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Android Backup for free using Android Native Backup Manager

Starting Android 4.0, you no longer need root, Titanium Backup, or even Helium to backup your phone, and instead can make backups to your computer's hard drive for free.

To Backup you need to:

  1. Install the latest version of Android SDK tools.  Free download from Google Developer website as part of Android Studio.  Note to just install the Android SDK tools as you don't need to clutter your hard drive with other things.  You may chose to install the USB drivers as well if you need to.
  2. USB drivers for your phone, which you can get from your phone manufacturer's website.
  3. Enable Developer Mode, by going to Settings->About; Find Build Number and tap on it seven times
  4. Enable USB Debug, in Developer settings
  5. Disable turning the screen off when plugged in in Developer settings
  6. After plugging in your phone to the computer, open a command prompt and start the ADB service using 
    • "  adb start-server "
  7. Make sure your have removed any files that you don't need from your phone, including large files (aka 100s of MBs) as they can cause timeouts during the restore option.  The backup command below will backup all content of your internal storage as well.
  8. Browse to where you want to store the backup file.  (aka " cd c:\mybackupfolder ")
  9. Start the backup from your computer using 
    • "  adb backup -apk -shared -all -system -f MyBackupFile.ab "
  10. Verify that there is a large MyBackupFile.ab file. This file holds all of your apps, data, internal storage files.
  11. Optional: to be on the safe side, restart your phone in airplane mode and do another backup but use a different backup file name like MyBackupFile2.ab. In that way, you have another copy of the backup in case if it turns out that your first copy is corrupt during the restore process.

To Restore:
  1. During your phone's initial setup go as usual with entering your google account etc, but as soon as the initialization ends, before or right as the phone is going to start to download updates from Google Play, enable Airplane Mode, and then restart your phone.
  2. Open two command prompt windows. We will use the second one to check for error messages if something fails.
  3. Enable Developer Mode, by going to Settings->About; Find Build Number and tap on it seven times
  4. Enable USB Debug, in Developer settings
  5. Disable turning the screen off when plugged in in Developer settings
  6. After plugging in your phone to the computer, open a command prompt and start the ADB service using 
    • "  adb start-server "
  7. In the first command prompt window browse to where your backup file is stored (aka " cd c:\mybackupfolder ")
  8. In the second command prompt window start the adb shell using "  adb shell  "
  9. In the second command prompt window which is now in adb shell, start logcat and capture the messages related to the restore process using 
    • "  logcat | grep BackupManager "
  10. In the first command prompt window start the restore process using the command 
    • "  adb restore MyBackupFile.ab "
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