One of the pending issues with Android has always been backing up apps, allowing users to return to having apps as they were (with data and settings made) after resetting the device or switching to a new one.
The feature has been around in the Android system for years, but for the user it was never what it should be, in part because app creators didn’t use this feature. Therefore, applications such as Helium, Titanium Backup and other methods were required to back up the installed applications.
Starting with Android 6 «Marshmallow», things have improved a bit with an option that, by default, backs up apps installed in the cloud (and automatically restores this copy), so app creators don’t have to do any more work. . Sounds pretty good, but in practice things are not yet what the user would expect and we’ll see why later.
How it works
The system automatically backs up installed apps to the user’s Google Drive account (an encrypted backup) and also automatically restores data when apps are reinstalled after a factory reset or when they’re installed on a device new.
The maximum backup size for each application is 25 MB, and this amount of data is not taken into account in the user’s Google Drive storage.
What applications are supported
All applications optimized for Android 6.0 and later are supported by default by the operating system. Unfortunately, many developers have not yet optimized their applications for this system and those who can do so and disable their application backup for some reason. If the backup has not been disabled by the programmer, the system backs up «almost» all data in an application. You can’t know exactly what data is being copied, and you can’t choose what to back up from an application.
When backing up the application
Normally, it should be done when the device is idle, charging, connected to a WiFi network, and at least 24 hours have passed since the last backup. It seems that all these conditions must be met at the same time for the Android system to generate a backup of the applications.
However, you can force a manual backup at any time. To do this, you need to go to Settings, Google, Backup, Create a backup now. This will not only back up your application data, but also SMS text messages, device settings, call history, Google Photos and Contacts.
Enable application backup
Application backup and automatic restore are normally enabled during a new device setup, but can also be enabled manually in the device settings with Android 6 or later:
- Open the system settings (slide the top bar and touch the gear).
- Tap «Google».
- Choose «Backup».
- Activate the “Create a backup” switch. in Google «.
- Under «Account», you can change the Google account where you want to save the backup.
The same place can be accessed from the Google Drive app, from the left menu (top left three-stripe button), Settings, Backup and reset.
See which apps are saved in Google Drive
- Open the Google Drive app.
- The menu on the left.
- Touch «Backup».
- Select the device backup
- Click «Application Data.»
There seems to be no way to choose which applications to back up. If the application supports backup, it will be supported by the operating system. In backup applications, there may be applications downloaded from Google Play or APKs that you have downloaded elsewhere. And there is no way to delete a backup of the application.
To give you an idea of the effectiveness of this backup, on my Huawei Y5 2019 device with Android 9, out of the 70 applications that appear as installed in the Play Store (My applications and games> Installed), only 33 applications appear with backup according to Google Drive.
More information: developer.android.com (English)
How to back up all your applications and data
Use this app to back up your contacts, SMS, calls, and apps
How to generate the list of APPLICATIONS installed on your mobile phone