When people talk about the advantages of Android, one of the first things mentioned is usually control. With Android, you can exert a level of control over your phone that would never be possible on iOS. Under or overclocking, flashing ROMs, wireless tethering, and backing up your entire phone are all easily within reach when you have a fully rooted Android device.
The best part is that those functions aren’t the end of what you can do on Android. With Titanium Backup, you can have even more control over every aspect of your phone. Put it this way: what ClockworkMod is to your entire phone, Titanium Backup is to your apps. If you’ve ever wanted more control over those nebulous Sprint NASCAR apps, you can finally delete them with this app. Here’s an overview of what TB (the app, not tuberculosis) is all about.
What is so Special About Titanium Backup?
Titanium Backup is the best backup application for rooted devices. The free version of the app is good enough for the regular users but if you are a Power user, get the Pro version. It’s worth it!
Warning: Titanium Backup is a Very Powerful application. It provides deep and direct access to your phone’s system and any uninformed action on your part can cause some serious damage to your phone. If you are not sure what some function of the app does, refer to Titanium Backup wiki for detailed information.
- Store backups of your apps
- Restore apps from those backups
- Easy way to move apps to SD card or back to internal memory
- “Freeze” unwanted apps without deleting them
- Delete stock apps
- Backup your system data
- Schedule app backups
Main Features of the Pro Version:
- Apps freezer
- Dropbox sync
- Hypershell speed
- Restore individual apps+data from CWM backups!
- Protect backup against deletion and many more!
Lets take a look at how the Titanium Backup app works.
Background and Installation
Alright, let’s start with the obvious. You have to be rooted in order to use Titanium Backup. All the cool things the app does aren’t remotely possible unless you grant it root access to your phone. If you haven’t rooted yet, visit XDA Forums and search for a rooting guide for your device. The rooting methods may vary depending on your carrier and version of Android OS on your device.
For rooted users, getting TB (again, not the lung disease) is as easy as going to the Android Market. There’s a free and paid version of the app. I recommend trying the free version first. If you enjoy the app, get the paid edition and support the developer.
From there it’s just a matter of granting Titanium Backup root access to your phone.
The first screen looks confusing, but relax. TB is not known for its easily understandable interface or prettiness. Besides, if you’re using this app then you rooted your phone and have handled worse.
On the first page is an option for Data Profiles. This is an especially cool feature, something you didn’t even realize you needed. Each app has its own storage system of memory. If you shell out for the paid version of TB, you can assign each Profile its own unique memory within the same app.
It’s a feature that I never really considered before but applaud. With Data Profiles, you can store multiple saves for games like Game Dev Story which normally only have one save slot. Or you could have a separate Profile for your browser to keep everyday browsing separate from your… “other” browsing.
Apps to SD (And Back)
One of the most inscrutable features of Android phones is their insistence that apps be installed on internal system memory. This rule is silly because system memory is limited and can’t be upgraded like an SD card can.
That’s where Titanium Backup comes in. Long press on any app on the app list and a menu will appear. On that handy menu is the option to “Move to SD card.” There’s a warning at the bottom of the menu about doing this, but I didn’t encounter any trouble. So long as you save a backup before moving, the app should be fine.
Anyway, press “Move to SD card” and watch Titanium Backup work its magic. Soon enough the app will be on your SD card and free of that stifling system memory. In theory, if you had a ludicrously large amount of apps, you could switch out sets of apps by switching out memory cards. Not sure how many people will actually do that, though.
One of those irritating aspects of Android is the constant presence of undeletable bloatware apps. Sprint TV, NASCAR, and NOVA are all useless and maddeningly immune to deletion. Even if you’re rooted and can actually delete them, don’t. Certain bloatware apps are actually an integral part of your Android ROM.
So you can’t go on a deleting spree. What then? Titanium Backup offers a nice (paid again) alternative, “freezing.” Just tap an app from the list and select the option to freeze it. The app will still sit on your phone and take up memory, but now it’s cut off from executing any action or running. If you’re still plagued by stock apps, this is your best bet.
App Backup… and Restore
Perhaps the most important feature of Titanium Backup is its ability to create backups of your apps. At this task, it excels. Simply pull up the list of apps and tap the ones which you want to save. TB will create a backup on your SD card which you can then transfer to a PC to save space.
App backups are quite useful. Want to save that DoodleJump high score or your progress in Game Dev Story? Done. Hate losing your texts or bookmarks every time you flash a new ROM? No problem. Just restore from that backup you made.
There is a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark against each of the apps. Wondering what it means? It shows that there is no backup for that app yet. There are different symbols to denote the various statuses of backup for each app. Check the Legend to see what each symbol means.
If you have too many apps installed on our device, use the filter to shorten the list to the apps that you want to see. You can even create labels to have enhanced filtering functionality.Titanium Backup lets you schedule periodic app backups à la Tasker. With the free version, you can set your apps to automatically back themselves up again if updated or changed (e.g. used) at all. This way you save memory and processing power.
Restoring from backup is just a 1-click process. Select the app that you want restored and select ‘Restore’ from the menu that pops up. It is possible to restore just the data or app or both app+data.
Batch processing is what makes handling apps so easy and comfortable. You can Backup and Restore apps, wipe data, move or uninstall apps as a batch operation.
Again, here the pro version gets the cool stuff. Shell out and you can verify your backups and batch Freeze/Defrost apps. Batch commands are nice because you can set them to run and leave your phone to do its thing for a while.
Titanium Backup has a number of settings that you can configure as per your desire. Quite a few settings are applicable only for the Pro version.
Again, a word of caution. Do Not play with the settings unless you are sure what you are doing.
In case of any doubts about the app settings or features, refer to Titanium Backup Wiki for more information.
All in all, Titanium Backup greatly impressed me. It’s not just a tool for saving copies of your apps, it’s an essential app that every rooted user should have. The free version is fairly useable, but I recommend shelling out for the paid edition for the wider set of features.
The excellent capabilities and widespread usefulness make this one app that really earns its money. We all need backups and no other app does it better than Titanium Backup.
Download Titanium Backup from the Android Market:
Start a barcode (QR code) scanner on your phone and scan the QR code below. This will take you directly to the Android market to download the app. If you do not have a QR Code scanner app, choose one from the Top QR Code Scanner Apps for Android.
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