Sailfish X cannot restore a Sailfish (non-X) backup (Design issue)

REPRODUCIBILITY (% or how often): Presumably 100%
BUILD ID = Any/Sailfish X
HARDWARE (Jolla1, Tablet, XA2,…): XA2
REGRESSION: (compared to previous public release: Yes, No, ?): No


Backup uses tar. Sailfish X ordinarily uses Busybox tar. It thereby cannot Restore a full tar backup done from ordinary Sailfish. It produces no error messages yet causes massive problems.


  1. Create a backup on normal Sailfish
  2. Restore same backup on Sailfish X that has no other version of tar (eg NielDK’s).


No errors reported however, restoration is typically incomplete. No accounts worked and it became impossible to fix or create accounts. Upon attempting to Reset to original Sailfish installation, it bricked my phone (only fastboot worked).


If accounts are broken in this way, Restoring after installing NielDK’s tar worked for me ie fixed all problems.

Possible fixes:

  1. Test for error upon extraction. I think it produced a couple when manually extracting although journalctl showed no such errors whilst using Restore.
  2. Name all Sailfish X backups backupx*. Upon trying to restore normal backup*, run verify on tar first.
  3. Test for incomplete accounts data on extraction. Not sure what was missing in the data, but various things have to be there to be able to restore an account.
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Even with tar, Sailfish X 3.4 wouldn’t restore either People or Notes from non-X 3.3. It gave an error on notes but I don’t think it even tried to restore People. The latter was in the backup and could be imported manually. Notes was in a different format in the backup. Copying the 3.3 sqllite file over worked.

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This is not restrained to non-X backups, unfortunately. I’ve been a Sailfish X user since June 2019, and after several delays, I gave in and decided to update from to I have more severe problems with this update than simply the backup, but from my experience, I completed a full re-flash of my phone with, then during the setup of the device, I skipped adding a Jolla account, and proceeded to restore my backup, which claimed to complete just fine.
Upon doing so, the Store app immediately complained about my account needing updating. I attempted to input my credentials, and it gives the error of “Unable to store app keys.” I removed my account completely, tried again, and then received a new error “Your username and password cannot be used on this device.” This was unfathomable, and while I was afraid it was a mistake in input, I proved that wrong by signing into from within the Sailfish web browser.

The only fix was to re-flash again, and sign into my Jolla account during setup. This worked fine, but the backup had other problems when I did so. The Notes restore fails due to an ERROR 3 in /usr/bin/jolla-notes/notes-vault where it’s non-existent or non-executable. I removed my Notes app but the error persisted, thus halting the rest of the restore. I had to take the tar off my memory card, open it in 7zip, remove the Notes backup manually, put the tar back onto my phone, and THEN it would finally complete the restore correctly.

I have more serious complaints I’ll be making another post on, but this is a serious problem, either account keys don’t work, or parts of the backup fail, and this needs to be remedied.

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