Google could make setting up a new Android phone way faster — here’s how

Google Pixel 8a in hand.
(Image credit: Future)

If you find setting up a new Android phone is a chore, then you should be happy to hear Google may be working on a way to make the process much faster. Assemble Debug has done a deep dive into the code for Google’s Data Restore Tool (via Android Authority), and uncovered evidence of a new method of data transfer that uses a physical cable and Wi-Fi.

Assemble Debug found references to a tool called “MultiTransportD2dTransport” and a line of text saying “Copying using cable and Wi-Fi for fastest speed." It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that means Google may be able to transfer data by simultaneously using wired and wireless connections.

Utilizing both should also mean that data can be transferred slightly faster. Wired data transfer is currently pretty fast, but it has a limit. Throwing a wireless transfer into the mix means that extra data can be moved even when the transfer cable is firing on all cylinders. 

In theory at least. It all depends on whether a phone will be capable of receiving data that way, and whether it’ll be able to register and process it any faster than the current system. Unfortunately, AssembleDebug wasn’t able to pull any more information from the code, beyond the phrase “want to speed things up?” That suggests that Android may prompt you to try the dual-transfer system at some point in the setup process. 

New 'Restore Anytime' Feature

It also looks like Google has been working on a feature called “Restore Anytime." This allows users to transfer data from an existing device to new or old Android devices whenever they like. Crucially, this means you don’t have to factory reset the target device, which is how the system works at the moment. 

Copied data will apparently be merged with whatever’s present on the target device. A screenshot also seems to confirm that any settings that have been changed on the target device won’t be overwritten during this process. This process also seems to work when transferring data from iPhone to Android, though presumably won’t work in the opposite direction.

There do appear to be some restrictions, though. Data can only be transferred from a device you used to copy data previously. While the specifics of this aren’t clear I’d guess this means you can only freely transfer data to an older device if you’d previously copied data from that device in the first place. 

To further confuse matters Android Authority seems to contradict itself by claiming new devices will need to be factory reset while also claiming data can be transferred to new devices “at any time." So we may have to wait for Google to announce this feature and clear up all the specifics.

It’s unclear if and when these features may be announced by Google. Google I/O 2024 would be an obvious launching point, and given the Google Pixel 8a has been announced early there should be plenty of time to go over incoming Android features like this. That’s assuming these two features are ready to be revealed publicly, of course. So we’re just going to have to wait and see how this pans out.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.