Android users are being warned to make sure they keep their devices active or risk having Google automatically delete some of their backed-up data.
According to the tech giant’s policy on managing back ups, anyone who doesn’t use their smartphone for at least two weeks, faces having their data automatically deleted by Google.
While the policy isn’t new, it is has recently been brought to light by a Reddit user Tanglebrook, who posted about losing a backup of their data.
The problem started when Tanglebrook was in the process of switching to a new a new phone. Having stopped using a Nexus 6P, they switched to using an old iPhone for an interim period of two weeks.
Once the two week period was up, Tanglebrook noticed that the 6P back up was missing from their Google Drive Backup folder.
After contacting Google Drive support, it was confirmed to Tanglebrook that the back up of all the data from the 6P had automatically been deleted because the device had not been used for a period of two weeks.
This meant that all their passwords, Google Calendar appointment, Gmail settings, Android settings and data from all the apps downloaded had gone, having been wiped by Google.
The worse part is that Tanglebrook did not receive any notification from Google that their data would be wiped.
“There was no warning from Google. They just deleted my data. There’s apparently an expiration date that shows up under the backup if I had checked the Backup folder sooner, but there was no notification, no email, no proactive notice at all, and most importantly, no option to use the 100gb of my Drive storage to keep my f**king backup”, Tanglebrook wrote.
“Your backup will remain as long as you use your device. If you don’t use your device for 2 weeks, you may see an expiration date below your backup,” Google confirms on its support page.
It seems that this problem isn’t exclusive to Android users. A user in the same Reddit thread pointed out that Apple has a similar policy.
If you’re using the same device continuously then you don’t have anything to worry about.
However, if like many people, you may have your Android smartphone as your daily driver, and a tablet which you might only use occasionally, you should make sure you at least turn the tablet on periodically or risk losing any important data fromt the device which is backed up to Google Drive.