How to Back Up your Android Phone

When it comes to Androids there are many different ways to back up your phone. The downside is that the majority of them cost money because they are downloaded apps. There is no all-in-one Android system that will back up your data for you. 

This page will provide links and helpful information so that you can make the best decision as to how to back up your Android data.

  • This method creates a copy of your data on the SD card in your computer.

    This method backs up of your Android data to be copied onto an SD card you keep on your computer. Please note, with Android devices, there may be slight variations in the exact wording or steps.

    1. Connect your Android device to your computer (Windows or Mac should both work) via the USB cable.

    2. On your Android, pull down the main menu (swipe down from the top of the screen) and select "USB connection."

    3. On the next page, choose USB Mass Storage and hit OK.

    4. You'll see a new drive or "Removable Disk" appear on your computer for the SD card. Open it up, and copy all the files inside to a new location on your computer. By putting the date right into the name of the folder—something like "130815_ANDROID-SD-CARD-BACKUP"—you can very easily identify it and when it was created.

    This method works well as a first back up option. You may want to use this along with another method, as you will need to remember to back up your data often in order to use this one.

  • This backs up information from your phone to your computer using a copy-paste method.

    This option allows you to manually copy and paste all the photos and video from your smartphone to the computer. This also works for other data.

    1. Connect your phone to your computer via the included micro-USB cable, and it will show up as an external hard drive. Mac users will need to download the Android File Transfer tool.

    2. Click and drag anything and everything to a folder on your computer or laptop.

    • For photos you’ll be heading to Android > DCIM or Camera > and dragging all of your photos and video to back them up on your PC. This is always a great thing to do anyways, and once a month wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    If you have a Samsung Galaxy device or another Android phone with a micro-SD card, you can always remove that from under the battery door, insert this into the computer, and copy over files that way for additional protection.

  • List of several apps that will help back up your data.

    Using a backup app removes most of the management, organization, and upkeep out of backing up your Android. 

    Helium Premium

    ($4.99) Works for both root and non-root users, and it lets you schedule backups to go to a cloud syncing and storage service, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. There is a free version of Helium available, but it doesn't let you back up to a cloud service, which is really the piece you want if you're already making a copy of your SD card manually every now and again.

    G Cloud Backup

    Free to download and includes 1GB cloud storage space. It's another app to consider. It lets you back up more than one device to a single account. If you need more space, you can earn it through referrals and other activity, such as tweeting about the service (up to 8GB), or just pay for more (32GB is $32 per year).

    Google Sync

    For starters, Google has you covered when it comes to most of the important contact and email information. All your app data (like game saves) calendar, Browser, Contacts, Gmail, Photos, Music, People details, and even more detailed things like WiFi passwords and other device settings. All of this can be synced to Google’s servers with two or three taps in your device settings, and restored when you get a new device.

    Head to Settings > Accounts (tap Google) > Select Google account > check everything you want to sync. This is one of the most powerful tools for the important stuff.

    As you can see above Google does a pretty excellent job backing up almost everything that is important. Once you sign into your Google account on the new phone or tablet you’ll instantly have all your contacts, browser bookmarks, movies, music, and even photos if you select that option. Saving and backing up photos is another huge area of concern, so that’s our next topic.

    The second aspect of Google’s built-in backup tool is for WiFi passwords and other device settings. For this you’ll want to head to Settings > Backup & reset > and check Back up my data, and automatic restore. This will ensure all those deeper settings and passwords will be saved for you, safely on Google’s servers, and instantly returned to your new device.

    SMS Backup +

    One of the most popular, simply because it’s easy and straight forward. This app will quickly backup all of your SMS text messages, and the entire call log to the cloud, and you can even save them right in Gmail. A new Label (different from “Inbox”) will be labeled “SMS” and you’ll have all the texts or calls you’d like to save conveniently in your Gmail. It even offers automatic (every 30 minutes or more) backups for added protection.

You may want to use several of these methods together so that your data is backed up in several places. That way you will know you have the updated version of your data available.