A backup of your Android phone or tablet is like having insurance for your information. You can replace your phone, but your stuff? It’s almost priceless, so it makes sense to keep spare copies, right?. All it takes is a bit of forward planning.
It can be a nightmare to lose the stuff on your phone, so we'll show you how to back it up to keep it safe. All phones are a bit different, so you might see words that aren't the same as we're showing here - but don't worry, they'll be similar enough that you'll know what we mean.
Most Android phones and tablets have a Google account on them – its needed to download apps from the Play store, for example. Most of the stuff on your Android phone can be backed up through a Google account, and services like Google Photos and Google Drive.
You can buy apps through the Play Store that claim to do the same thing, but Google gives you the tools you need to keep your important stuff safe, for free.
Things like contacts, calendar appointments and fitness data sync (update) through your Google account across all of your Android kit in real-time.
Add a contact on your Android phone, and it’ll show on your tablet too thanks to the Google account.
Go to Settings > Accounts > Google to check what’s syncing. Tap the switches to make any changes but remember that deleting something from one device deletes it from all of them.
To back up your phone’s settings:
Go to Settings > Backup & reset > Back up my data to turn the service on.
Tap Backup account and pick your Google account, or tap Add account to use a different one.
Depending on your phone, there might be other options to control what to back up, where to save it, and more.
Once it’s set up, you don’t need to do anything else. Changes you make to things like contacts, Wi-Fi passwords, apps and settings are saved online ready for when you need them.
Google Photos is a standard app on modern Android devices which lets you back up (and share) your photos and videos. If it’s not on your phone, download it from the Play Store.
To back up your photos:
Open the Google Photos app on your Android.
Tap Menu > Settings > Backup & Sync.
Tap the switch to turn the service on.
You’ll see options to choose things like the file upload size, and which folders are backed up. Pick ‘High Quality’ files and you can back up as many pictures as you like online – there’s no limit. If you change to ‘Original’, you’ll save the best images possible but they’ll count as part of the free storage that comes with your Google account
The Google account on your phone gives you 15Gb of free online Google Drive storage, which is a convenient way to back up your files. You’ll need the Google Drive app on your phone if it isn’t already installed.
Open the Google Drive app.
Tap + (Add).
Find and tap on files to upload them.
You can get at your files from anywhere – just go to Google Drive in a web browser and see your files.
Saving pictures and videos to Google Photos should mean they’re always available, but if you’re not online (or can’t log in to your account), you can’t get to them. Copy them to your computer (along with your music and any other files you want to keep) for extra peace of mind.
Unlock your Android's screen and connect it to your computer with a USB cable.
On the computer, click Start > File Explorer (Win7: Computer).
Look for your phone in the left-hand panel and click it. If your phone isn’t listed, swipe down from the top of the phone screen and check that it’s ‘Connected as a media device’ or set to ‘Transfer files’ over USB. If it shows something else, tap that line and change it.
Go to Internal Storage > DCIM > Camera to find the pictures on your phone.
Highlight the items you want to save, right-click on them and Copy.
Go to the folder you want to put them in, right-click and Paste.
Repeat these steps for any files and folders you’d like to back up to your PC.
You’ll need to install Android File Transfer to your Mac before you start. After that, the app will run when you connect your Android.
Unlock your Android and connect it to the Mac with a USB cable.
Tap the USB connection notification on your phone and choose Transfer files.
When Android File Transfer opens go to the DCIM folder to find your pictures. Copy and paste them to your Mac to back them up.
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