Smartphones have become an integrated part of our life and we hardly spend a day without touching our smart devices. Over the years, many consumer electronics like cameras, media players, gaming consoles were slowly replaced by smartphones. We could say that they are the digital companions that sleeps and wake up with us, store important data, plays music & videos, helps us capture an instance of time and much more. So, taking regular backups of your smartphone is very essential if you don’t want to lose data in case of any misfortunes.
Particularly, Android users need to take regular backups of their devices before tinkering their device, flashing ROMs or mods or ripping the system modules apart. Google automatically syncs your contacts, calendar events and account related data to its servers unless you disable the sync service. However, app & app data backups are more important for any Android user as no one would like to reconfigure apps or play a game from the beginning after formatting your device or switching to a new one.
If you’ve got a rooted Android device, there are many options to backup your device and we personally recommend Titanium Backup app. If you’ve installed a custom recovery on your device, it’s better to take a full nandroid backup of your device so that you can restore it if something goes sideways. However, it’s a bit hard to take complete backup of a unrooted Android device but here’s a simple app that is capable of taking complete apps and data backups on your device without root. The app we’re talking about is Helium which was developed by Koush who is famous for his CWM recovery.
What can Helium do?
Helium can backup your apps with a choice to backup data only or APK+data as well. You can create backups on your internal/external SD card or to the cloud services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive once you connect to the service with Helium. However, not all the features are free and you’ve to pay $4.99 to unlock the features like scheduled backups, cloud backups and device sync. If you’re just looking to take occasional backup of your device, you can just go with the free version of Helium but it’s good to have a premium version if you want to enjoy all the perks.
However, Helium can’t take backup of every app and some of the installed apps will be flagged as Backup Disallowed which means you can’t backup that app. Nevertheless, this is the only app which is capable of taking backups of app data in an efficient manner on non-rooted devices.
Here’s another setback for few Android users as Helium is not supported on all the devices. Helium is not compatible with Motorola devices because of a bug on those devices which break the Android’s backup mechanism. Some Sony devices like Xperia S and Xperia Z are also incompatible as they come with backup disabled. You can give Helium a try on these devices but most probably it won’t work until the developer extends the support.
Before proceeding with the backup process on Helium, follow the below steps to make sure you’ve met all the prerequisites for the process.
How to Backup Apps and Data without Root using Helium App
Application backup needs to be enabled on Helium before taking backups on non-rooted devices. The developer has provided a desktop tool which does the job, so first we need to enable it before proceeding. If you’re rooted, you just need to grant the SuperSU permission but our target is to backup non-rooted devices.
Enable Application backup
- Install the Helium app from the Playstore link and open it.
- Download Helium for your desktop from here. Choose between Windows, Mac or Linux and install it on your PC.
- Open the Helium on PC. It would look similar the screenshot below:
- Open the Helium app on your Android device. It will ask you to connect to your Google account for online backups, which is optional. If you cancel it, you can take backups on your device’s storage itself.
- On rooted devices, Helium will look for root access and if the SuperSU permissions are granted, then there is no need for anything more to be done. However, non-rooted users must continue further.
- Connect your device to the PC using a USB cable when it’s prompted. If everything goes correct, the Helium desktop app will show you a tick symbol as shown below.
└ If the connection isn’t established, try the PTP mode by clicking the enable P2P button.
- Once the application backup has been enabled, you can disconnect your device from the PC.
Backup Apps and Data using Helium
- Open the Helium app and select the apps you want to backup. Now you need to specify the backup type — Full backup or data backup.
- Swipe up from below to see the options regarding the backup. Read the below information and choose the backup type.
- Data Backup Only: If you want to take backup of app data only, then keep the checkbox for App Data Only (smaller backups) ticked. If you choose this option, you’ll need to download apps separately from Playstore while restoring. It’s ideal for storing the backups in mail or some cloud storage as the size is comparatively small.
- Full Backup: If you want to backup both the APK file and data, then deselect the checkbox for option “App Data Only (smaller backups)”. This is recommended if you’ve sufficient storage space on your internal/external SD card.
- Once you’ve selected the backup type, click on the backup button to begin the backup process.
- The app will ask for the storage to be used, choose your desired backup location from the list
- A black screen will appear asking to enter password, ignore it as it will disappear in a matter of seconds. The backups will be stored in Carbon (Helium’s previous name) folder of the chosen storage.
That’s it, you’ve successfully taken the backup of the selected apps on your device. Now let’s see how to restore the saved backup in case you need it at a later time.
Restore Apps and Data using Helium
- Open the Helium app on your device and select the Restore and Sync tab.
- Select the storage which you’ve selected while taking the backups.
- Select the apps you want to restore. If you’ve taken a data-only backup and that app is currently not installed on your device, then Helium will prompt you to download it from Playstore before restoring its data.
- Finally tap on Restore button to begin restoration of apps you’ve selected.
- The restore process might take some time depending the size of the backup, so be patient till the process finishes.
Note: If you want to delete any app backup, just select the backed up app and click the delete icon at the top right corner of the app.
That’s all! Reach us in the comments section below for any queries or assistance regarding the process in the tutorial. Also, do suggest any modifications or additions to this simple guide, your feedback is important to improve our content and services.
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