Google Drive Tracks Inactive Android Files And Deletes Them
Google Drive Removes Backups After Inactivity.
It’s recently been discovered that the Android operating system will remove inactive files and Google Drive backups after they are left untouched on a device for more than 60 days.
A Reddit user recently found this new discovery after he lost his backed up data on his Nexus 6P. The Reddit user couldn’t access his device or turn it on due to a battery issue. After not using the device for a few months, he finally booted up the Nexus 6P to find that all of his data had been deleted.
In fact, all of his previous apps, his save Wi-Fi information, and his Android settings had been removed from the device. All other data, such as SMS messages and locally saved emails, were also gone.
To find out more about this issue, the Nexus 6P owner got in touch with Google to find out that the company starts to track inactive Android files if they’ve been untouched for two weeks.
Once this two week period is up, a countdown timer will be applied to the files. If you do not touch the files for two months, the countdown timer will count down to zero and the files will be removed. If you use the files just once within a two month period, the files are saved and the timer is removed.
This technique refers to any files being stored or saved as a backup via Google Drive – “Your backup will remain as long as you use your device. If you don’t use your device for 2 weeks, you may see an expiration date below your backup. For instance: “Expires in 54 days.”
Once the backup is removed, there’s no way to recover it, even if you’re a paying Google Drive user.
Not only is this a huge issue for those hoping to keep hold of older backups for their smartphones, but it also raises questions about what kind of tracking Google may be performing on the backed up content.
It’s already been clearly stated that files backed to Google Drive are tracked to keep an eye on when files go inactive. At this point, what’s stopping Google from using other snooping, such as SMS tracking or email tracking, to gather more data about that individual?
At this point, it’s only speculation on our part, but this strange policy by Google does have us understandably concerned.
As an update to this, it turns out that if your device is connected to an internet connection, the files that are backed up will not be marked as inactive even if you do not open them or edit them in any way.
It’s as soon as Google notices a drop in connection between Google Drive and the device with backed up files that it will start the two week inactivity timer.
This feature is still awkward to use, especially if your smartphone is damaged beyond use and you aren’t able to fix it within the 2 month time period to stop them from being deleted. We believe there should be a system in place to flag certain files or backups so that they’re never removed.