For over nine months now, Android users have been complaining about an issue with backups to Google Drive. The phone simply stops backing up data without a warning and the only workaround available isn't sustainable, while the only potential fix requires some adb commands. Google has yet to acknowledge or address the problem.
The bug affects both Android 9 and 10 devices, across all manufacturers from Google to Samsung, Moto, OnePlus, Huawei, and more. It's very widespread and not linked to G Suite accounts, multiple or single accounts on a device, or a specific security patch.
Under your phone's Settings > System > Backup, you should see the feature enabled, but even then, some users notice that the Back up now button is greyed out and inaccessible, while all data categories say they're Waiting to back up. If you see this, your phone isn't making any backups and you were probably never alerted to the issue.
Many enterprising users have managed to track down a potential explanation: It's due to the lockscreen security method used on your phone, which encrypts your backups since Android 9 Pie. If you have a PIN code, pattern, fingerprint, or face unlock method set, you may want to disable it momentarily. Some users say they needed to reboot their phones and/or clear Google Drive's app data, but for most, simply disabling the security method made the Back up now button turn blue again and backups suddenly started working.
If you decide to go this route, remember, it's a temporary workaround. You should immediately re-enable your phone's security method afterwards, and yes, that means, you'll lose the ability to back up again, until you repeat the steps.
An XDA forum post from January mentions a better long-term fix that doesn't require you to disable lockscreen security, but needs adb (and may also require clearing Google Drive app data). With a couple of commands, you get backups again.
For now, these are your only "solutions" for Google Drive backups on Android 9 and 10. Given that the issue has been reported for nearly a year and not acknowledged, there's little hope that a proper fix will soon be available. We've reached out to Google, asking if it's aware of the problem or working on a solution, but haven't heard back. We'll update this post if we do.
- Lars Åke Svensson,
- Michael S.,
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Image credit: Tuomas Vuori