Offline backup – my current setup, are there replacements for `adb backup`?

Hi together,

I’m sharing my current backup strategy which does not require root or any cloud service.

Apps with backup automatism

  1. I configured Signal to automatically create a daily backup (see Signal docs)
  2. I configured Simplemobiletools’ calendar app (from F-droid store) to create automatic (daily) backups:
    • Three-dots-menuSettings → [scroll to the bottom, section Backups] → Manage automatic backups
    • I understand that simplemobiletools has been sold. I hope that Fossify continues this work and I hope to update to that app at some point.


I use Syncthing on both my Fairphone (from F-droid store) and my desktop PC (from Fedora packages). Whenever both are in the same network, they automatically sync my pictures, the app backups (see above) and some other folders that I change often.

Manual app backups

Before executing my backup script (see below), I manually export settings from a few apps I’m commonly using:

  • Simplemobiletools’ contacts app (from F-droid store)
    • Three-dots-menuExport contacts to a .vcf file
    • I understand that simplemobiletools has been sold. I hope that Fossify continues this work and I hope to update to that app at some point.
  • NetGuard (from F-droid store)

Backup script with adb

When I connect my backup disk to my PC, I manually execute a script which does:

  1. Save list of installed packages: adb shell pm list packages | sort
  2. Copy both automatic and manual backups created above with adb pull -a [src] [dest], then deleting the files from my smartphone with adb shell rm [src]
  3. Use adb backup to backup most apps: adb backup -apk -all -keyvalue -f[BACKUP_FILE]
    • I had the -shared option there too until recently, but as I’m backing up the SDCard separately (see below), I don’t think this is useful any more
  4. Use adb pull -a to copy most of the files from SDCard
    • I’m using a combination of allowlist/skiplist to skip specific folders, e.g. huge binaries from OsmAnd or cache files from other apps
  5. Use adb pull -a to copy most of the readable files from system partition (/)
    • This probably does not make much sense, but I’m doing it out of couriosity :slight_smile:

For some of the commands above, I save logs and for some I also save checksums to my backup disk.


Does anyone have suggestions to improve this setup?

As adb backup is deprecated (XDA Developers), I’m searching for an alternative. I’d prefer one that allows full automation of backup and allows partial restores only (e.g. selected apps only in case I don’t want to restore all apps from old to new smartphone). Do you know any such piece of software to replace adb backup?

Some people made all kinds of tools for this purpose. Currently, ones that are actively maintained are:

There also used to be something called Titanium Backup, but that seems to be no longer maintained. Later on there was also Migrate, but that too seems abandoned.

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