A cautionary tale: the dangers of root and Titanium Backup!

I had a recent experience with Titanium Backup on Android that resulted in the loss of SMS/MMS functionality and would like to pass on my story so others don’t suffer the same issue.

OK, we buy a Samsung Exhibit II (which has some issues) and I root it using the same method as I did with my Samsung Exhibit 4G which worked like a charm. Then I installed Titanium Backup and start removing applications after backing up the whole ‘system’ to the SD card, the free version of the app doesn’t allow for freezing of applications, so it’s either pay for the full version or you’ll simply have to uninstall the apps, which is dangerous as there no guarantee it can be restored!

The makers of Titanium Backup claim “v3.8.0+ will also backup the system applications from your ROM, not just their settings and data“, which is a completely false statement, what use is a backup that can’t be restored? When trying to restore stock ‘system’ apps, it simply hangs on the “restoring app” screen, I let it run for 30 minutes before closing the app from task manager. Despite having a backup of the .apk file, I could not reinstall the file back to the system. Every time I tried to install the messaging app, it came back with the message “application not installed”

At this point, the only option is to re-flash the phone with the original system image, but neither Samsung or T-Mobile provide a recovery image and flashing a recovery image from a similar phone would create even more problems, so I returned the phone and got it replaced pleading ignorance. Of course I spent two days trying to resolve the issue myself, I like to troubleshoot and solve issues myself, I find it relaxing as odd as that probably sounds to many reading this.

Bottom line: Titanium Backup is a great application, but make sure you understand it’s limitations before deleting stock system applications as not all system apps can be restored. A safer option would be to use an app like Root Explorer to copy the ‘system’ directory to the SD card and remove the app(s) (.apk and .odex files) from the system/app directory. The other option is to buy the full version of Titanium Backup and simply freeze the app rather than uninstalling!

3 thoughts on “A cautionary tale: the dangers of root and Titanium Backup!

  • Matt / ssmmdd commented on December 19, 2011 at 14:53

    I coughed up for the full version, knowing that at some point I / something else would break the Mod I’m using. :)

  • The full version of Titanium Backup has the same problem, it still has problems restoring stock system apps if uninstalled, I now own the full version, and feel somewhat annoyed that I spent money in my pursuit to fix the issue, at least I can freeze apps instead of uninstalling them. Oh well, live & learn!!!

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