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Normally, my phone dies and I buy a new one and have lost the data from my apps.

This time, I thought it had died and ordered a new one, only to discover that the old one still lives, but let's go with how how to prevent losing data when a 'phone dies ...

I am aware that Google will update some stuff, if I let it, but that would be a last resort, as I am not a google fan.

Also, that approach misses apps not installed via the play store and other app data , so I am looking for a complete solution.

I keep my contacts on my SIM, so that's them covered (although it limits what get's stored - can't associate an email address, for instance). I also transfer my SD card from 'phone to 'phone, but am worried that if I have to reinstall an app on the new phone then it might overwrite the existing data with a new, empty data file.

I am looking for something that I can run periodically that will backup all non-system data, and let me restore it later. I understand that I can't just clone everything & restore, because of device drivers, etc, so is there something that says "ok, Android, all that stuff is yours, so I will copy the rest"?

O/s = Windows or Linux; preferably gratis, but I would pay up to $50 (preferably with lifetime updates) for an app that will do this, and do it simply.

If none exists, I guess that I will ask on Android Enthusiasts which files the o/s needs & copy the rest.

3 Answers 3

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MyPhoneExplorer for Windows, which I have been using for years, can do a full backup and restore. I used to do that in the past. After installing on desktop, see Extras Menu (Create backup, Restore backup). It also allows you to select which directories to backup etc.

These days, I just use it to sync between old Android phones and desktop (contacts, calender, sms, files etc). I disabled the google account, so no google upload...

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There are multiple solutions available, depending on what you want to cover – and whether your device is rooted. Like you, I'm not a Google fan – and I'm running Linux, so I'll concentrate on what is possible there (I'm no MS fan either).

I understand that I can't just clone everything & restore

This is only partly true. With a custom recovery (the most wide-spread and recommendable, which I use, is TWRP) you can perform a full backup, either as a tarball (which is the default) or as a disk image. But then, you should only restore that to an identical device (you've mentioned the reasons), or use something that can extract pieces and restore them. The latter needs root access.

With root access, the non-plus-ultra app around for more than 10 years is Titanium Backup. I'm using that since I rooted my first device, there's nothing like it. TiBu let's you backup apps with their data, SMS/MMS, call logs etc.pp. – and of course lets you restore that to any new device (or the same one). Unfortunately, Joël seems to have stopped development; its last release was in 2019. Without root access, a full backup is nearly impossible; no app is allowed to access data of all other apps, so you could at best back up their *.apk files.

Then there's the Android Debug Bridge, ADB, with its adb backup and the corresponding adb restore command. While adb restore again is an all-or-nothing (it restores everything from the specified backup file), adb backup can be used very granular. I use to create separate backup files for each app so I can restore them separately. For shameless self-promotion: my little tool Adebar helps a lot with that, creating a script to have the commands for each app and much more (like complete device documentations). A little handicap: developers can opt-out their apps from this backup, and then you cannot use adb backup for those (if your device is rooted, Adebar has scripts to backup/restore those, too, but those are not much tested yet – at least I didn't receive much feedback on them yet). Also, it does not cover SMS, call logs etc.

There are many more solutions to this. You can find a bunch of backup apps for different purposes in my corresponding app listing, Backup & Co.. Also see on our Android sister site: How to fully backup non-rooted devices? and the other highly rated backup questions.

I am looking for something that I can run periodically that will backup all non-system data, and let me restore it later.

  • Titanium Backup has an integrated scheduler and also can perform batch restore. This will need the paid version, though, which currently comes at EUR 6.5
  • Adebar can be scheduled via Cron. As it can keep multiple generations of your generated documentation and scripts, it also provides a link to the latest generation, so your Cron job could trigger the backup script from there. Or you might grab that script from time to time and adjust it to your needs, so you can Cron that one. Note however that for the backup itself the device must be unlocked, and you might need to confirm the backup to be taken (on-device protection). Adebar is and , so it comes free of charge.
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I use Syncios to backup all of the data on my android phone to Windows 10. It's freeware and runs on Windows and iOS. The paid version is currently less than $30.

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