Your smartphone is about the closest companion to you in this modern digital age. Judging by the versatile nature of our mobile phones, we need to ensure the contents of our mobile phones do not get lost or deleted. So you must prepare ahead by securing the data and apps on your smartphone. One sure method of doing so is to back up data on your Android phone and/or iPhone. Because you can practically do everything possible on a computer on a mobile phone as well.

It could be that your phone needs repair or replacement at any unpredictable hour. Or the phone gets lost (we don’t pray for that). And on a happier note, you just bought a new, powerful phone (smile). So you need to back up data on your Android phone and/or iPhone. In fact, do so on every phone you will ever have.

How to back up data on your Android phone and/or iPhone

Not only that, data back up on your smartphone should be done periodically. This is to ensure your latest downloads and files are also saved up on time before the unexpected happens.

8 Methods You can Use to Back Up Data on Your Android and/or iPhone

We have curated just about every well-known method you can use to back up data on your Android phone and/or iPhone. The list is presented below. We will endeavor to give a concise explanation of each phone data backup method. You can explore the following options:

  • Google One app
  • Google Photos
  • Cloud Storage: iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive
  • Third-party phone backup Apps
  • Manual Backup to your computer
  • For Samsung phones: Samsung Cloud
  • NAND Backup on Android
  • Using External Storage Devices

Google One App

Google’s Android operating system on phones are configured to do phone data backup on the Google One app. The backup happens automatically once your phone is plugged to a power source, and has been charging for at least two hours. The app can also be downloaded from the Google Play Store. To perform data backup on your Android phone, proceed to do the following:

  • Open Settings > Google > Backup > Backup by Google One. Switch on/off the toggle button to activate the automatic phone backup. You can also click the ‘Back up now’ button in the same section to perform phone backup immediately.

Google Photos

Google goes a step further to back up your picture and video files on the cloud – using the Google Photos app. It normally comes preinstalled on modern Android phones. You can also download the app on Google Play store (just in case it does not appear on your desktop). Take note that the Google Photos app is actually connected to the 15GB free cloud storage provided by Google to all Android users. Higher amounts of storage will need to be paid for by the user. To do backup of files on Google Photos, follow the steps below.

  • First, you need to set the Google Photos app to automatically backup your files. Open the app, then click your profile photo at the top-right hand corner. Select Photo settings > Backup to switch on/off the toggle button.
  • You also have options you can adjust in the same section. They include ‘Backup quality‘, ‘Mobile data storage’ (to use mobile data instead of Wi-fi), and ‘Backup device folders’ (to specifically backup existing folders on your phone and their contents).

Cloud Storage: iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive

  • iCloud on iOS: All Apple phones and devices are automatically configured to store and back up data on Apple’s iCloud storage facility. iCloud offers 5GB free cloud storage space to each iOS device (you may need to pay for larger storage space). 
  • Additionally, iCloud performs daily automatic backup of your iPhone’s data on the cloud. This happens once the phone is plugged into a power source, or is connected to a Wi-fi network, or simply in locked mode. Optionally, 5G phones may also be set up to use mobile data for backup as well. On your iPhone, proceed to do the following:
    • Select Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Switch on/off the toggle button. 
  • Google Drive on Android: Google Drive allows all your Android devices (and even Windows or Mac devices)  to sync with one another, and store all files on the cloud. This means you can access your Google account from any device connected to the internet. Google Drive also syncs with Google One app. If the Google Drive app is not already on your Android phone, just download it from the Google Play store. Then proceed to do the following:
  • Open the Google Drive app, and click the + button (should be at the bottom-right corner of the screen). 
  • Click Upload, and select the folder or file(s) you wish to backup. It will show you notification when the backup is complete. That’s it.
  • Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft also offers its own cloud storage option for users that are signed up to the Office 365 account. Office 365 gives a whooping 1 Terabyte of free cloud storage to each user. 

Other cloud storage options available on Android and iPhones include Amazon Drive, Dropbox, MEGA, Nextcloud and several others.

Third-party Apps for Phone Backup

There are powerful third-party apps you can use to backup data which include Syncthing, Easy Backup, IDrive Online Backup, Backup and Restore, MobileTrans, AnyTrans, Super Backup, Phone Clone and a host of others. 

Manual Backup of Your Phone Data to Your Computer

One could say perhaps the simplest method to back up data on your Android and/or iPhone is to simply transfer your files to a computer. Here is how to get it done. This is usually achieved with the aid of a data-carrying USB cable. The original packaging of the USB cable should indicate whether it can send/receive data files or not. Not all USB cables can transfer files. 

  • From Android to Windows or Mac Computer
  • Connect your Android phone to the Windows or Mac computer with a data-carrying USB cable. Then:
  • Pull down the notification menu (the ribbon menu atop your phone). You will see a ‘Charging this device via USB‘ message. Tap on it to reveal more options.
  • Select USB for > File transfer.
  • Switch to your computer.

On Windows

  • A File Explorer window should show up by itself on the screen. Otherwise open the File Explorer window at the bottom of the screen (the task bar). 
  • Locate the name of your phone, and double click on it. Open the phone storage to locate the files you need. Right-click each file and select Copy. (You can use one finger to hold down on the Ctrl button for multiple selections). 
  • Select the destination folder you are interested in, and right-click any empty space to create a new folder. Then double-click to open it.
  • Right-click on any empty space, and select Paste

On Mac

  • Mac users are required to download the Android File Transfer app on the computer beforehand. (There are also more powerful manual data transfer apps you can use on your Mac computer, such as Commander One).
  • Connect your Android phone to your Mac computer with a data-carrying USB cable.
  • Open the Android File Transfer app.
  • Click and drag the files you wish to backup to the destination folder on your computer. You may need to create the folder first.
  • From iPhone to Windows or Mac Computer

Connect your iPhone to the Windows or Mac computer with a data-carrying USB cable. For Mac computers, you may bypass the USB cable if you have done such a procedure before. In that case, you can connect the iPhone to your computer over Wi-fi. Then proceed to do the following:

On Windows

  • The iTunes software is available for Windows computers, and can automatically back up your iPhone files to your computer. So you can install the iTunes app first on your computer.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer with a USB cable, or even with Wi-fi connection (if you have connected another iPhone previously to that computer).
  • Both your iPhone and computer will issue a prompt on the screen, asking if you trust the computer to access the device. Click Yes, and enter the device password or passcode. 
  • Open the iTunes App on your Windows computer and click Device button (top left corner of the iTunes window). 
  • Then click Summary > This Computer > Automatically Back Up > Back Up Now‘. 
  • Optionally, you can also select Summary > This Computer > Automatically Back Up > Encrypt local backup” and choose a password, for an encrypted backup. 

  On Mac

  • Ensure you unlock your iPhone first by using its passcode or face ID. 
  • If you have used a different  iPhone on your Mac earlier on, your computer should prompt you with a welcome message. Select Set up as a new device > Continue
  • A Finder window should come up automatically, or you open it in the task bar (at the bottom of the screen). 
  • In the General tab, select the name of your iPhone to see its contents. 
  • Go to the Backups section. You are shown two options. Either you choose:
  • Back up your most important data on your iPhone to iCloud. This option backs up at regular intervals to the iCloud over the internet and without your intervention. Or
  • Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac. This option takes effect anytime you connect the iPhone to your computer. 
  • Then click “Back Up Now” to begin the process. In spite of this, your iPhone’s automatic backup settings will not change.
  • Do not disturb or unplug the iPhone until the backup is completed. The Status indicator in the side bar will show the progress.
  • At any other time, you may need to do a restore operation to your iPhone by local backup. You can always select Restore Backup.

For Samsung Phones: Samsung Cloud

Samsung provides its own native cloud storage and backup app, the Samsung Cloud to perform phone backup. 

  • Simply open Settings > Samsung Account > Samsung Cloud. You have three options. You can either select: 
  • Back up data,
  • Restore data, or 
  • Settings.
  • Otherwise, choose Settings  > Account and backup > Back up or restore data within Samsung Cloud
  • Select Back up now to do a manual backup. Or else choose Auto Backup to activate the backup procedure, which will take place every 24 hours. 

NAND Backup on Android

An exact copy or image of all your Android phone’s data can be stored on the phone’s NAND flash memory, through NANDroid backup. In simple language, a copy of all the Android phone’s data is created on the SD memory card. That includes the apps, settings, folder and file structure. Thereafter, you can transfer the contents of the SD card to a computer, or some other storage device. 

It is commonly used by users who have root access to the operating system of their phone. Such users can do so before using a new Read Only Memory (which houses the Android operating system) on their phones. Thus, you can transfer the complete data and operating system from one Android device to another with a NANDroid backup. And the image can be used to restore Android phones affected by malware.

Using External Storage Devices

You can connect your phone to an external hard drive with a USB OTG adapted/connector. The phone would detect the hard drive, and you can access it in the pull-down notification menu (above the screen) by tapping the message. Then:

  • select Use USB for > File transfer.  
  • Open the File manager window, select the data or files you want to backup and click Copy or Move to complete the backup.

You could also connect OTG (On-The-Go) flash drives to your phone (whether Android or iPhone) and access its contents in the File manager window. Simply select the target folders or files, and click Copy or Move

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