As any self-respecting technology geek knows, it is hard to leave well enough alone. That’s why, in spite of having a constant flow of new technology that my career requires that I master, there are always those pieces of technical gadgetry that I feel I must play with. Most recently, that gadgetry has been Android tablets and phones.
It’s not just a matter of need; sure my Nook Color eBook reader became much more useful when I rooted it, then decided a custom ROM was the only way to go, and some of the last generation Android tablets have been abandoned by the vendor in terms of upgrades, so what else is a self-respecting geek supposed to do. They simply had to be re-ROMed and updated. But when I decided that my state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy S II phone needed a better ROM I realized that it was just an obsession.
That didn’t stop me from doing it; I just came to terms with my addiction.
One of the most annoying parts of this particular technology addiction, is that when you want to be sure you aren’t going to screw up a device you actually need, you often need to do a complete wipe of the device before you do a ROM upgrade. Fortunately there are a number of good Android backup apps and it’s possible to do a selective restore of your device from these applications. And if you are using modified or officially unsupported apps, you can always backup your APK files so that you can reinstall via sideloading the apps.
Less worry, cleaner updates
It used to be that this backup and restoration process would mean that you needed to make sure you could move files between your desktop PC and your Android device, so that you could recover files when you were done with your upgrade. But the advent of cloud storage clients for your Android device has made this whole process much more flexible.
By using the cloud as the storage location for complete backups of my Android devices, as well as a repository for apk installation files, I can now just worry about making sure that I do whatever it takes to do a clean update of my devices when I play with custom ROMs and the like. Every device has its own, up-to-date backup stored in the cloud, using my cloud storage/backup-provider app of choice.
After I update a device, I simply go onto the Android Market, reinstall my cloud storage and backup application, and I’m now ready to reconfigure the device either to a previous state I was happy with or with some version of my previous configuration, with all of the apps and data easily at hand. I don’t have to worry about finding that special apk file, or making sure that I’m connected to the network where my last full backup is stored. Everything I need for the device to be running the apps I want with the data I need is as close as my nearest Internet connection.