Google will automatically delete Android backups if a device is inactive for two months

This may not be new information, but it’s not well-known information: Google will automatically schedule to delete backups of your Android device if the device is inactive for more than two months.

As pointed out by Android Police (which was alerted to this PSA by a Reddit user), Google allows for backups of your Android mobile device to Drive, but these backups will only be retained “as long as you use your device.” If the device is unused for two weeks, Google Drive will then display an expiration date below the backup, showing a countdown of how much longer you have until it gets automatically wiped. (Presumably, if you use an Android device during this time, that expiration date would go away.) After two months of inactivity, it will delete the backup.

Android Police

If your backup gets deleted, there’s no way to restore it, meaning all your settings and data could just vanish. Android Police says as long as you have one Android device checking in to the Google servers every couple months, your backups should be fine. To be fair, getting rid of unused accounts and data is somethings many storage companies do, but it generally comes with a clear warning. The Reddit user said he got no such warning from Google, and was not given an option to use the Drive storage he pays for as an option for keeping his backup.

These automatic deletions aren’t advertised well by Google, so use this opportunity as a reminder to check in every once in a while on those backups if you plan to continue saving them.

Comments

I didn’t even know Android had backups like this shrug

I’m a heavy Google user too. Been buying their phones since Nexus 4. The beautiful thing is that I don’t typically need backups. I can buy any new phone, login to my Google account, and instantly have everything I need, and a list of previously installed apps that I can choose to download. Are people still not backing up their photos to something like Google Photos? Are they still listening to mp3s stored locally on their devices?

and instantly have everything I need, and a list of previously installed apps that I can choose to download.

Those apps are considered part of this Google Drive backup. Along with your call history and your device settings.

To be fair, getting rid of unused accounts and data is somethings many storage companies do, but it generally comes with a clear warning

Also usually a longer window than 2 months! I had no idea this was a thing and was honestly a little upset that my backup data was gone.

I think the reason for that is the massive amount of users Google has to support. How many billions of devices are there that have Google Play Services?

Isn’t the data being backed up in this case very small? It’s just call history/texts, system settings, and a list of installed apps, from what I gather. And perhaps some of those apps’ data. Can’t be more than, say, 200MB at most. It’s not like everyone has 20 Android phones all fully loaded with apps.

Kinda odd coming from the same company that provides Google Photos and Google Play Music for free.

I switch between Android and IOS very often. This is bad news for me.

Now if Google would only delete devices in the Google Play Store after 2 months, it would be welcomed.

I guess this would be a bigger deal if android backups were actually useful… most devs dont utilize the app data backup feature, so your backups likely just save wifi passwords and the app list that you had installed

If apple did this to your ios backups, people would go mad.

Android "backups" are a joke compared to iOS.

Can you expand on that? For over 5 years every phone I have upgraded to on the Android platform has been seamless, all I do is enter my Google account details and a few minutes later my new phone has all the same content on it as my old phone.

So what exactly is the joke about all that other then vapid fanboy loyalty?

Texts aren’t backed up, app data is inconsistent, settings don’t always translate across devices,

On iOS a complete and exact copy of your prior phone is backed up (with a few exceptions).

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