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I have Google backup turned off permanently, however my contacts are still backed-up somewhere to Google cloud. I discovered that yesterday from another device that offered me to recover my contacts from a current backup.

I'm perplexed because when I open Google Drive app, it says that my device is not backed-up.

Questions:

  1. Where are the contacts backed up? On G-Drive, or elsewhere in my G-Account?
  2. What more can I do to prevent Google from downloading my data to its cloud?

Details: I have LG G6 (LG-H870, Android 8.0.0). In the Settings I have set:

  • Backup > Google Backup > Backup to Google Drive: Off
  • Users & Accounts > Auto-sync account: On, otherwise my (non-Google) e-mail is not synchronized, but:
  • Users & Accounts > my-google-account > Sync: all four sync switches are Off

In the Drive application:

  • Left menu > Backups: "Your device is not backed up"

My other phone is Xiaomi Redmi 4. Here:

  • Settings > Google > Restore contacts> Device backup list: It offers me to restore my contacts from LG-H870 created today. When I proceed, all my contacts are really restored.

The Google documentation for contacts backup, https://support.google.com/contacts/answer/7199294?hl=en instructs how to turn-off contacts backup.

The description of Settings > Backup > Google Backup > Backup to Google Drive says that:

"Backup includes: Apps and app data, call history, contacts, device settings"

Edit: I've verified that my contacts are not in Google Contacts for my account.

  • That's weird. Google should not be backing up your contacts to Google Drive when you have turned the backups off. I'd just like to know if the device backup was turned off from the beginning or you turned off at a later date? Maybe just today? Does the restored backup include all of your contacts? I mean even the newly added ones? – singhnsk Sep 6 '18 at 8:43
  • I turn all Google backups off as one of the first things I do when I receive a new phone. So it was turned off from the beginning. Anyway, the latest backup available is from today. – xarx Sep 6 '18 at 8:48
  • Then this is more like Google not honoring the user privacy settings than anything else. The backup found in Device backup list can only come from one source - Device backup. And since it is turned off, Google is ideally not honoring your choice. I do a similar treatment with Google stuff as you and for me the Restore contacts option says "Device Backup: No contacts are backed up to this account". Something is definitely fishy. – singhnsk Sep 6 '18 at 8:58
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As said already, backup of contacts by Google does not respect the general Settings>General>Backup>Google_backup>Backup_to_Google_Drive = off. This problem may occur only on LG G6, or in Android Oreo in general.

However, I succeeded to prevent the contact backup by disabling Google synchronization services in Settings>Apps>Show_System>choose_app>disable:

  • Google Contacts Sync
  • Google Calendar Sync
  • Google Backup Transport

Now I hope that they won't get enabled again upon a firmware update.

Edit: Evidently, Google has more problems with collecting personal data than just contacts, see for instance location-tracking.

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