Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 (laurel_sprout) – The Step-by-Step Guide

How to Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3

Official and unofficial builds of TWRP recovery for Xiaomi Mi A3 are now available. In this guide, you will learn how to download and install TWRP recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3. Installing TWRP will allow you to flash custom ROMs, kernels, mods, backup/restore NANDroid, and also flash Magisk installer zip to root your phone.

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is the third iteration of Xiaomi’s Mi A series that is part of the Android One program. And so, the phone runs the near-stock version of the Android OS, as seen on the Google Pixel series. This means, the software is not filled with gimmicks, that you might have seen on the regular Xiaomi devices running MIUI. This also means that you wouldn’t have many options at your hand to customize the software.

If you’re looking for ways to customize the software for more features or for optimizing the performance and battery life, then you can do so by installing custom ROMs or kernels. You can also root your phone using Magisk if you want to use apps that require root permissions or apply modifications to your phone, systemless-ly. But to do any of this, you must first install TWRP on your Xiaomi Mi A3.

Although it has been more than two months since the Mi A3 was released, there’s still no official TWRP support for the phone yet. According to the developer (source), the current build does not support external storage (SD card) and USB OTG.

Thanks to XDA developer mauronofrio, we now have working TWRP for the Xiaomi Mi A3, available both officially and unofficially. The new builds support external storage (SD card) and USB OTG in TWRP.

Every major feature of the TWRP recovery work seamlessly, as listed below:

  • Installing custom ROMs, kernels, mods, and any other flashable zips.
  • Installing partition images (system, boot, etc)
  • Taking Nandroid backups and restoring them
  • Wiping individual device partitions like Data, System, Cache, etc
  • Performing a full factory reset
  • Mounting and unmounting device partitions
  • Mounting your phone’s internal/external storage for MTP
  • …And more.

Now that you’re here for it, go ahead and follow the instructions below on how to install TWRP recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3.

Installation Process In-brief

Since the Mi A3 supports the A/B partition scheme, there’s no dedicated [/recovery] partition anymore (Just like on Mi A2 and Mi A1) and the recovery itself resides inside the [/boot] partition.

The first step is to flash the stock boot image corresponding to the software version installed on your phone, to the currently active slot (Say “a”). Although not mandatory, this is done so as to eliminate any chance of the /boot partition being previously modified.

Once that is done, you will have to switch the phone’s active slot to the currently inactive slot (Say “b). Then, flash the TWRP recovery image to the newly active boot slot (“b”) and then force-reboot the phone into TWRP recovery. Finally, you have to flash the installer zip to permanently install TWRP recovery to both the slots (a & b) of your Mi A3.

Once everything is done, the last step is to re-switch the phone’s active slot to the one that was active initially (“a”).

Don’t worry if it sounds a bit confusing at first. We have tried and simply the procedure as much as possible, below.

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

  • Take a complete backup of all your data. Although this procedure will not wipe any data on your phone, it would be wise to safeguard your data in case anything goes wrong. Here’s an extensive guide on how to take a backup of all sorts of data on your device.
  • In order to flash TWRP, your Mi A3’s bootloader must be unlocked. If you haven’t done it yet, then follow our step-by-step guide on how to do it. Note that unlocking the bootloader will WIPE ALL DATA including the internal storage.
  • Installing TWRP on Xiaomi Mi A3 requires the use of “fastboot”. So, install Android SDK platform-tools (ADB and Fastboot) on your PC, if you haven’t done it yet.
    • Note: During the instructions, make sure to prepend the fastboot commands with [.\] while using PowerShell on Windows, and [./] while using Terminal on macOS or Linux.
  • When asked to launch the command-line window on the PC, do the following:
    • PowerShell in Windows: Go to the folder where the ADB and fastboot are installed. Then press and hold the “Shift” key and right-click on any empty space inside the folder. Finally, select “Open PowerShell window here” to launch the PowerShell on your Windows PC.
      Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 - Open PowerShell in Windows
    • Terminal in macOS/Linux: Open the Terminal and “cd” to the folder where the ADB and fastboot binaries are installed (e.g. cd Documents/platform-tools).
      Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 - Open Terminal on macOS/Linux
  • Also, download USB drivers for your Mi A3 and install them on your PC.
  • Last, ensure that you have charged your phone to a sufficient battery level to avoid any sudden shutdowns in the midst of the installation process.

Download Xiaomi Mi A3 TWRP Recovery (laurel_sprout)

The download links were directly sourced from the original XDA thread, thanks to developer mauronofrio! Although we will try our best to keep this post updated with the latest version of TWRP. But we encourage you to always check the XDA thread and official database for the latest available version.

Note: We strongly recommended using the unofficial TWRP build as it offers full support for Android 10. Although the official builds offer a more recent TWRP version 3.4.0-0, but they do support Android 10 properly.

1. Official TWRP v3.4.0-0

2. Unofficial TWRP v3.3.1-17 (Recommended)

Instructions to Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3

To make it easier to understand, we have split the instructions into three major steps. Make sure that you go through them first and understand what you’ll be doing before you proceed.

Step 1: Flash Stock Boot Image and Switch Slot

  1. Download the latest TWRP recovery image and installer zip files for Xiaomi Mi A3.
  2. Also, download the stock boot image for the software version currently installed on your phone. For instance, you have the “V10.3.13.0.PFQMIXM” software version installed, then download the V10.3.13.0 stock boot image.
  3. Move the stock boot and recovery img files to the folder on the PC where the ADB and Fastboot binaries are installed (e.g. C:\platform-tools).
  4. Next, transfer the downloaded TWRP installer zip (e.g. twrp-3.3.1-17-laurel_sprout-Installer-mauronofrio.zip) file to your phone’s internal storage.
  5. Now power off your Mi A3 and boot it into Fastboot Mode.
    Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 - Enter Fastboot Mode
  6. Connect your phone (while it is in Fastboot Mode) to the PC using the USB cable.
  7. Launch the command-line window on your PC.
  8. Enter the below command to ensure that your PC is able to recognize your Mi A3 over fastboot:
    fastboot devices
  9. Now flash the stock boot image to the currently active slot using the command below:
    fastboot flash boot stock_boot_x.x.x.x_mi_a3_xxxxx.img

    Example:

    fastboot flash boot stock_boot_10.3.13.0_mi_a3_global.img
  10. Once flashed, check the active slot of your phone:
    fastboot getvar current-slot
  11. The command should output the slot that’s currently active (Let’s say it’s “a”; we will refer to this as “original slot”).
  12. Change the active slot to the current inactive slot (Say “b”; we will refer to this as “new slot”) by using the following command:
    fastboot --set-active=b
  13. Do not disconnect or switch off the phone yet. Head over to Step #2.

Now, we will be using a bit of naming convention from hereon to avoid any confusion.

  • We will refer to the initially active slot (shown in #11) as the “original slot“. For demonstrating, this will be slot “a”.
  • The currently active slot (shown in #12) which was previously inactive as the “new slot“. For demonstrating, this will be slot “b”.

Step 2: Flash TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3

  1. Flash the TWRP recovery image on Xiaomi Mi A3’s new slot:
    fastboot flash boot twrp-recovery-image.img

    Replace “twrp-recovery-image.img” with the actual filename of the recovery you’re using. For example:

    fastboot flash boot twrp-3.3.1-17-laurel_sprout-Q-mauronofrio.img
    
    

    Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 - Flash TWRP Recovery Image

  2. Now, it is important to boot your Xiaomi Mi A3 directly into TWRP recovery mode. To do so, enter the following command while holding the Volume Up key until the TWRP splash screen appears:
    fastboot reboot
  3. Enter your lock screen PIN/Password when prompted to allow TWRP to decrypt the [/data] partition (internal storage).
    TWRP Decrypting Data Partition on Xiaomi Mi A3
  4. Swipe the “Swipe to Allow Modifications” button when prompted.
    TWRP on Xiaomi Mi A3 - Swipe to Allow Modifications
  5. Press the ‘Install’ button in TWRP and select the TWRP installer zip file (e.g. twrp-3.3.1-0-installer-laurel_sprout.zip).
  6. Finally, swipe the “Swipe to confirm Flash” button to flash the TWRP installer zip and permanently install TWRP recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3.
    Permanently Install TWRP Recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 - Flash TWRP Installer Zip

The process could take a few seconds. Once finished, do not reboot the phone yet. Head over to the third and final step of the procedure.

Step 3: Re-switch to the Original Slot

Now, before you reboot your Mi A3 back into the system, it is important to re-switch the slot to the one that was active initially (original slot). To do so:

  1. Go to the “Reboot” menu in TWRP
  2. Tap on the slot that was active initially (Say “a”) to switch to it.
  3. Once the active slot has been set correctly, tap on the “Recovery” button to reboot your Mi A3 into TWRP recovery.
  4. Finally, go to the “Reboot” menu and tap on “System” to boot your phone into the system (OS).

If you’re prompted to install the TWRP app, tap on “Do Not Install”. Your phone should now boot into the OS.

You now have TWRP installed on your phone. You can either use it flash Magisk to root your Mi A3, or flash a custom ROM for a totally fresh and unique software experience. Like we mentioned earlier, TWRP also allows you to take Nandroid backups of your complete OS, which can come in handy if you want to restore a previous ROM or even the stock firmware.

So there you go! This was our guide on how to install TWRP recovery on Xiaomi Mi A3 easily. If you have any questions regarding the procedure or have any doubts before you proceed with it, then do let us know through the comments section below.