How to backup an Android phone

Every day that you use your phone, it accumulates data, including things like passwords, photos, messages, app preferences and contacts. And considering how much we use our phones in our lives, this data becomes pretty important, but sometimes we only realise that when we can’t access it! Thankfully, there’s a few ways to save yourself some heartbreak – by saving, or backing up, your data.

But when it actually comes to backing up your data, the process can be daunting for those who haven’t done it before, or have just purchased a new phone and are still working the ins and outs of it. To ensure that the data on your Android phone is backed up and secured, read on to find out more in this Canstar Blue guide.

How to backup an Android phone

There are a number of ways to backup an Android phone, including through cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive and OneDrive, in addition to a computer or a brand’s individual computer program, such as Samsung Smart Switch.

You can choose to back up information manually or automatically. If you’re backing up manually, you’re choosing which pieces of information to back up, such as choosing one album of photos rather than all of your photos. The downside to this is that you’ll have to stay on top of your updates more regularly, meaning you have more to lose if you don’t back up and then run into issues. Alternatively, if you choose to back up automatically, your phone will routinely backup your phone’s information to a location of your choosing. You only need to adjust the settings once.

What information gets backed up?

Enabling backup will allow your phone to save the following:

  • Contacts
  • Calendar events and settings
  • Wi-Fi networks and passwords
  • Wallpapers
  • Apps
  • Display settings (brightness and sleep)
  • Language and input settings
  • Date and time

To backup certain features such as photos and videos, you will need to turn on the backup feature in the Photos application itself, meaning it’s worth looking into all of your individual apps that contain your information to ensure that you aren’t left high and dry if a problem occurs.

How to backup data and settings onto a Google Account

Man using Google Drive on Phone

A Google Account is an online cloud storage space for you to store files and data, coming free when you create a Gmail account. By backing up your phone to your Google Account, you can access the information at any time and from anywhere by logging onto your Google Account. Most Android phones will have Google apps preinstalled, so it makes for an easy option, with the option available to back up your data automatically or manually.

How to automatically backup data to a Google Account

To automatically backup your phone data to a Google account, follow the steps below:

Step One: Make sure you are signed into the correct Google Account (the one you used to set up your Android device). This account will be where all of your backed up information can be found.

Step Two: Open Settings.

Step Three: Select System – Backup.

Step Four: Switch on your backup service. From here, the Google Account will automatically save and backup any new data from your phone.

How to manually backup data to a Google Account

To manually backup your phone data to a Google account, follow the steps below:

Step One: Make sure you are signed into the correct Google Account (the one you used to set up your Android device). This account will be where all of your backed up information can be found.

Step Two: Open Settings.

Step Three: Select System – Backup.

Step Four: Tap Backup now – Continue.

How to backup photos and videos to a Google account

Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google, and offers an easy way to back up and access your photos and videos. If you don’t already have Google Photos, you can download it from the Google Play Store. To upload photos and videos, follow the steps below:

Step One: Open the Google Photos application.

Step Two: Select Settings.

Step Three: Select Backup and Sync.

Step Four: Turn on the switch.

How to backup Android files to Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronisation service developed by Google, and you can access Google Drive through your Google Account, or by downloading the application. By downloading the application, you can easily back up and access your files without having to go through the browser. To backup to Google Drive, follow the steps below:

Step One: Download the Google Drive application from the Google Play Store.

Step Two: Select the + button in the application.

Step Three: Tap Upload.

Step Four: Select the file or multiple files you would like to upload.

How to backup an Android phone using OneDrive

OneDrive is a file storage and synchronisation service developed by Microsoft, allowing you to easily backup and access files. Just like a Google Account, you are able to access OneDrive once you make a Microsoft Account, including those who already have an Outlook email account. To back up your Android using OneDrive, use the following steps:

Step One: Log into your OneDrive Account.

Step Two: Upload content to OneDrive.

Step Three: Provide permission. You can now view and manage your data through OneDrive.

How to backup an Android phone to a computer

Phone connected to computer

By backing up your phone onto a computer, you’re creating an offline copy of the information stored on your Android. This is a version of manual back up, and so will need to be completed routinely in order to have the most up to date information. To backup your Android to a computer, follow the steps below:

Step One: Plug your phone into your computer using the USB charging cord.

Step Two: Open ‘My Computer’ on the computer, and select a folder to place your phone’s data.

Step Three: Open your phone’s storage folder on the computer.

Step Four: Select and drag the files you want to backup into the folder you created.

If you are transferring files onto a Mac computer, you may need to download a third-party application. Alternatively, if you’re using a smartphone’s brand of software on your computer to backup your files and phone, simply follow the prompts once you’ve connected your phone to the computer via USB and opened the computer program.

Why should I backup my phone?

Backing up your phone allows you to save copies of your phone’s data to prevent losing it indefinitely should you accidently damage or lose your phone, or your phone runs into any technological issues. Similarly to creating a photocopy of an important document, by backing up your phone to a cloud storage platform or to another device such as your computer, you can safely keep important documents, information and photos in multiple locations for safekeeping.

How to factory reset an Android phone

Android phone updating/restarting

A factory reset restores a device to the same settings it came with, and generally means wiping all the data currently on the device. You may want to do this if you’ve run into some technological issues and need a clean slate to start again, or you’re looking to sell an old handset and don’t want any personal information left on the phone. To factory reset an Android phone, follow the steps below:

Step One: Ensure you have all your data backed up.

Step Two: Open Settings and tap System.

Step Three: Tap Reset Options.

Step Four: Select Erase All Data.

Step Five: Confirm Erase.

Step Six: Your phone will reboot while it erases the data. Wait until it has finished, and a setup screen appears. Your phone is now erased and ready for new data and settings.

How to add backup accounts

Some storage systems and programs allow you to save data to multiple accounts, allowing you to save your special memories in multiple places, or share with other people so they can have a copy on hand. To add a backup account, follow the steps below:

Step One: Open Settings.

Step Two: Select System – Backup.

Step Three: Select Backup account – Add account.

Step Four: If needed, enter your phone’s PIN, pattern, or password.

Step Five: Sign in to the account that you want to add.

How to switch backup accounts

If you share a device between multiple users, you may want to switch between back up accounts. To switch backup accounts, follow the steps below:

Step One: Open Settings.

Step Two: Select System – Backup.

Step Three: Select the account you want to use.

Photo Credit: Glitterstudio/shutterstock.com, Nopparat Khokthong/shutterstock.com, 99Art/shutterstock.com, Creativa Images/shutterstock.com

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