How to back up your Android phone

Losing or breaking your phone doesn't mean you have to lose all your data, too--as long as you back it up first. Find out how to back up your valuable apps, contacts, messages, and more with just a few easy steps.

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Android doesn't offer a native backup service, so it's easy to ignore the need to do so. But don't wait until it's too late to start thinking about backing up your phone. Many of us rely on our phone cameras to snap day-to-day photos of our lives and save text messages to have some of the most important conversations. So before a thief swipes that phone, or a spilled cup of coffee bricks it, follow these tips:

Google has your back. Go to Settings > Privacy, and make sure that "Back up my settings" and "Automatic restore" are checked off. Go to Settings > Accounts and sync, open your Gmail account, and check off all options. With these settings in place, your contacts, system settings, apps, calendar, and e-mail will be restored whenever you set up a new Android phone with that same Gmail account.

Photos. Google hasn't implemented a native photo backup service yet, so look to third-party apps to safeguard your photos. You might want to consolidate your mobile photos with those you already have stored in a cloud service. For instance, Photobucket Mobile will automatically upload newly snapped photos in the background to your Photobucket account. Flickr Companion and Picasa Tool are also free apps that allow mobile uploading but don't do so automatically.

Drag and drop. Back up photos from your Android the traditional way. Connect your phone to your computer via USB, set it in Disk Mode and locate the drive (on the desktop for Mac, in My Computer for Windows). Open the drive, find the DCIM folder, and drag the photos you'd like to back up onto your hard drive.

Text messages. Folks at SMS Backup + figured out a smart way to back up your text messages in the cloud. The free app automatically sends your SMS threads to Gmail and stores them under a new label, "SMS."

Let someone else do it. If you like the idea of having someone else back up your data, download MyBackup Pro. The $5 app backs up everything--SMS, photos, apps, call log, contacts, system settings, bookmarks, and more--to your SD card or its online server at no extra charge. MyBackup also allows you to restore your data, should you need to do so.

 

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