Best back-up method

Thanks for your comment.
I know that it’s a bad habit. But if a small update like this one (supposed to be a security fix from Google + some other enhancements & fixes) can brick a smartphone, then there’s a reliability issue, from my point of view.
Back to your advice: which backup tool are you using? Which one will you advise in conjunction with Fairphone OS?

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On that we agree.

As for backups, my case is probably special, since 99% of the data I have on the phone comes from my computer(s), so it’s trivial to copy it over again if needed.
The only data specific to the phone are my contacts (I used to sync those, now just export them and copy them over as a .vcf file), and any pictures and movies I shot. I just copy those over when I connect my phone to the laptop for charging (every morning).

Emails and stuff are mirrored on my phone but are actually on my laptop, there is nothing in SMS or Signal I would mind losing, my web browser bookmarks are backed up through Mozilla Sync (because I use the phone’s bookmarks also on my tablet).

That been said, there are lots of backup solutions out there, mostly cloudy ones, I just can’t endorse any of them because I haven’t tested them. Beware, cloud solutions are much like real clouds: Fluffy but unreliable. A little wind, and your cloud is gone forever… Their biggest (if not only) advantage is convenience.

Always back up your really important stuff yourself, on a couple different USB sticks for instance, and leave one of those at some friend/family.

I have solved the “important data” issue by using a local password management program (Password Safe), in which I’ve entered all my important data, passwords but also my contracts, IDs, credit cards, bank accounts, whatever number tied to your life you might have in the country you live in.

It’s all securely stored in a small, well-encrypted file I just copy around, on USB sticks, on my phone, on all my computers, everywhere. Since it’s protected by serious encryption and requires a 30+ character password (sic), it’s pretty safe. I don’t have nation state-level adversaries… :grin:
That takes care of the really important stuff. Then there is the “I’d hate losing this” stuff, which I copy on a couple USB hard drives and a couple encrypted 256 GB USB sticks I always have on me, in my bag. For encryption I use VeraCrypt (Windows/MacOS/Linux).

Hope that helps.


Not to reiterate but to confirm, the process KurF uses is almost identical to mine, apart from using micro SD cards and not USB sticks and I’m still using Truecrypt :slight_smile:

Thanks, yes it helps. It’s not an easy topic it seems … :neutral_face:

I’m using Keepass as a password wallet, with two USB adapters (metal hardened model Kingston MobileLite Duo 3C) with a SD card slot and USB-A + USB-C port on both ends. Each “USB storage” is equipped with a 16 MB SD card made of pSLC NAND cells. It should be ok until the end of my life … They are a bit pricey, but they really stand a lot of write cycles and they are industrial grade.
So I simply update one and sync on the second, whenever needed. I then always have a backup at two places. But this is only for my passwords and some other metadata. Not for large files.
I know VeraCrypt. I used TrueCrypt before. But I got issues with this one on Windows, and my volume was completely unreachable afterwards so I dropped this solution.
I wish there was a complete solution on Android which would be reliable whatever the type of distribution. But it seems it’s not so easy to find.
Anyways, thanks for sharing your solutions, I appreciate.

Just buy a couple (brand) 256 GB USB drives, they are cheap nowadays, that’s what I use. No need to have “hardened”, “waterproof” or “extra-tough” shells or similar nonsense, since they will spend their life in a drawer or in my laptop bag… :grin:

Concerning VeraCrypt, what problem did you have? I never had any (but then again I don’t use the Windows version).

If I remember well I wasn’t able to access the hidden and encrypted file. There was always an error. It was under Windows and I wasn’t sure if the issue was coming from Windows itself or VeraCrypt. The USB drive (WD book) was functioning well, so it really looked like the data was corrupted on this last.
I finally gave up after trying on another Windows computer, on which I installed VeraCrypt on purpose.
I recycled the USB drive for other stuff and still have it functioning.

I use VeraCrypt on a daily basis. Never had any problem.

I don’t like cloud based backups, e.g. by Google.

For a full backup of my FP2, I use TWRP (Team Win Recovery Project) though it’s a bit complicated to use (requires using adb to flash TWRP as a one time recovery bootloader). Fortunately Fairphone’s bootloader is unlocked :slightly_smiling_face:

TWRP writes the backup on my (large) SD-card. From there, I also put a copy on my PC.

We once experienced a fatal “encryption unsuccessful error” which required a factory reset - the TWRP backup saved us then :+1:

Cloud is a method / tool. Google is a company. Don’t confuse these notions.
Cloud is fine if you can trust the operator.

That of the FP2, yes.

The only operator I would trust would be me :smirk:

What about FP3 and FP4 ?

I expected you might say that and I admit I begged the question. But it’s not a very generous remark for some who are making efforts to democratise open computing. Read around some more. Other solutions than GAFAM are available, that ask enable you to pay rather than just making you pay with your data.

You can install your own server using (for eg) NextCloud.

In more practical terms, I would encourage associations of users to get together to share ressources that they can trust. Not everyone has the time to spend running their own servers and we all need to be able to get a life.

Search the forum for “unlock bootloader”, you’ll find what you need. Also check the official FP website, they publish all necessary info.

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@OldRoutard Glad I could be of service :smirk:

However, I prefer to backup my phone to my PC where it goes to my backups on external harddisks.

I see no advantage or need to put a backup with private data in a cloud where I don’t know what happens to my data and whether the cloud will still be available in the future :thinking:

Maybe I am tired… So has ANYONE actually answered the topic?

I mean:

  • Using USB-sticks sounds fine, but can be a pain with newer Android file sysemt security restrictions.
  • Unlocking bootloader (or TWRP on fp2) is NOT an easy thing to do, compared to Google just asking you to activate the cloud backup, by pressing a button

So when someone asks for “Best back-up method” what are we looking for?

  • Easy?
  • Secure?
  • Both?

And which situation?

  • Restore when phone gone through “Factory reset”?
  • Restore when phone got bricked by a bad update?

Personally I do not have time playing around with bootloaders anymore. And my priority is saving pictures, and contacts, and som private OTP-keys. All being classified as being data that I do not want to share with any service provider ruled by “US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act", or with the possibility to ANY state officials going through my stuff without me knowing.

Passwords? Sure important, but why not use SuperGenPass combined with FIDO2 sticks, and just get more secure that way?

If ignoring the “bricked scenario” and using scenario of “Factory reset”, then my guess is “easy appdata backup” should be a good solution? Maybe even the “Best” solution?

I recently switched FP2 → FP4, and sure, SD-card swap was pretty easy (for pictures/videos), but then I had some 8-9 import/export files to manage. And of course some of those files did not get found by apps due to the higher security in Android 12…

Currently looking at apps like “Neo Backup”, which with its more modern code “should” be able to handle the higher security restrictions. But not done any restore yet, so can’t give an advice if that solution even works, or how it would handle high data volumes, like Image-apps, or Map-apps…

My hope is to find an app that can export/import to an external device, like SD, and maybe have that storage location being handled by Nextcloud (or any other storage solution). Which (if I calculate this right, would mean a “no hands backup”, and maybe even a “no hassle restore”)

In summary it is good to hear I am not the only one playing around with files manually, but must be a better way out there… and without using Google cloud…

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You might consider to use a custom ROM like e g. /e/OS with Seedvault as included backup solution.

So far I would not recommend Seedvault as a good all in one back-up method.

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I’ve been using NeoBackup for years and apart from a few edge cases (Signal, the new Steam app …) it generally works very well. For some apps like OSMand you’ll have to enable a more extensive backup mode, orherwise it won’t get backed up completely.
I’ve set the backup location to a folder on the SD and that’s replicated via Syncthing to additional locations, works great :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree with @yvmuell, I keep Seedvault running because it’s nice to get to at least a minimal working environment after a factory reset, but it’s still too limited (which hopefully changes in the near future :crossed_fingers:)

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Although definitely not perfect it’s probably still one of the better solutions if you’re searching for something

while avoiding G services.

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It can’t backup over twenty of the apps I’ve installed.

It’s nice to have, but if a significant chunk of my important data gets lost in case of a failure, that’s not a backup.

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Well, that’s not wrong. But the question was regarding an easy solution using just some buttons. How many apps does Neo backup save/restore without root access…?


Entirely fair, without root access it will backup / restore zero apps.

In that case I’d argue there’s no solution at all. Seedvault won’t backup a significant number of apps and Googles solution (which respect apps not wanting to be backed up as well) won’t either.

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