Titanium Backup is the ultimate app of choice for every avid Android user with a rooted device. This app is your answer to the most frequently asked question coming from Android users who just rooted their device: “How do I backup my apps when moving to a custom ROM?”. Titanium Backup will not only backup your apps, but their data as well. This means, that by backing up a game, you can back up your progress in the game as well. If you’re really into music, Shazam, for example, can be backed up with all the tags intact. Of course, Titanium Backup does allow you to restore, otherwise, what’s the point? But that’s not all the app has to offer. Titanium Backup actually boasts a variety of feature rich options that most of us do not even bother looking into. For a complete look into one of the best Backup & Restore tools ever made for Android, read on!
There are two versions of Titanium Backup, the free version which only gives you basic features; and the donate/Pro version which gives you full and advanced features of Titanium Backup. The Pro version allows you to:
- backup, restore, even freeze app (disabling app);
- 0-click batch backup and restore;
- multiple app backup;
- convert system app to user app and vice versa (allows you to remove useless system app/bloatware);
- scheduled or manual sync to Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive;
- integrate updates to ROM and move user apps to ROM and SD card (to save Internal storage space), etc.
We’ll start off with what any novice user would when installing Titanium Backup for the first time. If you’re here, your device is probably already rooted. If not, you might want to check our guide on how to root your Android device.
Titanium Backup can seem intimidating to the first timers, but the app is actually quite simple to use once you know your way around it, and that’s exactly what we’re here to do.
Good, so you have Titanium Backup installed, now how do you backup your apps? Simple, hit the Backup / Restore tab as seen in the screenshot above and you should see a screen somewhat similar to the one below. The apps with their icons visible are the one’s that are already installed on your system, and the ones that are crossed out, are those that have been backed up, but not yet installed.
But what’s with the creepy smilies, the excalmatory marks and all?
Tap the Menu button on your device and hit the Legend tab. You will be shown a screen similar to the one below, listing all the symbols and what they actually mean.
Right, so you’re in the Backup/Restore menu. To backup any particular app, simply tap it and a sub menu like the one below, will pop up. No need to go all Dee Dee on Dexter here, stick to what you were here for. Hit the Backup button and leave. Please note that you can only have a single backup for every app in the free version of Titanium Backup. Now that you know how to backup an app, here’s how to restore an already backed up app. Simply tap on an app (yes the crossed out ones) and when the sub menu appears, hit the Restore button to restore that app. You will be asked whether to restore the app alone, or the app with its data. Take a pick. In some cases, restoring an app with data may cause the app to become corrupt or force close, especially when you have moved from one ROM to an entirely different ROM. In such cases, try restoring the app alone, without the data.
It is advised that if and when you do make a backup of system apps and settings, do not restore them on a totally different ROM. For example, do not restore system apps backed up in AOSP on a Sammy based ROM unless you want a mess on your hands. In all likelihood, the ROM will act up.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the Backup and Restore option, it should be safe to tell you that Wipe Data removes all the relevant data associated with that app and Un-install does exactly what it says. If you want to remove a particular backup of any app, hit the delete button. This will remove any backup of the app along with its data from your device. Freeze (Only available with Titanium Backup Pro) is a very useful option that lets you freeze up any app that you don’t want deleted, but don’t exactly want it to be running either. This option is handy for use with system apps mostly, that run unannounced and in cases where a certain app drains a lot of battery. If you’re not sure you want to delete them, you can at least stop them from running constantly in the background.
The above Backup and Restore options are all good for a few apps, what about when you have, say, a hundred of them or even more? It would be cruel if we had to go through the tap to backup process for each app one by one. Luckily, for sanity’s sake, the developers included a Batch Backup / Restore feature. Batch operations are split into 9 categories including Backup, Restore, Backup Verification, Move / Integrate, Freeze / Defrost (Pro version only), Manipulate Data, Un-install and Delete Backups.
Something different to app backup and restore is the Move / Integrate feature, which allows you to move all your apps to the SD card in batch.
Moving app to SD and integrating updates to ROM can save your Internal memory space. To do this you can batch process or do the same steps like converting to system app (described somewhere at the end of the article), but “select move app to SD card” or “integrate update to ROM”. Integrating update to ROM only available for updated system apps, such as updated Gmail or Play Store.
Coming back to batch backup and restore, here’s how you can backup all of your apps with just one tap. Hit Menu -> Batch to bring up the batch operations menu, then select RUN with the backup type of your choice. In our case, we chose Backup all user apps and were taken to a screen as shown below (on the left). You will be asked if you want to exclude backing up the apps that are active or kill them to back them up. Select the apps that you want, or just hit Select all, and once the choice is made, hit the Run the batch operation button on the top.
As for batch restore, here’s what will make you want to purchase the Pro version. Hit the Restore type of your choice, in our case we chose Restore missing apps with data. Select the apps and choose whether you want to restore the data as well. Hit the Run the batch operation button and voila! The restoration has started.
“Uh oh, it took me to the app installation screen! Is that normal?”. Unfortunately, yes it is. The free version of Titanium Backup is not so hot on restoring your apps for you. You will have to install and then hit the done tab for every app being restored in succession. Frankly, it is a pain! The Pro version lets you restore your apps in a batch as any normal batch operation should, be it 10 apps, 300 or even more.
So we’re done with the backup and restore operations but Titanium Backup has not yet run out of tricks. Did you know that you could send a list of all the apps currently installed on your PC via Bluetooth or email? Hit the Menu button on your device and tap More to bring up a list of options. Select Send Data and the screenshots pretty much say the rest.
You can also schedule when to backup your apps and system data. Even better, you can set multiple schedules. Hit the Schedules tab on the main screen and now you can add new schedules, or simply edit or remove existing ones. This can be pretty handy for times when you haven’t exactly backed up your recent apps and some custom ROM decides to go all Kung Fu on you or if you’re just forgetful. With Schedules, you can rest assure that your apps will remain safe in times like these.
There are also a couple of other nifty options if you go into the Preferences menu of Titanium Backup. If you have the Pro version, you could enable the use of Dropbox with Titanium Backup and have a cloud based backup of all your apps. Those paranoid about the safety of their backups can have an encrypted backup, but this feature, again, is for the Pro version only. By default, Titanium Backup saves all your backups in a folder named TitaniumBackup on the root of your SD card. You can change that by going into Backup folder location. If you have ever been through the backed up contents in the TitaniumBackup folder, you would have noticed how the files aren’t exactly the APK’s one would assume they would be. Instead the contents are compressed, but you can change that. Even more, you can change the compression level or choose not to compress the backup at all.
If you have the Pro version, your maximum history of a backup for each app is increased to 5! You can change the default maximum history from 1 to 5 from the Preferences menu.
One more handy feature is the Filter. Adding a filter makes finding an app from a list of hundreds very easy. Simply hit the Menu button on your device and tap the Filters button (or simply hit the Search button on your device). That said, try keeping a listed app pressed, and menu similar to the one below on the right will pop up. If the app is already backed up, you can send the backup via email or Bluetooth (Pro version only). Moreover, you can convert the app to a system app or choose to enable multiple profiles for the app (again, Pro version only) and much more.
Converting to/from system app/user app (Pro)
Converting user app to system app is usually done to prevent that app uninstalled. System app cannot be uninstalled easily. You can do this by accessing Backup/Restore page, long press the app, opening a special features dialog, and select convert to system app. To uninstall useless system app, you can first convert it to user app then uninstall it.
Lastly, if you want, you can create an installable zip file of Titanium Backup to be installed via custom Recovery. Go to More and hit Create “update.zip”… to be taken to a screen similar to he one shown below. Choose the Script type wisely, use the newer Edify script if you’re on ClockworkMod recovery 3+ or the older Amend script for ClockworkMod recovery 2. You can choose whether to install Titanium Backup as a system or user application. Select the name type and hit the Create “update.zip”… button to create the file.
This concludes our attempt in helping out Android users intimidated by Titanium Backup. Hopefully, we acquainted you with a few features you had not tried out before.
credits: Zayed Rehman
edited by arawn