​Google deletes Android backups if you don't use your phone for two months

Keep your Android device active or Google will automatically delete its system backups.

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Google may show an expiration date on the system backup folder in Drive if a device hasn't been used in two weeks, but it doesn't warn users with a notification or email.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A little-known Google policy on Android backups in Drive has sent one poor and now very angry Android user back to square one.

Until recently Redditor Tanglebrook had a Nexus 6P. He handed it in for a refund and has been using an iPhone since.

With a dozens of new phones, including Google's Pixel 2 coming out soon, the plan was to eventually buy a new Android phone and restore the 6P's data on it from Google Drive's Backup folder, where the device's settings, Wi-Fi passwords and apps had been stored.

However the Android fan didn't realize that Google deletes a Backup folder if a device hasn't been used in two months, as noted in a support page.

Google may show an expiration date on the folder if a device hasn't been used in two weeks, but it doesn't warn users with a notification or email. The same policy applies to backups from computers.

Tanglebrook was also paying for 100GB space in Google Drive. However, there's no option to use that for Android backups.

"Switching between Android installs is already a pain in the ass. You have to manually save your SMSs if you want to keep them, many apps still don't use Android backup and their settings wipe every time...but the apps that do back up are restored painlessly, which is always a relief during the process. Unless Google themselves deletes your backup first. Along with the dozens of Wi-Fi passwords I had stored, which is probably the worst part for me," wrote Tanglebrook.

As other Reddit users pointed out, Apple also deletes iCloud backups if an iOS device hasn't been used in a while.

"If you don't back up your iOS device to iCloud for 180 days or more, Apple reserves the right to delete your device's iCloud backups," Apple notes in a support page.

According to Apple's terms, This will delete "device settings, device characteristics, photos and videos, documents, messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, app data (including Health app data), location settings (such as location-based reminders that you have set up), and Home screen and app organization".

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