How to Backup Your Android Phone to a PC

You can use PC or Android apps

A man using a laptop and cellphone.

Pattanaphong Khuankaew / EyeEm / Getty Images

If you're an Android user and you store important information or files on your phone, it's important to know how to backup an Android phone to a PC. Sure, backing up your Android to Google Drive is simple, but if you prefer having your Android backup stored on your own PC, you'll need to use a different approach.

How to Backup Android via USB or Wi-Fi

If you're only really concerned about photos, videos, and other files stored on your Android, transferring them via USB is the easiest method. It doesn't require an app and it only takes a few minutes.

An alternative way to transfer files is installing the Wi-Fi FTP Server app on your phone. Launching this, you can connect to your phone via any FTP browser on your computer. Using whichever approach you like, you can transfer files from your Android to your computer for safekeeping.

  1. Turn on the Android device. Using the USB cable that came with your phone, plug the USB end into your computer and the other end into your phone.

  2. You'll need to allow USB debugging. To do so, go to Settings > Developer options and tap either USB debugging or Android debugging.

    Screenshot of enabling USB debugging on Android

    If you don't see Developer options, tap Settings > System > About Phone, then tap the build number seven times.

  3. Check your notifications and tap the USB item for more options, then tap Transfer files.

    Screenshot of selecting Transfer Files for Android usb
  4. You'll see your Android appear as an available device to browse in Windows File Explorer, allowing you to copy files from your Android phone to your PC.

    Screenshot of browsing a Pixel in Windows Explorer

Manually backing up images, videos, and files from your phone is a good way to save data, but it won't save contacts, text messages, and other items you may want to back up as well. It also requires you to remember to back up new files.

Perform an Android Backup to Your PC

If you want to have a full backup of your Android phone, a better approach is to install apps that handle full Android backups.

One of the best Android backup apps is Dr.Fone, which lets you perform a full backup or restore of your Android device, or you can backup specific data from your phone to your computer. It does this without requiring root access to the phone.

  1. Download and install Dr.Fone to your PC.

  2. Once you install Dr.Fone, it'll prompt you to connect your phone if you haven't already. Follow the steps above to enable USB debugging to make the connection work.

  3. Once you connect with the software running, you'll see the window where you can Backup or Restore an Android phone. To perform your first Android backup to PC, select Backup.

    Screenshot of Dr.Fone main page
  4. This will open a new window where you can select which components of your phone you want to back up. It defaults to every option, but you can deselect any you like.

    Screenshot of the main backup and restore window in dr.fone

    You need a premium plan to backup your Application data.

  5. When finished selecting the items you want, select Backup to initiate the backup process. You'll see a status as the software copies those components over to your local computer.

    Screenshot of the dr.fone backup process
  6. Once the backup fully completes, you can select either View Backup History or Open Backup Location. At this point, your backup is fully completed and ready to be restored whenever you need.

    Screenshot of a completed Android backup in dr.fone
  7. When you need to restore the backup you've made, just open the backup history list, select the backup with the latest backup date, then select Next to initiate.

    Screenshot of performing a restore with dr.fone
  8. The restore process using Dr.Fone is just as fast and simple as the backup process.

A nice additional feature of Dr.Fone is you can link it with your existing iTunes, iCloud, or Google Cloud automatic backups and use Dr.Fone to perform your restore.

How to Backup Android With Other Resources

The following are other free programs, like Dr.Fone, that let you quickly take a backup of your Android phone and perform a quick restore whenever you need to.

Choosing the right app for your situation depends on whether you want to run the app on your PC or your Android. It also depends where you want to store the backups and if you want to automate them.

  • Syncios Android Backup Manager: This free software is a full featured program that lets you back up everything, including contacts, apps, and SMS messages. It works with a majority of Android devices.
  • SyncDroid Android Manager: This software is for syncing an Android with Windows PCs. You can connect via USB or Wi-Fi, and backups include all of the important things you'll want to save.
  • ApowerManager: The approach for backups with this software is a little different, in that you back up files to your SD card for transfer to PC. It also works for iOS devices.
  • ROM Manager: This Android app lets you save automatic backups of your ROM to your SD card. It includes everything on your Android, the entire ROM, and all of your settings.
  • Backup Your Mobile: This Android app lets you backup and restore contacts, messages, system settings, and even call logs and Wi-Fi passwords to your SD card or device memory. An alternative is to store backups to your cloud accounts on Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.