Jul 29, 2013
Helium, formerly known as Carbon before trademark disputes, most likely with the Twitter app of the same name, forced a name change, sounded like an extremely interesting app, promising app backups without rooting. However, I never really had much of a reason to give it a shot until a second primary Android device came in to my life. Now that I do have one, I must say: Helium is amazing.
This is an app backup and restore tool that works without root, by using a backdoor method with PC app backups. Setting up initially will require following instructions and connecting to a PC running a special app. Then, apps can be backed up, either just their data or the APK file as well for compatible apps (some require Google Play downloads), and then restored from either local storage or from connected cloud storage. It’s all simple to use and very seamless. Multiple devices attached to the same Google account can share backups, too. This app does what it says and does it well.
The app’s backdoor method of doing all this without rooting is the one annoying thing about it: Helium won’t work after a restart until it is plugged in to a computer again, and the initial setup steps repeated. This is relatively painless, as the app explains what the user needs to do in which settings page, but it’s still a bit of a hassle. Granted, on unrooted devices this is a necessity. Rooted users can use it without any problems, and I recommend it over Titanium Backup for most users. Helium is just so much more simple, though Titanium Backup has more advanced options.
The app works perfectly fine for backing up to the device and to the cloud, but the premium key is necessary to restore from the cloud. This isn’t inherently ‘necessary’ per se and it’s probably possible to circumvent this by copying from Dropbox to the Helium directory on the device, but it’s just so much simpler with the premium key. As well, restoring apps from different devices is extremely easy with this. Want to copy game progress from one device to another? This is the trick, unless something goes wrong and it doesn’t work. Technology can always screw up.
For those who want to ensure that their apps are backed up or even want to make game progress transfer wirelessly, this is the must-have app.