The data backup situation in Android is far from perfect, but it is improving. But how long can you refer to those backups of app data and more that Google keeps on their servers? Well, it turns out it’s around 2 months.
The issue was raised by users on reddit who noticed the expiry on their backups in Google Drive when attempting to move back to Android from iOS after an extended time away. The backups show that the data isn’t kept indefinitely and according to Google’s support page on the subject your backups start to expire after just 2 weeks:
Your backup will remain as long as you use your device. If you don’t use your device for 2 weeks, you may see an expiration date below your backup.
Example: “Expires in 54 days.”
If you still have your old phone you can of course simply turn it back on and connect it to the internet once a month or so, but in the case of the reddit user they had returned their phone and were unaware of the expiry of backups.
As Android Police point out, a courtesy email advising of impending backup deletion would be a polite inclusion, but it appears that definitely doesn’t happen. Still, forewarned is forearmed so keep those backups live if you’re able to.