I would like to migrate apps and their data from one phone to another without too much faffing around, like:

  • rooting (very convoluted device specific process with a lot of ambiguity around it and often involving running closed source software from random vendors that you have to believe does the right thing),
  • using app specific backup export/import facilities if at all exist (too manual, seems the only option though).

I am ok with:

  • using a PC to help facilitate the process,
  • manual copying/pasting files (within reason).

Ideally, I would like to have a process that works something like this:

  1. select apps that I would like to have in their current state on the other phone,
  2. bundle them together and store somewhere (external SD card or PC),
  3. put that bundle on the other phone and somehow install and recover their state.

A bit like PortableApps works.

So far I have tried :

  • Super Backup - unfortunately, like many others, requires rooting,
  • Helium - seemed promising but Helium has never been, nor ever will be, compatible with any device running anything less than Android 4.0 and it does not work on certain phones.
  • App Backup & Restore - Q: Does it backup data of apps? A: No, currently it only backup the apk files of apps.
  • and skimmed through a number of articles including this one (looks like even if I was willing to root I would have a hard time).

2 Answers 2


Helium has never been, nor ever will be, compatible with any device running anything less than Android 4.0

First things first: What you want cannot be achieved on not-rooted devices running a lower version of Android. Only with ICS (4.0), permissions of the ADB daemon have been alleviated to enable this (see: Full Backup of non-rooted devices).

For compatibility: What Helium does directly on the device, can be achieved from a computer connected with the device via USB, using the ADB tools: You can use the adb backup and adb restore commands, as described by answers to the linked question. There should be no compatibility issue, as long as your computer recognizes the device.

I have just had a similar issue: My main device needed to go for repair, so I had to migrate stuff to one of my "backup devices". Completely different brand, even different Android version. The above mentioned worked fine (working app-by-app, only "moving in" those ones I required). Just to ease the process (which I might need once more, or others might need), I wrote myself a little helper: If you're using Linux (or some other *nix coming with Bash), you might wish to take a look at Adebar – which not only creates you the scripts needed for backup/restore, but also to "re-freeze" apps you might have frozen on the original device, and additionally creates you a little "device documentation". Feedback welcome – and again the disclosure: I'm the author of that script.

  • Your script seemed exactly the thing I was looking for but sadly both my phones scheduled for migration are running Android 2.3 so... adb: unable to connect for backup :-( Thank you for your answer, I'm sure your script will come in handy in the future. Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 2:07
  • Also the phones actually happen to be rooted so I suppose for this version of Android it doesn't make any difference? Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 2:13
  • 1
    If your devices are rooted, things are much different. In that case, I'd recommend taking a look at Titanium Backup – a "swiss army knife" for rooted devices. Not only does backups of apps & data, but also helps out in other things (e.g. freezing/uninstalling unwanted apps).
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 6:53
  • So Titanium Backup can do all the magic because it can get admin rights (once rooting is done). However, with adb it's a different story, the root access is denied when adb server talks to the device, unless the device runs Android >= 4.0, as you mentioned in the answer. Is this correct? Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 11:50
  • Almost. First part is correct (TiBu). Second part is close to being correct: it won't get root access on 4.0+ either, but still "elevated privileges" required for the backup. You can manage to give it root access by e.g. running chainfire's adbd insecure on the device, though :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 12:43

I only tried it on one app so far though but here goes. you must be able to access 'phone storage' on both phones.

  1. plug in the usb and connect the phone to your com.
  2. open phone storage. open 'Android'
  3. look for the app files you want and copy paste into your com. both from 'data' and 'obb'. If there's nothing inside the obb file don't bother copying, it doesn't make a difference. Remember their locations, etc which file is in obb/data.
  4. check if there are any files of your app that is not in the 'Android' file. copy paste
  5. plug in your other device. enter phone storage.
  6. return your copied files into 'data' and 'obb' under 'Android' (or if they were not in 'Android') into the new phone.
  7. download your app from app store. it should load within seconds.
  8. hope for the best

im really sorry if it didn't work, i only tried it on one app.

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