Need help with file decryption/restoring backup files from SD Card

SoraRyn

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I got a new phone yesterday (Galaxy A03S) but before I did I chose to backup all my data from my old phone (LG K40) onto my SD Card through the built in backup settings. Aside from this, all of my photos were stored through my SD Card, manually, over the years.

My phone reads my SD Card just fine, but doesn't let me access anything. Anything that looks like it could hold my files is encrypted and I'm not given any option or means to decrypt and retrieve it. Smart Switch does nothing, as it says there's nothing to restore via the SD Card. I tried opening my SD Card through my PC via plugging it in and giving the proper permissions, but again all files are encrypted. I also tried seeing if I could open the APK files in hopes of my data being on there, but it gives me a "problem parsing the package" message. I tried fixing this by giving permission to all available apps to install unknown applications, but it did nothing as well.

My old phone got a factory reset so I can't transfer anything wirelessly. I've tried several PC programs in hopes of restoring my phone from before the factory reset but the furthest I got was up until my device needed to be "rooted", which I could not get it to do.

If anyone can help me I would greatly appreciate it. In the end I'm most concerned about my photos and possibly my contacts, if that makes it easier some how.
 

B. Diddy

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Welcome to Android Central! Do you remember if you ever used an option to encrypt the SD card while the card was in the LG K40? If so, then you're pretty much out of luck, because the encryption key would have only resided on that phone, and once you factory reset it, it's gone forever.

Another less likely possibility would be if you somehow formatted the card as Internal Storage (i.e. Adoptable Storage) -- but this option is disabled in LG phones, and can only be done using a somewhat involved workaround. Did you ever do that?
 

SoraRyn

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When backing up my data on the LG K40 it never prompted me to encrypt the files or set up any pin/password for it, as I see it's an option in the Smart Switch settings but I hadn't used that app on the LG phone at all.

I don't believe I did format the SD Card as internal storage, no. It was always being read and recognized as external, and I don't recall messing with it.
 

B. Diddy

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Do you remember how you backed up this data to the SD card? Was it using LG's own backup feature, or did you manually copy files from internal storage to the SD card using a file manager app?

LG's own backup feature most likely was only intended for use with LG's corresponding restore feature (and hence was probably only useful if you were restoring a backup to that same LG phone or some subsequent LG phone). These kinds of manufacturer-specific backup features are almost never compatible with other brands of phones.
 

SoraRyn

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I did use LG's own backup feature through the phone settings, yes. I applied everything to my SD Card, but even when I put my SD Card back into the LG after the factory reset, it didn't find any back-up data.
 

B. Diddy

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I'm not sure -- I've never used this, and I've never owned an LG phone. I'm not optimistic, but it's worth a try.
 

Mooncatt

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I've used LG's backup tool a couple of times. If my understanding is correct, that creates backups that are put into a single container file (think WinZip on steroids) only accessible by other LG phones. Your K40 should be able to access it unless the info is corrupted. Another possible explanation is that it will only read the backup if the phone has been factory reset and doing so as part of the setup process. The purpose of LG's backup is to restore a new/reset phone close to the backed up state, files, apps, settings, and all. So it really doesn't have a purpose being accessed independently.

There is no universal backup option that works across all Android devices. If you stick with one brand, their backup app will be fairly complete and compatible with other devices of the same brand. For backing up to transfer across brands, I've found it best to do things manually. Google will restore some core settings. You can use Google Photos to setup photo and video backups (with limited storage space). SD cards or USB-OTG memory sticks are great for fast local backups of any stand alone file (photos, video, music, documents, etc.) For apps, it's generally best to just re-download them from scratch from the Play store to ensure you get the right version for the new device. Most apps with user data have their own backup/sync methods that you'll need to research as needed. It can be a process, but it's reliable and not prone to problems like you're having now.

If you still have your old LG phone, I would try going into the main settings and use the search bar for "backup and restore." Hopefully you'll find a setting that leads you to a screen similar to this screenshot (from my V60, yours may be different). Try to restore from there, so the phone will know what to look for on the card, assuming the backup file is still on there. If that is successful, then go through the above process to manually backup everything you need and transfer that to the new phone.

Good luck.Screenshot_20220711-203136.jpg
 

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