Update: This app has been renamed to Helium.
While there are quite a few app data backup and restoration solutions available for Android users, not many allow creating backups of personal app data, and the few that do often require you to have a rooted Android device to fully utilize them, or come with with a price tag. Koushisk Dutta (aka Koush) – the renowned developer of the world-famous ClockworkMod recovery, DeskSMS, TabletSMS, ROM Manager, and Tether – has been quite busy over the past few days prepping an app data backup and sync tool of his own called Carbon. Initially released as a limited beta for just rooted devices, Carbon has now officially made its way to the Play Store with quite a few additional handy options. Let’s find out all about Carbon after the jump.
The specialty of Carbon is that it works effectively on both rooted and non-rooted Android devices, allowing users to easily create local and cloud backups of their favorite Android applications, automate these backup tasks via custom scheduling, and sync their personal app data across other Android devices they own. As of now, Carbon supports creating complete or selective app data backups on your Android device’s SD card as well as your Google Drive, Box and Dropbox cloud storage.
All locally backed up data is stored in the ‘Carbon’ folder on your device’s SD card. After taking a backup, you can manually copy all data from the folder to your computer to ensure that you won’t have to worry about your precious data getting completely lost in case your SD card gets corrupted/wiped, or your phone gets lost/stolen, as you can always copy the backup from your computer back to the SD card and restore it with Carbon.
For Rooted Devices: If you have a rooted device, all you need to do is grant the app root access on your device upon prompt. That’s it – you’re now good to go. Don’t know what rooting is? Our comprehensive Android rooting guide can help.
For Non-Rooted Devices: If you’re using Carbon on a non-rooted device, you’ll have to first install the Carbon Desktop Installer tool on your computer. The desktop client is currently available for Windows, Linux & Mac, and can be downloaded for free from the official ClockworkMod website. To successfully connect your mobile device with the computer via USB, you must also have the necessary drivers for your Android device installed on your computer.
Also, make sure that USB Debugging mode is enabled on your Android device. For this, head over to the Developers options on your device’s settings screen and tick the checkbox beside the USB Debugging option. If you are on Android 4.2 or later, you’ll have to unhide Developer Options first. Once you’re done with all these prerequisites, connect your device to your computer via USB, launch the Carbon app on your computer and finally, launch Carbon on your Android device as well. Remember that each time you restart your mobile device, you’ll have to re-enable the Carbon app by connecting it to its desktop counterpart.
Upon launching for the very first time, the app requests authorization to access your Google account in order to successfully verify your Play Store credentials, and effectively perform online data backup and syncing tasks in combination with your Google Drive storage. However, this step is optional and can be skipped if you wish to proceed with local backups only, or use another service for your cloud backups. In case of the latter, you can connect your Dropbox or Box.net accounts for the purpose.
You’re then presented with the list of all the apps installed on your Android device. Select the ones you wish to backup, hit the ‘Backup’ button at the bottom, select your preferred local or cloud backup destination from the provided options, and wait for the backup to complete.
Before you begin the backup process, swiping up the blue bar at the bottom provides you with a couple of handy options. You can choose to backup only the app data of the selected apps, instead of the complete apps themselves. This would skip backing up the APK files, as you can always reinstall them from Play Store, but will allow you to backup all your app data and settings.
You can also create app-specific groups so that you can keep all apps belonging to a specific category under one umbrella, and then easily track them at the time of restoration by their respective group name.
Restoration & Sync
The restoration part of Carbon is almost as simple as the backup phase. Tapping the Restore and Sync tab on the app’s main interface lists all the local and cloud sources as well as other linked devices from where you can retrieve your backed up content. Next, just select the app(s) you wish to restore, hit the ‘Restore’ button and leave the rest to Carbon. Note that while you can make cloud backups from both the free and paid versions of the app, you can’t directly restore from cloud backups in the free version, and will have to make a local copy of that data manually in order to restore it.
Carbon is available in the Play Store as both a free, ad-supported version and a $4.99 ad-free variant. Apart from removing ads, the paid version allows Android-to-Android app syncing, automatic scheduled backups, and restoration of data backed up to cloud storage.
Carbon is currently compatible with Android 4.0 and higher devices only. Download links of both variants of the app are provided below.
Update: The first update to Carbon brings several bug fixes and missing features such as external SD card support, notification progress bars, option to sync content over Wi-Fi only, and lots more.
Update 2: Great new, Android fanboys! Koush’s Carbon now supports creating complete backups of your call logs and text messages as well.