There can be any day when you might lose valuable data on your smartphone. Probably, because you messed up something or accidentally downloaded some malicious app, or anything, resulting in loss of your data. But, ever since Google Drive was introduced, Android users were able to back up their app data, call history, calendar data, contacts and device settings to Google Drive. This, in turn, reduces the hassles when switching to a new device.
However, it seems like Google allows for backups, only for a limited period of time. Yes, these backups will only be retained “as long as you use your device.” Google deletes Android mobile device data backup stored on Google Drive if the devices are left unused for two months. The saddest part is Google may do so without notifying the user, and there is no way to restore the data. All your settings and data could just vanish.
A Reddit user who goes by the name of Tanglebrook discovered about this practice in a hard way. He reported this as a PSA (public service announcement) when he discovered that his device backup, including Android settings, wifi passwords, and the data for at least 50 apps was wiped from his account.
As he explains, he had returned his Nexus 6P a couple months ago and was using an old iPhone till he found a “good Android replacement.” When he chanced upon his backup folder on Google Drive, he noticed that the Android backup for his 6P was missing.
On contacting Google Support, he found that the backup was indeed gone and that recovery was impossible. Worse still, he got no such warning from Google and was not given an option to use the Drive storage he pays for as an option for keeping his backup.
“There was no warning from Google. They just deleted my data. There’s apparently an expiration date that shows up under the backup if I had checked the Backup folder sooner, but there was no notification, no email, no proactive notice at all, and most importantly, no option to use the 100gb of my Drive storage to keep my fucking backup.”
However, a Google support page does mention that you may see an expiration date below your backup folder if you don’t use your device for two weeks.
However, this isn’t just an Android issue. Apple has a similar policy, and will also delete older iOS backups. But, their support page clearly mentions that “If you don’t back up your iOS device to iCloud for 180 days or more, Apple reserves the right to delete your device’s iCloud backups”.
To be fair, getting rid of unused accounts and data is something many cloud storage companies do, but it generally comes with a clear warning. But, Google shows no such warning or even doesn’t send any email or notification before deleting the backup files.
So, if you are the one who relies on Google Drive backups, better keep an eye out on your backup folders.