I'm currently looking around at different options for adding regular backups to a new phone, and I want more than the "backup" that google offers.

There's the one category, backup apps that use root access, like Titanium Backup and OAndBackupX. The way they work is fairly clear, since they have root access, they can just copy all the files that represent the apps' data.

But then, there's Helium, a non-root app. Somehow, it claims to backup app data (which seems to work, from what people are saying), but nowhere have I found any indication as to how Helium Backup even accesses that data. The way I understand Android's permission model, when an app stores data in its private storage, no other standard app has access to that, period. The only other software that can access that data is system apps, root access, and ADB backup (although adb backup can also be disabled for the specific app - and ADB needs a computer attached to work). Seeing that none of the three apply for Helium backup, how does Helium backup then work? Or is this some wonky hacky trade secret the developers don't want to reveal?

  • 2
    Just read the description of Helium. There you can find the answer that it based on adb backup.
    – Robert
    Jan 30 at 21:37
  • @Robert OK, but I thought ADB backup goes via USB, so that you would be have to connect a computer? Helium, though, does backups without having a computer attached. Or did I misunderstand something? Jan 31 at 9:17
  • 1
    – alecxs
    Jan 31 at 10:15
  • Aha, now I get it, thanks! Care to post some summary as an answer? That way you can get the reputation for the answer. Jan 31 at 16:37
  • did not find clear warning about 'android:allowBackup=false' but there is a warning about PC connection is required. guess easiest way is test. will post as answer after testing github.com/koush/support-wiki/wiki/Helium-Wiki
    – alecxs
    Feb 2 at 11:18

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