Lollipop Forest

One of the biggest complaints in Android’s new device setup process over the last few years has finally been addressed – Android Lollipop has a new way to restore apps and purchases from old devices.

The updated and redesigned setup process allows you to choose the device from which you’d like to restore apps, rather than restoring everything you’ve ever purchased from the Play store.

If you’ve another Android device, you can use the new NFC-based Tap-and-Go feature to restore from that particular device:


Update We thought it would be Lollipop-only, but Tap and Go works between KitKat and Lollipop devices! We’ll have more on this later.

You can also choose from a list of devices (as you can see, Dan has a lot more devices than most of us). Note the “set up as a new device” option – you can skip this process if you want to.


Once you’ve selected a device, you can also select the apps from that device you want to restore – if you choose a different device, the app options will be different:


With the device chosen and apps selected, we’re ready to go:


While your apps are downloading, you can continue to use your phone. The homescreen layout from your old phone will even be brought across, and widget spaces reserved while you wait for apps to be installed.

Apps that haven’t been installed yet are shown in greyscale, and you can see the neat circle that extends around the apps showing their installation status.


Could it be improved further? Yes! Tablets could prefer restoring from tablets, and phones could prefer phones. You should be able to see a picture of the devices (as you can in Android Device Manager) as the model number can be a little confusing, but it’s still a great deal better than the all-or-nothing approach we’ve had for years.

We’re combing through the updated Android 5.0 Lollipop Developer Preview for you.
Check out the Android 5.0 Archive
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    Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!
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    About time but good to finally get this! I have completeyl different setups on my phone and tablet so restoration becomes a frustrating 50/50 for “which profile will I get this time”

    Iain Simmons

    This always frustrated me, particularly if you don’t have the best internet connection. Glad to hear they’ve finally done something about it, and supporting multi-device users. I almost always tried to use Titanium Backup, but that’s obviously assuming you have root, and even then, it’s hardly a simple solution, as you have to be careful with restoring across devices, versions or different ROMs. Last time I got a new phone I took it as a sign that I had too many apps that I didn’t need, so I pared it down quite a bit, and tried to stick with some… Read more »


    So… If I: 1. Factory reset and totally wipe my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 2013 (which are on Android Kit Kat) 2. Perform the upgrade to Android L and begin the set-up process Will I get the option to restore from my last Nexus 4 or Nexus 7 2013 Kit Kat backup (prior to the factory reset and wipe)? Or will this ONLY work from one Android L device to another Android L device? The restore function currently available when you factory reset your phone is a very inexact process, and what gets restored is very inconsistent (probably as… Read more »


    Put it this way. I just upgraded my moto G to lollipop after wiping it, and in the restoration process i could choose my moto G prior to the wipe, or my htc desire that i havent had in 2 years, ontop of that i could also pick the individual apps.

    Carsten Bauer

    Restoring the apps with DATA would be good 🙂

    Dennis Bareis

    Yes its a joke that data isn’t backed up… Android needs to be able to backup app data by default to the cloud and option to sdcard.


    I wonder if there will be a transition tool for Pre 5.0 devices. So we can all tap to migrate.


    The assumption in the article that you need another L device is incorrect. (what would be the point of the feature if you couldn’t upgrade from you old device?)

    I just restored a Nexus 7 from HTC one m8 GPE running 4.4.4 by NFC so you can do it already. The downside is that I got all the phone specific apps with it.

    Jason Murray

    Indeed. The article has been updated.