Unable to make a backup with Titanium Backup


I’d like to make a backup of my phone onto a removable SD card, such that I can wipe the phone and then restore from the backup later without using a computer. This is a Fairphone 2 running Open OS, rooted and with XPrivacy installed.

I’ve tried making a backup with TWRP, but that only backs up a fraction of my data. In particular it doesn’t seem to backup the content of the built-in SD card at all, and that’s where most of my data lives.

Next I tried installing Titanium backup. That’s hard to get if you don’t have the Play store, but I downloaded an APK which seems legit:


Now I want to make it back up onto the external SD card, not the internal one. I managed to get Amaze to create a directory there, although it went through a very odd dance involving an “open from” dialog that I don’t understand at all. Now in Titanium backup it says the folder I created is not writable. I can’t find any way in Amaze to make the folder writable. Is this just not a thing that you’re allowed to do in Android? I’m a crusty old unix person and I have a hard time coping with phone OSes that won’t let me do normal computer things.

I also can’t find any way in Titanium backup to create a folder for it to use, which seems very strange.

I could probably get around some of this on the command line, but I’m trying to avoid that since it seems error-prone and I don’t want to be fighting against the OS I’m trying to use.

Is there some straightforward way to just back up and restore the phone? Searching the topic makes it seem like Android’s idea of “backups” is “just give everything to Google”. That makes sense, but I don’t want to do that.

Or perhaps the idea is you use rsync like a normal person to backup most of your data, and TWRP for the hard-to-reach places left over? Is there a good convenient shell around rsync I should be using? Any walkthroughs of the backup/restore process?


in your case you must edit the platform.xml file as suggested here:

SD Card no writing permission in FP2

you can then use the sd card as a backup location for Titanium Backup.

As for the Titanium Backup apk file itself, you can download it directly through http://www.matrixrewriter.com/android/

Just in case for the future…

TiBu backs up apk and the data from apps themselves. It does not back up all of the internal storage (/storage/sdcard0). Either you create an image backup with twrp, or you archive (portions of) the internal storage with a file manager

I had a go editing platform.xml. When I try to push it back it says “Read-only file system”. So that isn’t working.

mat@charly:~/Downloads$ adb pull /system/etc/permissions/platform.xml
388 KB/s (6370 bytes in 0.016s)
mat@charly:~/Downloads$ vi platform.xml 
mat@charly:~/Downloads$ adb push platform.xml /system/etc/permissions/platform.xml
failed to copy 'platform.xml' to '/system/etc/permissions/platform.xml': Read-only file system

I also tried installing a thing called SDFix:


But when I try to run it XPrivacy says it’s trying to access my phone’s identity. When I deny that, the application exits. So this looks like it’s doing something evil and I don’t trust it.

Then I did dig out my bluetooth keyboard to try it on the command line, but that file is not writable.

Can you suggest another way to edit this file?

/system is mounted read only. You have to mount it read write, and you have to be root to be able to modify files there

Hi lklaus,

My phone is “rooted”, that’s how I installed XPosed and XPrivacy. Is there some step left? I tried sudo, but it says “not found”. Any instructions on how to mount it read/write?

Can you explain what you mean by “image backup”?

Using a file manager to copy files around seems like a pretty bad idea. It won’t preserve permissions / symlinks / timestamps etc. That’s why you normally make backups with tar or rsync or something. Meanwhile an “image backup” sounds like a dump of the raw disk image, which is also bad because it won’t be incremental so it’ll take forever - but I guess that’s not what you mean.

Oh wait, mounting system read/write, that rings a bell. That’s a really dramatic step and the next time there’s a system update it’ll trash my changes, right? That doesn’t seem like a good idea either.

Anyway, if Titanium Backup can’t backup the majority of my files it doesn’t seem like it gets me anything more than TWRP, so I’ll abandon that route.

Yes, everytime after a system update, you have to flash Xposed again as well. you might as well prepare a modified platform.xml file and save it on your sd card. you can then, after every update, install the Xposed module and push the modified platform.xml to the right place…

I have been usind Ti Ba ever since I have a Fairphone and it is amazing…I have not looked further.

I guess that works, but I’m already chafing at having to reflash Xposed every time a system update arrives so I’m not thrilled by the idea.

How do you backup your internal SD card?

I back all Apps with data through Titanium Backup…This includes also System apps. That is all I want to back up…

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You can make a tar archive, or create a zip (with the file manager), whatever you’re more comfortable with. And yes, xposed and other modifications have to be flashed again, as they’re not in the base image. Still, a matter of minutes…

Please keep in mind that TWRP does also not backup the complete internal storage. It leaves /data/media out, which sometimes contains media data…

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