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Your Android backups aren’t going to be around forever

by Sean P. Aune | September 18, 2017

If you’re putting an Android phone in a drawer for a while as a backup, don’t expect its backups to still be around when you fire up.

It seems that buried in the Android Backups support documents is a little-known rule. If you don’t use your Android device for two months, the backups will be automatically deleted from your Google Drive folder. After two weeks an expiration date will begin appearing beneath the file, and at the end of two months it is just automatically deleted.

Android Backup Delete Countdown

This information was brought to the attention of the internet recently by a user named Tanglebrook on Reddit. He has switched to using a backup iPhone while they shopped for a new Android device. During a random check of their Google Drive account, they found their Nexus 6P backups missing. It was at that time that the rule was found in the support documents.

Google is not alone in this sort of backup rule, however, Apple has a similar rule where it will delete backups of a device that has not had a fresh backup in iCloud for 180 days.

According to Tanglebrook, the most surprising part of this entire scenario came from the fact that they do pay for 100GB of Google Drive storage. There was no warning about the pending deletion other than looking in the drive itself, but nothing proactive such as an email.

There was no warning from Google. They just deleted my 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, and most importantly, no option to use the 100gb of my Drive storage to keep my f**king backup.

This is the most puzzling portion of the story. If someone is paying for Google Drive, why not let them do with it as they please? If they are using the free tier, it’s somewhat understandable, but if you pay for it, you should be able to keep the files as long as you wish. If you haven’t used a phone in two years, but you still want to keep the backup for some reason, that should be your prerogative to do so.

If you use Android Backup, make sure to periodically check on their status so you don’t someday get a nasty surprise.

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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...