[kwlug-disc] Android data backups

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Mon Jul 16 10:05:33 EDT 2012

On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 5:09 PM, Chris Frey <cdfrey at foursquare.net> wrote:

> A question for the Android folks: what is the usual method used to backup
> your Android data via USB or Bluetooth to your local computer?  Assume
> that you have no internet access, and no access to the cloud.

The method I'm using for backup requires root and local network access

- I use "Titanium Backup" (needs root). I created a label with all the apps
with data I care about, and scheduled it to run at 0200 Sunday.

- I use FolderSync (needs wifi or some sort of network access) to
synchronize a bunch of folders to my server using SSH/SFTP. This is
scheduled for 0300 Sunday. I ended up choosing foldersync because it can do
two-way sync, which allows me to muck with files on my server, and have
that replicated elsewhere (I actually two-way sync from my server to my
laptop, so when I import photos locally, it eventually removes them through
the chain until they are not on the phone anymore. Eventually).

That fills the "Backup" portion of your question, in that you can restore
the data to your android device if needed. You can also restore *most* data
to another android device (app data yes, OS data possibly not).


> This looks like it backs up everything in one big blob. What if I just
want to backup, say, contact data, and somehow get it in vcard format?

Exporting contacts to a usable format is something I haven't done yet. You
can manually do this in the contacts app by using the "Import/Export"
option in the menu, and you can probably write something to parse that
export format (whatever it may be).

If you have local network access (via Wifi or bluetooth) you can probably
get a few more possibilities, such as running your own CalDav/CardDav
server, and having android sync with that. I think the pilot-link (or barry
;) model of slave USB device having data pushed to/from a PC never really
happened with Android. I think the assumption is Android devices will
always have *some* measure of network access, whether it be wifi or cell
network. The "roll your own cloud" is probably where you want to start


If you do this, ping the list back with your results.

Chris Irwin
<chris at chrisirwin.ca>
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