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How does it know what to back up? Can an app have data that TB won't know about or that TB won't back up?

Other than restoring a Jellybean backup to a Gingerbread phone, how else will Titanium Backup fail to restore apps or will destabilize my phone?

I need to be sure I don't lose data as I reset ROMs or phones or switch between two ROMs or phones.

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I advise you to read thoroughly the following resources before taking any step to make changes to your OS, so you can be sure if you're doing things right with Titanium Backup:

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Titanium Backup does not know about and will not back up external storage (e.g., on newer ASOP, /data/media/0/, /data/media/10/, /data/media/11/ etc., what you might think of as /mnt/sdcard, /sdcard, /storage/emulated/legacy, etc.).

For that, you'd have to either tell the app which puts stuff there to back things up, back it up with some other tool, or rely on backup of /data partition from non-stock recoveries (TWRP, ClockworkMod also known as "Nandroid").

Really, when you think about it, the third of those three is a special case of the second.

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