How to Backup Android in 5 Easy Steps

Here we’ll be going over five easy ways to backup Android smartphones or tablets. This is the easiest way to keep apps, data and photos safe. Follow this guide and be prepared in the case of loss, theft or other situations.

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For many users a smartphone is more important than a home computer, or even their only computer. People have their phone with them 24/7, and they’re filled with important emails, contacts and calendar schedules, or lots of pictures and video. We’ll be saving all of that and more with apps, the help of Google and more.

Below we’ll go over 5 quick and simple steps owners can take to be better protected from data loss when it comes to mobile devices. Everything from apps, contacts and system settings, to photos or video and even SMS (texts) backup. Whether it’s a precaution or to switch devices like Note 7 users, we have you covered.

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Everything that is valuable on a smartphone can be backed up with a few easy steps. Enabling a smooth transition to a new device no matter the situation. There are some all-in-one solutions we’ll share, but for the most part a few quick settings and early steps will have you completely protected.

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Google Backup & Restore

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.

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Head to Settings > Accounts (tap Google) > Select Google account > check everything you want to sync. Make sure under settings > Backup & reset this is all enabled as well. It should be enabled by default, which is nice. This is one of the most powerful tools for the important stuff, but we’ll go over SMS and other things too. Backup & reset will save almost everything. A new restore function arrived with Android 5.0, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow made it even better and backs up everything. Like game saves, settings, app data and more. It’s a full solution here in 2016. But you’ll need to be on Android 5.0 or higher to take advantage of it. Most should be.

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As you can see above Google does a pretty excellent job backing up almost everything. 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.

Read: How to Automatically Backup Photos on Android

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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. Then check Back up my data, and automatic restore. This will ensure all those deeper settings and passwords will be saved for you, secured on Google’s servers, and instantly returned to your new device. This is shown above, and again below for those on versions older than Android 6.0. It looks similar, and has the same options overall.

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Photo Backup

The next major important backup tool is for photos. We all have hundreds of them we don’t want to lose. The problem here is there’s hundreds of different ways you can backup your photos. Many are extremely easy so pick whatever works best for you. Personally, I use the Google Photos app, and select it from the Google sync instructions above. Google Photos will store a full resolution copy of every photo taken, up to 1000GB. Or lower the resolution and it can hold an unlimited amount, which is what we’d recommend. Quickly find a photo from 3 years ago, or even search for “hats” “cats” or other things and let it find them for you.

That being said, the link above for how to automatically backup photos will be your best friend. Whether you’re using Google Photos, Dropbox, or other cloud options, you’ll never lose a photo again. They’ll all be instantly saved, and retrievable from a PC or mobile device. Google Photos has evolved into one of my favorite Android apps.

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Then of course there’s other options like Flickr, Photobucket, Dropbox, Box, or even Microsoft Skydrive.  The 1,000GB (1TB) Google option shown above will ensure thousands and thousands of photos will be saved. Much better than the 5-10GB others offer for free. Dropbox is one of them, but many use it so we’ll mention it below.

Head to the Google Play Store and get Dropbox, then just enable photo backup like you see below.

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This can be accessed from any device with the Dropbox link, or by going to their website on your Android smartphone and tablet, or a computer. It’s simple, effective, and fast. Newer versions may look somewhat different, and Dropbox has even more options now than ever before. Like automatic backup and more.

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Manual Backup

Something I also do as a third backup for added comfort and redundancy, is manually copy and paste all the photos and video from my smartphone to the computer. This also works for other data, so this is our third easy step. Simply 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.

Now just 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.

Text (SMS) and Call Log Backup

Another thing many consumers hate to lose when they get a new phone is all those important text messages. Not to mention the call log, although that’s never a concern of mine. If you want to save those precious or funny text and picture messages, we can do that in minutes.

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My app of choice is SMS Backup & Restore, 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. Or you can save them right in Gmail or Dropbox. You can do it manually, set weekly or bi-weekly backups and more. Another good option is SMS Backup+.

All-In-One Backup

Finally, there are a few all in one solutions that will allow you to backup nearly anything and everything. These usually have limits, or cost money, but are an excellent way to fully ensure you have everything from your device. Not only that, but it does almost all of the work. Apps like MyBackup Pro have been around forever, simply because it works. Root is not required, but helps, so the average user can buy the $4.99 pro version, set it, and forget it. Essentially.

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MyBackup Pro does everything mentioned above all in one app. It saves it all to a secure cloud, or to your SD and computer, and can all be restored in a few clicks. This means it will automatically (and even on set schedules) backup every aspect of your device, and be ready to restore to a new phone should that be required.

If you’re looking to save apps, or even backup an app we can do that. I backup a lot of apps like Textra so if a developer updates it I can roll-back to what I like. While this isn’t ideal, it works great. Whether you’re doing the same, or just want to save every application, try App Backup & Restore. It’s easy and free.

Helium is an Android enthusiast favorite, and another excellent all in one backup solution. Remember, both of these may take some initial setup or work, but once done, you’re set. Helium even offers Android to Android sync, so you can copy anything and everything you want from device to device, or from a phone to a tablet.

If you’re a Samsung user the company has a few great tools that does literally everything for you. It’s called SmartSwitch and it will transfer 100% of your old Galaxy S6 to that new Galaxy S7 Edge. It works amazingly well with a cable or even WiFi transfer. Here are more details and a full guide.

Should You Do This?

It’s a sad fact, but these days smartphones are the most important thing many people have. I’d be lost without mine, not to mention my case is my wallet, but you get the idea. Having a smartphone that gets stolen, lost, or broken is a frustrating experience. It doesn’t have to be though.

Taking the steps above will make getting new phone and transferring all your old and important data over a breeze, and something that won’t be so daunting. Let Google do all the heavy lifting, buy MyBackup Pro, and be prepared in case of an accident or theft. These work even if you lose a device, as most of the content is usually stored elsewhere. That or it can be transferred to an SD card or the computer.

Read: Android Tap & Go Restores Your Phone in Minutes

Even if you don’t do many of these steps signing into your Gmail account on a new device is almost all you need. It doesn’t do texts, but does the rest. The link above is a video showing a feature in Android 5.0 and above called Tap & Go restore. Tap a new phone to an old one and it transfers everything, or lets you manually go through a list and select which accounts, apps and more, then restores it all in minutes using Bluetooth and WiFi. It’s pretty amazing when it works right, so give it a try next time you get a new smartphone or tablet.

Everything detailed above will save your information, texts, calls, apps, data and more. Better safe than sorry, right?