We often hear about the recovery menu, but what is it exactly and what is it used for? In this article I’ll explain what this menu is, how to access it, and some of its functions.

Although all devices have a recovery mode, they are not all the same and don’t all offer the same options. The menu might offer different possibilities thanks to the developer community or because it has been modified to offer more features. You can find out more about this topic here. This article only discusses stock recovery on BQ telephones.

What is recovery mode?

Recovery mode is a partition on the Android operating system. It is stored on a separate partition on your phone named ‘Recovery’. As it is independent from the operating system, it allows you to carry out certain system functions even when the device is not functioning as normal. You can sometimes even recover the device from this menu when the device is not working properly. If your smartphone won’t switch on, the recovery menu allows you to carry out a factory reset.

How to access recovery mode

Your phone must be switched off in order to access this partition.

Aquaris 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5HD and 5.7

Hold down the power button and volume up button simultaneously until the letters BQ appear on the screen. Release both buttons and you will see an android lying down with a red exclamation mark over its stomach. Press the power button and the menu will come up.

Use the volume down button to navigate, and the volume up button to accept an option.

Recovery menu view

Recovery menu view

Aquaris E4, E4.5, E5 and E6

Hold down the power button and volume up button and you will get a black screen with a menu with three different options: Recovery Mode, Fastboot Mode and Normal Boot. Navigate using the volume up button, select “Recovery Mode” and accept using the volume down button. Wait a few moments and you will see an android lying down with a red exclamation mark above it, and the words “No command” underneath. Press the volume up button and the menu will appear.

Use the volume down button to navigate, and the power button to accept an option.

Accessing the recovery menu

Accessing the recovery menu

Aquaris E5 4G

Hold down the power button and the volume up button and release them when the letters BQ appear on the screen. Wait a second and the menu will appear.

Use the volume buttons to navigate, and the power button to accept an option.

Recovery menu on the E5 4G

Recovery menu on the E5 4G

Recovery options

The options vary between Mediatek and Qualcomm devices.

Mediatek devices

Reboot system now: exit recovery menu and reboot the system.

Apply update from ADB: Install system changes and/or updated from an ADB command window. You can see how it works in this article.

You need a ZIP file which must be digitally signed. The ADB code you need to install is the following:

adb sideload </filepath/file_name.zip>

Apply update from sdcard: Install system changes and/or options from the device memory. The file, in ZIP format, must be in the following location:

  • Aquaris 3.5, 4 and 4.5: on the SD card.
  • Aquaris 5: on the device’s internal memory.
  • Aquaris 5HD, 5.7, E4, E4.5, E5, E5 4G, and E6: on the SD card, or the internal memory if there is no SD card.

Apply update from cache: When an OTA packet is downloaded with a device update, the ZIP file is stored in the “Cache” file until you accept the installation. This option allows you to install the packet manually.

Wipe data/factory reset: Here you can delete all user-installed applications and data. It also deletes all settings, leaving your phone just as it was when it came out of the box. With regard to user files (documents, photos etc.), there are differences depending on the model:

  • On the Aquaris 3.5, 4 and 4.5, which use the SD card as the internal memory, user files are not deleted as the internal memory (SD card) remains intact.
  • On the Aquaris 5 the user files are not deleted either, as the internal memory is partitioned.
  • On the Aquaris 5HD, 5.7, E4, E4.5, E5, E5 4G and E6, where the internal memory is emulated rather than partitioned, the user files are deleted, leaving the phone completely empty.

When you select this option, you will see a list where all the options are “No” except “Yes – delete all user data”. Choose this option and the factory reset will be completed.

This function is equivalent to “Settings”, “Backup”, “Restore Factory Settings” when the device is switched on.

Wipe cache partition: Deletes all of the data on the cache partition. This partition contains cached app data which speeds up access to applications. The ZIP files of the OTA packet are also stored here.

Ideally you should clean this partition from time to time.

Backup user data: Backs up user data onto an SD card. This option is limited by the FAT32 format. The backup cannot exceed 4GB, otherwise you will get an error message. The generated file can only be restored onto the same device, it won’t work for any other model.

Restore user data: Restores the data backed up using the previous option.

Take a look at the beginning of this article for more information on both of these options.

NB: On Aquaris 3.5, 4 and 4.5 models, where the SD card functions as the device’s internal memory, these last two options will not work.

Qualcomm devices

Reboot system now: the same as on Mediatek devices.

Apply update from ADB: the same as on Mediatek devices.

Wipe data/factory reset: the same as on Mediatek devices.

Wipe cache partition: the same as on Mediatek devices.

Apply update from internal sdcard: the same as on Mediatek devices.

Power off: Exit recovery menu and switch off the device.

System status: Shows the system status and any mount point errors.

Articles of interest:

Recovery menu on BQ tablets

Tomás V. (known as tvcastro at mibqyyo) is a smartphone MVP, MyBQ editor, beta tester and active member of the BQ forum. Tomás is passionate about Android and everything around him. He enjoys helping other users on the forum and learns something new every day.