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Google Deletes Inactive Android Device Backups After 2 Months

We are constantly being told to backup our data to ensure it remains safe in the event of your device, be it a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, breaks or gets stolen. But those backups aren't safe for very long if your OS of choice is Android.

For most people, myself included, opting to do a backup of my Android phone assumes the backup will be available indefinitely. However, Reddit user Tanglebrook found that's certainly not the case. He took his Nexus 6P back to the store for a refund, but performed a backup first so he wouldn't lose any contact info, call history, apps, etc.

With the backup made and visible on his Google Drive Backup, Tanglebrook started using an old iPhone until he found a new Android phone he liked. A couple of months pass and Tanglebrook notices the Nexus 6P folder has disappeared from Google Drive Backup.

With a little digging through Google's support pages he found a page called "Manage & restore your device backups in Google Drive." At the bottom of the page is a section explaining what happens when a backup expires. So we learn that backups can expire, but worse than that is the fact they do so after what looks to be around two months of inactivity.

The Google Support guidance reads as follows, "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. Example: "Expires in 54 days.""

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Google Drive support confirmed to Tanglebrook that there is no way to recover the backup once it has expired.

This is ridiculous for a number of reasons. First of all, the only sign your backup will be deleted is an expiration date appearing next to the backup. No notification is sent to the user. Secondly, the time limit is incredibly short and puts anyone who needs to send their device off to be repaired in danger of losing all their data through no fault of their own. Finally, why aren't backups permanent? They could be counted against the storage on your Drive and left there until a user chooses to delete them.

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