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Phones are getting better at automatically backing up data, but unfortunately there’s always the possibility that you’ll lose your phone or drop it in water and lose everything. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to back up that data, ensuring that even if something does happen to your phone, you won’t lose all those embarrassing photos of your kids you were going to show at their 21st birthday.

Whether it be through Google, a third-party app, or your computer, here’s how to properly back up all your phone’s data.

With Google

Backing up most of your data is actually pretty easy with Google, and it has gotten far easier over the past few years. Unfortunately there isn’t yet a one-stop backup method for Android phones through Google, but there are ways to back up different types of data. Keep in mind, however, that these options don’t cover things like SMS, though we do have an entire article to help you out with thatHere’s how to back up your data with Google.

Photos and videos

Google Photos logo AA

If you’re not already using Google Photos, you should be. The service automatically backs up every photo and video you take to the cloud, so you’ll never have to manually back up your media ever again. If the Photos app isn’t already on your phone, you can download it here. Once it’s installed, you’ll need to make sure Photos is set to automatically back up your files. Here’s how to do that:

  • Open the Google Photos app
  • In the menu, head to Settings
  • Tap ‘Back up & sync’
  • Make sure the switch is turned on
See also:

Google Photos hands-on

May 29, 2015

The best part about Google Photos? You can upload as many files as you’d like for free. Photos and videos will have a maximum upload quality of 1080p for the free storage option, which should be good enough for most people. If you’d like to keep the original quality of your photos, you can, but it will count against your Google Drive storage. Here’s how to check your Google Photos upload quality:

  • Open the Google Photos app
  • In the menu, head to Settings
  • Tap ‘Back up & sync’
  • Tap ‘Upload size’
  • Choose the option you’d like

Of course, you probably have more than just photos and videos on your phone. Here are a few ways you can back up the other files:

Other files

Google Drive icon-AA

Google Drive lets you store your other files in the cloud, which means they’ll be accessible from any connected device. To manually upload folders and files, follow these instructions:

  • Download the Google Drive app, if you don’t have it already
  • In the app, press on the ‘+’ button
  • Press ‘Upload’
  • Select the file(s) you’d like to back up
  • That’s it!

Settings and apps

To back up your phone’s settings and apps, you’ll want to use Android Backup Service. This service essentially backs up the apps you use and the settings that you have selected in most Google apps, making it easy to restore those settings on a new phone. For a complete list of what gets backed up with Android Backup Service, head here. Otherwise, follow the instructions below to activate it:

  • Open your smartphone’s Settings app
  • Tap on ‘Backup & reset’
  • Press ‘Backup account,’ and add your account, if it’s not there already

And that’s it! Your device should be pretty much all backed up now. Unless, of course, you want to use a third party service instead of Google’s own.

Using other backup options

Backup apps google play store

Google’s services are great, but if you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution — one that backs up everything at once, that is — you might need to use a third-party app.

Unrooted phone

There are a ton of great apps out there for backing up your data, and one of the easiest to use is Easy Backup & Restore. As the name implies, Easy Backup & Restore aims to be simple. It backups applications and the usual assortment of other stuff including MMS, calendar, and user dictionaries. You also have the option of backing up directly to your device, to Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com, and OneDrive if you use cloud storage. 

  • Download Easy Backup & Restore
  • When asked if you’d like to create a backup, tap ‘Yes’
  • Select the items you’d like to include in your backup
  • Select the location where you’d like the backup to save
  • Type in a name for your backup
  • Wait for the app to back up your data
  • Tap ‘OK’

And that’s all there is to it. Easy, right?

Rooted phones

best root apps for android

While most people won’t need to root their phones to backup what they need to, rooting your phone can help you back up a few more things. By rooting your phone, just about everything on your phone can be restored, including things like app settings, system data, and even Wi-Fi passwords. One of the most used apps for backing up a rooted phone is Titanium Backup. While Titanium Backup certainly looks a little outdated, it’s a very powerful app indeed. Here’s how to back up your files using Titanium Backup:

  • Download and open the app
  • Tap the menu button in the top-right corner and select ‘batch actions’
  • Select everything you want to back up
    • If this is the first time you’re backing up your device, you’ll at least want to select ‘backup all user apps’ and ‘backup all system data’
  • You can also choost to back up the files to Dropbox or Google Drive, which you may want to do in case you lose your phone
  • You can also opt to create a recovery compatible .zip backup file
    • This ensures that even if your phone’s system files become corrupt or something else happens that prevents you from being able to boot up your phone, you’ll be able to restore your phone from the backup

For a full explanation of Titanium Backup and how it works, head here.

See also:

Rooting your Android – Everything you need to know!

December 3, 2016

Backing up to your computer

Instead of backing up your device to the cloud or to the phone itself, you might want to back up all your files to your computer for easy access later on. Luckily, this is pretty easy to do, and the process is pretty much the same whether you’re a Mac or PC user. Mac users will need to download and install the Android File Transfer app, though. Here’s how to back up your Android device to a computer:

  • Plug your phone into your computer with your USB cable
  • On Windows, go to ‘My Computer’ and open the phone’s storage
    • On Mac, open Android File Transfer
  • Drag the files you want to backup to a folder on your computer

And that’s it!


Whether you need to create a full backup of your device or you just want to make sure you don’t lose your photos, backing up your phone shouldn’t be hard to do. Thankfully, it’s not! If you can think of any better ways to back up your phone, let us know in the comments section.

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