Titanium Backup saved my day

Once upon a time, my phone wasn’t rooted, and my backup system consisted of backing up the most content-intensive apps using their own backup systems. Then I ran into an infinite force close loop at 4AM while visiting family, and while I managed to fix it, it was one of the reasons why I finally got around to rooting.

Boy, am I glad I did.

While on a trip to visit another part of the family (starting to see a pattern here) my phone decided to go ballistic again. I was sending a file to another, older device via Bluetooth, and suddenly the phone did a quick reboot where the screen turned black and essentially only the last part of the boot sequence ran – refreshing the home screen, scanning SD media and so on. It kept rebooting that way over and over, and after a while I found that the only way I could stop it was to enable flight mode. That also disables Bluetooth, which was what caused the reboots, and no other methods to disable Bluetooth – like a shortcut, Tasker, or in the settings – worked. I Googled a bit, and found more people with the problem, but not enough so that a simple solution had been found. The only thing that seemed to do anything was a hard reset.

Since I was able to use the phone in flight mode, I ran a full backup of my phone using Titanium Backup, saving the backups to the SD card. I couldn’t hard reset it from main menu, as that apparently requires a data connection to log into Samsung’s servers for authentication (seriously, Samsung, how stupid is that?). Doing it from ClockworkMod Recovery, however, was not a problem, and the phone was back to factory conditions – with root intact – in no time. I got Titanium Backup installed, pointed it to the SD card, and let it run. It finished; I rebooted. And then it started rebooting on its own again.

At that point I realized that some part of the system data was causing the issue, something not caught by my cache wipe, but that had been backed up and restored (in all its broken glory). I had initially backed up to the SD card to make absolutely sure it wouldn’t be affected by the hard reset, but that meant I had my initial full backup on the internal memory. I restored only the system data from that directory (a backup from back in July), and the phone was once again up and running. Turns out my system data hadn’t changed much in a month, and all the user data was safe from the fresh backup.

Not only did Titanium Backup give me back my phone with everything intact, but it did so without requiring a PC, and in way less time than I had expected. It also led me closer to finding the exact source of this Bluetooth bug, so that if it should happen again, all I have to do is to enable flight mode and restore system data only. My original backup method would have left my crying in the streets, as it would have taken ages to restore everything, even if I would have gotten it back.

So, a big thanks from me to the Titanium Backup developers, you really saved my butt on this one.

Download: Google Play

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.