It appears that Google will permanently delete your Android device backups if you don’t back use the device for two months.
Reddit user Tanglebrook reported this as a PSA (public service announcement) when he discovered that his device backup, including Wi-Fi passwords, settings and data from 50 apps was wiped from his account.
As he explains in a post on Reddit, he had returned his Nexus 6P and was using an old iPhone till he found a “good Android replacement.” He only discovered the data loss when he chanced upon his backup folder on Drive and noticed that the backup was gone.
On contacting Google Support, he found that the backup was indeed gone and that recovery was impossible. Worse still, he found that Google offered no option for storing a device backup on Drive for a longer period. If you don’t use your Android device for two months, its backup data will be deleted and that’s all there is to it.
For users who rely heavily on Google services, this has indeed been a painful revelation, as some Reddit users noted.
More importantly, it’s the fact that Google gives no notice of its intentions that has users riled up. One would expect Google to give users notice before taking as drastic a step as permanently deleting data from their Drive folders.
Unfortunately for Android users, Google doesn’t offer an iTunes-style backup service that Apple users can benefit from. iOS device users need only connect their device to a PC or Mac to take a complete system backup via iTunes.
The Android device backup service isn’t as comprehensive, but backup data from compatible apps and things like Wi-Fi passwords are important. Thankfully, photos, documents and other such personal data is not subject to the same two-month limitation.
As Android Police advises, if you’re taking a break from Android, make sure to use your device from time to time. If the break is longer, try to transfer the backup to a new device.
Of course, if Google take the trouble to give users notice and present them with an option to extend the backup period.