PSA: Google deletes Android backups after a couple months of inactivity

Brittany A. Roston - Sep 15, 2017, 4:37pm CDT
PSA: Google deletes Android backups after a couple months of inactivity

A Redditor recently brought attention to an issue many Android users probably aren’t aware of: Google automatically deletes Android backups after a couple months of inactivity. The starting date of that inactivity comes after two weeks of zero device usage. Once the clocks reaches zero, that backup is gone, and affected users say they aren’t given any warning ahead of time that the deletion is about to happen.

Android backups are a useful feature in which an Android device’s data is backed up so that it can be easily restored when/if needed. Many users feel content knowing they can easily access this data if needed, but are often unaware of the single big catch: you’ve got to keep using your device if you want Google to keep that backed up data.

Redditor Tanglebrook recently drew attention to the issue; s/he had been using an old iPhone during their weeks between Android phones, believing the Android backup would be there ready when they bought a new Android handset. However, upon checking the Google Drive backup folder, this user discovered their old Android phone’s back up was gone, and that’s because it was deleted due to lack of activity on the backed up device.

Google does provide some information about these backup expirations, but it doesn’t do so anywhere that the average user is likely to spot it. You have to go to this Google Support page to see the note about expirations, which warns that, “Your backup will remain as long as you use your device. If you don’t use your device for 2 weeks, you may see an expiration date below your backup.”

Other users have chimed in since the Reddit post declaring that they, too, have been affected by this issue, and none of them report having gotten a warning ahead of time. There’s no option to store the Android backups in Google Drive space the user has/pays for, meaning you must remember to use your device every couple of weeks or risk having an expiration date applied.


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