Imagine that sinking feeling that overwhelms you when you realize that you've lost all your precious data? You know, those important tidbits of your life — your kids' photos, your wacky selfies, the videos of the fun parties you went to, text messages from friends and loved ones, level 100 of your favorite game, your contacts — heck even your payment information and other various log-ins? Now imagine that all that could have been saved and with very little work on your end.
Every Android smartphone on the market today has the ability to automatically backup and store most of your phone's precious data directly to Google servers and make that data accessible through your Google account. With just a few steps you can quickly and easily backup things like photos, music, contacts, calendar events, emails, app data and your device preferences right to Google servers. Even better, should you require a new phone, you can have that data immediately transferred to your new device.
It All Starts With A Google Account!
We may all hate big brother, in fact I don't know of a geek that doesn't, but in this case big brother has your back - literally! By far the quickest and easiest way to backup your device is by setting up and using all the built in services that come along with a Google Account. Now this doesn't mean you have to rush out and change everything over to Gmail, rather it means you associate your current email with a Google account. Yes this means you will be tied to a few unrelated Google services, but as we'll explain you'll need those services to backup a few things.
Step 1: Using Android’s Built-in Backup and Reset Utility
Android's built in backup and reset utility is a standard feature on all Android device and is immediately available to all users once they have a Google account setup on their phone. In your Android device's Settings menu, look for a section called Backup and Reset. Here's where you'll find the option to back up your basics like app data, Wi-Fi passwords, bookmarks, preferences and other settings.
For this to work, you need to specify a backup account. Once you're set up, you can enable the Automatic Restore feature so that whenever you reinstall an app on any device logged into your account, the data and settings for that app will also be restored.
Step 2: Moving and Saving Contacts
Depending on how and where you currently have your contacts stored this can be one of the more difficult processes we'll discuss and these steps may vary depending on those factors.
The first thing you need to do is determine where your contacts are currently being saved.Some of you may be storing them on the device, others may have them on their SIM cards. You can look in the contacts app and see which contacts are being displayed and determine that from there. If you have them on your device or SIM card you can use the Import Contacts feature and import them directly to your Google account and you'll be all set. If for some reason they are on another account you'll want to move them to your device then transfer them.
Once you have all your contacts on your Google account and have verified they have all been moved you'll want to check your settings and verify that all new contacts will be saved to your Google account. The option to change these settings vary by device, but I've found adding a new contact and checking the save to option generally works to change the default.
Step 3: Save Photos Using the Google Photos App
Android will automatically backup photos and videos on your device to your Google account using the Google Photos app. To do this, open the Google Photos App, open the left panel and open the Settings menu. From there, tap Back up & Sync and enable it. This will upload all new or existing photos and videos on your Android device to your Google Account. Keep this option enabled if you'd like to keep syncing new photos and videos to your Google account.
Step 4: Backup Your Game Data
Many Android games utilize a Google Play Games login which includes the Saved Games feature, allowing you to automatically backup game data such as scores, XP and levels to the cloud and sync your game data to your other Android devices. This feature also lets you play the same game on any of your synced devices without having to start from the beginning. If you've backed up your game data, you can restore it after you've reinstalled a game or installed it on a new device. Unfortunately, many gamers have discovered there is no single reliable way to determine which games support this feature.
Several other games will utilize their own in game backup and sync settings or will use other logins such as Facebook. Most of these options will allow you to save, back up and restore your game progress and data. If you'd like to back yours up, this should be the first thing you check when installing a new game.
Step 5: Save Your Music!
While there is no one stop answer here and Google Music doesn't allow for direct backup options for music directly downloaded to your device, it does give you an option to upload all your music (via your PC and music manger) to the cloud and stream it to your device at a later time. Short of doing that you'll need to use a third party backup solution or manually backup your music.
Use Your Device Manufacturer’s SoftwareAlmost every smartphone manufacturer out there offers some kind of backup solution for your device. Most of them offer both a computer-based backup as well as an easy to use device switching app that let you port across your contacts, photos, messages, and the rest. While these device switching apps aren't specifically meant to be backup options they can be useful for moving your data. Here’s a list of some of the options:
- Samsung Smart Switch | Samsung Kies (PC Backup)
- LG Backup
- Sony Xperia Transfer
- HTC Backup
- Motorola Migrate
Third Party Backup ToolsThe last option we'll discuss is using a third party app for your backup needs. There are several out there and most offer similar if not the same features. The Easy Backup and Restore app (free on Google Play) is one of the best we've seen. The app can back up your SMS messages, MMS messages, call logs, calendar events, bookmarks, dictionary, contact list and apps (including app data for rooted devices, but only APK files for non-rooted devices). If you've rooted your Android device, then you should have a look at Titanium Backup. It’s a powerful backup tool that’s packed with power-user features.
No matter which route you take to get there, just make sure you get there. No one wants to be stuck losing all of their contacts, photos or other phone data.