I've purchased a new phone and have transferred most of the data from the old device to the new one using various means.

There is one app, however, that does not have account login, so I cannot save cached data in the cloud. Meaning that I have no choice but to move/restore the app to the new device with the offline (cached) data.

This app is quite important to me, and I need the offline data.

I know of the following techniques to do this:

  • Backup and restore app + cached data using Helium: copy & replace the 'sdcard/carbon' folder from the old phone to the new phone. After doing this, restore the app with data on the new phone.
  • Root the device and use Titanium backup to do the same.
  • Backup apps using the 'Backup' feature in Google Drive.

Helium just did not work (with a brand new phone with Android 8.0!).

I cannot use Titanium as I cannot root my old phone at this point (before backup is complete). And restoring the app this way will in all likelihood require that I root my new phone as well, which is a deal-breaker.

Does Google Drive Backup work with all third party apps? I did not see the app I want to save in the list of apps whose data was being saved by Google Drive.

What should I do? Can anyone advise?


All of the techniques given on various sites for both partial and full backups (including nandroid backups) are device specific, i.e. you can restore to the same device only, not from one device to another. This includes both Droid Explorer and Simple ADB Backup too, apparently.

Is there no general way of restoring an app with data to a new phone without root? Google Drive backup does this without root. If it can do that, why can't other apps?

Also, various people suggested using MyBackup Pro / Android Assistant / DrFone+. All these tools give up before even trying: they all seem to require root.

  • adb backup is pretty general because it stores data in a way which allows restoring to any device. if the app is not allowing adb backup, you still can extract the app from any other backup and convert to adb backup. check if stock recovery has backup option – alecxs Apr 29 '19 at 15:11
  • @alecxs: "if the app is not allowing adb backup, you still can extract the app from any other backup and convert to adb backup. check if stock recovery has backup option" please explain what you mean by this :) – Y.S. Apr 29 '19 at 18:24
  • some stock recovery have backup option patchworkoftips.com/… – alecxs Apr 29 '19 at 20:13
  • @alecxs: LG Nexus 5. Carrier unlocked but not rooted. – Y.S. Apr 30 '19 at 12:07
  • twrp is available for hammerhead. but bootloader is locked. you can not boot twrp from fastboot :( – alecxs Apr 30 '19 at 12:31

You can use adb backup. You can specify the package name for backup a single app.

adb backup [-f <file>] [-apk|-noapk] [-obb|-noobb] [-shared|-noshared] [-all] [-system|nosystem] [-keyvalue|-nokeyvalue] [<packages...>]
adb restore <file>

Note: some apps won't allow adb backup. even if adb backup is allowed, cache is not included.

Find a [GUIDE] How to enable adb backup for any app, decompile, recompile and sign the apk, where you have set the following flags:


On the source phone, update the apk with your modified one. To do this without uninstalling, this may require to increment the android:versionCode in AndroidManifest.xml, and you must sign the apk using the same original signature that was used previously for the apk from the Play Store. This is the pitfall if you are not the author of the app it is not possible. However, if you manage this the install will succeed without data loss. Otherwise install will be rejected. (You still have the option to set allowBackup directly on rooted phone, but this may be out of scope because with root you can backup app directly)

Once you have installed the modified apk you can make a backup of your app from source phone, and restore it to destination phone without root.

Install the latest Platform Tools and run from cmd.exe as Administrator:

adb.exe backup "-f C:\example.ab -apk -obb com.example.package"
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  • 1
    Nice answer, cool approach. – Y.S. Apr 30 '19 at 12:14
  • someone claims he was able to get a full backup with HDDRawCopy and QPST without root forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=3570178 Once you have it, extract app data from backup and create your own backup.ab including cache for injection (new question) – alecxs Apr 30 '19 at 13:01
  • interesting. Am gonna look into this ...... – Y.S. May 2 '19 at 10:39
  • adb uninstall -k <pkgname> will keep the app data, adb install -r example.apk will force the reinstall. not sure if this works with different signatures – alecxs Jul 24 '19 at 18:36

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