You may not realize this, but Google will delete automated Android backups without warning.
This realization came to light thanks to a Reddit post (first highlighted by Android Police) that explains exactly what’s going on. Reddit user Tanglebrook discovered this issue the hard way, after losing all the data from their Android phone backup.
Tanglebrook found out that if you don’t use your Android phone for a certain amount of time, your backup is deleted. Google explains in its support pages:
“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 doesn’t really go into much detail about the how and why of it, but it appears that the countdown is somewhere over 2 months.
The worst part is that Google will delete your data without warning and without giving you a chance to use your available Google Drive storage to hang on to precious backups. As if that weren’t enough, there’s no way to recover deleted backups.
So if you haven’t used your Android phone in two weeks, you can find out if that countdown has begun by opening up the Google Drive app and doing the following:
- Tap the hamburger menu button.
- Tap Backups.
- You’ll see a list of your backups. If your backup is expiring, you should see how many days are left for your backup to expire, as in the screenshot above.
It appears that using your Android device before that countdown ends should avert the crisis. While it’s understandable that Google wants to clean house when it comes to inactive accounts, a little warning would be nice.
To stay on the safe side, you might want to consider a third-party backup option for your Android device instead.
What do you think of Google’s backup practice? Is two weeks too short a window to activate the countdown? Do you think Google should notify users before deleting that content? Let us know in the comments.