On my Android phone, I have:

  • A cron job to move files at 1:59am from /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media to /sdcard/wppmediabkp folder before WhatsApp backup at 2:00am:

mv -f /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media /sdcard/wppmediabkp

  • A cron job to move files at 2:30am back (from /sdcard/wppmediabkp to /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media):

mv -f /sdcard/wppmediabkp /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media

  • The "cron jobs" are tasks on "Tasks!" app (scheduling them with 00 59 1 ? * * and 00 30 2 ? * *). The commands are tested in Termux app also.


  • To exclude Media folder from backup, but to also restore image "link" to chats (to do not download again).

On restoration of wppmediabkp folder to /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media:

  1. Sometimes it works well (it creates the /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media with all its contents). It happens when /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media folder does not exist. For me, it is the expected behavior.
  2. Sometimes it creates a subfolder (/sdcard/WhatsApp/Media/wppmediabkp). It happens when /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media folder exists. For me, it is the issue - I would like to restore original folder tree, merging its contents.

I think it was reduced to a Unix issue, because I can use all Unix basic commands.

How to solve it (to get Media folder back merging its contents) using mv command?

  • With mv (and cp), when the target is a directory, the last element of each source path is copied into the target directory, so the restore command command should be mv -f /sdcard/wppmediabkp/Media /sdcard/WhatsApp/.
    – AFH
    Sep 15, 2018 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


One approach is not to move directories. Let them exist all the time, move their content back and forth:

mv -f /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media/* /sdcard/wppmediabkp/
# and later
mv -f /sdcard/wppmediabkp/* /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media/


  • * will not match hidden files/directories;
  • with too many objects you may hit "argument list too long" error.

In case any of this is an issue, the solution should use something like find … -exec mv …. Either way move what is inside the directory, not the directory itself.

  • Excellent! Although Schedule! app does not work well, Termux shows that they are correct for desired backup operation.
    – kokbira
    Sep 15, 2018 at 19:56

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