But, thankfully, there is an app for this, which would take apps and games backup for you, without requiring rot access at all, and you’ll need only PC to set it up.
The app we’re talking about is Helium, and is made by the Koush, who’s famous in Android blogosphere for his ClockworkMod recovery and other work.
WHAT HELIUM CAN DO?
Helium can backup your apps — offering you a choice to back up data only, or .APK files too. Helium can create backup on your internal and external SD card or, online to your Dropbox, Box and Google Drive after you connect it to the service.
It gets immensely helpful when you are looking to sync your apps — games, actually, are the fun here — across two or more devices. Just read the section below for this, titled: HOW TO SYNC BACKUP OF APPS USING HELIUM ON ANDROID DEVICES.
Helium is not compatible with Motorola devices, and there are issues with some devices of Sony too, mainly Xperia S and Xperia Z. As the helium developer says, Sony has disabled backup on these devices. Here’s the quote from the developer:
Note: Some Sony devices have issues with Helium. This includes the Xperia S and Xperia Z. Sony has *disabled* backup on these devices completely.
WHAT’S .APK AND APP-DATA?
Well, .APK is app installer file, like the .EXE for Windows. It simply install the apps, as if downloaded from play store. Completely fresh install.
App-data, is app’s data on your phone. It includes app’s settings mainly, and other cache files. So, for games, it’s your game progress — levels cleared, item unlocked, achievements, etc. stuff. And for apps, well let’s take an alarm app for example, it would alarms created by you, ringtones selected, etc. stuff.
App-data doesn’t include files saved on your SD card. For example, if you downloaded an attachment from Gmail android app, then it’s not its data, and because it’s already saved on PC, you really don’t need to back up these files.
You get to choose whether you want Data Only, or Data plus .APK file, for backup of your Apps and Games.
As you can see in step 3 of the guide ‘How to Backup Apps using Helium Android App’ below, you can select and deselect the option App Data Only (smaller backups) after selecting the apps for backup, to tell app whether .apk files are be backed up or not along with the data of apps.
HOW TO USE HELIUM TO CREATE BACKUP OF APPS
1. ENABLE USB DEBUGGING
On Android 2.3 and below: Go to devices’s Settings » Applications » Development – select the ‘USB debugging’ checkbox.
On Android 4.0 and above, do this:
- Enable developer options first: Go to your Settings » About device » scroll to the bottom and tap on “Build number” seven times to enable developer options
- Enable USB Debugging: Open Settings » select Developer options » Tick the “USB debugging” checkbox (under Debugging section)
2. INSTALL DRIVERS
Without appropriate drivers installed and working, it’s impossible for this beauty called Helium to work. So, head over to this page for drivers and install the driver for your device.
3. VERIFY DRIVERS
Connect your android device to PC. It should show up in My Computer if the drivers are correctly installed. Although, this isn’t very fool proof way to check, it’s good.
To confirm that drivers are working 100%, connect your device to your Windows PC and then open device manager on PC. Then, look for an entry, named, either of Android USB Device or ADB Interface. That’s your device. If drivers are installed properly and are fully working, then there should not be a small yellow triangle with exclamation sign on device’s tab.
If it’s there, it means drivers were not installed properly.
4. INSTALL HELIUM ANDROID APP
5. INSTALL HELIUM PC SOFTWARE
Download Helium for your desktop from here. Choose between Windows, mac or Linux, whichever OS you got. Now, on Windows PC, just click the CarbonSetup.msi file to begin installation and complete it. Restart your PC now.
6. ENABLE APPLICATION BACKUP NOW..
This is important part. It involves establishing connection between the Helium Android app and its PC counterpart. Once this is done, Application Backup gets enabled on your device, and you can start backing up apps.
Step-1 Open the Helium on PC. (It might be already ON and running in background as it’s set to auto-start with Windows when you power on PC.) See the screenshot below, it will look like this. Now, move to next step.
Step-2 Open the Helium app on your Android device.
Tap on Helium’s icon in app drawer. It will ask you to connect to your Google account for online backups to your account, which is optional. If you cancel it, it will just say that it’s a no problem, and that you can take backups on device’s USB storage (that is: internal or external SD card).
Step-3 On rooted devices, Helium will look for root access. And if it finds one, it will ask for Superuser permission to have root access. If Helium is provided with root access, then there is no need for anything more to be done. Just select the apps for backup and start to back them up.
Step-4 Welcome screen will appear, Tap on OK.
Now the app would wait for.. uh, see next steps.
Step-5 It’s time to connect Helium Android app to Helium PC software using the USB cable. Connect, and then just wait.
Step-6 The Helium PC software and the app would communicate to each other and when the connection has been established all fine, the desktop software will show the tick sign, as shown below.
Step-7 Once you get the above on Helium desktop, you can close the PC software and disconnect the device too. Active connection with PC isn’t required for backup and restore. Plus, only when you Power Off your android device, will you need to connect with Helium desktop software again, not otherwise.
7.HOW TO BACKUP APPS USING THE HELIUM ANDROID APP
Step-1 Now, the easy part, which was worth all this. Taking backup of apps with their data. Open the Helium app on your Android device.
Step-2 Select the Apps you want to backup.
Step-3 You can swipe up from below (try from that blue line) to see the options as regards backup. Now, let’s discuss backing up with its .apk file and without .apk file (app-data only).
- Data Backup Only: If you want to take back up of data only of the apps, then swipe up and then keep the checkbox of the option App Data Only (smaller backups) selected, which it is by default. In this case, Helium will ask you to download the app from Play Store and after that the app will restore data, so that the app/game will be exactly as it was at the time of backup. It’s good especially for online backups, as size is small compared to full backups.
- Full Backup: While, if you want to back up both the .apk file and data of apps, then deselect the checkbox of option “App Data Only (smaller backups)”. In this case, both app and app’s data will restored without the need to download from play store. If you have enough space on your device’s internal/external memory, then sure choose this option as it provides full backup and restore. Evidently, it’s not good for Online backups and restore as its backup size is huge.
Step-4 After you’ve selected apps for the backup, tap on Backup to start backing up the data of apps, or .APK installation files too, depending on whether you select or deselected the checkbox discussed above.
Step-5 The app will ask for storage to be used. Choose one.