Backup needed before system update on Teracube 2e?

Hello, everyone. I’m a privacy-loving user with basically no tech expertise, and I use a pre-loaded Teracube 2e. I’ve been installing the system updates as they are released, and all seems well. But with the latest update release I suddenly remembered that many people here mention backing up their phone before installing updates in order to have a way back if something goes wrong. Do I need to do this? If so, can you point me to a step-by-step guide in plain, non-technical language to help me do it? Thanks.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

In reading say this weekly update Week 36, 2022 : Development and Testing Updates it is good to bear in mind that the approx monthly system updates or “/e/ version updates” that is from 1.2 → 1.3 are a full system replacement – other parts should be untouched. So the chance of a catastrophic loss are low.

It is expected that if you keep anything important backed up and you are happy with the content at eCloud and you are running a stable version (as found from esolution) the risk would be very low even in the event of the worst.

There is a convention that we try to use the word Upgrade when we are talking about the Android version Upgrades for instance

  • Pie = Android 9 → Q = Android 10 → R = Android 11

You are not facing that dilemma right now as Install /e/ on a Teracube Teracube 2e (2020) - “2e” seems placed in Q = Android 10 for now.

When an Android version Upgrade does come, we expect an extra link to appear on the linked page, with instructions for the Upgrade which will be most likely to include data wipe and loss of data. Many users delay an Upgrade till they see any reports of trouble. Usually there is a period of several / many months between the Upgrade being offered and the old version going end of life.

Some devices are starting to be offered OTA Upgrades (more than OTA Update), here it is hoped that the data partition can be preserved. No word of this being launched for your device.

As a non-tech learner it is a good idea not to be scared of “a full backup”. Anyone writing an article on this subject has to cover all the bases, and the guide can become hard work. I approach it with a small backup of one app – once you are happy with one or two, say your contacts, then say your SMS messages and phone log, it might all get less scary.

Another angle to this is to install List My Apps – this is an old app containing a warning – however all it does is give you a written list of apps. Study of this often reminds you of apps that can be deleted anyway, and others which you have no worries about the need for a backup at all.

Phones bought from /e/ with /e/OS installed are usually running stable builds (rather than dev builds). Rooted debugging is not available on `stable’ builds, which means that there is in any case no effective ‘easy’ way of backing up your user-installed apps and app data.

The easy way on dev builds is to use Android Backup and Restore Tools project, but that needs either a rooted phone or rooted debugging.

I also believe that stable builds ship with /e/'s recovery rather than TWRP, and /e/‘s recovery does not provide the backup functionality that TWRP does. TWRP backup is the only working backup solution fir devices with `stable’ builds, and is only available if it is possible to install TWRP as the recovery on your device. SOrry, but I don’t know whether that is the case.

It’s worth reading this thread for more details of how to backup using TWRP

Thanks, Pete. I had TWRP on my previous phone, a Samsung S9 that came from /e/ with the OS already installed. I only used it once by accident during an update, and was afraid I had wiped the phone completely.

I checked out the link you sent and didn’t see Murena or Teracube listed, so I hope it’s as you suggested, that my build is stable and relatively safe to upgrade without backing up first. I bought this phone hoping it was an open-and-go alternative to the U.S. mobile phone doupoly dilemma.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

Updating (i.e. moving to a newer /e/ version but the same android version) is usually fine. There is usually no need to back up for either dev or stable builds.

Upgrading (i.e. moving to a higher android version) is a different matter. Unless /e/ have made and tested the OTA Upgrade functionality for device, then an Upgrade will almost always mean wiping existing data. If you don’t have a backup of your user-installed apps and app data, then you will be faced with setting up your upgraded device from scratch. And, for a device running a stable build, TWRP offers the only working backup / restore functionality.

So you are fine installing updates, but when the time comes to upgrade you may have problems.

Looking further into the future, when it comes to upgrading to Android S, even TWRP is unlikely to work. Though that may be fixed by the time /e/ make their S builds publicly available :slight_smile:

The decision if you need a backup or not is completely unrelated to an update.
Your phone can get lost or broken at any time.

So the question you’d need to ask is:
Is there data on the phone that is important to me and that is not available in other places?

If the answer is “yes” you need to think about a backup strategy.
How a suitable backup strategy looks like depends on your use case.

I think no one mentioned the difficulties reported with Fairphone and TWRP with the locked bootloader. This was the reason I did not mention it. I will refrain on adding negatives but recommend you check if the bootloader is locked, as it is reported unlock actions delete all userdata