I just realized that the backup function of adb is deprecated since May 20191. This functionality is part of my beeing-independent-from-google setup. So my first thought was: Is google trying to force users not to bypass their cloud?
A short article was published on xda2 after a tip by xda developer luca020400. My own first reaction is reflected in a comment to this article:
I'm sure they "google" will claim it's for security. However, we know that it's really so you use more of their online cloud and their backup, so they can filter through all your stuff to send you more ads.
To my best knowledge there's no explanation from google since half a year. The commit says "Fixes: 131891013" but the link is broken. Android's issue tracker isn't public, meaning only some selected, recent issues are accessible ... if you have a google account. The allegedly fixed issue with the backup is not listed there. This is another case showing that android is of the look but don't touch kind of open source.
Another comment to the xda article mentions security reasons:
Say you find an exploit to bypass encryption while doing a data "backup".
I'm not familiar with the details of how adb backup is implemented. As a user you have to activate the developer options, connect your device with an USB cable and confirm the backup on the device while logged in. This seems to me not to be different from the standard flash drive mount. If this is true, google would have to dissallow usb mounts because of the same alleged reasons to be consistent.
What are possible alternatives? A quick look up in f-droid finds:
oandbackup, which needs root. But there might be good reasons not to use a rooted OS on your everyday phone. Oandbackup refers the non root users to adb backup, which might soon not be available anymore.
BARIA, which hasn't been developed since 2016 and has no documentation how it works. In fact it has no documentation at all.
The official google way of doing a backup instead is:
- "Learn how to automatically upload photos and videos to your Google Photos library."
- "Learn how to back up files to Google Drive."
- "Turn on your backup service."
How do you say "fuck you google" in a civilised way? ;)
Update. Different scope, same theme: Why NUKEMAP isn’t on Google Maps anymore.
Joe Fedewa: Google warns that ADB backup and restore may be removed in a future Android release, May 10, 2019 -- URI https://www.xda-developers.com/adb-backup-and-restore-depreciated ↩