[How To] Titanium Backup Tips

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  1. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    Many newer rooters seem to have questions about how to get the most out of Titanium Backup. There are so many options...what do you select and when? It took me a long time using this app to get totally comfortable with it and I thought I'd share what I've learned in case it helps others.

    Much of what I'm stating here is my opinion only and I know I won't hit on nearly everything so this is intended to be a thread where everyone can share their techniques and methods.

    Free Version Or Paid?
    If you have any intention of flashing ROMs on even a semi-regular basis, save yourself the grief and get the paid version. If you do not, you will have to manually restore each app. This is time consuming and a pain. Try free if you'd like but most end up with the paid version so might as well clear that hurdle out of the gate.

    Making Your First Backup
    Once you're up and running, it's time to make your first backup. Right away the jury's divided on what selection to make. Here's my tip...choose Menu > Batch > "Backup all user apps + system data". You do not necessarily have to RESTORE system data but why not back it up just in case? We'll go more in depth on that issue later. Once your very first backup is complete, you can choose the "Verify all your backups" if you wish but after about the first time of doing that, I found the step to be rather unnecessary but the option is there if you want.

    Set A Schedule For Automatic Backup
    Once you have a verifiable backup under your belt, I think it's wise to set up auto backup. It's important to note that each backup you make overwrites the previous so you are not using up a whole bunch of SD card space, only insuring that you have the latest stuff backed up for your setup.

    So on the main screen, press the "Schedules" button. First thing to note is that you can set up more than one schedule. The frequency of scheduling is very much up to user preference so I'll simply list my method and leave it at that:
    1.) Backup all user apps + system data
    I perform this backup once/week on Sunday, some people do it as much as once/day.
    2.) Redo backups for newer app versions
    I perform this backup once/week on Wednesday. This allows any market updates to get backed up only 3 days after my main backup so I'm never more than a few days from being up to snuff. Again, a person could go more but for me that's entirely adequate. If I flash a ROM and I'm short an update or two that landed in the gap, a quick visit to the market and I re-update the app if necessary. Easy.

    In my opinion, everything up to this point is really pretty straghtforward. But restoring is where it gets slightly more tricky. The most common need for a restore function for most users is probably going to be when flashing to a new ROM. Obviously, the only apps you'll have at that point is whichever ones the dev baked into the ROM by design. So head on over to the Market and red-downlaod Titanium. It will recognize the verification file on your SD card and you're back in the game. Now here is the two schools of thought on restoring following a ROM flash:

    A.) If the ROM you are coming from uses the same framework as the ROM you're flashing to...you may be fine restoring all apps + system data (example: Sense to Sense).


    B.) To be on the ultimate safe side and avoid system conflicts, (FC's, etc) do not restore system data.

    I typically choose option B. Once you get proficient at restoring via Titanium, you can have a new ROM up and running in a matter of about 10-20 minutes easily. My choice for restoring is almost always "Restore missing apps with data". Then you'll get all your apps and their individual data back without messing with system settings.

    What are system settings? Ringtone, stock texting notifications, default connection type, etc. There just aren't that many of the usual suspect things to change that make it worth rolling the dice with restoring system settings and causing a conflict between the outgoing and incoming ROM. And definitely choose option B if you're flashing from a Sense to a Vanilla ROM for example. You're practically guaranteed to have conflicts.

    As a final note, if you happen to be making a leap to an entirely different OS (2.2 to 2.3 etc), I highly recommend only restoring market apps, sometimes called user apps. We are now making such a major change that there's a need to be extra, extra careful. Sometimes when choosing the "restore missing apps with data" option in these circumstances, certain non-market apps might try to go along for the ride on the restore effort. My advice is to NOT allow this to happen making sure only apps you have installed from the market are checked. Simply uncheck any non-market items and run the batch operation. Again, this only applies when jumping from one OS to another.

    But Iowabowtech, Why Even Backup System Data Then?
    Couple reasons for this. Let's say something goes south with your current ROM (bootloop or similar due to loading an add-on) and it's been awhile since you did a Nandroid backup. Oops. Not that big of a deal due to Titanium. If need be, just reload the ROM from scratch, then this is an ideal time to restore apps + system data. You already know this configuration worked great with this ROM as it was saved while running this ROM. Now you almost instantly have your ROM back, plus all apps and their data, plus all your system settings. Pretty much nothing left to do.

    Another great use for restoring system data is, for example, if you accidentally delete a very important text message. The more you backup on the autoscheduling we discussed earlier, the greater the chance you'll have a backup that includes the desire text (food for thought). But since texts are system data you would do this:

    Menu > Batch > Restore missing apps + all system data

    Now wait...press "deselect all". You're only looking to restore a particular item so as to minimize your potential to bork other things. In this case, it would be by checking only the [SMS/MMS/APN] Dialer Storage option. Then press "Run the batch operation" button at the top of the screen and viola, your missing texts are back and nothing else is affected.

    So in other words, you're pretty much restoring only what you really need in a sort of ala carte fashion to minimize risk yet get back what you need. Hence the reason to backup all apps + system data...just in case you ever need it.

    Titanium Backup vs. Nandroid: Which to use and when?
    This is a common question on the forums and it helps to know exactly what each option offers.

    A Nandroid backup is a full sytem backup. I often describe it by comparing it to the Windows Restore program. It's an exact snapshot of your entire phone setup at that moment in time. So it can be very helpful when and if the SHTF because you can go almost exactly back to your current setup if you have a recent Nand backup. This is the fastest way to restore and you do not need to take ROM compatibility into account because the restore is a wholesale changeout of known, good configuration.

    Note: Nandroid backups do not backup/restore the phone's radio or hboot. Those can be independently flashed between backup and restore operations and they will remain whatever they were flashed to.

    Most times I use Titanium for restoring missing apps and data following a ROM flash. But what if you have an occasion to restore a Nandroid and it's been quite awhile since you made your last Nandroid backup? You may have several weeks between where new apps have been installed and those apps may have valuable data in them (like Angry Birds progress :D).

    This is where both Titanium and Nandroid can be used together. Use the Nandroid to go back to a previous configuration, and then use Titanium to restore any missing apps + data you've installed since. They work together beautifully.

    Backing Up The Backup
    Every once in awhile, I hook up to my PC and copy/paste the contents of my Titanium folder and also my Clockwork folder (for Nandroid backups) to my PC. Should you ever experience an SD card failure, you'll have at least a somewhat recent configuration you can return to. Once you get a new card, simply replace the folders from the PC and you're back up and running. This simple step can save a huge amount of frustration.

  2. sdrawkcab25

    sdrawkcab25 Well-Known Member

    This should be stickied or put in the stickied thread.
  3. DizkoDan

    DizkoDan Well-Known Member

    Good stuff. Definitely should be added to the sticky list.
  4. 1sved1

    1sved1 Active Member

    Awesome post - I just rooted my Sprint Hero and I'm finding other useful things that I would like to flash to it. I use alot of shortcuts for Direct dial and apps, etc and I'm wondering if TB restores those after flashing or do I have to do those over again myself? Thanks for the time and effort to put this post together...
  5. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    Do you use a homescreen launcher like Launcher Pro etc? That makes it really easy because a restore of the LP app and it's data will have everything back in it's place.

    If not, you could try to restore Sense if you're going to another Sense Rom but I've never felt great about doing it b/c some Roms are more traditional Sense and others might use the Evo backbone etc but still have many Sense characteristics. I'm thinking it could be iffy but it might work well on a case by case basis idk.
  6. Heathsrow

    Heathsrow Well-Known Member

    iowabowtech...Awesome Walk through...Titanium Backup is well worth the money and makes life so much easier when flashing new ROMs!!!
  7. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    Thanks man. Yeah, if I could only have ONE root app, it would definitely be Titanium. It's saved me from a huge PIA on more than one occasion. Can't hardly imagine root without it.
  8. Smabbage

    Smabbage Well-Known Member

    Many thanks. This information is super helpful. Ops, please sticky. :)
  9. srimay

    srimay Member

    i just downloaded the pro version, and i dont see an option to set a schedule for backing up
    user apps plus system data. am i missing something?
  10. Smabbage

    Smabbage Well-Known Member

    Go to either of the preconfigured schedules, press edit and you will see a drop down to change the schedule type. You can also create a new schedule and do the same.
    srimay and iowabowtech like this.
  11. Hitch_Itch

    Hitch_Itch Well-Known Member

    Sticky For Sure!!!:D

    I wish we had more tips like this for other apps, Like rom manager, lots and lots of stuff in the settings that make me scratch my head
  12. kuscoot

    kuscoot Active Member

    Will dropbox help me to backup my Titanium backup to my cpu? I have dropbox installed on both android and my cpu, but I don't understand how it works. Really, I've read, and I don't get it. Any help would be appreciated.

    Oh yes, so if dropbox doesn't help me then I connect the usb cord from phone to cpu and then how do I copy the SD contents to the computer?
    Thanks for the help/direction.

    I found some options within Titanium and I don't know what they mean or what they do and or the benefits of using them.
    "clean up the Dalvik cache . . ."
    Send data?
    Create "Update.zip"

    I appreciate the OP. I've had Titanium installed for some time, but I have not understood or known how to use it other than the obvious. It frustrates me to have something but not be able to use it to its fullest extent; because of my own ignorance.
    Anyway, thanks for info!
  13. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    You should be able to use Dropbox. Just copy the contents of your Titanium folder and place the copy in your Dropbox folder. It should then show up on your PC when you open Dropbox there.

    To use the USB cable, enable USB debugging, then connect the phone to the PC and choose "disk drive" mode of connection on the phone. Once it is recognized by the computer as a drive, you can browse it like any other drive. If using windows you may get a popup upon connection asking what you want to do. Choose the "view files and folders" or similar option and you can go right to browsing.

    I haven't used any of those options you mentioned in Titanium so I can't comment on that.
  14. kuscoot

    kuscoot Active Member

    How does DropBox know who I am and to not share the files in there with just anyone with a dropbox space?

    Does Dropbox cause my Bluetooth to be on all the time?

    I know it is not a dropbox thread . . . but you're so helpful! I'll get on back track now though.
  15. ridobe

    ridobe Guest

    I have to say, I've used this as the way I do backups now. I was initially quite confused when I started using it and was flashing ROMs all over the place. I was getting odd results constantly. After reading this it makes so much sense that it has become natural. When I flash now, I have hardly any problems whatsoever. Maybe this doesn't need to be stated but if you are a root user, Titanium Pro is the first app you must get.

  16. 20phileagles

    20phileagles Active Member

    Thank You iowabowtech.
    This is very useful as I had alot of questions answered without even having to ask!!
    Very good and much appreciated.
  17. chigins

    chigins Well-Known Member

    Thanks a bunch! Cleared many things up :)
  18. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    Not sure of the technical smoke and mirrors that go on in the background but with Dropbox you have a public folder. If you place a file in there you can share it with others. You can keep other thing private if you wish. Personally I'd recommend just hooking up via the PC in disk drive mode for the purpose of storing copies of backup files. Remember that nand backups take up a large amount of cardspace so it makes sense in many cases to keep a few on the SD card for those oh sh!# moments but storing the rest on the PC for the purpose of space management.

    And thanks for the kind words from several members. I'm glad people are finding the writeup useful.
  19. draybell

    draybell New Member

    Hope someone can help me. I recently got my DX and rooted it and installed bootstrap. I loaded Titanium and did a back-up of apps. When I went back to backup/restore tab to freeze some apps, there is no apps showing. I tried the update and still nothing. I even purchased the pro version and still nothing. Any help is appreciated.
  20. DodgerinNH

    DodgerinNH Well-Known Member

    I believe it has to do with the busybox. (And no, I have no idea what that is!) You have to hit the "Problems" key at the bottom. It will prompt you to update busybox. It might take a few times. It did for me. But finally it recognized my apps.

    Maybe someone else can add to this?

    Iowabowtech, I've only been rooted for a little while and am waiting for my 32 gb sd card so i haven't flashed any ROMs. I did my initial nand backup after rooting and got rid of some bloatware, but have pretty much stood pat since then. But from your earlier comment, it sounds like the nand backup doesn't just save over the last one, but keeps making new ones? Wouldn't one just go ahead and delete the old ones if that were the case?
  21. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    I'm over wary so I move a few from the SD card to the PC to have at least a few favorite setups backed up to multiple locations. Never know when an SD card will shoot craps. Then I delete all but 1 or 2 of my latest backups from the card. Never bank 100% on a backup working. Can't tell you how many people I've seen on this site and others do everything right and still end up screwed due to an incomplete or faulty backup. Not super common but it happens. Keep a couple around.
    mema2.1 and DodgerinNH like this.
  22. jprow507

    jprow507 Well-Known Member

    Great post .... however on xda I see a lot of people saying that if you go from one framework to another (sense to vanilla or sense to z-rom) that you shouldn't restore ANYTHING from Titanium as even user apps and data (without system data) will cause problems...

    For instance, I recently went from Skyraider to WarmZTwoPointTwo and only restored certain apps and data like Handcent, Folder Organizer, etc. and ended up with multiple force closes ...
  23. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    I can't say I've ever had problems restoring only market apps even when switching frameworks but I'm also not saying it couldn't happen. If you want to be on the ultimate safe side, you can always install ONLY the market apps without any app data. There is a secondary option (checkbox) when you get to the install screen where you can make that selection.

    I would lean toward an incomplete wipe being the more likely candidate but if you wiped data, cache and Dalvik cache and still had issues, I'd try the app only route. The only way you could go wrong with that scenario is if the Rom/framework being loaded doesn't support certain apps you have backed up.
  24. jprow507

    jprow507 Well-Known Member

    I installed the ROM using ROM Manager and CW 2.5 (as I know there are wiping issues with 3.x) and let it wipe data and cache so maybe it didn't quite work. Thanks for the advice though.
  25. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    No problem. If you can get in the habit of flashing Roms directly thru Clockwork, you may find you end up with fewer issues. It expands your wiping capabilities in addition to being a cleaner transition IMO.

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