I am planning to change from Lollipop to KitKat on my non-rooted Nexus 5. I'd like to keep as much data and settings as possible.

I've used adb to back up my sdcard.

I'd like to use adb to backup apps and settings. One adb option is system. I would guess that I should not back up system if I'm planning to switch Android versions, but am not sure what system means to adb. What, exactly, does the system option do?

If I don't need data (because I've already pulled data from /sdcard/) and system would not be wise under the circumstances, would

adb backup -apk -noshared -all -nosystem

be appropriate? If not, what should I use?

I've read a fair number of threads here, including Full Backup of non-rooted devices, so if I've missed something, please link to the thread answering this.

Or should I rely on Google backup and restore (turned on in settings) for this?

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    You're good to go with this command. This command will take the backup of all User Installed Apps Apk's and its data which involves Apps custom settings too. Go ahead. To Adb system means backup system apps apk's and the system's app data. You don't need it here. – Firelord Mar 10 '15 at 18:11
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    If you're ever unsure or curious to know what exactly ADB backup through the command you executed, download android_backup_extractor from Sourceforge to extract backup and see it. Its always safe, just a bit time consuming. – Firelord Mar 10 '15 at 18:13
  • possible duplicate of Full Backup of non-rooted devices – Ryan Conrad Mar 10 '15 at 18:50
  • @Firelord system apps are parts of the OS rather than user apps, such as gmail? – foosion Mar 10 '15 at 19:04
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    There is a command - adb shell pm list packages which will list all the installed (System+User) apps package name. You can take an individual backup of them too, but my experience never yielded positive results whenever I tried a system app, but always worked for individual user app. Give it a try like this :adb backup -apk packages com.google.android.apps.plus. It will backup Google Plus into backup.ab file. Besides, in your original command, add -obb as well to backup obb files, if any. – Firelord Mar 10 '15 at 20:10

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