January 14, 2013, 12:31 PM —
Smartphones get lost, they get stolen, they take unexpected baths and glass-shattering blows. Every so often, they get wiped out and reset, for sale, for troubleshooting, or, in my case, for messing about. When any of those things happen, a new Android can restore their system settings, their wallpaper, and some other changes. But the Android owner who has spent a notable amount of time finding, installing, and customizing all their apps have a few, mostly inconvenient restore options:
On signing into your “new” Android phone, let Google’s backup of your apps start reinstalling your previous apps—most of them, usually, and usually without your settings, data, and with you being signed out of all of them.
If you had or have a rooted) phone, you can restore your entire old phone from a full backup, perhaps made with ROM Manager or Titanium Backup. Of course, this doesn’t work if you’re moving from one device to another, or if you’re trying to fix a problem that was deep in the system.
Sit there and check that Google properly re-installs the apps you actually want on your refreshed phone. Log into each app as is needed. Be glad you have at least something marching back onto your phone.
But, as is often the case with Android, a developer has found a better way. In this case, the developer is Koushik Doutta, who has posted a very early beta of a new Android backup app, Carbon. It is such an early-release stage that the free version he is giving out to testers expires after a week. There are plenty of rough edges. But at its core, it does exactly what you need it to do.