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How To Back Up On Android

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Protecting our data means not only being immune from external attacks, but also being able to properly manage it, safely storing it with periodic backups. This requirement, once unique to computers in companies and government agencies, is now also of paramount importance to individuals who also accumulate massive amounts of data on their mobile devices. Moreover, the current trend not to print photographs and documents often means that the only copies of these files in existence are those that are digitally archived.

The development of mobile devices, and in particular those associated with complex operating systems such as Android, has always included the ability to save data on a mobile phone elsewhere. Currently, these include, in addition to various types of multimedia files, applications purchased by users and personal conversations (mainly in the form of messages), which have replaced other forms of telematic communication. And since these devices today contain important amounts of data that must be backed up properly, it is good practice to be able to back up on Android . Do you have a few minutes for me? Well, then I guess I can tell you how to proceed right now.

How to back up on Android

In this guide, I will explain how to get a backup of all data on your Android phone, according to your needs and hardware manufacturer specifications. We’ll also take a look at how to avoid unpleasant surprises by bypassing the limitations of the automatic backup systems available on this popular operating system.

How To Back Up On Android
How To Back Up On Android

Because we handle sensitive personal data, always remember that you are solely responsible for protecting it and that you will always act at your own risk. Don’t forget to adapt the manual to your phone . As you already know, in fact, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and other manufacturers of Android smartphones and tablets use their own launcher, hence a different graphical user interface (UI). For this reason, some passages may differ (albeit slightly).

Why is it useful to save data on Android.

A smartphone or tablet has neither the mechanical strength nor the general safety of a PC. Between moisture, shock, crushing and other hypotheses about physical damage to the support (to which heat, salt, etc. must be added), it is extremely simple that a mobile device can be damaged in a more or less irreparable way, making the data it contains, irreparable.

Also, unlike a PC, a mobile device is more susceptible to being lost or stolen by criminals.

To prevent all these cases, the only solution is to back up your Android device. This will store the most important information elsewhere and make you “sound asleep” even if – if ever – you have suffered theft.

Android backup types

Depending on the Android distribution available on your smartphone and the type of data you want to protect, different types of Android backups will be better.

The most important type of data backup is undoubtedly physical backups, which must be done to a PC over a direct connection. Of course, you can also go through the cloud storage (for example, through Google Drive, but not only).

There are also some apps , such as WhatsApp, that have customized backup tools , such as those that save a chat database to a local or cloud environment.

On the other hand, in terms of quality, one can distinguish between full and partial backups (i.e. all data or only some of them) or even incremental backups (the latter are only available for photos and videos), in which only what is saved was created anew compared to the previous backup, or it has undergone changes without transferring all other data in full.

Which is automatically saved on Android

Even regardless of the backup setting, before we start, I would like to tell you that some data is still automatically saved in other places thanks to the integration of Google services into the Android operating system.

For example, all applications based on Google Accounts ( Google Contacts, Google Calendar, etc.), such as Gmail, are automatically synced through Google’s servers.

The same thing, of course, happens with purchases in the Google Store, as well as with Chrome settings and favorites (provided that you have selected the appropriate option in the browser), as well as with some system elements , including passwords , such as wireless networks.

In all these cases, as you can easily guess, we are not dealing with real Android backups, but with the positive “side effects” of the proliferation of Google services.

Preliminary operations

Android offers hardware manufacturers a wide range of operating system customization options, with important practical differences.

First of all, you will need to determine the manufacturer of your device and the version of the installed operating system (you will find everything in the system information, accessible from the Settings); you will also need to get an idea of what you actually want to store , whether all the data or just some of it.

READ MORE: How To Back up Your Computer Automatically

If you prefer to back up online , you will need a Wi-Fi network that is not turned on (i.e. fixed line) and is as stable as possible. In this case, it may be a good idea to place the mobile phone in close proximity to the wireless router.

Also make sure you have a reasonable amount of cloud space versus the amount of data you expect to transfer, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.

Also, if you are transferring data from Android or iPhone, or from Android to iPad, or vice versa , I suggest you inquire about each application used on your old device. In fact, it is not always possible to transfer data from one operating system to another, since the software architecture is different (see, for example, WhatsApp, which needs third-party methods to make this transition, which I will also mention in the following paragraphs).

Performing a Full Android Backup

In the procedures below, you will find what has to do with Android Full Backup . Thus, you can save apps, data, settings, photos, videos, music, documents and everything else automatically and permanently.

As I mentioned, keep in mind that some of the steps may differ slightly depending on the version of the operating system you are using, but the substance is always the same. You just need to adapt the described steps to the graphical interface of your device.

ON GOOGLE DRIVE

To back up to Google Drive , find “Backup ” under Settings . You should see a screenshot similar to the one I placed in the sample image.

To run Android backup to G Drive, you need to activate the “Back up my data” item and at the same time set up a Google account to save.

On many Android devices, this screen will also appear if you try to access the backup function using the Google Drive app button because it is mostly integrated, for many functions, into the operating system.

As you will notice, many manufacturers also include special selection and external storage modes, with very intuitive settings, but they must be controlled for specific cases.

ON PC

To make an Android backup by saving data directly to a PC , you first need to have the USB cable supplied with your mobile phone (usually the same cable that is used to charge the device’s battery) and of course a PC with USB. port.

Since a mobile phone or tablet is considered an external device in all respects, it must be recognized by the computer after being connected to a computer. You will need to install the appropriate Android USB drivers . A bit similar to how, for example, when installing a printer or scanner. This applies regardless of the desktop operating system in use, be it macOS, Ubuntu / Linux, or Windows.

Recognition usually occurs automatically. However, if this is not the case, I suggest that you check the manufacturer’s website for new drivers that are compatible with both the device and your PC’s operating system.

At the moment, you need to download the management software provided by the hardware manufacturer and look for it on the official website. It is a desktop application installed on a PC that allows direct communication with a phone or tablet, just like iTunes (or macOS) for Apple mobile devices (iPhone and iPad with iOS operating system).

The operation of these programs is very simple. Thus, you should have no problem defining a command to back up a full or partial Android backup.

As an example, I’ll list some of the Android backup software from the manufacturer:

Several manufacturers, including Huawei and LG, also offer a parallel interface available as an app on your smartphone or tablet to better manage Android backups on your PC. However, other manufacturers (like OnePlus) haven’t even developed (at least not yet) their own PC app.

Android Backup App

In addition to the two modes I presented to you, you can get a full Android backup using third-party apps , some of which allow you to get much more complete results.

Among the many apps that let you save data on Android, one of the best in my opinion is Titanium Backup , which offers both a free version and a Pro, so you have to pay for it. You can find it at this address on Google Play .

This app also supports automatic Android backups, but we’ll talk about that in a few paragraphs. At this point, all you need to know is that it gives the best of itself as long as you have root access to the operating system.

If you don’t want to root on Android , you can try an app called “App Backup Restore Transfer” , which is free and available at this Google Play address. This allows you to save apps and data in minutes.

Performing partial Android backups

In the procedures below, you will find methods related to Android partial backup i.e. storing some specific data, usually managed by individual applications.

Obviously, there is no way to show how to keep each Android app separate. In any case, keep in mind that while some of the steps may differ, most of the applications that offer this type of rescue have operations similar to the ones I will show in the examples. Also because very often they are associated with Google Drive.

BACKING UP CONTACTS

If you have already transferred everything to your new smartphone, you may have lost contacts . Today they are saved directly to your Google account. In many cases, however, some of the stored phone numbers are still associated with the SIM card or phone memory . Therefore, in this situation, you may not have all the contacts in the new address book.

To solve this problem, I recommend using the free Easy Backup app , which can be found at this address on Google Play. Once installed, simply link your Google account or Facebook account to create a free profile. Next, just select the Backup now option to save your entire phone book.

The backup will be created in the cloud , and once completed, you will have the option to export it via email or share it with other applications. The file format will be of the VCF type , also known as vCard, and therefore compatible with all applicable standards. This file can be read and imported into the section of the most frequently used programs and applications in various operating systems. This is a good option, for example, to switch contacts from Android to iOS.

BACKUP WHATSAPP CHATS ON ANDROID

WhatsApp offers integrated or cloud chat backup. While this is quite effective, the locally stored database may not be recovered if the device is lost. Therefore, I recommend backing up your chat to Google Drive .

This can be done by going to the Settings section , selecting the Chat backup option and setting up a Google Drive account to which messages and multimedia files exchanged in dialogs will be transferred. If you need more information, I suggest you read the guide on saving WhatsApp chat that I already wrote.

If you are backing up Android because you want to upgrade to iOS , read the tutorial on how to transfer WhatsApp chats from Android to iPhone.

BACKING UP CLOUD APPLICATIONS

Telegram , Instagram and Facebook , or any other cloud application , do not use your mobile phone to store conversations and documents unless you clearly wish to do so, making individual saves (where possible, however).

This means that there is no need to make backups on Android, because all data that was shared through these applications (including chat conversations and media files) is saved on the servers of these applications.

However, please note that if, for example, you used these apps to post photos edited with filters and effects on Instagram, the original photos will remain on your smartphone or tablet. Thus, in case of formatting, you will lose them, because they are stored in the gallery, and therefore in the internal memory of the device.

To be safe even in such situations, you can make Android backups of your photos and videos . As you read the next paragraph, you will understand how this is done.

BACK UP PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

You can use the Google Photos (or Google Photos) app, available in various operating system versions, as a system application to directly control the backing up of pictures and videos on your Android device .

Google Photos has a dedicated backup setting . The operation is very intuitive here too, and is basically similar to what we have already seen for saving on Google Drive, of which it complements.

The nature of this type of backup is incremental . This means Google Photos saves new photos you take (or modify) right in the cloud without overwriting old, unmodified files again, saving you tons of time.

If you don’t have Google Photo, you can always download it for free via this Google Play page . Once installed, open the app and automatically back up your media files so that they can be automatically found on other devices connected to your Google account.

AUTOMATIC BACKUPS AND LIMITATIONS

Through the cloud settings we saw above, Android automatic , partial or full backups are mostly activated, which in some cases has important limitations .

In addition to the amount of space available in the cloud, the media that needs more attention are photos and videos saved separately in the cloud.

In fact, Google Photos in the free version has important limitations . They differ depending on the type of media, i.e. high quality, original quality and expressive backup . Let’s see how they differ:

  • High quality – The amount of memory is unlimited, but photos are compressed, and if they exceed 16 megapixels of photo quality, then their size is increased to 16 megapixels; videos with a higher resolution than Full HD (1080p, 1920 x 1080 pixels) will be resized to 1080p;
  • Original quality – The storage capacity is limited by the total storage capacity of Google Drive, but the photos do not change or resize;
  • Backup Express – This option is not always available, it allows you to increase the speed of downloading files via Wi-Fi or mobile data; memory capacity is unlimited, if the limit is exceeded, photos are resized to 3 MP, and videos – to 480p.

More details and information can be found on this Google Photos Support page .

Also note that if the device you are backing up to is not used for more than 57 days , all backups will be deleted automatically . The same result will be achieved even if the backup service is disabled . Yes, even this time.

While some of these limitations (not all) can be overcome by purchasing additional “cloud” services such as Google One, the best way to address them may be to use (in certain situations) different cloud platforms . Check out the best guide to cloud storage for more information.

Alternatively, you can manually save photos, videos, voice memos and other multimedia files to your computer via USB cable in original quality. Don’t forget, however, that this method is still local (as the data is stored locally on the PC’s hard drive).

BACKING UP APPS AND DATA

There is no automatic mode to create an Android backup associated with data from third party apps (like games saved in a game app).

However, it is also true that some manufacturer’s software for controlling PC devices (for example, HiSuite) makes it possible to save even those applications that only contain their data. Therefore, you will have to adapt to the situation regarding the tools provided by the manufacturers.

Alternatively, you can use the Titanium Backup app . In fact, it has various functions that allow you to save (even in the cloud) the data of almost all installed applications without much difficulty, including system applications.


 

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