How to Back Up Your Android Phone

Be confident your information is safe and accessible

What to Know

  • Go to Settings > Cloud and accounts > Backup and restore (or Systems > Backup on some phones).
  • Select the options you want to back up automatically.

This article explains how to back up your Android phone automatically. It also includes information on backing up using third-party apps and on manually backing up your photos. This information applies to phones with Android Pie, Oreo, or Nougat.

How to Back Up Your Android Phone Automatically

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.

As long as your Android device uses your primary email, nearly everything in the Google suite, including Calendar, Contacts, Gmail, and other Google apps, is 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.

  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

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

Back Up 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 need to back up photos separately. Several services can back up photos from your Android smartphone, including Dropbox and Amazon Photos, 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 and open the app.

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