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Back up your Android phoneLosing 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 safeguard your valuable apps, contacts, messages, and more with just a few easy steps.
I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET.com. Here to show you how to back up your Android phone. Backing up is simple, but many people only realized they should when it's too late. It only takes a second for your phone to get stolen, lost, or dunked in coffee. So, here's my advice to keep your data safe even if end up phoneless. If you have a rooted device, go download titanium or an android and you're set, but if you don't know what I'm talking about or you'd like to back up your device before rooting your phone, here are some easy solutions. Android users have any number of options to choose from. So, where do you start? Consider the most important things that you want to keep safe. For most of you, it will be apps, contacts, SMS, and photos. Luckily, Google takes care of some of these things and more. Go to settings, privacy, and make sure that back up my settings and automatic restore are checked off. Go back to the settings menu and select account and sync and open your Gmail account. Check off everything and your calendar, Gmail, and contacts will be backed up to Google servers. Now, if you ever lose your phone and purchase a new Android, you'll you have to do is sign in to your Gmail account and your applications, contacts, e-mail, calendar, and system settings will be restored. Text messages could be handled a little differently. To back up your text conversations, download an app called SMS back up plus. It will automatically back SMS, MMS, and and the call logs to your Gmail account as threaded messages. Download the app, connect it to your Google account and choose back up to start syncing. Your text messages will show up under a new label in your Gmail account and your SMS will continue to back up in the background. For some reason, Google hasn't configured automatic photo syncing yet. So, here are some other options. If you use a cloud service like Flickr or Picasa or Photobucket, there are third party apps that will help you back up your photos wirelessly. Photobucket mobile is neat because there's an option to auto upload, all of your mobile photos the way Eye-Fi does. Flickr companion and Picasa tool are also free apps that will let you upload your photos to their server, but they're not automatic. If you don't want to deal with all of those apps then all you want to do is store those photos on your computer, use the good old drag and drop method. Plug your phone into your computer, put it in disk drive mode and open the drive. It should appear in My Computer run Windows or on your Mac desktop. Open it, find the DCIM folder and drag and drop all the photos you want to save onto your hard drive. The only problem with this method is that it's not automated. So, remember to do this at least once a week. Now, if you want a peace of mind knowing that somebody else is taking good care of your data, there's an app for that. My backup pro is the best and least expensive app that I found that will back up everything to their online servers or your SD card. For 5 bucks, my backup will store photos, call logs, apps, and text messages and more. It also gives you the option to schedule backups and if you get a new Android or your current Android is somehow wiped, just reinstall my backup and hit restore. Just realize that some apps and settings might not transfer because of software or hardware compatibility. These are my favorite ways to backup my Android phone, but there are many other options. If you have a prefer way, let me know on Twitter or e-mail your suggestions, questions, and ideas at How To at CNET.com. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs.