PSA: Android backups are auto-deleted after an inactivity period
If you use the built-in option of many Android devices to back up important data to Google Drive, you better make sure you use the device regularly as backups are auto-deleted when you don't use the device for a certain period of time.
Google backs up apps, contacts, calendar data, the call history, device settings, and on Pixel devices SMS and Photos & videos.
A user on Reddit reported the issue yesterday on the site. He refunded his Android Nexus 6P device and started using an old iPhone for the time being until a viable replacement would be released.
When he checked his Google Drive folder, more precisely, the backup folder there, he noticed that all of his Nexus 6P backups were not there anymore.
He discovered a Google Help page that revealed the following tidbits of information about the process:
Your backup will remain as long as you use your device. If you don't use your device for 2 weeks, you may see an expiration date below your backup.
Google does not mention an explicit expiration date for backups which suggests that it is dynamic in nature and not fixed.
What's clear though is that backups are marked for expiration if you don't use the device for 2 weeks. If you have to sent it in for repairs, you may cross that threshold depending on how long it takes to get it fixed or the device replaced.
What is particularly worrying about the process is that Android users are not informed about this. There is no notification that a backup is about to expire and that it will be deleted if the device is not used.
There is also no option to keep a backup by blocking the termination from happening, even if there is plenty of storage space on Google Drive.
Backups on Android are quite problematic anyway. Google's implementation is particularly problematic, as it is not possible to enforce backups on the device.
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