How to Back up Your Android Phone

Be confident your information is safe and accessible

Homeowner using a phone sitting on couch next to computer

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Backing up your Android data is simple. Google stores most of your options and data in the cloud, making it easy to transfer it from one device to another (such as when you buy a new phone). Here are a few basics for how to back up an Android phone.

This article applies to phones with Android Pie, Oreo, or Nougat. The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

How to Backup Android Phone Automatically

As long as your Android device uses your primary email, nearly everything in the Google suite, such as Calendar, Contacts, Gmail, and other Google apps, are set to automatically back up. By default, your Android phone is set to back up data automatically. Follow these steps to make sure the settings are correct.

On older phones, there may be an option to manually backup all your Android data. Navigate to System > Advanced > Backup > Backup now.

  1. Tap the Settings app to open the Android settings.

  2. Go to Cloud and accounts and tap Backup and restore. If that option isn't on your device, select System > Backup.

    The options for each phone are different, so you may need to hunt for this setting.

  3. Select the backup options you want. Many phones display the last time the data was backed up, as well as a way to back up manually.

    Cloud and accounts, Backup and restore, options in Android Settings

Backup Android Phone Using Third-Party Apps

There are several third-party options to back up an Android device. Samsung users can use the Samsung Cloud service. Here are some other options:

  • G Cloud Backup: It's free, it's easy to use, and one of the highest-rated Android backup apps in the Google Play store. G Cloud Backup has an intuitive setup and you choose which apps, items, and data to back up. It also has inexpensive options to upgrade an account and add more data and choices.
  • App Backup and Restore: App Backup and Restore offers a few more options for users with a lot of data, but it's not quite as easy to use as G Cloud. If you prefer to have a physical data backup (such as an SD card) over cloud storage, this one is a better bet for ease of use.
  • SMS Backup & Restore: If you want to access your text messages across devices, this is the app for you. It's easy to use, and you can set up an automatic update schedule so you don't need to remember to manually back up your messages. After you set up a schedule, this app does the rest.

How to Manually Back up Your Photos

Automatic backups are great, but they don't include some data, like pictures. You'll need to back up photos separately. Several services will back up photos from your Android smartphone, including Dropbox and Amazon Drive (which is free if you have Amazon Prime). Google Photos is also a good option, and easy to use.

Here's how to use Google Photos to back up photos on an Android phone:

  1. Download Google Photos from the Play Store, then open the app.

  2. In the search bar at the top, tap Menu (the three stacked horizontal lines), then select Settings.

  3. Select Back up & Sync.

    Menu icon, Settings, Back up & sync button
  4. Turn on the Back up & sync toggle switch.

  5. If you want to back up photos from locations other than your camera folder, select Back up device folders and choose the folders to back up.

    Back up device folders and toggle switches on Android