In Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google added the option to backup app data, device settings, call history and SMS messages to Google Drive, thus significantly removing one of the major pain points which had existed in Android for years. To restore app data, users had been relying on solutions which required root such as Titanium Backup. To restore call history and SMS messages, users had to rely on different apps as well, and so on. The feature addition in Marshmallow was a much-needed move, as it increased convenience for users and allowed them to change devices without having to lose their data or go out of their way to restore it.
However, the problem with restoring data until now was that the option to restore data was only present during the initial device setup. Once users had setup their devices, they could not restore their data from the cloud. If they skipped the option during the setup, they were out of luck if they wanted to restore the backed up data at a later point in time. The only option, in this case, would be to factory reset the device again. Some users even had their restoration process halt or fail, leaving them unable to get their backed data on the device even if they chose to restore it from Google Drive.
Android 8.1 Oreo rectifies this by adding an option to finish restoring data even after the initial device setup has completed. The new option is visible as a banner in the ‘Suggestions’ section of the Android Settings app. Once users tap on the option, they are presented with the choice to either restore from the web (cloud storage), or to restore data from an iPhone.
When they choose “backup from the cloud” option, their backed up data is visible and users can choose which portions to restore from app data, device settings, call history, SMS messages, etc. Users can then choose to restore any specific portion or to restore everything from the backup.
Our take on this is that the new option polishes Google’s backup and restore capabilities. At one time, stock Android’s capabilities were lacking here, as custom OEM ROMs such as MIUI already have a full device backup and restore tool, which can be used anytime, not just during the initial device setup. Now, Google has caught up in this regard. This new capability will be part of the stable version of Android 8.1 Oreo, which will be released in December.
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