Android Headunit Recovery Mode

Android Recovery or Android Recovery mode can either be an all too regular irritant or an illusive friend.

Illusive Android Recovery Mode

Here we will show you some ways and provide some solutions that can help you reach that illusive and sometimes seemingly impossible to obtain Recovery Mode. While choosing to enter Android Recovery is not something we suggest a regular user would ever need to do, there are times when some advanced users do.

What is Recovery Mode?

Recovery mode is available to all android devices in the form of Android Recovery. It is a very small program in its own separate partition. This partition is protected from the usual installing, uninstalling, apps and android programs. It is there are a fall back position, a last chance saloon. If android fails to boot and you don’t have a recovery mode, then you are stuck with a blank screen and command prompt at best. At worst, just a blank screen. What Android Recovery provides is the fall back to something useful. A menu with diagnostic options and information about the device it is running on.


This limited recovery is just enough to get some key jobs done and nothing more, no fancy graphics, no sound. It resembles the terminal or DOS box. No fancy fonts, no apps and not smart graphics not even a logo. The smaller the better means more ROM for the actual android. Less features means it is more likely to work, even if other parts of the system are not functioning.


You may even have the option to run some tests in Recovery Mode. This can help determine if there is a hardware fault or it is caused by an android configuration issue. If the tests pass in Android Recovery it and they fail in android, it would suggest that android configuration is the problem and the hardware is ok. Alternatively, if the test also fails in android recovery test mode, it can be quite safe to say that android is not the problem and the error is due to faulty hardware.

Android Recovery screen

The android recovery screen can be made up of three distinct sections. Under normal conditions only two of these are seen by the user. If you are in the unlucky category, plagued by visits of the android recovery, the red section ‘Can’t load Android system‘ article may be for you.

The yellow section gives you information about the device it is running on. This may not mean very much to to and most of it can just be ignored.

Android Recovery
An touch and power key cycles highlight
long-press activate.

The note worthy and most useful information in the yellow Android Recovery screen is to advise you how to navigate the menu. The menu navigation is one of the biggest issues facing users that are either not used to pressing keys to navigate a menu. Or there are no buttons or keys to navigate the menu.

A step forward

An touch and power key cycles highlight
long-press activate.

This android headunit recovery mode is from a much later design giving the user a touch input to navigate the screen. Use the touch screen to move around the Android recovery menu.

Two steps back

Android Recovery
Use volume up/down and power.

This Android recovery screen is from an obsolete 8227L_ALPS_DEMO based headunit. The Android Recovery navigation is still based in the year 2014 roots of the 8227L. No touch screen and sometimes there are no volume keys to navigate with either.

Blue Menu

Reboot system now
Reboot to bootloader
Enter fastboot
Apply update from SD or USB
Apply mcu from SD or USB
Wipe data/factory reset
Wipe cache partition
Mount /system
View recovery logs
Recover system

The blue menu has the useful options. You may not need them all, in fact you will only want one or two, but they are all there for you to choose.

Reboot system now
Reboot to bootloader
Apply update from ADB
Apply update from SD card
Wipe data/factory reset
Wipe cache partition
Mount /system
Factory data reset
Power off

Not all vendors or situations give all the options. It can be due to how you got to Android Recovery or down to the manufacturer or even the hardware it was installed on.

Not to be misused

These android recovery options are not to be underestimated. This is not going to end well if you make a mistake. This is the last chance and if you erase or damage the safety net of Android Recovery you don’t get a second chance. Use the options under guidance of the vendor. Don’t flash random files from the internet into your android headunit.

Android Headunit Tip

Just because a file name is the same, it doesn’t mean the file is the same. Having two head units that look the same, it doesn’t mean they need the same flash files. If in doubt, don’t flash

Access android head unit recovery mode

Getting into recovery mode on your android headunit can be challenging. With so many different paths to the android recovery option you can get lost along the way. We have some tips that can help your android headunit reach recovery mode.


  1. Android Recovery if you can boot into android and are rooted
  2. If you are unable to boot into android and need recovery mode
  3. Is for being stuck in recovery mode with red error message

Android Headunit Recovery Mode Screens

Android Head unit recovery mode
Android Recovery Mode on a later model Android 10 Head unit, note the improved options
8227L DEMO Android Recovery mode
Typical 8227L Demo ALPS Bootloader Android Recovery screen
Android guy who loves his android head units as much as he loves his cherry pie.

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