Issue: Full NAndroid backup by means of TWRP recovery in FP3+ with /e/os 1.9-S Stable (Android 12)

Hello to all the forum participants.

I have experienced the following issue after having comoleted the OTA update to /e/os 1.9-S Stable (Android 12) on a FP3+.

That phone already had a TWRP 3.7.0 (latest) installed as a recovery tool and everything was working since the stable standard /e/os version was based on the -R branch of lineageOS.

After the latest (March) automatic OTA update to 1.9-S the encrypted data partition is no more accessible via TWRP 3.7.0, even if it is the latest version of the custom recovery which is given as capable to manage also the Android 12 encrypted data partitions.

I already tried to reinstall also different versions of TWRP, disabling the pin to unlock the phone prior to reboot to recovery and many other trials without any result.

TWRP just ask if you want to maintain the partition untouched or in read-only state when booting on recovery mode, but any answer gives the same result: no decrypting password request and user data, nor any full system and data backup possible.

Am I requested to do something different?
Does anyone solved the same issue?

Thank you in advance for any sopport

Apparently TWRP on the Fairphone 3/3+ just can’t deal with /e/OS Android 12 encryption currently.
I have yet to see anything helpful with this.

You might want to keep an eye on these places … (interestingly, the Fairphone OS version in the Github issue is still Android 11, but the symptoms are the same, and the release notes included a change in partition handling) …

Also keep in mind that encryption support is not a guaranteed TWRP feature …

Thank you for the rapid reply.

The fact that the issue appeared for the forst time when /e/os stable OTA update was switched on the S branch told me that, probably, by making use of the R branch of /e/os still based on Android 12, could solve the issue.

Unfortunately I suppose that a switch from the 1.9-S to the 1.9-R /e/os is not possible without loosing all the user data. Am I right?

Is there a way to make a full NAndroid backup by means of ADB?

Most probably.

Not easily at least. But since the biggest problem is the missing backup of the complete data partition (OS install files can be downloaded and kept to get the other partitions into the desired state again) you may want to have a look at Android Backup and Restore Tools (ABRT) …

… or this here …

Good suggestions.

So, to summarize, for the moment the practical way to put the Boot and System partitions and the user Data on a safe place, we should:

  1. To perform a TWRP backup of the Boot and System partitions.

  2. To Backup all the single APKs (user and system ones) with their Data by means ,for example, of a Backup Application like NeoBackUp (root needed).

Of course the pre-requisites to be successfull on this are:

  • Having rooted the device.
  • Having TWRP (latest)
  • Having a backup application like NeoBackup (free opensource) or Titanium (at a cost).
  • Save everything on an external storage (Ext SD card or a pc).

Is there something missing to restore everything as it was?

The practical way to put the boot and system partitions in a safe place for me is keeping the /e/OS install file of the installed version I’m backing up.
Or have you been able to restore the OS successfully with TWRP? It’s been a while since I’ve tried, it always failed to boot afterwards, same as with the stock OS.

If you’re using backup means requiring root, you’ll have to root.
For using the adb root command you don’t need to root the device, you just need to enable Settings - System - Developer options - Rooted debugging.

Make sure your backup solution covers “Internal Storage” (/data/media), or you can just copy it via USB.

Well, actually I have been successful in restoring the system and the boot partitions backed up through TWRP since the /e/os 1.7 branch R, which is the last time I tried to recover the backed up files.

I didn’t suspect that there might be problems once a backup of the whole system and boot partitions was signed as “successful” by TWRP.

So, for the moment the backup procedure you are prospecting is quite more complicated.
Hope the TWRP next update will arrive soon with a solution for the different partition management of Android 12, wether it is a branch -R or -S.

A last question from my side: you said the safest way to backup the system and boot is to save the original installation file of /e/os. Ok, but this means performing an installation from scratch obtaining a clean empty system, where the user data and the settings have to be reinstalled and resetted separately. Right?

Thank you for your time in answering.

There where problems for me when I tried, but I didn’t try recently.
If it works now for you, all the better, but I would advise some amount of caution.

Correct. As you can see with the link above, I’m coming from the experience of a non-working TWRP OS restore, so I’m used to that.
Now that TWRP can’t backup the data partition anymore I’ll have to substitute only this step with something else.

After the regressions in TWRP backup and restore functionality I’ve seen on my phones over time (Android 7 encryption was the last encryption TWRP on the Fairphone 2 could handle in practice, Android 8 could be installed on Android 7 encryption, Android 9 was game over, then initial loss of OS restore on the Fairphone 3, then loss of data encryption support on the Fairphone 3), I’m not sure TWRP will be the surefire way to go for me ever again, although I really liked it. I’ll certainly have a look in the Rooted debugging direction to handle the data partition.