Saturday August 17, 2019

When it comes to backup Android apps, it’s good to know that some of them are already equipped with a backup feature. Unfortunately not every app informs You about that crucial thing, so it’s good to do some research: first, take a closer look on the app’s menus and settings - maybe You’ll find a backup-dedicated section - second, open Your file manager and look for any folder or file which name might suggest that this is in fact the app’s backup.

For example, I use Smart AudioBook Player and recently found out that the app (by itself) creates the “Smart AudioBook Player Backup” folder on my smartphone internal memory.

Another case is Handy News Reader (a so-called RSS reader: an app which allows You to easily be up-to-date with all Your interests and passions) - it has an option Create auto backup within its menu, which, by default, put a “HandyNewsReader_auto_backup.opml” file onto Your device internal memory storage.

The thing is that all those backups are often placed onto a device internal memory - which may not be the safest place for Your files to survive. Take my recent example: one time I turned on the phone to no avail - no reaction at all. After several times it finally launched, but You hardly could do anything with it - because almost constantly some error messages popped up. The phone has its years, so it hadn’t been so much of a surprise. It was a pretty big challenge to find my way through all the necessary menus to finally reach the factory reset feature, which all Android phones have. Fortunately - after several attempts - I made it, the phone has been successfully restored, no trace of the failure left. But I also have lost all the data which have been stored on the internal memory, all the backups included.

So it may be not much of a good idea to rely on such in-build backup feature which simply comes down to put backup files onto the internal storage. Instead, it could be much better to put them at some safer place, like external memory card (sd-card) or cloud storage. Then. in case of a similar failure in which You may not be able even to copy&paste Your crucial files and folders, both sd-card and cloud storage shouldn’t be affected by those circumstances, so all backups will survive and You will be able to use them to restore Your favorite apps.

But what to do, if an app does not give You any control on where its backup will be placed? In such a case You could use a little bit of a workaround.

How to secure any Android app?

Your silver bullet here may be the MacroDroid - a powerful app which allows You to experiment with Your Android device in the sky’s-the-limit manner. Long story short, it resembles a kind of a children construction set, arranged within Your Android environment. There are a great many things You can achieve with the help of it, including the current case of a much more reliable backup.

The idea is simple: design a mechanism which will automatically and periodically copy desired data from internal memory to the external storage (sd-card). It will be enough just to point out the source data, its destination and time interval for the backup update (any time You want).

Although MacroDroid is published both as a free and a paid app, the free variant will be completely fine to handle this particular task. So first things first, let’s grab the (free) app from Google Play. Then, launch it, grant all the necessary permissions and You’re good to go:

Automatic backup for any Android app via MacroDroid.

  1. From the main screen filled with a couple of big squares choose Add Macro.
  2. You should see Create macro screen with three tabs: Triggers (the current one), Actions and Constraints. From the list below choose Date/Time.
  3. Define a time interval when backup should be performed. To do so, choose Regular interval and set the desired time span, e.g., 5 hours. Confirm by OK.
  4. Now swipe to Actions tab and choose Files › File Operation V2.
  5. Select Copy (it should be selected already) and tap OK.
  6. Now locate the folder You want to backup. I recommend to tap on three-lines icon on the top left and choose Internal storage. Enter the folder You want to backup and tap Select › All Files. Confirm by OK.
  7. Now repeat the previous step, but this time define the final destination for Your backup - so once You tap on the three-lines icon, choose SD card this time, enter the desired folder and choose Select.

If You perform this step the first time, it may be necessary to point out the location of the sd-card as such first.

  1. Tap the confirmation icon (✔) on the bottom right.
  2. Name Your macro, ascribe to some category if You like to, and confirm by OK.
  3. If You’d like to test does it work well, choose Macros from the main screen, and then locate the one You’ve just created. Long tap on it and choose Test actions. Then open Your file manager, enter Your backup destination and check out if it’s empty or not (if everything went well, it should consist of Your backup files).

To ensure that the automatic backup will always be performed as scheduled, from the main screen choose Settings › Ignore Battery Optimisations, set Filter by to All apps, tap on MacroDroid and choose Don’t optimize, confirm by Done. This way You’ll ensure Yourself that Android won’t close MacroDroid after some time of Your device not being used.

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