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Android backups are auto-deleted after an inactivity period

17 September 2017

According to Google's backup policy, "Your backup will remain as long as you use your device". They could be counted against the storage on your Drive and left there until a user chooses to delete them.

According to Reddit user Tanglebrook, there also is no option available to use paid Google Drive storage to maintain older backups either. If users are willing to go so far as to unlock their bootloader and flash a custom recovery, the TWRP recovery comes with a built-in backup option that can back up app data, system settings, and other things as a user chooses, or even back up the full system image in case of a catastrophe. After that counter reaches zero, Google will delete the backup files from the user's Drive account.

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The only real issue here is that Google didn't notify Tanglebrook about the upcoming removal of their Android backup and essentially prevented them from preventing the disaster from happening, and let's be real, who would remember that their Android backup is next in line for extermination after using another phone for a couple of weeks? Tanglebrook switched to an iPhone for two months, which is the exact period Google keeps a backup of your Android phone before it considers it inactive and deletes it from its servers.

As Android Police advises, if you're taking a break from Android, make sure to use your device from time to time. Unless, of course, those backups get deleted with nearly no warning, kind of like what Google will do for your Android device if you don't use it for a couple of months.

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Example: "Expires in 54 days". Google will still delete the data.

"There's apparently an expiration date that shows up under the backup if I had checked the Backup folder sooner, but there was no notification, no email, no proactive notice at all", the Redditor added.

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If you keep an active device with the same account logged in as on your previous inactive device, then all your data remains there, unharmed and safe.

Android backups are auto-deleted after an inactivity period