We have several Android 4.0 phones of the same model, from the same manufacturer, purchased at the same time, from the same factory batch. We have created a backup of one of the phones using ADB.

Can the backup file from one of these phones be applied to all of the phones, or is there uniquely identifying information in the backup that will make it inapplicable to the other phones?

  • Have you tried to restore on say, two phones for the dry-test-run first before mass-restore?
    – t0mm13b
    Jan 13, 2013 at 19:47
  • It probably just works. I'd say just try it, what could go wrong? If you notice it's not working, you can always just reset the phone or restore the phone's original backup. Device specific ID's always come from the hardware and are not stored on the /data partition (at least not for original Google stuff). What's unique though per device: Google play's auth token, and other stuff by Google. Maybe they detect double usage by a token and cut you off of the Play store for security reasons. Happened once to me, I had to do an account recovery (SMS sent to my phone) and it worked again.
    – ce4
    Jan 13, 2013 at 19:52
  • Let us know your findings!
    – ce4
    Jan 13, 2013 at 19:53

5 Answers 5


The backups created from adb have no "checks" to see if the phone you are restoring to is the same device.

You should have no issues as long as they are the same version of android. By same version I mean the same actual android version as well as the same manufacturer. You would probably have issues if you tried to restore a backup made from a sony phone with android 4.1 to a motorola phone with 4.1. But should be ok if you restore from a motorola with 4.1 to another motorla phone with 4.1.

You mentioned that you are going to the exact same device, just make sure the device is updated to the same version that your old phone was.

  • Just for clarification: Does that also apply if the backup just holds a single (non-system) app? That's something working fine with Titanium Backup. I guess the basic thing here is, both devices should have the same directory structure -- as that's taken "literally" with the ADB backups? And does that necessarily mean, after upgrading a device the Backups made before are useless?
    – Izzy
    Feb 23, 2013 at 12:32
  • 1
    They could be, depending on what you chose to backup. If you do a full "system" backup, the chance of it working on another phone are a lot lower than if you just backup the user apps and user app data. Feb 23, 2013 at 14:45
  • Full ack: Never restore a "full system backup" to a different device or even just different ROM, otherwise trouble is almost sure to come. Whereas with single apps (as you can specify them on the command line to adb backup) should work in most cases, but might make trouble on different ROMs/devices -- at least to my understanding.
    – Izzy
    Feb 23, 2013 at 17:31
  • One more thought: Carbon Backup (now named Helium) also uses ADB as backend, and even claims to keep apps and data synchronized among multiple devices. Guess that fact should answer the part for backups of user apps :)
    – Izzy
    May 3, 2013 at 6:34

Just tried restoring ADB backup from Galaxy S3 to another Galaxy S3, after adb finished, phone hanged, didn't respond to power button.

After removing battery, it went into boot-loop (fortunately fixed by factory reset).

  • Had both phones the same hardware version (there is far more than one S3 model) and had both the same software version?
    – ce4
    May 9, 2013 at 23:06

Edit: This answer refers to nandroid backups made by a recovery (ex CWM). I think it applies to your case, assuming you do a full backup via adb.

There is at least one unique item that would be duplicated: the Android Device ID. This ID is generated whenever you wipe and install a new rom, but it is preserved with a nandroid backup. This ID is used by some apps to track unique installs or authentication.

Some devices store the MAC address of a network interface in memory (such as the Nook Simple Touch and its wifi interface), not on the chip itself. This makes it even more important to keep an original image. In the case of the nook, many people who rooted it didn't keep a backup of the original, so they lost their original unique MAC address. If your particular device does this as well (it probably doesn't), then you would have major problems if two devices tried to access the same wifi router.

Other than that, I personally have not had an issue with copying a nandroid backup from one phone to another of the same model. I can use Titanium Backup to manually generate a new Android Device ID, and the Optimus V doesn't depend on the rom for any MAC addresses. As long as the phone is fully wiped before restoring a nandroid (and it is the exact same model and chipset), there shouldn't be any problem.


This can work. Though your mileage may vary.

I just restored a nandroid backup from an old Galaxy S4 (which I dropped and the LCD failed) to a new Galaxy S4.

The new Galaxy S4 arrived completely stock and it took a while to get it rooted and TWR installed - getting around Knox etc. But then I restored a nandroid backup from the old Galaxy S4 (which was at Cyanogenmod and 5.1.1) over the new phone's stock Samsung 4.4.2.

There was a slight weirdness where it booted back to TWRP and looped at the TWRP logo screen - but after a couple of battery out resets it is now working great.


I can also say this works though itll definitely vary. I restored a twrp backup of lineage os 13.1 android 6.0.1 on my galaxy grand prime that was android 5.0.1. Both phones are the same make and carrier.

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