If you’re running out of storage space, you can choose to move or copy full TWRP Nandroid backups from the smartphone to a PC or thumb drive.
I am a huge fan of TWRP as a custom recovery because I like the ability to create full Nandroid backups of my phone from time to time. This helps save a ton of time if I am tinkering with a new modification, or have simply decided to update/install an update/kernel/etc. This way, even if something goes wrong, you can always restore from your most recently created backup and you shouldn’t lose any of your data.
These Nandroid backups from TWRP can take up a lot of space though. Especially if you are creating full backups and/or you don’t have much internal storage space in the first place.
Thankfully, there is a way to move (or copy) these TWRP backups from your smartphone or tablet, directly to a computer (or even a thumb drive). All it takes is a USB cable (if you’re moving it to the PC) or an OTG cable (if you want to move it to a thumb drive).
I will be demonstrating this with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so if you are on a different version of Android, the exact steps might be different. Overall, you should get the idea by following these steps, or by watching the embedded video below.
Move TWRP Backup
- Connect the phone to the PC with a USB cable
- Swipe the the Status Bar down to reveal the Notification Panel
- Tap on the ‘USB for Charging’ notification card
- Tap on the ‘File Transfers’ option
- Open a File Explorer window on the PC
- Navigate to My Computer/This PC page
- Double click on the phone you connected to the PC
- Double click on the ‘Internal Storage’ option
- Double click on the ‘TWRP’ folder
- Double click on the ‘Backups’ folder
- Double click on the folder with the randomized name
- Copy/move the TWRP backups anywhere on your computer
As you can see, the process is very straight forward. The key here is just knowing where the backups are located, and how to move/copy them from the phone to the PC (and then back to the phone from the PC). I have detailed the step by step instructions for how to access the internal storage from the PC, in case there are people who have never done this before. With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you need to enable MTP in order to access the internal storage.
As mentioned, this can be different on other versions of Android (particularly older ones), but this should give you an idea as to what needs to be done. So once MTP has been enabled (the File Transfers option, you can turn your attention to the computer and then open up a file explorer (aka any folder). From here, you’ll navigate to My Computer (or This PC in the case of Windows 10) so that you can see the phone you have connected to the PC
Double clicking on the phone should show you a folder labeled Internal Storage. You’ll want to double click on that folder and then scroll down a bit. Toward the end of the page you should see a folder called TWRP. Double click on this folder and there will be another one called BACKUPS. Double click that folder and you should see a folder that has random letters and numbers for the name (your folder here will be called something different than mine).
Inside this folder with a random name, you’ll find a folder (or folders) that correspond to each Nandroid backup you currently have on your phone. So you either have the choice of moving/copying these individual backup folders, or you can move/copy the folder with the random letters/numbers. Either way, you’ll want to keep the folder with the random letters/numbers as that is where TWRP will look when it checks for your backups.
After you have moved or copied the backup from your phone, you can completely delete these individual Nandroid backups on your phone. You can either delete the folders from within the folder that has the random letters/numbers. Or you can boot into TWRP and delete the Nandroid backups as I have detailed in the guides on this website. If you’re confused about any of this, I would suggest deleting the backups from within TWRP.