• Google Just Made Android a Lot Less Useful

    As per the email above, Google is breaking one of Android's most useful utilities. I've been using SMS Backup+ for almost as long as I've been using Android. It's not the only way to back up your text messages (and phone call history), but up until today it was arguably the most useful—users have been able to send their SMS history to Gmail (and their phone calls to Calendar) for easy searches of your communications history through these two Google products.

    As of July 15th existing hooks may or may not continue to work, but one thing is clear: as soon as I upgrade to a new phone and try to reconnect the app to Gmail I'll be locked out.

    Here's a message from the developer on GitHub:

    Hello everyone. I'm sorry about this situation, SMS Backup+ will no longer have access to Gmail, mainly because it's not an email reading app. I applied for an exception but it was declined, as expected [...] Unfortunately the Android platform is getting more and more closed. I'm not sure what to do at this point, either remove the app from the store or release a new version which removes the automatic account setup, since that is broken / will be broken soon.
    Ars Technica reports that this isn't the only app that's going to suffer from Google's new "protections"; SwiftKey will also be blocked from using Gmail to better predict text input—a move which will obviously benefit the first-party alternative from Mountain View.

    Links: Ars Technica, GitHub

    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Google Just Made Android a Lot Less Useful started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. zapjb's Avatar
      zapjb -
      SwiftKey users will roar loudly. Won't matter though. Bet the makers regret not selling to Google.
    1. organicelephant's Avatar
      organicelephant -
      Yup. I also regret this. They are getting more and more closed overtime. The dev is right.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Attachment 163598

      My own failed login above jibes with what Android Police is reporting—that my favourite utility for backing up text messages to Gmail no longer works. If you're willing to jump through a few extra hoops there is a workaround that AP found on the app's GitHub bug tracker:

      Create an App specific password in your Google account:

      Go to your Google account, select Security from the left menu, select App Passwords in the Signing in to Google box.*

      At the bottom of the list select the Select app drop down menu - SMS Backup+ won't be there, so select Other.

      Type SMS Backup+ in the field and click generate. You'll get a 16 character password.

      Now open SMS Backup+ (it's easier if you have the password open on a different device, or maybe write it down if you're doing all of this on the same device.

      In SMS Backup+ go to Advanced Settings/Custom IMAP server

      Tap Authentication at the top and change it to Plain Text.

      Leave the server address as imap.gmail.com:993

      Enter your email address.

      Enter the app password you generated WITHOUT the spaces.

      Make sure Security is on TLS.

      You're done, go back to the main SMS Backup+ screen and it should work.
      * Note that you'll need to have 2-step verification enabled to see the option for app passwords. Also note the following:

      Attachment 163599

      In English this means that your text backups will work as before, but your call log still can't be saved to your Google Calendar. So it's more of a half-fix, really. If, like myself, you find this solution lacking you can do what I did and switch to SMS Backup and Restore instead.

      Source: GitHub via Android Police
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