How to use SeedVault Backup for Android

How to use SeedVault Backup for Android

Published at: 07/06/2022
Updated at: 11/17/2022

Setting up SeedVault Backup on Android

SeedVault is a backup application for the Android Open Source Project. It uses the same internal APIs as adb backup which is deprecated. The source code is freely available on Github, this makes it a very good alternative to Google Drive.

If you are looking for more alternatives, I advise you to try Nextcloud, it will require you to configure a server where to save backups.

Steps to follow

Here are the steps to setup and use SeedVault Backup.

1) Android Version

First of all, check that your Android version is compatible. You must have Android 9 or greater.

2) Backup settings

Check your phone settings and search for "backup". You probably already have SeedVault installed. I use CarbonROM 8.0 (Android 10) and I didn't need to install anything.

Note: Eventually, you can find some APKs for LineageOS on APKMirror. I did not test them.

You should find a voice like Change backup provider, similar to the screenshot below. Tap on it.

Search results for
Search results for "backup" on Android 10

3) Select backup provider

You should now be able to change your service provider to make backups. Tap on Seedvault Backup.

Options available to change backup provider on CarbonROM 8.0
Options available to change backup provider on CarbonROM 8.0

4) Save the 12-words security code

To use Seedvault you will be asked to save and insert a security code made of 12 random words. When you have it done, you will be able to start using the service.

The code is needed to crypt and decrypt your backups. If you lose the code, you might not be able to recover and restore your data from the backed up archives.

5) Adjust Seedvault settings

You can also configure some settings for your backup preferences, as in the following screenshot:

Setting up your preferences on Seedvault
Setting up your preferences on Seedvault

I recommend you to keep all the options enables: Backup my data, Automatic restore, App backup.

You can also choose a custom backup location, on your internal or external memory.


Good, now all is set up. Let me know in the comments below if this guide worked for you or not.

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  • 2024-04-27 18:09:09

    Author: eartahhj

    Aight EJ lemme know if it cooks well

  • 2024-04-27 14:49:16

    Author: E.J.

    Lemme check it out.. If it's for me I'll throw you some scratch.

  • 2024-01-10 12:25:54

    Author: Johannes

    Thank you for the detailed answer. I see things pretty much the same way. So I will probably do a backup every month, and continue my other backups as well.

  • 2024-01-09 19:48:11

    Author: eartahhj

    @Johannes Hi, thank your for your feedback. First of all, I do not have a recent experience with the case you posted, what I can say is that in my experience you most likely will be able to restore the apps, as for restoring the system instead, it could be more difficult I believe. I mean, depends a lot on the situation. If your system is updated every week for example (like it could be with a LineageOS nightly build that gets updates even every day or so) you are more exposed to the risk of encountering bugs that could even brick your phone. Restoring everything from a months-old backup on a OS that gets updated very often could be not too easy. Moreover, I have experiences with some system where major updates (like from Android 11 to 12 or so) are not so immediate, because you might need to reflash everything from scratch. Now, I am not super expert, but my experience is based on 3-4 phones where I installed LineageOS and CarbonROM multiple times and all of them are still working, so didn't really need to restore a full backup yet, but I surely know my way around this kind of topics. I would suggest you to keep a full backup of your system (kinda like you could do with an image snapshot of a server, or a system backup of your system) that you do manually every once in a while (3 months? 6? depends how often you update things, could be even monthly) so you know you have a safe point. Do not trust automatic backup completely. Sometimes Seedvault fails to upload my backups to my cloud storage, or sometimes Duplicati on my PC encounters errors that prevent a backup to complete, so I never trust them 100%. The full recover process of an Android System from Seedvault is something I never did yet, so I don't think I will be able to produce an instruction article about it soon. As you said, keep Seedvault as an emergency anchor that can give you something more, but do not rely only on that.

  • 2024-01-09 18:38:48

    Author: johannes.maidorf

    Thank you very much for your article! The most important thing for me is backing up the Android operating system without my device having to be rooted. I have a Fairphone 3 with /e/OS v1.18-s. And on it is Seedvault v12-3.0. Today (09-01-23) I created a backup of my smartphone for the first time. Storage location: USB stick with 64 GB. Expert setting: Unlimited app quota I have not backed up photos, videos, audio files and downloads, as I back up all data to my memory card in my smartphone and regularly copy it to the internal and external hard disk of my Linux computer. My questions: What if I have trouble with the operating system after a long time, let's say after three months? And therefore want to restore the backup created today (09-01-23) and unchanged since then, connect the USB stick to the smartphone and perform the recovery with the recovery wizard from Seedvault. Will I be able to restore the current system status? The apps that have changed in the meantime because they have been updated to today's status (09-01-23)? If that were the case, I would be satisfied. This is because I only want to have the Seedvault backup as an "emergency anchor" and therefore don't want to constantly handle the USB memory stick. In the case described above, I could reinstall and update the (now outdated) apps relatively quickly and I also have the settings (and possibly also the data) saved separately for the most important ones. That's why I can live with the fact that some apps are not (yet) backed up via Seedvault. The question is whether everything works like this. Or do I have the wrong idea? And then I would very much like to see instructions for the restore process, i.e. how to use the restore wizard more precisely. Who has recent experience with this? Johannes M.

  • 2023-08-22 18:00:09

    Author: Bruce Fraser

    Hi eartahhj, Thanks for your reply. No, the PC couldn't see that folder either. Ah, but good news: I learned that the DiskUsage app is able to delete things. So all is well now.

  • 2023-08-22 04:55:30

    Author: eartahhj

    Bruce, that's weird, it didn't happen to me but I ran it on a custom ROM, maybe on a normal Android it works differently because of some permissions. In any case, did you try connecting your phone to the PC via USB cable? From there you should be able to see hidden folders, the folder should be called something like "SeedvaultAndroidBackup", maybe with a dot in front of the name (the dot makes the folder hidden).

  • 2023-08-21 15:24:17


    Seedvault has taken up all available space on my card. I wish I had never allowed this to operate. Although I have stopped it, using the "Backup" menu in Settings, it appears impossible to recover those GBs of space it occupies. My phone is not rooted, so I don't have access to hidden folders. I can see the space it occupies using the app DiskUsage.

  • 2022-11-10 08:55:34

    Author: eartahhj

    Hello Michal, this will backup your apps and apps data, photos and other media will not be backed up. That would also require a lot of space in your phone or on a cloud service. Let's say it is just a useful safety measure in case your phone breaks and you want to import your old apps (and their data) into a new Android phone, so not to lose them completely.

  • 2022-11-10 05:29:22

    Author: Michal

    Hello, recover everything? Or something must set again after reinstall?