the accident has already occurred?
How to Unbrick any Android device:
- Take it to the Service Center. You might be considering me a fool right now because I am the one who is yelling before many tutorials that this will void your manufacturer warranty. But believe me, if your phone doesn't a binary counter (like the ones found in a few Samsung devices) and you haven't unlocked your bootloader, the service center guys are not going to know whether you ever rooted your phone. In the first place, many service centers don't even check if your Android device was rooted. They simply flash the stock things back and hand it over to you. I am saying this with my personal experience. When I first soft bricked my Spice Android mobile about two years ago and had no idea about unbricking it, I took it to the service center and they very happily returned me the phone in its factory state.
- If your device has a custom recovery like clockworkmod and you had taken a nandroid backup, restore it.
- If your device has a custom recovery but you never bothered to take a nandroid backup (that's so careless of you), look around the internet for any custom rom for your device and flash it using the custom recovery on your device.
- If you haven't flashed a custom recovery on your device, google around for a method to do so on your device. For a method to flash clockworkmod recovery on a Samsung Galaxy Y, I would search the term "how to flash clockworkmod recovery galaxy y" or something like that. In the guide you find, see if the steps can be performed on a bricked phone. I shall drop you a hint. The guides which state the use of stock recovery or fastboot or tools like SP Flash tools or Odin to flash the custom recovery can be performed on a device that's bricked.
- If everything stated above fails, google for the process to flash stock rom on your Android device. Doing this can be done using different tools on different devices. Some of them are: RUU for HTC, Odin for Samsung, SP Flash Tools for most Mediatek devices.
- Still confused? Head over to the xda forums and post in your device's section for an answer. If your device doesn't have a separate forum, post in the Android Q&A section. Though we have our very own Android community here, I recommended xda over it because right now, our community is very small and xda has already millions of members. So, till our community grows up, head over to the xda community.
As you might have understood y no, this guide was a generic one and applies to every android device. Otherwise, I am 100% sure, there can't be a single guide that will work on every Android device under the Sun. With this guide, our purpose was to show you a starting path.