Last week I showed you how to forever banish ads from your rooted Android device with AdAway. Today I hope to entice you with another benefit of root, a must-have app for modders called Titanium Backup.
Backing up Apps the Google Way
When you first activate an Android device you’re asked if you want to keep your stuff backed up with Google — the idea being that when you migrate to a new device, all the apps from your old one will automatically be sent down the interwebs to it without you having to do a thing.
It’s a great idea. Unfortunately it doesn’t work.
As important as the apps themselves is the data attached to them — the multiple logins on your email client, played vs. unplayed podcasts on your podcatcher, the page you’re at in your ebook reader — that kind of thing.
Google Play Games promises to sync your game data across multiple devices, but as of this writing it’s still very much a work in progress.
Backing up Apps with Titanium Backup
Grant Titanium Backup root access and you’ll be able to back up your downloaded apps, system apps, even phone settings, all in one go.
Once that’s done you’ll see a bunch of files in the Titanium Backup folder on your device — three files for every app, to be exact:
You need never touch these files unless you want to archive them on a desktop computer — which is actually a great idea.
When it comes time to restore your apps on a new device or ROM, Titanium Backup will use these files to put everything back on your phone, all settings intact.
System Apps Begone
This single feature of Titanium Backup is worth noting. Any app, even those pre-installed on your device, can be backed up and then deleted. So if, like me, you’d rather use a multi-platform chat client than Google Hangouts you can just get rid of it, knowing it can be restored anytime you change your mind.
Titanium Backup is free with no ads, and does everything I’ve described above. But there’s a catch: If you have multiple apps to restore all at once, that process will be interrupted by a confirmation request for each app. The more apps you have to restore, the more annoying this gets.
Step up to the pro version (via a purchasable key), and your apps will be batch restored with a single tap. The pro key unlocks additional features like encrypting your backups, sending them to Dropbox or Google Drive and saving multiple backups per app. You can see a complete table of free vs. pro benefits on the developer’s website.
One thing about Titanium Backup is that it’s been around forever. I’ve heard of other solutions for this same purpose but I’ve not yet tried them. If you’ve got something you like better kindly drop some science below…