Getting your files backed up is probably one of the most important things for any device owner across any platform. You never know when things will go wrong and you don’t want to lose any of your stuff when such events occur. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to backup your files and apps on Android. For this list, we’ll take a look at the best Android backup apps.
- Check out how to backup your texts!
- Cloud storage is a great way to backup Android. Here are the best cloud storage apps!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
First on our list is a fairly basic backup application called App Backup and Restore. It has the basic backup features including app backups, batch backups, and the capacity to backup to restore multiple versions of the same app in case you ever want to roll back to a prior version. It also contains an uninstall manager, the ability to send APKs to other devices via Bluetooth, email, and WiFi, and more. It’s a simple solution although there have been reports of some device compatibility issues here and there.
Backup Your Mobile is another basic solution for those who don’t need a lot of features. It can backup a lot of things including apps, system settings, SMS, MMS, call logs, and other various bric-a-brac. The UI is fairly simple and using it to backup stuff should only take a few minutes of poking around. Some have reported that transferring data to a new device and restoring is a little complicated and bugs have been reported sporadically so your mileage may vary. It is free so there’s no harm in trying it out.
Cloud storage has long been a bastion on keeping your data safe from a failing device. Google Drive (or the newly formed Google Photos), Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, and others can be set to automatically backup your camera photos and videos which is a great way to keep that stuff safe. You can also use it to backup documents, various files, and pretty much whatever you want. In fact, many of these other backup apps have cloud storage support so it probably can’t hurt to have one of these accounts ready. As an added bonus, you can also backup your entire music collection on Google Play Music for free which can come in handy. If it helps, many apps such as Nova Launcher, most texting apps, and others allow you to back up your data which can then be setn tot he cloud and downloaded on new devices.
Cheetah Mobile’s CM Backup is a fairly popular and highly rated backup solution in the Play Store. It doesn’t backup applications, but it will backup contacts, messages, call logs, bookmarks, calendar info, alarms, and user dictionaries. Unlike most, CM Backup is a cloud solution so you’ll be backing up to their cloud and restoring from there. This makes it easy for cross-device restoring. It also includes a website that you can view and manage your backups. It’s also directly affiliated with CM Security so if you use that, it can’t hurt to try this one too. It’s worth noting that you’ll get 5GB of space for free.
As the name implies, Easy Backup and 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. You will need root access for some features, such as app data and batch restoring applications, but otherwise it’s a fairly simple application and it’s totally free to use.
[Price: Free / $4.99]
Helium was one of the first truly useful “no root required” backup apps although root users can use this as well. Using this app, you can backup and restore your apps to your computer or your device depending on your preferences. If you fork out the $4.99 for the premium version, you can also sync apps between Android devices and backup to and restore from cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive) with more features coming soon. It’s a solid app from a trusted developer and it’s been around for a while.
List My Apps is a different kind of backup app. Instead of backing things up, it creates a list of your apps for easy reference. This is great for people who don’t want to use cloud storage, don’t have a lot of internal storage for backups, and for those who don’t use a lot of apps. It creates lists in XML, plain text, BBCode, Markdown, market URLs, and you can even create your own using a template. It’s simple, it works, and it’s effective if you need a quick list of stuff you have on your device.
[Price: Free / $4.99]
Back in the good old days, MyBackup was the best alternative to Titanium Backup for root users and it’s remained not only relevant, but pretty decent ever since. It can backup apps, photos, music, videos, and the usual assortment of stuff like call logs, SMS, and system settings. On the free version, you can backup to your device or external SD card. With the pro version, you can backup and restore to any Android device sharing your account, backup and restore to cloud storage, back and restore to your computer, and more. Of course, as in the old days, root users have some extra features including freezing bloatware and system apps and more. It’s a complex and powerful backup app.
[Price: Free / $1.99]
Super Backup is another simple solution with little room for error. The interface is functional and easy to use. It includes buttons that backup each thing individually, including apps, contacts, SMS, calendars, bookmarks, and a few others. Users can define where the backups go for easy locating later and you can also schedule automatic backups along with backing up to cloud storage. There have been a few bugs reported here and there, but it’s a simple solution and free to boot.
[Price: Free / $5.99]
Titanium Backup is considered an essential tool for root users thanks to its long time stability, laundry list of features, and timely updates. Unlike many other backup apps, Titanium Backup is pretty much exclusively for root users without many features for non-rooted devices. You can freeze and uninstall bloatware, backup applications (along with app data), backup to cloud storage, and plenty of other features. The Pro version comes with far more features, including 1-click batch restore, syncing to cloud storage, and a whole lot more. Really, there are a bunch of features. If you’re rooted, click the button and check it out.
[Price: Free / $2.99]
Last on the list of apps is Ultimate Backup and it aims to be a competitor to Titanium Backup. That means you can freeze/unfreeze system apps and bloatware, backup apps, sync apps to cloud storage, and there is even a task killer built in if you want one (not recommended). If you buy the premium version, you can get scheduled backups, restoring from the cloud, unlock batch actions, and it’ll remove advertising. It’s a solid solution. It doesn’t quite have the firepower that Titanium Backup has but it’s a nice option for those looking for something a bit more simple.
Other ways to backup your stuff
There are other ways to backup various parts of your device. You won’t typically see the kind of depth that you’d see with one of the applications listed above, but with a little housekeeping, you can have a device that restores pretty much everything within an hour without the help of a backup applications. We’ll cover these briefly but our own Jonathan Feist covers them more in depth in his Android customization series.
Google Backup and OEM Backup
Google has the capacity to backup your applications. This is especially prevelant in newer versions of Android where it will ask you if you want to backup/restore from your Google account upon signing in for the first time. Once you select that option, the Google Play Store will automatically begin to download all of your applications. If you’re on a tiered data plan, we strongly recommend you find WiFi before doing this because the data adds up quickly. Most versions of Android won’t restore your app data so you’ll have to redo all that stuff, although newer versions of Android may fix this problem.
Some OEMs, like HTC and Samsung, also have backup solutions. Samsung’s built-in backup will save your SMS, contacts, system settings, and others. HTC goes one step further and claims to backup app data and system settings, among other things. If you have access to these services, you might as well try them out. They’re built-in and completely free to use.
Most files on your device are accessible from a computer, including music, photos, videos, and downloaded files. If you hook your device up to a computer, you can manually drag and drop those files onto your computer for safe keeping. You can go a step further, enter your contacts app, and export your contacts to your SD card and put that file on your computer as well for importing later. About the only thing you can’t backup this way (without technical know-how) is your applications and system settings. However, even that can be overcome with some patience and Google searching skills.
Save your contacts to Google
One of the best things about owning an Android phone is the potential integration with Google. You can backup music using Google Play Music and the Play Store can restore apps for you. One thing that doesn’t get talked about much is contacts. If you go to your Gmail, enter the contacts section, and manually put your contacts into your Gmail, those contacts sync with your phone as soon as you sign into your Google account. I did this back in 2009 and I haven’t had to manually restore contacts in seven years. It may take a bit depending on your phone book, but you’ll never have to worry about losing your contacts again.
Related best app lists:
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- See what’s in your phone for real with the best file manager apps for Android!
If we missed any great methods or backup apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.