Backup for Smartphones

Category: Backup , Mobile

I have an iPhone and my wife uses a Samsung Galaxy Android phone. We're both a little nervous about losing all the data we store on our mobile phones, such as contacts, messages, and apps. Can you recommend any good backup utilities for smartphones?

How to Backup Your Smartphone

Now that smartphones are so integrated with our daily lives, backing up the data stored on smartphones is just as important as backing up data stored on computers. Backup options for smartphones vary depending on the phone's operating system. Here are the basics of backup for the most popular breeds of smartphones...

If you have an iPhone, you've probably sat through its backup routine already. iTunes updates your iPhone's backup every time you sync with iTunes. The iPhone backup process is rather enigmatic; you don't really know what's going on, what's being backed up, or where it's stored. But it works, and you may not want to sweat the details. Among other things, the iPhone backup includes bookmarks, apps, app settings and data (including in-app purchases), contacts, call history, Mail accounts, SMSes, videos and photos.

Restoring from a backup is as simple as plugging in your iPhone, alt-clicking on the phone's icon in iTunes, and selecting "Restore from Backup." Note that this is different from selecting "Restore" in the phone's device summary page; that "restore" resets your iPhone to factory-default settings, losing all of your custom settings and data. If you initiate this type of "restore" you will be prompted to create a backup; that's a clue that you are not restoring from a backup!

Backing Up Your Android Smartphone

If you have an Android-based smartphone with a Google account, your Gmail contacts and messages will always be available via Gmail on the web.

As for your photos and videos, the easiest way is to download the Google+ app, if it's not pre-installed on your phone. Google+ will automatically upload your photos and videos to a private folder in your Google+ account. If you want to backup the photos and videos on your own hard drive, just connect it to your computer with a USB cable, and follow the prompts on the screen to access your phone's SD card as a folder on your computer. You can copy or move files from the phone to the computer just like any other files, with drag and drop. A third (much less convenient) option would be to open the back of the phone, remove the micro SD card, and insert it into a compatible card reader slot on your computer.

Many backup utilities for Google Android smartphones are available in the Android Market. Most of the convenient, all-in-one backup utilities require payment. But a few free backup utilities, combined, can do most the job for free.

"SMS Backup and Restore" from the Google Play Store will backup all your text messages and your call log. They're safely stashed in a Gmail label, so you can view them via Gmail even if you don't have your phone handy. If you get a new phone, everything can be quickly restored.

Backing up applications is possible with Astro File Manager, although the backup option is somewhat hidden. Open the Astro File Manager app, press the menu button, and then select "Tools." Select the "Application Manager/ Backup" item to back up apps to your SD Card.

Backup for BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Smartphones

Blackberry users have it easy thanks to the Blackberry Desktop app. Just start the app, click the "Backup" menu item, and select the backup Options you desire. Make sure to select "Back up all device application data." Encryption of backup files is optional. Then click "Back Up" and select the destination for your backup file.

If you have a Windows Phone running the Windows Phone 7 or Windows Phone 8 operating system, there is an option to backup your settings, apps, text messages, photos and videos to your Microsoft account in the cloud.

The Symbian OS is used mainly outside of the United States. Nokia is Symbian's main smartphone maker, and some Symbian backup utilities work only with Nokia phones. The Ovia Suite is highly recommended for Nokia Symbian phones, while users of Samsung and other manufacturers' Symbian phones favor The Symbian Tool.

Finally, if you have more than one smartphone, here's a solution that promises compatibility with Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Mobile phones. MobileSync Pro backs up your Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, Notes, Photos, Videos, Music, Documents, Messages and Emails whenever Sync is initiated. It can also save your data in the cloud-based MobileSync Pro server so your data is safe and available to all your mobile phones.

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Most recent comments on "Backup for Smartphones"

Posted by:

Android User
18 Mar 2011

I use LookOut security at , for both our Droid and our Blackberry. The basic version is free. It backs up your contacts to an online account that you log in to. It has a GPS tracker so that if you lose your phone, you can pinpoint it on the map, even if your phone's GPS isn't turned on. It also has a phone locater which makes your phone ring if you've misplaced it, even if your phone is set on silent. AND it's a virus/malware/spyware checker. If your phone is stolen, you can upgrade to the paid version which includes locking your phone or wiping it clean in case of theft to protect your information, and call history and photo backup.

Posted by:

19 Mar 2011

My mother uses her smartphone to access her safecopy account online.But i think there is still need for the phone app improvement with safecopy online backup.

Posted by:

Flemming Hansen
23 Mar 2011

iPhone Apps are also backed up. I discovered this when I first time connected a second iPhone to the pc - All Apps were automatic installed on the new iPhone. So I saved money to buy them again and I can use them on both iPhones :-)

Posted by:

William Robinson, Jr.
23 Mar 2011

I use Outlook as well. Seems to do the job.

Posted by:

25 Mar 2011

Windows Phone 7 backs up and synchronizes contacts and Office documents with your Windows Live account that you set up on it when you first use the phone. It also synchronizes your contacts with Outlook, which allows you to edit them on your pc. You do have to install a small stub on the pc for this to work, but it does work well. Way better than ActiveStink ever did.

Zune backs up some settings, and syncs your media.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I have found to back up and or restore the entire device.

Posted by:

25 Mar 2011

It appears that full backup and restore capabilities are on the near horizon for Windows Phone 7...

This update, which has been delayed (again!) also includes cut-and-paste capability - another necessary but lacking feature.

Aside from these temporarily missing features, I am VERY impressed with my WP7!

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