We're all here because we use and like Android, but maybe you've been a little curious and you're thinking of trying out the new iPhone X for a bit. Well, make sure your iOS adventure doesn't last too long. It turns out Google won't keep your Android backups forever. In fact, it only gives you about two months.
Android has been able to sync some apps and data to a new phone since the Eclair days, but the system was vastly improved in Marshmallow. Now, you have backups for your Android devices in a Google Drive folder, and the process of restoring is somewhat reliable. It's far from perfect, but it usually works... unless your backup is expired. As someone on Reddit recently reminded us, Google deletes unused backups after two months. All that app and settings data is gone, and there's no way to save it even if you're paying for Google Drive storage.
You can see which backups of yours, if any, are set to expire by checking the backup folder in Google Drive. Backups for any device inactive for more than two weeks should have an expiration date. This is only showing up for me in the Android app, which seems especially problematic since you might not be using an Android device at all. So, even if you're taking an Android break, consider turning on your phone occasionally. As long as you have at least one Android device check in to Google's servers every two months, you should have a copy of your data.
Google doesn't exactly advertise this, which it probably should. An email when backups are marked for deletion would be nice.
- Google Support
- Tanglebrook and Ricardo