Titanium Backup Technical FAQ

This is the technical FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Most probably, if you are looking for a quick answer, it would be found here. If you are looking for the solution to a problem, please look in Titanium Backup Troubleshooting instead. For questions about encryption, please see Titanium Backup Cryptography instead. Use the index table below to quickly jump to your preferred section and/or question:

General

1. What can Titanium Backup back up ?

  • All the applications you have installed, included protected ones,
  • All the data and settings of these applications,
  • Most (nearly all) of your phone’s settings and data.
  • Titanium Backup 3.8.0+ will also backup the system applications from your ROM, not just their settings and data.

2. How do I restore my apps without having to do them one at a time ?

  • Hit MENU (button on the phone) then “Batch”,
  • Scroll to the restore scenario you want to run,
  • Hit the “RUN” button.
  • NOTE: The applications will install in sequence, but will require user interaction (in the Free version). The PRO/Donate version will do unattended, background restores.
  • NOTE: System apps won’t get restored in Batch, that would be too dangerous. Only system settings + data will get restored in batch.

3. Can it back up SMS, MMS and system settings ?

  • YES. The most useful “system items” are green-colored and have a prefix such as SMS/MMS/APN in the list.
  • Other system items (that are usually less useful to backup) are red-colored.
  • Please note that if you backup and restore all system settings across very different ROMs, you are on your own. Before restoring on a different ROM, it is strongly recommended to enable the “Migrate system data” option in the Titanium Backup Preferences | Restoration Settings.

4. Where are my backups stored ?

  • By default, they are in the “TitaniumBackup” folder on your SD card.
  • To change the location of your backups, hit MENU -> Preferences -> Backup folder location.

5. For some apps I don’t have the “Restore” button. Why ?

  • This is probably a system app that you don’t have anymore. System apps are part of your ROM, so Titanium Backup will only backup their data (not the apps themselves). For this reason, if you backup a system app and then switch to a ROM where that app is missing, Titanium Backup obviously cannot restore the data for it. You have a data-only backup. Before you can restore the data you’ll need to install that system app again, either by reinstalling your ROM or by copying its apk manually into /system/app.
  • If you had disabled the “Normal apps (apk)” and/or “Protected apps (apk)” options in the Backup settings, then all backups of your apps will be data-only, in which case you’ll need to re-install these apps manually before you can restore their data.

6. An app is still appearing in the Titanium Backup list, but I feel it should be gone. Why?

  • An app will appear in the Titanium Backup list if (and only if) at least one of these 3 conditions is true:
    • The app is currently installed (either as a user app, as a system app or both).
    • The app has one or more associated (app and/or data) backups in the backup folder.
    • The app has associated data in the phone memory. If the app itself is not installed, that’s orphan data.
      • You can easily remove orphan data by running the “Remove orphan data” batch job.

7. I would like to save a list of apps (for example the list of my frozen apps) for later use. For example to save the list of frozen apps for future freezing, in case I do a factory data reset of my phone. Can I do that?

  • Yes you can. Here’s how:
    • We will take frozen apps as an example. So first, freeze the apps you want.
    • Filter by frozen: Hit MENU -> Filters -> Filter by temperature -> Frozen -> Apply
    • Now you’re seeing only the frozen apps in the list.
    • Create a label containing frozen apps: Now hit MENU -> Filters -> Create label -> Add/remove elements -> Select shown elements -> OK
    • Edit the name and hit “Save” to save the label.
    • To reset the filtering and see the full list again: Hit “Clear” -> “Apply”.
  • Remember to enable the “Auto-sync TB settings” option in the Titanium Backup preferences, so that your custom labels get automatically copied to your SD card.

8. Is there any way I can restore exactly what is already in my app drawer at the moment I decide to wipe (or change ROMs) and then restore ONLY those apps after a wipe (or reflash) ?

  • Yes, you just need to filter by “Installed” state, then create a custom label and finally, add all displayed elements to it.
  • See the point about “making a custom label containing all frozen apps” above. It’s exactly the same steps.

Titanium Backup vs Other Tools

9. What is the difference between Titanium Backup and CWM (ClockworkMod) / Nandroid ?

  • CWM creates a Nandroid backup, which is snapshot of the whole phone at once (including the ROM itself) in recovery mode. It’s helpful if you screw up the phone and need to “go back in time”.
  • Titanium Backup backs up each application+data and system settings individually; it doesn’t touch the ROM itself. So you can use Titanium Backup to restore applications and system settings on top of a new ROM. Or, if you copied your Titanium Backup folder, you can restore to a new phone. There are batch options to help you backup/restore several things at once.

Backup / restore across ROMs / devices

10. Can it back up and restore applications across different ROMs or even different phones ?

  • YES, without restrictions.

11. I want to restore some system data (eg: MMS/SMS) to a different phone/ROM. How should I do that ?

  • Launch the corresponding app (eg: Messages) at least once. If it crashes, wipe its data first and then launch it again.
  • Enable the “System data migration” option in Titanium Backup
  • Restore the data with Titanium Backup
  • Reboot

Device-specific

12. I have an Android device that is x86 based, and rooted. Can I use Titanium Backup ?

  • YES. Please ensure that you have a working BusyBox on your device and make the following changes in TB preferences:
    • enable the “Force use external BusyBox” option (under Troubleshooting) then hit MENU -> Reload application.

13. I have a Samsung and your app (free version) tells me to check the “Unknown sources” check box under Settings -> Applications, but I can’t find it ?

  • Yes the setting exists but Samsung hides it from the UI.
  • Note: Titanium Backup PRO/Donate does not need the “Unknown sources” setting to be enabled, only the free version does.
  • Here is how you can enable it. Be careful about single vs double quotes. Open a shell and then do:
    • su
    • First we can read the settings. A result of 0 means it’s disabled:
    • /data/data/com.keramidas.TitaniumBackup/files/sqlite3 /dbdata/databases/com.android.providers.settings/settings.db "SELECT value FROM secure WHERE name = 'install_non_market_apps'"
    • Ok, so now lets enable the setting:
    • /data/data/com.keramidas.TitaniumBackup/files/sqlite3 /dbdata/databases/com.android.providers.settings/settings.db "UPDATE secure SET value = 1 WHERE name = 'install_non_market_apps'"
    • Done! Now it shall work, and (as a bonus) you can also install apps manually by opening “.apk” files 😉

14. My phone (eg: Samsung, Viewsonic G-Tablet, HTC Incredible/EVO) has two SD cards, internal and external. I want to store my backups on the external SD card. How can I do that ?

  • Open the Titanium Backup settings (MENU -> Preferences)
  • For the Android 2.2/Froyo ROM (or the Cognition ROM on a Samsung Captivate), set the “Backup folder name” to external_sd/TitaniumBackup
  • For other Samsung ROMs, set the “Backup folder name” to sd/TitaniumBackup
  • For the Viewsonic G-Tablet, set the “Backup folder name” to ../sdcard2/TitaniumBackup
  • For the HTC Incredible/EVO, set the “Backup folder name” to /mnt/emmc/TitaniumBackup
  • If you have Titanium Backup 3.6.4 or above, you can specify an absolute path (starting with “/”) such as: /mnt/sdcard/external_sd/TitaniumBackup
  • Any existing backups will not be moved automatically. If you want to do it, you need to use a file explorer app.

Filtering

15. What is affected when I apply a filter (MENU-Filters) ?

  • The applications list is filtered.
  • The batch actions will operate on the filtered list.
  • The Market “auto updating” manager will operate on the filtered list.
  • The Market Doctor is not subject to filtering.
  • The scheduled actions are not subject to filtering.
  • The widget actions are not subject to filtering.

16. What does the “Filter by platform” feature affect?

  • It will affect the batch menu: backups that are filtered out, will be considered as if they didn’t exist. For example, if the latest version of an app was backed up on a different ROM, it will consider that it needs to be backed up again.
  • When batch restoring, instead of restoring the newest version, Titanium Backup will restore the newest version that passes the filter.
  • When viewing the backup properties, you can only restore/delete the backups that pass the filter.
  • Widgets and scheduled actions are not affected by the filter.

Freezing Apps

17. Does “freezing” apps free space from phone memory ?

  • No, it doesn’t. The “frozen” app remains on the phone with its data, it’s just that the app gets completely disabled until you “defrost” it.

18. What happens to my frozen apps if I do a factory reset ?

  • They will be defrosted.

Apps2SD and Data2SD (moving apps or data to external memory)

19. What are the requirements for using the “move to SD” and “move to Internal” features?

  • You need a ROM that supports the Froyo (Android 2.2) apps2sd implementation.

20. What are the requirements for using the “Move app data to SD card” (Data2SD) feature?

  • Our Apps2SD scheme creates symbolic links (one per app) at /data/data/com.x.y that will point to somewhere within an ext2/3/4 partition on the SD card.
  • The supported mount points for the ext2/3/4 partition are:
    • /system/sd/ (“classic” sd-ext)
    • /sd-ext/ (“Cyanogen” sd-ext)
    • /data/sd/ (“MIUI” sd-ext)
  • So for Data2SD to work, you’ll need to ensure that your ext2/3/4 partition is mounted at one of these locations. Then create an “app” directory at that location in case it doesn’t exist. Once it’s done, you’ll see a free space gauge for it in the Titanium Backup welcome screen, and you can then long-click on an app in the list and hit the “Move app data to SD” button. Once you do that:
    • First, Titanium Backup will look for existing symbolic links in /data/data/ and attempt to re-use the same target location, if it lies within the ext2/3/4 partition.
    • If it finds no existing (or no suitable) destination, it will propose to create a “data2” folder within the ext2/3/4 partition, and will then move the app’s data inside it.
    • So by default, you’ll get: /data/data/com.x.y => /system/sd/data2/com.x.y (in the “classic” sd-ext case).

Upgrading or un-installing Titanium Backup

21. Are older backups compatible with newer Titanium Backup versions ?

  • YES, always.
  • The backups are in 100% standard UNIX formats and can also be unpacked on Linux machines.

22. If I un-install Titanium Backup, do I lose my backups?

  • No, because the backups are stored on your SD card, not in Titanium Backup’s own data.

23. Is it possible to make a backup of Titanium Backup’s settings, labels and schedules?

  • Yes, enable the “Auto-sync TB settings” checkbox in the Titanium Backup preferences.
  • This feature will create and maintain a copy of your settings on your SD card.
  • In case you un-install Titanium Backup and install it again, the settings will be automatically restored the first time you launch it.

Cleaning the Dalvik Cache

24. What does the Dalvik cache cleaner do ?

  • It performs a deep analysis of the Dalvik cache and then offers to reclaim all unneeded entries from it. This frees up precious internal memory that would never have been freed otherwise. The space is really gained (not fake!) and will remain available after a reboot.
  • It does not wipe the whole Dalvik cache. Wiping the whole Dalvik cache is not needed and would just make the next reboot very slow.

Data Profiles

25. What happens when I backup/restore an app that has multiple data profiles?

  • All profiles will be backed up / restored at once.
  • Every backup of the app will contain the data for all profiles.

26. I restored an app that has multiple data profiles, but I don’t see these profiles in the list. What should I do?

  • Hit “Switch profile” -> “Detect existing data profiles”.
  • All your apps’ data will be scanned and the list of data profiles will be updated.

Android Market

27. Can I tell the Market that I do not want to update a specific app?

  • Yes. Just long-click on an app in the Titanium Backup list and hit “Detach from Market”.

28. I have a rooted Android device that has no Android Market app. Can I use Titanium Backup ?

  • YES. Please make the following changes in TB preferences:
    • disable the “Market link” option (under Backup settings).
    • disable the “Remove Market entry” option (under Un-installer settings).

29. Recent Titanium Backup versions (4.0.2+) are showing some apps as having auto-update “enabled”, while they are actually “disabled” in the Market. Why?

  • When you install an app from the Market, its auto-update setting is set to “default”. The meaning of “default” depends on the app, for example for YouTube this means “enabled”.
  • Recent versions of Titanium Backup are aware of this, and thus they display the status for these apps as being “enabled” – because it is really, for practical purposes, possibly enabled.
  • You can truly switch the auto-update mode for these apps from “default” to “disabled”, by un-checking them in TB’s auto-update manager and applying the changes.

30. I want to keep my older Market version. Can I prevent the Market from auto-upgrading itself?

  • Yes, if you have Titanium Backup Pro you can freeze the “Market Updater” (com.android.vending.updater) app. That will prevent the Market from upgrading itself automatically.

System Apps

31. What does the “Integrate updates of system apps into ROM” feature do?

  • System apps are part of your ROM, but some of them (eg: GMail) can be updated from the Market (if the version on the Market is newer than the version in your ROM).
  • Upgrades are not installed in your ROM, instead they are installed in your phone’s data memory. The original version (within your ROM) is shadowed (masked) by the newer version.
  • Titanium Backup can move the newer version of the app, directly into your ROM (thus overwriting the older version). This frees up precious data memory.

32. Does un-installing system apps free space from phone memory ?

  • Yes it does, because the Dalvik cache element (for that app) and the application’s data will be removed from your phone’s data memory.

33. I have un-installed a system app by mistake. What can I do?

  • If you made a backup of it with Titanium Backup 3.8.0 or later, you should see a smiley icon for it and you can restore it easily, along with its data.
  • Older versions of Titanium Backup did not backup system apps – only their data. In that case you can do as follows:
    • You can reinstall the exact ROM (update.zip) that you have now, without doing a wipe. Your system app(s) will be back.
    • If you don’t want to reinstall the whole ROM, you can decompress the update.zip on your PC and copy the apk manually onto your phone, into /system/app/.
    • Once the system app is back on your ROM, you can restore its data with Titanium Backup.

Converting databases between “Rollback Journal” and “WAL” modes

34. Which Android versions support each DB format?

  • “Rollback Journal” mode is supported by all known Android versions.
  • “WAL” mode is supported by Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and later, and by any ROM that features SQLite 3.7.0+ (eg: CyanogenMod).

35. Can I safely convert between the two formats?

  • In principle, yes.
  • Titanium Backup checks for WAL support on your ROM before allowing conversion to WAL.
  • If you have WAL databases on a ROM that does not support them, don’t worry: Titanium Backup can process databases (to convert them back) even if the ROM itself cannot read them.
  • It is usually safe to convert the data for user apps (because it can easily be converted back if needed) but be careful when converting the data for system apps. Let’s say converting system app data should be attempted by advanced users only!

Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive

36. What does the Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive sync do ?

  • In the typical case, it’s a one-way sync from your phone to Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive.
  • You can opt to either sync all your backups, or all backups that are associated to a custom colored label of your choice.

37. How can I restore my backups from Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive if my SD card failed or my phone got stolen ?

  • With Titanium Backup 3.6.4 (or above):
    • If your backup folder is empty, then with you can simply switch to the Schedules tab and hit the “RUN” button in the “Sync to Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive” section to download all backups from Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive back onto your phone.
  • With older Titanium Backup versions:
    • Do not use the “Sync to Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive” button now: it’s a one-way sync and would erase your Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive files because you have no backups on the phone.
    • You need to copy the “TitaniumBackup” folder back from Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive onto your SD card:
      • On a computer, login to Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive on the web
      • Click on the “TitaniumBackup” folder
      • Click on “Download folder”.
    • Extract the ZIP file that you just downloaded.
    • Move the resulting “TitaniumBackup” folder from your computer onto your SD card
    • Make sure USB mass storage is disabled (ie: your phone is disconnected from the computer)
    • Launch Titanium Backup and it should see your backups.

38. I have the PRO/Donate version but I see “Dropbox => NO” in the Titanium Backup main screen. Why ?

  • You need to hit MENU -> Preferences and then enable the Dropbox feature.

Security

39. Why does Titanium Backup require the Internet permission ? This is scary for a root app. Do you collect usage data ?

  • No, Titanium Backup does not collect any usage data (or any other data) under any circumstances whatsoever.
  • Internet access is used only to download Busybox (when you hit the “Problems?” button), to connect to your Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive account (if you use the Dropbox / Box.net / Google Drive feature), to fetch the ChangeLog and to query the Android Market.
  • For your information: even without the “Internet” permission, a root app could bypass the Android security model and access the Internet anyway. In the case of Titanium Backup, the “Internet” permission is listed for your convenience and because there is nothing to hide from the user.
  • This is a backup tool which can handle all your apps and personal data – so you have to trust the developer in the first place, otherwise you wouldn’t use this app 😉
  • For more information please see the Privacy policy.

40. Why does Titanium Backup demand that the Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) be enabled? I don’t develop on my phone and don’t want this.

  • The only reason is that on some ROMs, earlier versions of Superuser (the app that grants root privileges) didn’t work properly if ADB (USB debugging) was disabled. This is why I added the warning at startup.
  • Nowadays, on most ROMs you can leave USB debugging disabled in your phone settings and also disable that warning in Titanium Backup. The option is: MENU -> Preferences -> “Warn if no USB debug”.
  • Prior to v5.6 and above, the USB Debugging option is located at MENU -> Preferences -> GUI Preferences > Warning > “Warn if no USB debug”

Annoyances

41. Why does Titanium Backup run at startup ?

  • Titanium Backup runs at startup in order to check the list of scheduled actions.
  • Once this is done, it shuts down and will get unloaded as soon as the OS needs some memory. It will not use any CPU time until the next scheduled event occurs.
  • If you don’t intend to use schedules at all, and you want to prevent apps from running at startup, you could use a tool such as Autorun Killer or Autostarts.

42. Your app stores some files in the “/data/com.keramidas.TitaniumBackup” folder on my SD card, which annoys me. Can’t you just follow Google’s guidelines?

  • We agree that using the standard location (according to Google’s guidelines on using external storage) would be more pleasant but unfortunately, we can’t use that location because it gets erased whenever the app is un-installed. The files we store there are not temporary files: they need to survive a full uninstall / reinstall of Titanium Backup. For that reason we can’t store them in there.
  • The files are:
    • A copy of all Titanium Backup settings (optional).
    • The Pro license cache.
  • If we ever need to store temporary files on external storage, we would surely store them in the standard location.

43. Your app is updated too frequently and it annoys me. Can’t you just slow down?

  • No. What is unneeded for a user can be critically needed for another.
  • Nobody forces you to install every update. You could just open the Market once a week and update on this occasion only.