Install Custom Recovery Software on a Moto G3

In the previous post, we unlocked the bootloader on our Moto G3 smartphone. We are now ready to continue the rooting process. However, before we actually root the phone, we are going to install custom recovery software that will allow us to backup the current operating system (so that we will be able to restore things should the rooting process go south!)

(1) Download TWRP Custom Recovery Software

First we need to download the TWRP custom recovery package from https://dl.twrp.me/osprey/. TWRP is the TeamWin Recovery Project, which provides an open-source software custom recovery image for Android devices. Store the file (the current version is twrp-osprey-3.1.1-r1.img) on the PC. Next, we need to transfer this file to the phone.

Thinking ahead…

I happen to know that, in the next post, we will be installing SuperSU. This package allows advanced management of Super User rights for all the apps on an Android device that need root access. We will need to download the software and transfer it to the phone – just as we are currently doing for TWRP custom recovery. So, let’s save some time. Download SuperSU (currently the file BETA-SuperSU-v2.62-3-20151211162651.zip) from http://www.supersu.com/, save it to your PC, and transfer it to your phone as described below for TWRP.

(2) Transfer the TWRP Custom Recovery Installation File to the Moto G3

As noted above, we now need to install the TWRP package onto the phone. Connect the Moto G3 to your computer using the USB cable. If the MotoG3 folder loads but displays “This folder is empty”, then you need to activate the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). On the phone, pull down the notifications panel and select the panel labelled “USB for charging”. Select the radio button marked “Transfer files (MTP)”. If you check the notification panel, the USB item will now say “USB for file transfer”, and the MotoG3 folder on the PC should be displaying the “Internal storage” and “SD card” folders on the phone (assuming, of course, that your phone has an SDcard installed).

Select the SD card folder on the phone. Open a second File Explorer window, navigate to the storage location for TWRP (twrp-osprey-3.1.1-r1.img), and drag this file to the SD card folder on the phone.

[If you are following the Thinking Ahead strategy, you should also drag BETA-SuperSU-v2.62-3-20151211162651.zip to the SD card folder.]

(3) Install TWRP Custom Recovery on the Moto G3

Now, we need to power down the phone. Next, boot the phone into fastboot mode (hold down the volume-down key and the power button at the same time for several seconds then release the buttons).

On the PC, navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Bring up a command window linked to this folder. If you are using the Creators Update version of Windows 10, press Shift – Right-Click and select “Open PowerShell window here”. In the PowerShell window, type:

.\fastboot devices

Fastboot will respond with a string of alpha-numeric characters which confirms that the connection has been made.

(Note that a regular DOS-type command window uses a simpler command format – i.e. the “.\” prefix is not used – see Step 6 in the previous post for full details.)

To install TWRP custom recovery, type the command:

.\fastboot boot twrp-osprey-3.1.1-r1.img

A few lines of text will scroll down the PC’s phone’s screen as TWRP is installed. When the process is complete (e.g. the PC will report something like “finished. total time: 2.830s”), you can disconnect the USB cable from the phone.

The phone will display the teamwin splash screen and then TWRP’s first page. Follow the instruction – “Swipe to Allow Modifications” – and swipe the set of green-and-white arrows at the bottom of the screen to the right. This will bring up TWRP’s main menu screen.


Update:

I think I missed a critical reboot about here. The subsequent system backup went fine but, later, when I tried to located the backup files, I couldn’t find them. Worse, when I booted the phone into fastboot mode and selected Recovery, I got the dreaded “No command” message indicating that TWRP was no longer installed.

TWRP’s help file says: “Note many devices will replace your custom recovery automatically during first boot. To prevent this, use Google to find the proper key combo to enter recovery. After typing fastboot reboot, hold the key combo and boot to TWRP. Once TWRP is booted, TWRP will patch the stock ROM to prevent the stock ROM from replacing TWRP. If you don’t follow this step, you will have to repeat the install.”

See: my subsequent post TWRP Custom Recovery – MIA in which I repeated the installation!

(4) Create a System Backup

Before we actually root the phone, let’s make a system backup. As noted earlier, this will allow us to recover the phone’s current state should anything untoward happen during the rooting process.

Note that the TWRP menu items include both “Backup” and “Restore”. As you might expect, to create a backup, you click on the Backup button. This brings up a new screen where you can change the system components that are to be included in the backup (or simply leave the settings at the defaults), and select the storage location that is to be used (e.g. the SDcard probably has lots of storage capacity for this purpose). Finally, as you are again instructed, go down to the green-and-white arrows and “Swipe to Backup”.

The backup process will take a little time, so let’s leave it to complete its task. Once it’s finished, we can move on to the main event – and root our smartphone!

References:

Unlocking the bootloader of a Moto G3
https://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/unlocking-the-bootloader-of-a-moto-g3/

Moto G 3rd Gen 2015 Root & Install ANDROID 7.0 NOUGAT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZDZt4OlkKY

TWRP for osprey
https://dl.twrp.me/osprey/

SuperSU
http://www.supersu.com/

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