25 November, 2011

"Titanium Backup" is a HUGE Time-Saver for Restoring Android Apps to a new OS

I currently have the second incarnation of the HTC Incredible phone (meaning the updated screen, not the 'Incredible 2').  Verizon released the v2.3.4 Gingerbread update, in August, 2011, and then pulled it, citing difficulties.

As of November, 2011, Verizon has a known issue where the Gingerbread v2.3.4 update will offer to install, on some phones, but will fail to install, even after offering to update the phone.  This happened to me four times.  Even though the update claimed to have downloaded, I could never find it on my SD card.  Even though I answered, in the affirmative, to the prompt, "Install Update Now?", the update would not install.

Navigating through the phone's menu, to the software information, and asking for an update would always inform me my phone was on the current version and no updates would be needed.  Then, a few days later, I would again be prompted to run the update, and the cycle would repeat.

Googling this phenomenon, I found that many others were also experiencing this, and that upon calling Verizon, Verizon stated that they had pulled that update back in August.

Tired of all this, I performed the following steps:  [Note you will need to root your phone in order to run Titanium Backup.]

  1. Ran 'Titanium Backup' and backed up all my apps and their related data, as well as my system settings.
  2. Copied my TitaniumBackup folder, on my SD card, to my DropBox account, just in case something were to happen to the SD card folder during the OS update process.  [Note: Nothing bad happened to the SD card's folder.]
  3. Located the Gingerbread 2.3.4 update on the web.  Because I like installing updates via the phone itself (versus via executable via my PC), I opted to place the update to the root of my SD card, then install it via HBOOT.  The update ran with no problems.
  4. All my apps were gone, as expected, so I downloaded 'Titanium Backup' and reinstalled it, then ran through the process of restoring my apps.  'TB' found the backup folder without prompting, and I was off and running. Since the free version requires answering the install dialog separately, for each application -- and I had nearly 300 apps -- I aborted the restoration process and paid the $6+ for the full version.
  5. I restarted the phone, ran Titantium Backup's restoration process, and all my previous apps installed.  I ran a sampling of 10 of the apps and found all my previous data had been successfully restored.  Note that I chose not to restore my system data, because I did not want to risk the chance that some setting, that changed between Android 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.3.4 (Gingerbread), would screw something up.  It' much easier to just tweak a few things, interface wise, and have the benefit of restored apps and their data.
Having the full version of 'TB' meant I was able to enable its "Use Dropbox" mode so that my phone's backups would be uploaded to my Dropbox account.  For good measure I also utilized an encryption key to protect my data in the cloud.

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