If you've even dabbled in the Android mod scene, you know Koushik "Koush" Dutta. He's the chap who made ClockworkMod recovery and several other handy tools for advanced users. His latest app is Carbon, which may or may not be sarcastically named after the famously postponed Twitter app. (The app icon is a trollface - we'll leave the interpretation up to you.) The function is simple: back up both your local APKs and their associated app data.

wm_Screenshot_2013-01-14-10-27-32 wm_Screenshot_2013-01-14-10-27-39 wm_Screenshot_2013-01-14-10-26-36

You can select which apps to back up, then choose their destination: Google Drive, your local SD card, or even a connected PC. The latter can encrypt your files as well. Once installed on a new (or just different) Android device, Carbon can retrieve backups and settings from the same locations. Dropbox backup and retrieval is visible, but not implemented at the moment.

Carbon is in beta at the moment, and it seems like it's a ways off from completion. After some quick tests on my phone, there seemed to be issues with encrypted PC backups and a slow restore function. But with Koush's dedication to excellence, there's no reason to believe that these issues won't be ironed out for the full release, which will almost certainly be published on the Play Store. The beta APK can be downloaded from the Google+ link below. This version lasts for one week and requires root access, but the final version will not.

Koushik Dutta (Google+) - Carbon Beta

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Ivailo Stoyanov


    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      3 AM is the most productive time in a geek's day.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs


  • Amy

    Oh wow, fuck that icon. Cool app otherwise though.

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    The trollface makes sense: he's copying the basic functionality of Titanium Backup, and even giving his app another element name.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Trolio/100000881653390 Josh Trolio

      He is also trolling the people who are waiting for the vaporware Carbon twitter client for android.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

        Isn't he the reason why TWRP was started? because he refused to share access to ClockworkMod recovery and ROM Manager?

        • http://www.facebook.com/evulhotdog Brian Davis

          Yes, and I'm sure Carbon is going to become a paid app, or time trial or something along those lines, once he has a bunch of people using the app... Just like all his other android apps.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

            ah, so the troll face icon is very fitting to say the least

    • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

      I thought he was meaning to imply "Carbon Copy".

  • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

    "This version lasts for one week and requires root access, but the final version will not."
    You mean the final version will not be limited to one week, or the final version will not require root?

    • quiro91

      the final version won't require root access

      • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

        Now that's some pretty cool news.

      • chrulri

        How would this be possible?

        • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

          After reading the Plus post I found out that the nonroot version will require a Windows/Mac tool using "adb backup" command - a comman I have already successfully used on ICS+, so this will basically be the same, just more user-friendly.

          • chrulri

            Yeah, ok I see. So the backup goes via adb (needs adb and a computer with drivers) to the computer program and then back to the app on the phone via adb again. Good idea but a simple adb GUI, calling the shell commands would be sufficient since you already need a computer with set up adb, and a lot faster.

          • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

            Maybe it will be like that eventually, all I know is that he mentioned connecting the phone to your computer, running the script and making a basic GUI for it so that it does not scare average users.
            After all, you can read it for yourself, the link is at the end of this article and Koush mentions it in the 28th comment from the top :)

          • chrulri

            Yes, thanks I already jumped to the G+ post :)

          • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

            I have always have this question -- can I restore the backup done through "adb backup" to a different device?

          • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

            Yes, provided the other device runs Android 4.0+
            I have successfully backed up my HTC Sensation and restored to my then-new HTC One X last year, worked like a charm, didn't have to reinstall it all - and mostly, didn't lose the app data (sure, I could just root the phone and use Titanium Backup, but I don't like rooting, losing the warranty, losing the official OTA updates from the manufacturer etc.)
            So basically, yeah, you can do that.
            Although, I tried to restore the same backup from the Sensation to my ASUS Transformer Prime TF201 and it was not successful, so I don't know where the problem was, I did not dig into it - after all, I did not need it, I tried it just out of curiosity. It worked to restore it to my phone and that was the important part for me.

        • quiro91

          with the support of a pc software

          • Thomas’

            So basically a frontend for adb? I had this idea some months ago, but didn't think it would be practicable. Hopefully i'm wrong :)

        • HebeGuess

          You can also noticed that a holo style screen auto pop-up and proceed each time, that is "adb backup"..

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

    Just loaded it up, the app is very tedious. You have to check each app box (no select all option). You have to click "Backup my data" for each app you want to backup after each app is backed up. ROM Toolbox does a better job than this and I am able to carry those backups over from my Galaxy Nexus to my S3. This is just another attempt to use other peoples work to make money. I can almost bet thats why this version only lasts a week.

    • Fatty Bunter

      I bet most of those things will be addressed.

      Being able to do all of that without root is going to be the real game changer.

      • kool_dude

        Doing all that without root has been possible from quite some time - you only need to connect phone to a comp & type "adb backup .." in a terminal & it's done. Google's implemented all the functionality but hidden all access to it - it looks like they're still working on it & maybe planning to unveil it in Android 5.0.

        From Koush's comments, it looks like this app does the exact same thing but somehow runs that command from within the phone itself, eliminating the need to interact with a connected computer in any way. But adb backup has some issues - it doesn't restore data properly for certain apps. I sure hope Koush has fixed all that.

  • MeCampbell30

    I love the idea of "restoring" an app from one device to another. There are games that I wish I could move to another device, but titanium is usually too clunky to do so easily.

    Also, that's a very nice looking GUI.

    • http://profiles.google.com/gary13579 Gary Schilling

      Look at DataSync beta. It can sync over wifi, or dropbox. No google drive :(.

  • Jim Crossley

    probably named carbon ie 'carbon copy'?

  • Peter Lanneau

    Am looking forward to this app.