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How to back up everything on the Galaxy S4

Backing up your data regularly is a boring but absolutely critical process. Developing good backup habits is a bit like having good dental habits. It may not be the sexiest activity, but avoiding it will only lead to disaster. Today we'll show you a couple of methods for backing up everything on your Galaxy S4

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Securely back up everything on your Galaxy S4 with MobiKin. / © MobiKin

MobiKin backs up all of the data on your Galaxy S4 by securely exporting your files to your computer. All of your files are transferred in their original format and data quality maintained. You'll also free up precious memory on your device. Get started by downloading the software now and everything on your S4 will be secure.

Categories of backups

Backups basically fall into two categories: those for rooted users, and those for non-rooted users. If you are not rooted, there are several options available, which we'll cover below. If you do have root level access, you'll have an easier time performing your backup (that's a topic for another tutorial).

We'll show you the best methods for keeping your apps and data safe so if you have your phone stolen, get a Gremlin-filled update or otherwise fall foul of good luck, your essential data will still be safe.

Don't just rely on backups

There's a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way of backing things up: regularly transferring them to your computer. Connect with a USB cable (don't forget to install the Android USB drivers first) and copy your pictures, music and documents to your hard drive.

You can also use cloud storage to automatically save various files on your computer, such as Google's great Photos app that automatically uploads your camera shots. You can also link certain folders to a cloud service such as Drive or Box (I do this for screenshots).

Your emails are internet-hosted and WhatsApp messages are safe because they are backed up to your SD card every day at 4 am anyway, so you just need to save the database file before doing a reset.

AndroidPIT S4 settings backup restore
Go to Settings > Accounts tab > Backup and reset and set up your backup account. / © AndroidPIT

You don't need root for backups

If you're not rooted you've still got options. In the settings menu of your smartphone or tablet you'll find the backup and reset settings, where you can add an account to which your apps, data and passwords can be backed up. This is usually your Google account.

This is also where you set your restore options and activate a factory reset. It is also a good idea to sign in to your favorite apps with an account that can be used to store your data if you lose your phone or have to reinstall the app at some point. Many apps also offer cloud backup options and you've got plenty of cloud backup services that you can use to regularly schedule backups too.

How to make a Galaxy S4 backup

If you don't want everything stored in the cloud or on your Google account then you can simply use your computer to make a backup of your apps and data. The best in class in this area is Clockworkmod's Carbon Backup, now known as Helium.

Helium - App Sync and Backup Install on Google Play

Simply install Helium on your Android and then on your computer, click the following link to download Helium for desktop and follow the prompts. You'll be able to backup all sorts of stuff, including your apps and data, predictive typing predictions, text messages and call logs. Here's how it's done.

AndroidPIT USB Debugging Developer Options
You need USB Debugging enabled first. / © AndroidPIT

1. Just be aware that you need to have USB Debugging enabled in Developer Options in your phone first (see screenshots above). Just tap build number (in Settings > About Phone) seven times until it pops up. Connect your Galaxy S4 to your computer with a USB cable and establish the connection.

AndroidPIT S4 Helium USB Connect
© AndroidPIT
AndroidPIT S4 Helium Desktop Connect RSA
© AndroidPIT

2. Once you've established the connection just start selecting the apps and data you'd like to backup. You can ''select all'' or individual apps and you also have the option to only backup your app data, but not the app itself. This makes your backup file much smaller, and you will simply need to reinstall the app from the Play Store before restoring your data.

AndroidPIT Helium Screenshot
Tap the blue window icon in the bottom left to get started, or tick individual apps. © AndroidPIT

3. Don't forget to enable PC Download in the action overflow menu to activate a unique IP address on the Helium server from which you can access your backup from your computer. Just type in the unique URL to download your backup for safe keeping. Otherwise, hit Backup and you're done. Now you just need to remember to do backups regularly!

AndroidPIT Helium Backup Server
© AndroidPIT

Have you ever lost all of your smartphone data? How often do you do a backup?


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  • Werf Abb 3 months ago Link to comment

    I used to use Kies

  • lucyll 6 months ago Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing, yes an Android Transfer could help, we can use it to transfer almost everything from android phone to computer.

  • Chi Cha 7 months ago Link to comment

    Reviewers on other sites say you can't dump your data from your PC to a new phone with the software your link goes to. The software only will dump data from phone to phone using the computer as an intermediary. So if you lose your phone, you can't recover the info you put into the PC and upload it to your new phone. So caveat emptor before buying the software

  • I followed the steps above, and created a back up file. I then formatted my phone, and re loaded the back up, but there are no contacts or any photos or any music. Am I doing something wrong, please help??

  • Cancel my last request - it would have been helpful in the steps above if you mentioned "OPEN THE URL SHOWN ON YOUR PHONE WITH YOU TURN ON PC DOWNLOAD", that you only need to open that URL from your computer. One simple step you left out. The way the article reads - it acts as if you will be prompted on the phone to backup to the computer.

    not so.

    but I got it to work.


  • OK. Followed all the steps. Installed HELIUM to my PC. Got the HELIUM SERVER IS RUNNING message on my phone. NOW - HOW IN THE HECK do you get it to backup there? I do not see the choice to backup to that URL. Also WHEN it does backup to the computer...where does it go (what folder will be used - as I am going to then copy it to a FLASH Drive)?

    Anyone get this to work?


  • Stella Aug 31, 2015 Link to comment

    Helium is terrible. I've followed these steps, wiped my phone, tried to restore and it can't find the backup. What a complete waste of time.

  • After reading this article multiple times, I thought I could copy everything to my computer via USB cable, and then copy it back. But I've lost my alarms, half of my contacts, all my SMS messages, call logs...lots of really important work stuff, and who knows what else. I have a personal GMail account - these contacts all came back. But I also have Google Email/Apps for work, and all my work-related contacts have gone missing. I don't care if you call me names - just tell me if there's any way to get my stuff back, please - especially the work contacts. Thanks.

  • Norman F. Jun 18, 2014 Link to comment

    That's great. I didn't want anyone to think the messages would be available if, for example, the phone was stolen and then they would blame you! I have actually just started using an app called Cloudpipes to back up the message file to Dropbox automatically. That way, hopefully, I can always get them back.

  • Norman F. Jun 16, 2014 Link to comment

    You say ' Of course, your ... WhatsApp messages are safe because they are internet-hosted anyway'.

    That is not correct. Your WhatsApp messages etc are stored only on your phone, in internal memory or external card.

    • WhatsApp does an automatic backup of your messages every day at 4 am. So if you switch to a new phone or have an issue and have to reset your device, you simply install WhatsApp again, enter your number and it will prompt you to restore your saved messages. Just go to Settings > Chat Settings > Backup Conversations to see the last time your conversation history was saved. EDIT: they ARE saved to the SD card, my mistake.

      • Consider me schooled! You are totally correct. I had always believed they were backed up to the server because I regularly reset my deice, then reinstall WhatsApp and it prompts me to restore, which I do, and then my messages are back. Guess my reset doesn't cover that part of the SD card. Thanks for the clarification. I've edited the article too.

  • wkm001 Jun 14, 2014 Link to comment

    I have a small Lenovo desktop NAS with mirrored drives. I turned on the FTP server, and use the app FolderSync to copy all my photos, videos, and Helium backups each night.

    Then I have my NAS backing up to CrashPlan.

    My wife's SD card failed the other day and this came in really handy. She only lost the pictures she took that day. She now has a few years of pictures and I don't want to pay Dropbox, Box, or Google every month to host them the cloud.

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