My recommended backup and restore method

Hi all 👋 I just did a reset and attempted restore using Google account and ADB restore. In short, it was very unsatisfactory.

My recommended backup and restore method

madbilly madbilly
Super User  /  edited April 2020

Hi all 👋

I just did a reset and attempted restore using Google account and ADB restore. In short, it was very unsatisfactory. 😡

The main things to remember are that:

  1. There is no perfect backup solution
  2. Many apps refuse to take part in Google’s backup or ADB backup methods.

What I recommend is (note I’m not an expert, this is just benefit of my hindsight from last weekend!):

  • Go through every single app you have and see if it includes an option to backup, export, sync, or similar your data either locally or to the cloud somewhere you can retrieve it from
  • Make sure all the locally exported/backed up data is stored on your SD card
  • Copy all files in your internal storage to SD card
  • Copy all files in your internal storage AND SD card to a computer (if you have one available)
  • Use Google backup - you might as well, even if you won’t restore it immediately it gives you a snapshot
  • Install helium backup app - a bit of a pain to open, and not open source, but it does tell you clearly which apps refuse to allow backups - “not allowed”. You can get around this if you have root access, but if you have root access then I believe the best solution is Titanium backup
  • Install and use SMS Backup and Restore to backup your text messages - Google backup doesn’t backup MMS, only SMS. I’m sure there are other SMS/MMS backup apps too.
  • Use adb backup -all -apk -obb (no need to use -shared, because you’ve done that manually yourself, but you can do it anyway if you like)
  • Run adb shell pm list packages to list all apps installed on your phone. Many will be system apps and therefore can be ignored, but the full list will allow you to check later which apps have been missed from various Google and adb restore
  • WARNING - at this point I’ll suggest things that mean you might mess up your phone, so make sure you’re happy you have everything backed up before proceeding
  • Use adb restore to confirm that the backup you did worked!
  • If it didn’t restore properly, then do the adb backup step again.
  • If you still can’t get it to restore properly, (and even if you can, you can do this) use Android Backup Extractor to decompress the adb backup file so you can see what it’s backed up and see if you’re happy with that. I found that my backup was imcomplete and didn’t complete restore properly, but it would restore app data just not install the APKs for some reason
  • At this point I don’t think there’s much else you can do, time to reset!
  • If you are signing into your Google account (you said you weren’t, but if you are) then do this and ask to restore - this is your only chance, if you don’t do it now then you’ll not get another chance!
  • Run adb restore
  • Install all apps which have not been restored by Google and adb
  • Insert your SD card
  • Copy all the data your want to your internal storage
  • Go through each of the apps you manually backed up settings for and see if you want to restore the data from your manual backups, or if you’re happy with the state Google and adb left them in
  • Go through every app and see if it’s in the state you want it to be
  • If there’s anything not working or missing your data then ask the app support if they’ve got any suggestions, as I think this is pretty much the last resort.

What do you think? Room for improvement! Please share your tips for a an easy and stress free backup and restore!

Cheers 🙂


  • Gurujigmp Gurujigmp
    ✭✭  / 

    Hay! My question is about how to retrieve deleted photos from Nokia 8, which I accidentally deleted... I hv tried with some recovery data software but couldn't succeed...

    Please help...

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi @Gurujigmp,

    Unfortunately if the photos were stored on internal storage I think this will be very difficult and expensive as you will have to find someone (or DIY) to connect directly to the internal memory of the phone and then use JTAG or something to manually read the low level filesystem and extract the data.

    Unless they are very important photos I don't think it is worth it. Was your phone backing up photos to Google or anywhere else?

    Cheers 🙂

  • OmarAl89 OmarAl89
    ✭✭  / 

    Does anyone know the JTAG points for the Nokia 8 by any chance???

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi @OmarAl89,

    Unfortunately no but you might find them by using your favourite search engine or asking on XDA developers. The service manual I have doesn't show this.

    When you find out please share!

    Cheers 🙂

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