How to Back Up Your Android Phone

When it comes to backing up our phones we tend to get lazy. In fact, I recently got really lazy. But we’ll come back to that.
  
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We think, yeah yeah, I’ll do it soon… and then, something happens to you, to me, the phone suddenly disappears, and you swear that you had it in your coat pocket. All of a sudden, everything starts to get ugly. You start thinking: why didn’t I back it up? What will I do?! I had my contacts, photos, videos of laughing cats and super-important messages in there! And…it’s gone. It’s all gone….

But wait a second! Let’s not get too dramatic. As long as you have a Gmail account active on your phone, all the contact information and numbers will be the safe. Thank you, Google! Although, all your photos, videos, messages and app data won’t be there. That’s why we need additional tools to keep them in a safe place. Preferably the cloud.

So before you do anything with your new smartphone, ALWAYS ALWAYS have a backup strategy in place, or you will regret it sooner or later. Like me.
  
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Now, you know how important a backup is. So how do we do it?

There are two kinds of back ups: local backups and cloud-based backups. Local backups save info in your phone itself (normally in the SD card) while cloud-based backups do their thing up in the cloud. I highly recommend cloud backups. The good thing about the cloud-based backup is it’s near immortality. Let’s say that you drop your phone into the sea while on a cruise (I’ve actually met someone who did that) or it got stolen. You made a local backup, but since it’s inside the phone, your wonderful backup will either be deep down in the Pacific or, terrifyingly, all that precious data will be in someone else’s hands. Either way, with that local backup, you are pretty screwed.

And that’s why I highly encourage cloud backups. Because, no matter where your phone is physically, your data will be alive so long as the cloud server is alive. Which is a very long time, indeed.

Still, there’s not yet a perfect backup app that backs up everything. So I divided the process in two sections:

      
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  • App Data: This refers to all the saved data from games, Whatsapp or other apps. The best solution I’ve found so far is Helium. With Helium, you can upload all your app data and restore it when necessary straight from the cloud, or even Google Drive. It’s really easy to use and it does what it promises. With the free version, you can back up and restore your data from your SD Card (a local backup), but with the premium version, you have access to the the cloud (Dropbox, Box or Google Drive).
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  • Photos, Videos, Contacts and everything else: GCloud has been my favorite so far. With this app, you get 1GB of free storage and you get to back up pretty much everything (but app data) from your phone. If you want to upgrade your storage, they offer a 10GB lifetime storage for $7.99 last time I checked. They also offer a GCloud Apps Back Key, although please note that your phone has to be rooted to use it. If you have no clue about rooting, don’t install their Back Key. Also, Helium doesn’t require you to be rooted.

I personally believe that safe-keeping all your memories is worth paying a little. But if you absolutely do not want to pay for any apps, there is a free way to do a backup:
  
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  • Connect your Android phone to your computer with a USB cable, and you will be able to see your photos in a folder called DCIM. If you don’t, look in your phone’s folders until you find them. Then copy into your computer. Also if you have a SD card, just connect it to a card reader and copy your card every certain amount of time.
  • Alternatively, certain programs from manufacturers, such as Kies from Samsung or HTC Sync, will let you back up your phone directly to your computer. The drawback is, again, unless you do it every day, you will most likely lose some info if something happens. Besides it’s also quite time consuming, even though it’s always an option.

So in summary, back up your phone. Don’t be not-smart like me and forget to do it. Save yourself future grief and take the time now to back up your precious memories.