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Backing Up Your Phone

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Last updated by Isabel M

If you need to do a factory reset on your phone, you'll probably want to back up your phone's data. But even if you aren't having trouble with your device, it's a good idea to back it up regularly. For many of us, our smartphones are essential to getting through the day and it's worth taking the time to back up what's important to you.

Android Sync

If you're using an Android phone, and you have Sync on, then your Google contacts, Calendars and Wi-Fi network passwords are automatically backed up. Note, contacts saved locally on your phone that are not in your Google contacts will not be backed up by syncing.

The following are not backed up by syncing your phone:

  • Text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • Playlists
  • Alarms
  • Applications
  • Application data such as saved games

Backing up Contacts to the SD Card

If you have a phone that uses an SD card and you'd like to back up your contacts to it, follow the steps below:

  1. Tap Contacts
  2. Tap Menu key
  3. Select Import/Export
  4. Select Export to SD card

When you want to put these contacts back onto your phone, just choose "Import from SD card" in step 4.

Backing up an Android Phone using the on-board back up

Many Android phones have a Backup and Restore option right in the reset menu. Using this, you can set an account to back up your app data, Wi-Fi passwords and other settings. This generally doesn't cover photos and music and those will need to be backed up to a computer or SD card. To use the phone's back up feature:

  1. Settings > Backup and reset
  2. Enable both "Back up my data" and "Automatic Restore" and set a "Backup Account"
  3. When both of these are enabled, your app data, Wi-Fi passwords and other phone settings are backed up to Google's servers; this also restores your app settings when you reinstall your apps.

**Note:  on some devices the option for Automatic Restore will not appear until you have set up a Backup Account

Backing up an Android Phone with an App

Somes Android phones give you more control with a native Back Up app. You can choose between Manual and Auto backup and configure it so that regular back ups are stored in your phone or on the SD card. If you do choose to back up to your phone, you'll need to move those files off your phone regularly. If your phone doesn't have a native Back Up app, there are several apps available that you can use to back up your device as well. Here are some popular ones:

G Cloud Backup

Super Backup: SMS & Contacts

App Backup & Restore

My Backup Pro

Titanium Media Sync

These apps will give you a greater level of control over what you back up and when.

Backing up Windows OS7 / OS8 Phones

Windows phones generally come with a native abillity to back up text messages, photos and apps along with their settings. To use this back up option:

  1. Settings -> Backup
  2. Tap on the item you want to back up and enable back up
  3. You'll be prompted to set up a Microsoft account if you don't have one already
  4. Once you have an account set up, you can tap "Back up now" for an immediate back up
  5. You can also tap on "Advanced" to configure things like deleting back ups and cloud settings

**Note: contacts are backed up by virtue of whatever e-mail account you are using and will be restored to your phone when you set that same e-mail address on your phone again.

For a Windows OS8 phone, you can also use apps like the ones below, rather than the on-board storage option:

MyOnline Storage

PhoneCopy

Backing up a feature phone

Most feature phones do not have a lot of back up capability. You can usually back up photos and contacts and there are generally two ways to do this:

  • Bluetooth transfer
  • direct file transfer to your computer using USB connection

If you choose to do a file transfer to your computer by USB connection, as soon as you connect your phone, your computer should immediately detect contacts and picture files and then you can simply copy and paste those files.

For many phones, Bluetooth transfer will only work with transferring contacts and here's how you do that:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your phone and the receiving device
  2. On the phone you're backing up, go to Contacts
  3. Select Options
  4. Select Send Contact
  5. Select contacts (Menu/OK key)
  6. Select Send Contacts
  7. Your phone will look for Bluetooth-enabled devices in range and list them; select the device you'd like to transfer to and then select "Yes" to sending contacts

Some feature phones will allow you to send pictures by Bluetooth transfer as well, but not all. If this is an option, you can do so by going through the steps above but from the Photos settings instead.

Backing up an iOS Device

If you've got an iPhone or iPad, check out this article for information on backing up (as well as resetting) an iOS device.

I need to reset my phone to factory defaults

Click here for directions on how to run a factory reset (RTN) on your phone.

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Comments

  • Avatar
    tax payer

    OK, I have backed up to the SD card. But if the phone gets lost I will want a local copy on my computer. Where are instructions for copying over usb to my local drive? (I prefer not to remove the SD card for copying as getting it properly inserted was a project.)

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