Redditor Tanglebrook recently drew attention to the issue; s/he had been using an old iPhone during their weeks between Android phones, believing the Android backup would be there ready when they bought a new Android handset.
After the data of wiped out or deleted - there is no way that you can retain the data. The starting date of that inactivity comes after two weeks of zero device usage.
This may not be new information, but it's not well-known information: Google will automatically schedule to delete backups of your Android device if the device is inactive for more than two months. Android Police says as long as you have one Android device checking in to the Google servers every couple months, your backups should be fine.
"If you don't back up your iOS device to iCloud for 180 days or more, Apple reserves the right to delete your device's iCloud backups", Apple notes in a support page. There's no option to store the Android backups in Google Drive space the user has/pays for, meaning you must keep in mind to use your device every couple of weeks or risk having an expiration date applied. Tanglebrook was told by a Google representative that there is no way to keep the backup on his Google Drive or any other place.
Your device's data is backed up on Google Drive for as long as you use the device but if you stop using it for a period of two weeks - by switching devices - then Google starts an expiration countdown after which that data is deleted for good. For instance: "Expires in 54 days".
This simply means that Google keeps track of your Android backup data and regularly checks the status of your devices.
If your backup gets deleted, there's no way to restore it, meaning all your settings and data could just vanish. Google's implementation is particularly problematic, as it is not possible to enforce backups on the device.
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