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Attempting my first migration between two phones with different Android versions has got me very confused.

All my apps and data are currently working and complete on an Android 4.4 phone. Internal storage has the core system plus Google apps while all remaining is on a MicroSDHC card. This includes everything that must be transferred intact to a new phone.

Just got a new phone with Android 7.0 in a factory-clean state. There is nothing of value yet on this phone, so it is OK if the process resets and otherwise destroys anything on it. What I am so far not able to do is get the apps and data of the old phone onto the new one.

When installing the phone with the Copy from Other Android Device option, my contacts, calendar and Hangouts get copied but pretty much nothing else. Even if I install an app which existing on the old phone into the new one, it appears blank despite having selected to Save and Restore App Data in the Backup & Reset settings of both phones.

One would have expected to be able to just insert the MicroSDHC card from the old phone, which contains all apps and data that matters, into the new one but it just does not work. The new phone offers the option to Format or Format as Internal Storage the card or to use it for photos (not sure of the exact wording right now). Of course, any type of formatting would obliterate the data which is desired but then how do I get the new phone to use the card with its current apps and data?

Is there a way I can convert rather than format the card? The point of having an SDHC card and to place all apps and data on it was, after all, to be able to port this but I have no idea how to get it to work between these two versions of Android.

How can I ensure that apps and data from an Android 4.4 phone get migrated to a 7.0 one?

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This is not the Symbian era anymore, where you can have all data on an external storage and move it freely. App data resides in /data/data (which you can't access without root access) in internal storage, even if you have the apps themselves moved to SD card.

Move non-app data (e.g. media files, documents) off your SD card, have it formatted, then move them back. The card is then ready to be used as a storage only - most if not all Android 7.x phones do not offer the "move apps to SD" option anymore.

As of app data, use apps like Titanium Backup (root required) or Helium (no root required) to back them up on the old device and restore them on the new.

Note to others: it's been a while since I conducted cross-major-version backups myself (I usually wipe clean and start over), and specifically I've never used Google's cloud backup solution. Feel free to point out mistakes or make edits.

  • On 4.4, my app data wouldn't even fit in Internal Storage! So now - for versions 7.x - it just must? This makes the SD card a lot less useful than before :( Unfortunately, I discovered that Helium does not back data on the SD card and rooting the phone (old) destroys everything, so that puts in in a corner. How do I get out? – Itai Jul 20 '17 at 4:22

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