Google will delete Android backups if a device remains inactive for more than two months

midian182

Posts: 6,008   +50
Staff member

Android backups is a helpful tool that stores your device's information on a Google Drive folder, which makes restoring the data a (usually) simple process whenever it's required. What most people don’t know, however, is that Google will delete these backups if a device is inactive for more than two months, even if you pay for the service and without informing you first.

The rule was brought to light by Redditor Tanglebrook, who had been using an old iPhone for a few months while they searched for an Android device to replace their Nexus 6P. During a random check of the Google Drive Backup folder, Tanglebrook found the 6P’s files were missing.

Checking the service's support documents revealed what had happened: the backups will only stay on Google Drive for as long as the device is in use. If it remains unused for two weeks, an expiration date will appear below the backup. If you don’t use the device within this time limit, everything — settings, data, etc. — will be deleted once the countdown runs out.

Google choosing to bury this information in a support page is unusual, so is the fact that users get no warning their backups are about to be erased. But probably the most surprising part of this incident is that Tanglebrook was paying for 100 GB of Google Drive space.

There was no warning from Google. They just deleted my data. There's apparently an expiration date that shows up under the backup if I had checked the Backup folder sooner, but there was no notification, no email, no proactive notice at all, and most importantly, no option to use the 100gb of my Drive storage to keep my f**king backup.

The rule isn’t exclusive to Android, though. A Reddit user named are-you-really-sure pointed out that Apple has something very similar in place. The Cupertino company reserves the right to delete backups associated with any device that hasn’t been backed up to iCloud for 180 days.

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Humza

Posts: 711   +159
Staff member
Their cloud their rules eh? And it also seems a bit fishy on the Google Maps part when I download an offline area yet it still wants to update after a few weeks otherwise it'll expire. That's not offline, that's periodic online.
 

misor

Posts: 1,397   +303
What is the purpose of cloud backups if the owner of the service unilaterally deletes the backups without the consent of the user?

I can live with it if the backups already surpass the allowed data limit but if a user has his device repaired and the repair time goes beyond the time limit, then he is out of lock. if a user is assigned to a 'no device' work environment for a long time, then to the bin goes his backup data.

if google insists on a time limit, it might as well remove the cloud service backup. cloud backup is supposed to be reliable.
 
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amstech

Posts: 2,643   +1,804
If your one of these fools who put too much faith in any type of cloud storage, console gaming, online data storage or whatever, then you get what you deserve.

I use Google Drive. I love it.
Every 6 months or so I load my Google Drive onto my big rig and back up the entire thing to a local HDD.
I know that anyday, anytime they can just say "we want $$$ now" like photobucket and hold your data for legal ransom. Even the almighty Google.
 

Julio Franco

Posts: 8,664   +1,538
Staff member
You know what they say, use it or lose it...

On a more serious note though, Android device data like contacts/settings take very little space in the cloud, so I'd be surprised if Google didn't announce an extended period to hold this data for you as long as it's linked to an active Google account. For practical purposes, like recovering this data when moving to a new phone or if you lose/broke yours, 2 months is ample time for this but there could be other scenarios.
 
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Reehahs

Posts: 937   +587
If your one of these fools who put too much faith in any type of cloud storage, console gaming, online data storage or whatever, then you get what you deserve.

I use Google Drive. I love it.
Every 6 months or so I load my Google Drive onto my big rig and back up the entire thing to a local HDD.
I know that anyday, anytime they can just say "we want $$$ now" like photobucket and hold your data for legal ransom. Even the almighty Google.
That is a good idea. I started doing local backups after a corrupt file started syncing to all of my devices which was pretty scary.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
Ok so I think we are not understanding the backup part, it's a device backup, not your contacts (Unless you are not using google contacts and are one of those who store them locally), not drive, not anything beyond the device backup option.

I might be wrong, but if this is it, and you are not really using it, I don't see the big issue.
 

jobeard

Posts: 13,957   +1,774
I might be wrong, but if this is it, and you are not really using it, I don't see the big issue.
All kinds of reasons that your device may be inactive for long periods of time. Just one example: When we went to Europe for 6 weeks, we pulled the domestic service SIMs and inserted SIMs from the UK. This created a local number(to the UK), stopped roaming charges and made our personal device appear to be dormant.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
All kinds of reasons that your device may be inactive for long periods of time. Just one example: When we went to Europe for 6 weeks, we pulled the domestic service SIMs and inserted SIMs from the UK. This created a local number(to the UK), stopped roaming charges and made our personal device appear to be dormant.
Sure, but how hard is to "re-configure" your phone? You won't loose the contacts, they are part of your Google Account, what else is there that needs to be backup? Your apps?

I mean, I understand the frustration, specially if this is part of the personal space that you own, and specially if it's something you are paying for! It should not be deleted, it's your problem what you do with it, if you want backups of things you won't use anymore, it's your ducking problem, not google's, still... you are not really loosing anything.

I do believe, that the issue starts when people don't use N+1.