I am transfering to a new phone, and I backed up my stuff using helium to Dropbox. Later I copied that folder to carbon folder on my sdcard, but helium doesnt seem to detect it. Any idea how I can restore that? It looks like the format is different.. Regular backup seems to be carbon/com.appname/files but in my dropbox backup, its only files, no folders at all.

3 Answers 3


There are multiple ways you can achieve this:

On the device

  1. Start Helium
  2. pick any "dummy app" to create a backup from
  3. Exit Helium
  4. Check where it placed the backup files, and which files those are (a backup consists of multiple files)
  5. Copy your backup files to that location
  6. Check if for each app there are all the files you've checked above1
  7. Start Helium again, it now should find the backups
  8. Restore whatever you wanted to restore

If the "old phone" is still up and running

The app is called "Helium App Sync and Backup". So when you go to its Restore and Sync tab, you should be able to transfer and restore the backups across the devices. I've never tried that, so I cannot give any details on it.

Using your computer

Helium Backup uses the same file format as ADB (in fact, it uses ADB locally to create and restore backups). So with the backup files on your computer, and the device connected via USB with enabled, you could simply restore the backups from the command line. Just pick the .ab files for that, and run

adb restore com.foobar.ab

(of course, you've got to replace com.foobar.ab by the real file names). See Is there a minimal installation of ADB? if you didn't set up your computer for use with ADB yet. The downloads mentioned there can also be found here.

1: I rawly remember from a while ago that Helium might "ignore" a backup when one of those files were missing

  • Hey, Sry was about to delete this q actually. I ended up backing up again to sd card. Was a lot smaller this time.. and I was able to use bt sync to transfer it to my new phone, and it is restoring right now. My dropbox backup was not detected by ur first method, hence the q. 2nd I believe requires premium
    – Karthik T
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 5:47
  • I followed this idea to backup a dummy app first and confirmed it was copied to the Carbon folder. I copied two of the backup folders to the carbon folder on my new phone using Astro file manager. I can see the backup folders I copied in the folder. In helium Restore and Sync on my new phone I see the dummy app for restoration (even after a force restart) and one of the backed up apps but not the app I really want to restore data for. Also, I restored the 2nd app, Yr.No weather app, and none of my previous locations are showing :-(Any advice appreciated.
    – boardtc
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 12:47
  • 1
    @boardtc Apps can opt-out of backups (i.e. the dev can define that they shall be ignored). So please check whether the files for those apps exist in the folder, and the .ab file has not 0 or 41 bytes (0 standing for failed and 41 for opted-out). If those files are correct, I can only refer to the last part of my answer: "using your computer" to restore.
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 13:30
  • 1
    @izzy amazing!!!! "adb restore com.mobeam.beepngo.ab" and lo and behold it's there!! Thank you :-)
    – boardtc
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 10:38
  • @boardtc as outlined by the answer :) Glad this solved it for you, too!
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 10:40

Dropbox backup lacked the folders for each app somehow, and thus was not recognized when I tried to copy it to the new phone. I instead made a backup to SD card and transferred it to the new phone to restore. Seems to be working thus far.

  • Corresponds to my first suggestion (I had the SDCard in mind there, though not explicitely mentioned). Glad you've solved it – and thanks for sharing your solution (+1 to that)!
    – Izzy
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 6:06
  • 1
    Yeah @Izzy my problem was that copying the original backup as per your instructions, it didnt work. My guess, is a backup to dropbox is a different format from a backup to SDcard
    – Karthik T
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 9:22

If the files were .zip files as made by Helium V1.1.4.6 you can:

  1. Unzip them until you have a folder example app backup folder with a example app backup file.ab file in it.
  2. Then you can put that folder on your phone in the folder \carbon. Then Helium detects it, since it also stores its own backups in that location.
  3. Restore the app backups from your dropbox.

The difference is that when you export backups it creates zipfiles, otherwise it creates a folder with .ab files in it, as Izzy's answer mentions.

This way you can:

  • Restore all the files at once
  • Without requiring to set up a connection with the pc.

Tested on Android 6.0.1

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