I don't know what to think of this one. Of all the Allo features we've discussed so far, many are cool, some are interesting, and few are controversial. But the lack of a cloud save or backup/restore function? I am not on board with that, and I doubt anyone can justify it. But here goes.

In the preview test version of Allo that we've been getting our information from, the app seems to be very forgetful with all of your history. Whether you uninstall the app and reinstall it on the same phone, perform a device restore and have to install it again, move your SIM card to a new phone and need to authenticate Allo there, almost nothing sticks or carries around.

Once you authenticate Allo again on the same phone or a new one, you'll have a quasi blank state with an empty Assistant chat and just a list of your groups.

google-allo-pre-uninstall-1 google-allo-post-reinstall-1

Left: Pre-uninstall: Group chat (Testing), Incognito chat (Atom), Regular chat (Atom), Ongoing Google Assistant chat. Right: After reinstall: Only the group chat comes back in the conversation list.

Here's what you can expect to be gone forever once you uninstall Allo for one reason or another:

  • Your list of ongoing one-on-one chats,
  • The chat history inside any one-on-one chat, private chat, and group chat (thus making Search useless after a fresh install),
  • The chat history inside your Assistant chat,
  • Any media files you have sent, and all audio messages and videos you have received,
  • All association between received photos and their respective chats.


Empty group chat history after a reinstall.

What remains is very limited and almost useless:

  • The Allo Media folder on your local device storage with all of the received photos only. But if you reinstall the app, they won't be associated back with the respective chats they came from originally.
  • Your belonging to any group chat. The chat by itself will be empty, so history doesn't carry over, but the group will show in the list of conversations in Allo.

google-allo-pre-uninstall-2 google-allo-post-reinstall-2

Left: Pre-uninstall: Shared media is associated with the chat. Right: After reinstall: Shared media isn't associated anymore, even though it's still in the local Allo Media folder.

So basically, you're still part of the groups you were part of (but you have missed all messages sent in your absence) and you can open the images you have received before, but only through the gallery on your phone. Woop?!

But since this is a test preview version of Allo, I'm keeping hope alive. Maybe the cloud sync servers aren't live. Maybe once the app is published, the servers will go online and keep a tab on all one-on-one and group chats, and thus restore everything back to normal without you doing anything after a fresh install.

I hope so, I really do. Because otherwise, it makes no sense at all. We can justify the lack of many features in a v1 release, but for a messaging app not to be able to take you back to where you were after you reinstall it? Just no. iMessage, Messenger, WhatsApp, and plenty of apps from the competition support this, and Allo should have it on day one.