How to Fix an Android Phone or Tablet That Maybe Bricked

So you decided to root (and flash) your Android handset or tablet, and now things don’t seem to be working right. Maybe it won’t start. Perhaps the phone keeps restarting or won’t boot into Android.

It’s time to face the music.. your Android device is bricked. Or is it? In reality, Android is built with flexibility and durability in mind. That means its hard to completely break your Android device.

When fully bricked, your phone is no longer user-repairable in any shape or form. The truth is that many times new modders think that just because a phone appears to be bricked means that all hope is lost. Luckily, this isn’t true.

Fixing a device that appears to be bricked isn’t a one-fits-all approach, but we will share with you some of the general hints and tips that could be used to get your Android device working again:

What to do if Your Phone Boots Straight into Recovery

Right now your phone refuses to do anything other than boot up directly into ClockWorkMod or any other recovery software you chose to use. It’s toast right? Not exactly.

There is a chance that everything is actually fine and the ROM you used simply is designed to boot into recovery the first time after flashing. To test if that’s the case:

Step 1: Load up ClockWorkMod or whatever recovery tool you are using. Keep in mind that how you do this varies, depending on your phone’s make and model.

For most devices, it’s as simple as holding the up or down volume rocker as your phone boots.

Note: Some devices will automatically boot into the recovery tool, but others will require you to first pick recovery from a list of options.

Step 2: Once in, navigate to reboot system now. This should be the first option on the top, for those using ClockWorkMod.

Hopefully that’s it and everything will start working. If not, that means that you’ll want to re-flash the ROM all over again.

While it doesn’t hurt to try re-flashing with the exact same ROM that you used last time, odds are the problem is that the ROM you used was corrupted. If that’s the case, you’ll be better offdownloading a new/different ROM.

If you’ve gotten this far, you should already know how to put a ROM ZIP file onto your device and flash it, but as a refresher:

Step 1: Plug your SD card into your computer and drag the ROM ZIP to your SD card. When it’s finished transferring, eject the card.

Step 2: Place the SD card back in your phone or tablet, while the device is off. Now turn on your phone and boot into recovery. Using the volume keys as buttons, navigate down to Install ZIP from SD card. Select this option by using the power button.

Step 3: Let it go through the process of flashing. When done, reboot. If successful, your device will now boot into the custom ROM you installed.

What to do if Your Phone Won’t Stop Rebooting

The ROM has been flashed, you thought everything went well, but apparently your phone won’t boot into the homescreen and appears to be stuck in a reboot cycle. The problem here could actually be a very simple one.

It’s important to wipe your data and cache before flashing a ROM to your device. Luckily, if you forgot, it’s really not a big deal.

Step 1: Turn your phone off, and then reboot into Recovery. As already mentioned before, how you do this varies depending on your device, though often enough you simply need to hold down either the up or down volume rocker.

Step 2: Navigate over to Advanced. This will bring up a new menu with several options.

Step 3: The second option from the top downward is Wipe Dalvik Cache. Choose this option and follow the prompts. When finished, return to the main menu by selecting Go Back.

Step 4: Once back at the main screen, navigate down to Wipe Cache Partition. Select it now.

Step 5: Head to Wipe Data/Factory Reset. This will wipe all apps and settings, but since this is a new ROM flash this shouldn’t hurt anything.

Step 6: Finally, reboot your device by selecting reboot system now. If all went well, you should now be able to boot directly into the ROM. If not, you might want to re-flash the same ROM, or try a new one.

None of the Above Solutions Seem to Work? Your SD Card could be at Fault

While the odds of this are pretty low, sometimes the SD card itself is causing issues with things like flashing a ROM.

In this event, you might want to put your SD card into your computer and reformat it. If you have a spare SD card, you also might want to try using it instead.

Is Your Hardware Actually the Problem?

If your phone simply refuses to start or the display is being unresponsive, it’s possible that the problem has nothing to do with the root procedure or with flashing your device. Instead, it could just be bad timing that led to your power charger going bad, or perhaps your display is damaged.

Neither of these things are that likely once again, but it always helps to be thorough and consider all possible problems and solutions.

All Else Fails, Time to Restore from the Original ROM

Ran into a problem that seems to have no possible fix? If so, the solution might be to simply restore the original ROM. This will break your root, get rid of ClockWorkMod and otherwise return your phone or tablet to the same exact state in which it was purchased.

How do you go about this process? Unfortunately, it would be impossible to walk you through this step by step without knowing exactly what handset or tablet you are using. In this case, a search engine like Google or Bing could prove to be your best friend. You’ll want to use a search term like: How to restore original ROM for ( your phone model).

Conversely, you might want to head to a trusty Android community resource like the XDA Developer’s forum, where you will likely be able to find additional help or the tools needed to restore your device.


Never give up! Odds are, your so-called bricked phone can be unbricked without sending it in and paying top dollar for repairs.

If you really are at a dead end here, you can always try returning your phone, but remember that mentioning a phone has been rooted/flashed will void your warranty.

Anyone else out there have any other suggestions for fixing a device that – at first glance – appears to be bricked? readers and I would love to hear all about it in the comments below.


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