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How to back up Android and keep your data safe

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 5 months ago

Backups are indispensable. Whether it's a backup of your Android smartphone, your photo albums or your laptop PC, backups come in at just the right moment to save the day. There is nothing worse than losing everything on your phone or computer and realizing you never backed anything up. So here are a few methods for making an Android backup.

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We'll explain how to back up everything on your Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

Depending on the type of phone you have, you might have some proprietary options at your disposal. For example, Samsung's Kies program lets you make backups that you can restore later on. Look into these first – they're often simple and reliable options. If you don't have any such manufacturer options, read on for your backup options, including Google, on-phone and on-PC solutions. 

Each section below is quite long, as it covers step-by-step instructions for each method, so hit the links below to go directly to the section that most applies to you:

Google backup

As you probably know, Google is more than willing to help keep all your apps and data safe. If you go into your phone's settings, you'll find a section called Backup & Reset. In here you'll find an option for backing up your data, including Wi-Fi passwords, preferences and app data. All of this will be tied to your Google account, which you can set to automatically restore when you re-install an app.

AndroidPIT Android 5 1 Lollipop Google backup settings
Backing up app data to your Google account is the easiest kind of backup. / © ANDROIDPIT

App backup (for non-rooted phones)

There are plenty of useful backup solutions in the Play Store. Some for specific purposes like backing up your text messages and others for an all-in-one backup. Easy Backup & Restore is a free app that lets you back up your contacts, call logs, text messages, calendars and bookmarks.

easy backup app
It's all in the name: Easy backup & Restore is a breeze for creating backups. / © ANDROIDPIT

Easy Backup doesn't back up your photos, music, videos or documents. These are very easy to back up yourself though using a USB cable and your computer: just locate the appropriate folders on your phone in a Windows Explorer window and copy and paste the contents to your computer.

Easy Backup & Restore Install on Google Play

How to back up everything on Android with Easy Backup & Restore

1. Download Easy Backup on your Android device.

2. When you launch the app, you'll be asked if you want to create a backup. Tap Yes.

3. You'll then see a bunch of check boxes next to the things you can back up: SMS, MMS, call logs, calendar, bookmarks, dictionary and contacts. Make your selections and tap OK.

AndroidPIT Easy Backup create backup types
Create backup and choose what to save. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. You'll be asked for a save location for your backup. Make your selection and tap it.

5. If you select a cloud service you'll have to sign in. If you select SD card you'll have to confirm the directory.

AndroidPIT Easy Backup location directory
Choose a backup location and choose your directory (for SD card backups). / © ANDROIDPIT

6. You'll then be asked to give the backup a file name. The date and time is the default. If you have multiple devices you might want to modify the file name to include the device you're backing up.

AndroidPIT Easy Backup file name progress
Adda file name for your backup and sit back and relax. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. You'll then see a progress page when your data is being backed up. Once completed, you'll get a pop up window with a summary of what was backed up.

AndroidPIT Easy Backup completed summary
You'll get a summary of the backup and a pass message when completed. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. If your phone is rooted, you can also back up your apps and app data. If not, you can still tap on the Apps Tools tab in the main menu and create a backup of the APKs on your phone. APKs are like an .exe on a computer: it's the program or app package. If your Google settings are enabled to back up your app data and settings (outlined above) you can use this option to back up the apps themselves and Google's backup to save the settings and data in the apps.

9. Just check the boxes next to the apps you want to save and hit Backup at the bottom.

AndroidPIT Easy Backup APK app selection
Even if you can't back up all your app data you can save the app package files (APK). / © ANDROIDPIT

10. When you want to restore your apps or data, just hit the Restore tab. You'll be prompted to set Easy backup as the default SMS app. You can change this back once your backup has been restored.

AndroidPIT Easy Backup restore backup
Restoring backups is a piece of cake. / © ANDROIDPIT

11. Select the backup you want to restore and tap it. You'll see a pop up with details of what will be restored. Tap OK and you're done.

AndroidPIT Easy BAckup restore types installed apps
Choose what to restore (left) and keep an eye on archived apps (right) / © ANDROIDPIT

12. Restoring your apps is slightly different. Go back to Apps Tools in the main menu and tap the Archived tab.

13. You can check off the APKs you want to restore, then tap Install at the bottom.

14. You'll then see the permissions screen for each app, like you would with any new app you install.

App backup (for rooted phones)

If your phone is rooted then there is no better backup solution than Titanium Backup. Titanium Backup lets you back up absolutely everything on your phone. The complete backup can be restored at any time and you can set up scheduled backups so you have a regular snapshot of your Android phone's contents.

titanium app
Titanium Backup is in many ways the gold standard for Android backups. / © ANDROIDPIT

Backups can be performed without even closing the apps you're currently using and they can be saved as flashable zips. Titanium also lets you transfer files between the SD card and your phone with the utmost ease.

Titanium Backup ★ root Install on Google Play

How to back up everything on Android with Titanium Backup

1. Download the Titanium Backup app on your rooted Android.

2. Start the app and grant it root privileges. You'll be asked to read some disclaimers and so on (this is a good idea).

AndroidPIT Titanium Backup superuser disclaimer
Titanium needs superuser permission in order to do full backups. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. You need to have USB Debugging enabled on your phone.

4. In Titanium you'll see three tabs. One is an Overview tab with information on your device, the second is Backup/Restore where all the fun stuff takes place and the third is for scheduling regular backups.

5. Go to the Backup and Restore tab. You'll see a list of your phone's contents along with icons that indicate whether or not they have been backed up. Triangular warning signs mean you have no backup and smiley faces are pretty self explanatory.

AndroidPIT Titanium Backup overview backup restore
Overview provides information on your device and Backup/Restore is where the fun begins./ © ANDROIDPIT

6. If you want to back up your system data or apps, tap the little document with a check mark on it at the top. This will take you to the batch actions list.

7. You can then tap Run next to whatever action you want completed. If you want to back up your apps, tap Run next to Backup all User Apps and if you want to back up your system data tap Run next to Backup all System Data.

AndroidPIT Titanium Backup batch actions backing up
Batch Actions gives you options to back up apps, data and much more. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. Titanium will then go through the process of creating your backup. This may take a while.

9. Once completed, your backup will be labeled with the date and saved. You can also create an update.zip file to be flashed through recovery if you like, or you can restore through Titanium itself.

10. To restore in Titanium, just go to the Batch Actions screen again and scroll down. You'll see options under the Restore setting for the actions you completed earlier: in this case, Restore all apps with data and Restore all system data.

AndroidPIT Titanium Backup restore all system data
Restoring apps and system data is equally easy. / © ANDROIDPIT

11. Tap Run next to the actions you want to restore.

12. You'll then have the option to restore everything you backed up or just some sections of it. Make your choices and tap the green check mark in the top right-hand corner.

PC backup

Helium is a great tool for creating a complete backup without root access. You install the Helium app on your phone, grab the desktop version as well and pair the two. Once you've made the connection, you can do Titanium-like backups without needing root access. You simply tell Helium which apps and data you want to back up and away it goes. The Pro version lets you schedule automatic backups and store your backups in the cloud.

Helium - App Sync and Backup Install on Google Play
helium app
Helium, in combination with your PC, is an unbeatable combination for backups. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to install Helium on Android and PC

1. Download the Helium app on your Android.

2. Install Helium on your PC.

3. Connect your Android to your PC with a USB cable.

AndroidPIT Helium Backup welcome connect
Install Helium on your computer and phone and make the connection. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. Enable USB Debugging on your Android.

5. You might be asked to switch your USB connection type to PTP (camera mode).

6. You'll be prompted to accept your computer's RSA key.

AndroidPIT Helium Backup USB debugging connection established
Once you've paired the two devices you'll have enabled Helium backups. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. You'll see a green check mark in the Helium window on your PC, letting you know that the connection has been made and Helium backups are now enabled.

AndroidPIT Helium installed
When you see this on your computer it's a good thing. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. You'll see the same message on your Android. You can now disconnect your Android from your PC.

9. Note that if you turn your Android off you'll need to reestablish the connection between Helium on your phone and on your PC.

nexus 5 helium backup de
Helium can perform Titanium-like backups without needing root access. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to backup Android with Helium

1. On your Android you'll see you have two tabs in Helium: Backup and Restore & Sync. The first tab lets you choose which apps you want to back up by placing a check mark next to them.

2. If you want to save all your apps, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You will see a summary of your backup choices as well as the option to Select All.

AndroidPIT Helium Backup app data only app backup
Select all apps (right) or choose 'app data only' for smaller backups. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. You can choose to backup everything (apps and data) or just the data (which is faster). In the latter case, if you restore your backup at a later date you'll simply have to manually reinstall your apps. Note that there are some apps Helium can't back up. They are listed at the bottom.

4. The slide up window is also where you hit the Backup button. When you hit Backup you will be asked where you want to save your backup: internal or external storage or a cloud service (Pro version only).

AndroidPIT Helium Backup backup destination cloud services
Backup destinations include memory, external SD cards or cloud services. / © ANDROIDPIT

5. In the Restore and Sync tab you can connect a cloud service for storing and accessing your backups. You can also access saved backups on your internal memory or connect with your other devices.

6. When you make your selection you may be prompted to ensure you have no password set for full backups, or to enter your device's PIN or password if you are encrypted. Once you've done this the backup will complete.

AndroidPIT Helium Backup encrypt backup backing up
You may need to input passwords or encrypt your backup too. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. When it comes time to restore your backup, simply open the Restore & Sync tab and locate your backup. You can also connect to the Helium sever for PC downloads.

AndroidPIT Helium Backup PC Download server running
You can also download your backups with Helium. / © ANDROIDPIT

PC backup for dummies

If all of this sounds way too complicated, simply connect your Android phone to your PC with a USB cable, open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to your phone. Here you will see a bunch of folders including photos, videos, music and documents.

samrtphone usb laptop
Connecting your phone to your computer with a USB is the easy way to back up. / © ANDROIDPIT

Just go into each folder and copy paste the stuff you want to save onto your computer for safekeeping. This is a pretty handy thing to do even if you have other backup solutions at hand, because there's no such thing as too many backups.

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

80 comments

Write new comment:
  • This is a reliable tool for complete backup ( http://goo.gl/fdWr3I ), and it supports a variety of android phones. Almost everything on your mobile phone can be backed up easily and quickly. I already tested on Galaxy S5

  • I use a data backup assistant, Mobikin Assistant for Android, you guys can give it a try, really good and effective,
    I can transfer texts, contacts, photos and all those important data to pc with it.
    Just try it.

  • Follow the backup tutorial here, you are allowed to transfer everything to PC for backup. This backup file can be viewed and managed on computer as you like: http://goo.gl/uMXTPU

  • MobileGo is quite a good program for complete backup ( http://goo.gl/fdWr3I ), and it supports a variety of android phones. Almost everything on your mobile phone can be backed up easily and quickly. I already tested on Galaxy S6 and works great.

  • Loie 4 days ago Link to comment

    I recommend this backup assistant, it is from mobikin,
    you can google Mobikin Assistant for Android, it can help you manage your phone well.
    And, you can backup most data from your phone.

  • Samsung Backup is an easy-to-use app that can quickly scan your android phone and help backup android phone data. http://goo.gl/av8Iul

  • I think this gudie can be helpful, http://goo.gl/AkslM5, you can follow this.
    As a professional data backup tool, you can save texts, contacts, memos, music and more media files from your phone to pc.

  • To backup android phone data, I think the best way is to use Android mobile manager tool, you can also manage your android files on pc, very functional: http://goo.gl/uMXTPU

  • Samsung Backup is the leading app that is helpful backup data from smartphone. It can recognize all the leading smartphones from Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, and others. http://goo.gl/mRZdrC

  • This guide is helpful, http://goo.gl/AkslM5, with it, you are able to back up most data, including texts, contacts, memos, photos, music, videos and more media files to pc.

  • Want to make a full backup of your Android on computer? Follow this.Android backup guide: http://goo.gl/uMXTPU. With the help of it, you can transfer everything from your Android phone and manage your backup files on PC. It is very convenient.

  • This is a reliable tool for complete backup ( http://goo.gl/fdWr3I ), and it supports a variety of android phones. Almost everything on your mobile phone can be backed up easily and quickly. I already tested on Galaxy S5

  • Samsung Backup ( http://goo.gl/nX0Y77 ) is a ideal android databackup tool that allows you to backup contacts, Messages, videos, photos from android to PC.

  • Loie 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Google for Mobikin Assistant for Android, which allows me to manage data like contacts and texts on pc, and you can also move or backup the important data to my pc, like photos, contact information, memos and videos.
    That is a good choice to keep the data safe.

  • From this link, you can get the solution to backup everything of your Android: http://goo.gl/uMXTPU

  • You are free to back up any item as you like, including sms, contacts, photos, music, videos, ebooks and documents. I do this frequently only to back up important files. Download and install the program, then select back up your phone, then the whole device will be backed up in a few minutes. Here is the demo: http://tinyurl.com/backs-up-android
    it works on samsung galaxy S6/S5/S4 and note 5/4/3

  • If you want to backup your android data including messages, contacts, music, photos, videos to pc, you can try this: http://goo.gl/uMXTPU

  • 9

    I think this is a really helpful tutorial, http://goo.gl/48V4Tp. It supports many android devices, also, almost all files on the phone can be backed up easily, including texts, contacts, memos, music, videos and more.

  • lucyll 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    To backup android phone data to computer easily, we can use an android file manager app to help.

  • Here is a data backup choice for my s5. The whole backup is done with a few clicks. You can also use this program to transfer data between different phones: http://goo.gl/fdWr3I

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