Back in 2017, we broke a story about how Google will delete all Android backups from devices that haven’t been used in two months. This report still remains true, but with the help of an eagle-eyed reader (thanks, John!), we now know that despite additional features, Android backups for paying Google One customers are also at risk.
Last month, Google added broad content support to all recurring Android backups on Google One-connected devices. This feature gave subscribers the ability to back up photos and videos sent through their phones’ stock messaging app, as well as save more of their original quality photos and videos in Google Photos.
Since Google One subscribers pay for additional storage, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think this extra space is the reason their Android devices can back up multimedia content. Right?
Not so fast!
According to Google’s official help page, even Google One subscribers will have their Android backups, along with MMS content, nullified if the device in question isn’t used within a 57-day period.
That’s right, no backup for any inactive Android device is considered off limits.
The strangest part of this whole fiasco is that a large portion of Google’s business is built on their capabilities in the cloud: services run by data centers spread all across the globe.
To add insult to injury, Google offers an industry-leading 15gb of free online storage space via Drive to every user with an active Google account. That means every person who has ever created a Google account, regardless of how often they use it, can store their files in Drive without the fear of them being randomly deleted.
Sadly, Android devices don’t receive the same treatment. For whatever reason, Android backups don’t integrate into Google Drive whatsoever, meaning they are not siloed within Drive’s protective walls. You can’t see your backup, you can’t make a copy of it, nor can you decide how it’s managed. For some inexplicable reason, Google is in complete control over the fate of every device backed up to their servers.
The only question now is why?
Like any other file found on a handset, the cloud or otherwise, an Android backup is just data. Google obviously stores this information somewhere on their connected cloud, and Google One subscribers, in particular, have to pay more to receive extra benefits, but at the end of the day, these benefits don’t amount to anything tangible. Their inactive backed up data is just as endangered as those on free accounts, and in the year 2019 where the cloud is king, that is a complete, unwarranted shame.
- Google One