How to Back up Your Android Phone

Be confident your information is safe and accessible

Woman using her 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 your 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 else in the Google suite, such as Calendar, Contacts, Gmail, etc., should be set to automatically back up. By default, your Android phone should have your data set to back up automatically. Follow these steps to make sure the settings are correct.

If you're using an older phone, there may be an option you can select to manually backup all of your Android data. Navigate to System > Advanced > Backup > Backup now.

  1. Open your Android settings as you normally would.

    Android phone settings for backing up
  2. The options for each phone are different, so you may need to do a little hunting for this step.

    Find the Backup and restore option (in the image above, it's under Cloud and accounts) or, if that option isn't on your device, select System > Backup.

  3. Make sure the backup options you want are selected. Many phones also have a notice that tells you the last time your data was backed up, as well as a way to back up manually if it hasn't been done for a while.

Backup Android Phone Using Third-Party Apps

If you want some extra peace of mind, there are several third-party options to backup your Android device. Here are a few that are available:

  • G Cloud Backup: It's free, it's remarkably easy to use, and it's one of the highest-rated Android backup apps in the Google Play store. G Cloud Backup has an intuitive setup that allows you to specifically choose the apps, items, and data you'd like to back up. It also has fairly inexpensive options if you'd like to upgrade your 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. However, if you prefer to have a physical data backup (such as an SD card) over cloud storage, this one is probably a better bet for ease of use.
  • SMS Backup & Restore: If all you're worried about is making sure you've got access to your text messages across devices, this is the app for you. It's incredibly 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. Once you've 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 of your most important data, like pictures. You'll need to back up your photos separately. There are many services you can use to 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 it to back up photos from your Android phone.

    1. If you don't have the app, download it from the Play Store. Open the app.

      Google Photos home and settings screens
    2. In the search bar at the top, tap the Menu (three stacked horizontal lines) icon. From the menu, select Settings.

    3. Select Back up & Sync.

    4. Next to Back up & sync, check to see if the slider is in the on position. If not, tap it to activate.

      Google Photos Back Up and Sync settings
    5. If you want to back up photos from locations other than your camera folder, select Back up device folders and choose the folders you want to be backed up.