How to backup data on an Android phone
Getting a new smartphone can be exciting. From the latest hardware to shiny new features, there’s a lot to look forward to – and of course, an unboxing experience. However, once the excitement of unboxing your new phone wears off, you may find yourself faced with the task of transferring all your important data from your old phone to your new one. Even if you are an experienced phone user, the process of transferring data from one device to another can be tedious and time-consuming.
There are several ways you can back up your Android data and easily restore it on your new phone. Even if you don’t get a new phone, it’s a good idea to back up your data once in a while so you don’t lose any important information in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, Android doesn’t offer a one-click backup option that completely backs up all your data from apps and app data to photos and contacts like iPhones do. So, we’re going to discuss a few apps and solutions that you can use to make sure that all your important data is backed up and ready to restore on your new phone. It can be quite a lengthy process that involves installing several apps, but it’s the only way to ensure that all your data is safe.
How to migrate data to Android
Before we discuss ways to back up data on an Android smartphone and then restore it on a new phone, let’s take a look at some solutions that can directly migrate/transfer your existing data either via a wired connection or wirelessly and can save you time.
The default data migration service for Android
When setting up a new Android phone, you have to go through the settings menu where you have to connect to a Wi-Fi network, sign in to your Google account, etc. During this setup process, you will see an option to Copy Apps and Data. When you press the Next button, you will have the option to wirelessly copy your existing data from another Android phone. Select it and follow the on-screen instructions to copy all the data from the old phone to the new phone. If the new phone you bought is a Google Pixel, you’ll even be able to connect it to your old phone with a USB cable to transfer data.
Phone cloning app
If your new phone is from OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Vivo, Xiaomi, or Huawei, during the setup process you will be presented with an option to clone your old phone using the relevant OEM app. Just install the app on your old phone and follow the instructions. All your data including photos, videos, and even apps will be copied to your new phone.
How to backup data on Android
If you won’t have your old phone with you when you get a new phone, either because you trade it in for a new one or sell it before buying a new phone, the only solution in such a scenario is to back up your data and then restore it to the new phone.
Here are the different methods to use.
Google’s own backup and restore functions
Google has its own backup and restores feature built into every Android smartphone. This can be found under Settings > System > Backup & Restore. On your old phone, go to this setting and enable data backup to Google Drive. Allow some time to back up your data and once it’s done, you can restore the backup while setting up your new phone.
Select restore from cloud backup and sign in with the same Google account you used on your old phone to back up your data. You will then get the option to restore your apps, contacts, call logs, SMS messages, and some settings from your old phone. Please note that the apps will be reinstalled from the Play Store, so the entire restoration process will take some time depending on your internet connection speed. You can use this method to transfer the basic aspects of your old phone to your new phone. However, data such as photos and videos, files, app data, etc. will not be transferred. Read on to find out how you can back up those files too.
Backup and restore with Samsung and Xiaomi Cloud
Some brands like Samsung and Xiaomi offer their own cloud solutions for backing up your data and even do a better job at it compared to Google’s implementation. You can back up your apps, photos, files, contacts, settings, and even your home screen layout and restore them on your new phone, essentially cloning almost every single aspect of your old phone.
However, to use this option, your old phone and new phone should be from the same manufacturer and you should have enough free storage on the cloud platform you are using (Samsung Cloud or Mi Cloud). To use this feature, back up all the data on your old phone via the Settings app to the appropriate cloud server used by your OEM. Once everything is backed up, you get the option to restore this data from the cloud while you set up a new smartphone from the same OEM. If you don’t have enough storage to back up all your data, you may need to purchase additional cloud storage.
Custom backup for recovery
This one is for all the geeks and the OG XDA crowd! If you have a phone with an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery like TWRP, you can take a complete backup of your system and data from the recovery partitions. Known in the modding community as a NANDroid backup, this method creates a full copy of your device and restores it to its previous state if necessary. Basically, it allows you to save and restore every aspect of your phone.
Custom recovery backups are a lifesaver when trying out custom ROMs and mods. If something goes wrong and you end up with a soft-bricked device, you can simply boot into recovery and restore the backup and everything will be back to normal as if nothing actually happened.
How to backup apps on Android
Because of limited bandwidth to back up all your data to the cloud or download too many apps from the cloud, you can back up your apps locally on your old phone and then restore them on your new phone. Here is how to do it
Application backup and restore
Restore a popular app and backup that has been around for a long time It helps you back up all your apps in the form of APK files either to internal storage or an external SD card. If your old and new phone has an SD card slot, we recommend using this option as it is easy to swap the SD card from one phone to the other and restore the backup.
If your phone doesn’t have an external SD card slot, you can back up your data to the internal storage and then transfer the backed-up files to a computer or flash drive. Then copy these files to your new phone and restore the APK files using the same app. Note that you can only transfer apps, not app data, using this method.
If you’ve been around the XDA forums for a while, you’re probably familiar with Titanium Backup. This app allows you to back up all your apps, including system apps with data, which can save you a lot of time when dealing with hundreds of apps. However, you need root access for this, so it’s another great tool when you flash ROMs and want to restore all your apps and How to Backup Contacts on Android
After transferring the apps, the next important thing to do is to transfer all the contacts from the old phone to the new one. While there are several ways to do this, the easiest is to use Google’s own sync feature. You can export contacts stored in the phone storage or on the SIM card to the new phone.
Google Contact Sync
By default, every new contact you save on your smartphone is synced with your Google account. On your old phone, just go to Settings > Accounts > Select your Google Account > Sync and select Contacts. Wait for the synchronization to complete. Now, when you sign in with the same Google Account on your new phone, your contacts will automatically sync and refresh in the background.
Export as a VCF file
If you have contacts stored in your phone’s local storage or SIM card and want to transfer them to your new phone, go to the Phone app on your old smartphone, go to Settings, and select Export contacts. This option may be present in different places on different phones, but you’ll find it in Settings, so look around a bit. Then select the contacts you want to export and your phone will create a .vcf file that you can then transfer to your new phone.
On your new phone, go to the Phone app and select Import Contacts from Settings. When prompted to select a .vcf file to restore contacts to, select the one you imported from your old phone. Your contacts will now be restored.
On an Android how to backup text messages(SMS)
This is another important aspect for many people. You might have important text messages that you don’t want to lose, so it’s a good idea to back up your conversations and restore them on your new phone. You can find several apps for this in the Google Play Store, but we’ve tried and can vouch for SMS Backup & Restore.
SMS backup and restore
This is one of the best apps for backing up your text messages as well as call logs from your old phone, and we even included it in our list of best messaging apps. The app is free to download and quite simple. You can back up all message threads with the click of a button, either locally or to the cloud (which we recommend). Once you’ve backed everything up, just install the same app on your new phone and sign in with the same credentials so the app can access the cloud storage you’ve chosen to restore your backup.
How to backup WhatsApp messages on Android
WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging services used by most people around the world. However, the problem with WhatsApp is that, unlike Telegram, it is not a cloud-based messaging app. This means that every time you sign up for WhatsApp on a new device, your chats will not be automatically transferred.
But the good thing is that WhatsApp allows you to back up your chats from the app itself. You can save the backup either locally or to your Google Drive, which we recommend as it’s easier to restore on your new phone. To do this, go to WhatsApp > Settings > Chats > Chat Backup and select Backup. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to select which Google account you want to back up your chats to. Once you select it, wait a while and your chats will be backed up.
Now, when you sign up for WhatsApp with your phone number on your new phone, you’ll automatically get the option to restore a Drive backup if you signed in with the same Google account you used on your old phone. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone, read our guide on how to move WhatsApp data from iPhone to Android.
How to Backup Photos and Videos on Android
In general, media files such as photos and videos take up a large portion of your phone’s storage. If you want to back up those files and restore them wirelessly on your new phone, the best way to do it would be to use Google Photos. While Google Photos previously offered unlimited free photo and video backups until June 1, 2021, the backup will now take up space on your Google Drive.
This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re only going to back up your photos until you restore them to your new phone and then delete the backup to free up space.
To back up all your photos and videos, open the Google Photos app on your old phone and wait for all the files to sync. Now open the Photos app on your new phone and if you’re signed in to the same Google account, you should see all your media files.
However, if you don’t want these files to continue taking up storage on your Drive, it’s a good idea to download all your photos and videos to your new phone
How to backup documents and other files and folders on Android
If you have backed up all your important data and the only files left are some documents and folders in your internal storage, the best way to back up those files would be to copy them to an external SD card if your phone supports it. You can also upload files to the cloud and download them to your new phone later.
Another good way to back up these files would be via OTG. If you have an OTG cable and a flash drive, you can connect it to your old phone and copy all the data you want to the drive.
This method of connecting a flash drive, external hard drive, or SSD can even be used to copy media files such as photos and videos if you do not have enough storage space on Google Drive. You can use any file management application for this. Most phones come with a built-in file management app, but in case your phone doesn’t have one, we recommend Files by Google.
Following the steps in each section, you should now have all your important data safely backed up and ready to transfer to your new device. While Google offers a backup and restores feature, it’s not as seamless as what Apple offers with iCloud.
We hope that Android will introduce a more powerful backup and restore tool in the future that will even help you restore app data, home screen layouts, app logins, and more.