You might not be familiar with the name Data Restore Tool, but odds are most of our readers have actually seen the app in action before — if not when setting up a new phone for the first time, then occasionally as an aside in our coverage when we cover the topic. It’s preinstalled on many (I’d hazard to say most) recent Android phones and handles part of the process that migrates data between your old phone and new one. And almost immediately after teasing a whole new simplified backups system, now Google is bringing the app to the Play Store.
So far as we can tell, the Play Store listing went live sometime between July 19th and 22nd. As it’s preinstalled on so many phones, it’s already reached over a billion downloads in the last week, and if reviews are anything to go by, folks are confused about its sudden new appearance on the Play Store.
It’s also important to point out that this is different than the Data Transfer Tool that Google rolled out to the Play Store back in 2017, seemingly specific to Pixel devices at the time and partly replacing the even older Data Transfer Tool, last updated in 2017 according to the Play Store listing. The new app also seems to inherit the app listing images of the Data Transfer Tool.
Testing with a few phones we have on-hand, a version of the Data Restore Tool app is already preinstalled on many devices, including recent Samsung phones. As you’d likely expect, given there’s already a separate Pixel-specific app, the most notable omission is that Google’s own Pixels don’t have it — that is, unless they’re running Android 12 (as spotted by 9to5Google). It also won’t install on Android 11 Pixels or many other devices that have an older version of the app already installed.
On that note, Google’s store is distributing a newer version of the app than we’ve previously seen. Even Android 12 Beta 3 shipped with a 1.0.375544850 beta release, but the version being pushed on the Play Store is an even more recent 1.0.382048734. We know that first version included some Material You changes to the device setup process, so we assume they’re built into this more recent version as well, though quickly playing with the app on non-Material-You Android 11 devices, we didn’t notice any easily spotted differences.
Some folk claim they’re having trouble launching the new version of the app standalone (i.e., from the Play Store listing), but since that’s not really how it’s meant to be used, it’s probably not a problem. I would expect the new version will function correctly when triggered to set up a new device.
It’s a little curious that this would happen just as Google is rolling out a new and more simplified backup system for Android. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was related in some way and either this new version of the app is tied to the upcoming changes or Google’s simply getting the Play Store listing ready for a more marketable presentation of the new features.