Backup Apps & Data Without Root Access Using Koush’s Carbon App

Update: This app is now called as Helium.

We have shared some backup apps previously like the Orange backup that is based on the online nandroid backup script and the App Sync which are extremely reliable. Titanium backup of course doesn’t need any explanation as it has been the number one backup tool so far. All these aforementioned apps have one thing in common – they need root access. Your phone needs to be rooted and these apps are of no use without Superuser access. But there is a new player in the Google Play Store which is perhaps the best backup app for users who do not have a rooted phone. The created of ROM Manager, ClockworkMod has come up with an app that lets you backup apps along with their data to Cloud or to your PC without root access – the Carbon App.

While this app looks really promising from what Koush has demonstrated in his video (seen at the end of this post), we decided to go hands on with this app and share our experience with our readers.

[box_light]Please note that this app works only on Android 4.0+ devices and does not run on Motorola devices due to a bug that breaks Android’s backup mechanism.[/box_light]

Initial Steps

Once installed, the app checks if your device is rooted. You can allow superuser access if your app is rooted. If you don’t know what is rooting, you can read our complete guide on Android hacking.


If you do not have a rooted phone, you have to install the Desktop installer tool for Carbon app and also make sure you have the necessary device drivers installed on your PC. The reason why non-rooted device users need to install the desktop installer is that this app uses a feature that was introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android using which you can backup app data by connecting your device to a PC. Rooted users don’t need to do this because Carbon can access app data of other apps if it gets Superuser permissions. It is needless to say that you need to have USB debugging enabled on your device when you connect it to the PC.

Backup Data Using Carbon

The app requests access to your Google account to verify your Play Store credentials and then prompts you for the storage options. You can either choose USB storage or you can select any of the online services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Box. Cloud storage requires you to use the premium version of the app though!

Screenshot_2013-02-01-15-17-52  Screenshot_2013-02-01-15-18-06

Up next, you will be shown the list of apps installed on your Android device. You can tap the “Backup’ button below to backup the data of the apps or you can slide up the bottom panel to view more options. With these options, you can group the selected apps together and give them a name. You can also select to backup both the app and their data. I personally don’t recommend this because this increases the size of the backup which is not needed as you can download the app directly from Google Play Store. When you tap the Backup button, you will be given the option of choosing the location where you wish to store it. The progress of the backup can be seen in the notification bar.

To restore data, you can select Restore and Sync option and choose the app data you had already backed up.

Backup Using PC

Screenshot_2013-02-01-15-06-14 Android Backup

Hit the menu button and select the “PC Download option which will start a Carbon server on your phone. You will be provided with an IP address  and  port  which you need to enter in your PC’s browser. On doing this, you will be able to  see the list of apps in your browser provided your PC and device are on the same network. You can select these apps and backup their data to your PC. Restoration of app data can be done in the same way.

You can also schedule backups using the instructions given below in the screenshot.


Synchronizing App Data Between Devices

If you have more than one Android device associated with the same Google account, Carbon  lets you sync app data from one device to the other. On selecting Restore and Sync option, you will be shown the devices that are associated with your Google account. Open up Carbon app on your device where you wish to restore data and select the device from which you wish to restore and you’ll be good to go. You can select the apps you wish to synchronize and it will be done within a few seconds. You can see Koush demonstrating the working of this app in the video below.

Carbon app can be downloaded from Play Store using the links below. The paid app costs $4.99.

Download Helium App Sync And Backup For Android (Free)

Download Carbon (Premium) For Android (Paid)