Is it possible to backup an Android mobile phone when connected to Ubuntu?

I have looked trough and searched here, but couldn't find any answers to this question. I have just bought an Android phone with Android 4. Any hints and tips on what I can sync with Ubuntu would be great. If you have any suggestions to apps I can use on Ubuntu to make it easier, please add the name of the app and how I can install it.

  • I'm not aware of anything like that, you can back up via recovery (clockwork mod) and then transfer it to your computer... Jul 9 '12 at 0:03

Have you tried Airdoid?

I too have an Android v4 Smartphone and this is what I use to back up all the important files on my phone. Please note this is not an Ubuntu solution but it works perfectly with Firefox when used with Ubuntu. It allows me to backup both my system files and of course my all important docs, photos and other media files. Its a great interim solution while waiting for an FLOSS project to come up with perfect solution for Android users.

What is AirDroid?

AirDroid is a fast, free app that lets you wirelessly manage & control your Android devices (phone & tablet) from a web browser. It’s designed with the vision to bridge the gap between your Android device and web browser, on desktop computers or tablet devices, on Windows, Mac/iOS, or Linux.

What can you do with AirDroid?

You can use AirDroid to send/receive SMS (text messages, if supported by the device), install/uninstall apps, transfer files between Android device and computer/tablet, and manage contacts, photos, music, videos, and ringtones, etc., all in a web browser. Install AirDroid on your Android device and open your favorite web browser to experience it yourself.
How to get started with AirDroid and how to log in to AirDroid web desktop?

Download and install AirDroid app on your Android devices, start the app and open your favorite web browser, input the address and Dynamic Passcode to log in to AirDroid Web Desktop.

More Information here on the Official Airdroid website

  • Thank you for the good answer. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I can use this until android phones works nativly (or with a PC suite app) in ubuntu.
    – user66987
    Jul 9 '12 at 11:08
  • It wasnt exactly what I was looking for either, but I recogized your frustrations which is why I posted it, This was the best solution to get me there in the interim until we get a native solution Jul 9 '12 at 11:29
  • 1
    You might want to take a look at my answer (including comments) as to how to make an (almost) complete backup and have it synced with your PC automatically -- which IMHO closer matches the intention of the question.
    – Izzy
    Jul 9 '12 at 12:37
  • Thanks Izzy, but I want to backup completly, not just partially. As you stated "almost" complete backup, is not what I am looking for.
    – user66987
    Jul 9 '12 at 12:46

You can backup and restore devices with ADB. I have done so with a few devices from friends and family, including migrations to newer devices:

Solution Available for 4.0+ Devices:

For 4.0+ devices there is a solution called "adb backup". This makes use of adb so you have to have the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) installed on your computer (on some Linux distributions: just packages android-tools-adb and android-tools-adbd).

NOTE: This solution will not back up and restore contact, SMS or calendar information

The options for the adb command are:

adb backup [-f <file>] [-apk|-noapk] [-shared|-noshared] [-all] [-system|nosystem] [<packages...>]

Read the full article Full Backup of non-rooted devices and the info page in the tag wiki on our Android community site.

There are several apps to backup SMS from a non-rooted device in the Play Store, some of them save the data to the sdcard partition for convenience.

I have not tried if this works with an Ubuntu phone at the time of writing this and I wouldn't advise doing so. If you still want to experiment be sure that you are connected to the Ubuntu ADB instance, not an ADB instance that might be running in the Android LXC container on Ubuntu.


Sync and Backup are not the same thing. As to my knowledge (and I'm quite involved with Android) there's no way to achieve a complete backup on a non-rooted device. However: if your device is rooted, there's a good way to achieve your goal:

On the ma... ahem, play-store you find an app called Titanium Backup, which is the ultimate backup tool for Android (you might also want to visit its homepage for more details, FAQ, Howto, etc.). This app will create a backup of all your apps and data, which then is stored to your SD-card. From there you can use apps like FTPSyncX or FolderSync to synchronize the backup directory with your (Ubuntu) PC via SSH, FTP or Samba.

  • Thank you for the answer, it explained some. Is there a way to root the mobile without bricking it (I have read that this is huge risk when doing so)?
    – user66987
    Jul 9 '12 at 11:04
  • For this a clear "may be". There's a way for most devices (I've succesfully rooted my HTC Wildfire and Motorola Milestone -- but don't own a Huawai, so I cannot tell for this). I'd suggest to either try Google -- or directly visit the XDAs website, they are known for topic like How to root Huawai ascent P1. For Android-Specific questions, you can also check the Android Section of StackExchange.
    – Izzy
    Jul 9 '12 at 11:29
  • Thank you for the links :) I have checked them out, but it seems that it is too dangerous at the moment.
    – user66987
    Jul 9 '12 at 12:21
  • Up to you. Took me a while to trust that as well, but I found it was worth it. Always depends on what you really need, of course. For a less complete (but still quite broad) backup app working without root, you might look at MyBackup. Doesn't cover as much as Titanium, but still quite a lot. And the other half (sync the backup to your PC) works without root as well -- so this might bring you close to your goal.
    – Izzy
    Jul 9 '12 at 12:33
  • Forgot to mention: Both backup apps as well as the sync apps can be automated, e.g. create a backup daily and sync it to your PC as soon as your home WIFI is connected.
    – Izzy
    Jul 9 '12 at 12:38

I have solved my problem.

First I installed wine. Then I downloaded HiSuite (Huawei's official PC suite) Link to download page and installed it.

Then I had to connect my phone to a windows PC, so the HiSuite daemon was installed on the phone.

When that is done, just open the HiSuite daemon on the phone and choose connect with wiFi. Enter the code on HiSuite on the PC, and voila. Now the phone is connected to ubuntu :)

You can backup the phone, import contacts and calendar (if you have installed MS outlook), manage the installed apps, install new apps (you have to download the apk files to your computer, this cannot be done in this software). You can edit, delete and create new contacts. And you can import the pictures taken.

It took a lot of hard work before I found out how to do this. And this article helped out :)

Hope this can be of use to others. I looked at a forum that this can work on other android phones as well. You just have to have the HiSuite daemon installed on the phone.

  • link to download page is not working Jun 3 '16 at 9:55
  • Can't we have some solution without bothering Windows?
    – tomchiukc
    Aug 27 '16 at 9:30

Sync is typically supported by proprietary drivers produced by the phone manufacturer. Most drivers are released for Win or Mac. Ubuntu will mount the device and allow access to the installed SDcard. Using apps from the PlayStore you can manage your content like contacts, pics, etc. on the SDcard and then drag and drop into a backup folder you create in your home holder in Ubuntu. This can be done similarly with other OS's.

Doing a quick search, I can't say there is an app that integrates an Android phone with Ubuntu. I can say that in general, for advanced phone users, Ubuntu offers far easier use when trying to mount devices like phones and tablets. A little time spent learning the phone will go along way with using Ubuntu to back it up.

I have a rooted Android device that I prefer to use Ubuntu to tweak and manage my phone.

  • So when you connect the phone, you can't access the files on the internal memory? I thought that android was built on linux, and was therefore much more compatible with ubuntu than windows. Is there any way to access the internal memory on the phone, or get the apps to sync with similar apps on ubuntu?
    – user66987
    Jul 9 '12 at 0:27
  • In you're phone w/e the model is as you didn't mention which one is, go to your ROM settings and turn on MTP mode, USB debugging Mode and the like, Ubuntu should Mount the SDcard, and the Flash Memory, The Internal Memory is only accessible within the Phone, if you do not wish to complicate yourself with settings use Airdroid. Jul 9 '12 at 5:33
  • My phone is Huawei Ascend P1. Here is the link to it: huaweidevice.com/worldwide/… (sorry about the long link, not sure what I can use to shorten it). Can I sync music, calendar etc. in ubuntu when connected?
    – user66987
    Jul 9 '12 at 11:11

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