How to backup and restore your mobile device the right way

How to backup and restore your mobile device the right way

You’ve likely been backing up your mobile device the wrong way

by Irene Park

Imagine you’re on your way to the grocery store to restock after a fun weekend with the family, and your cell phone slips and not only ends up cracking to smithereens on the asphalt but landing in a puddle!

It has happened.

All your memories from the fun weekend you just had are gone in an instant because you didn’t backup your phone. If the cracking of the phone beyond access wasn’t bad enough, the water damage will make certain that ALL your data is gone for good.

These are one of the many common scenarios that can happen to anyone. That’s why backing up your cell phone regularly prevents the bad luck of dropping your phone from turning into the worst-case scenario.

Most cell phones are also more vulnerable to damage simply because they are smaller devices that are often taken everywhere by its users. This increases the risk of damage, loss, or theft. Additionally, cellphone storage is often limited by the manufacturers, which means that at some point you’ll run out of space and not be able to take any more photos, videos, download apps, etc.

The good news is that the two top types of cellphone, iPhone or Androids, have a variety of backup options you can pick from.

Below are suggestions on when and how to back up your cellphone as well as how to restore it.

 

How Often Should I Backup my Cellphone?

all the data on your phone

Much like backing up your laptop or computer, backing up your cellphone regularly is ideal. But, much like backing up your computer, it is often hard for people to remember to do it.

Below is a quick guide of key times when you should update your phones if you can’t remember to back up regularly:

  • Before major OS updates
  • Before downloading apps
  • After important moments or milestones
  • Before you reset your phone
  • Before your phone gets hacked (because one never knows when this will occur, a regular backup is greatly encouraged so at any point you can reset your phone without risking your data)
  • Before your phone gets bogged down by malware or viruses (because one never knows when this will occur, a regular backup is greatly encouraged so at any point you can reset your phone without risking your data)
  • Before accidental damage occurs
  • Before selling or giving your phone to anyone else
  • Before you upgrade to a new device

 

How to Backup Your iPhone Mobile Device

There are two main ways to backup your iPhone: physically or manually or on a Cloud service.

How to Backup iPhones on Mac

While historically Apple used to make consumers use iTunes to create all their backups, anyone running MacOS 10.15 or now has a more direct, easier way:

  • Connect your iPhone to your Mac with the data cable provided with your iPhone (or any cable you’ve been using to connect your Mac to your iPhone)
  • Go to your dock, and click ‘Finder’
  • At the top of the Finder Window, click ‘General’
  • Select “Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac”
  • Click ‘Back Up Now’

How to Backup iPhones on Windows

  • Connect your iPhone to your Mac with the data cable that is compatible between your iPhone and PC
  • Open to iTunes app on your PC, click the ‘iPhone’ button on the top left of the window
  • Select ‘Summary’
  • Select ‘Back Up Now’ under ‘Backups’

How to Backup iPhones to iCloud

  • Unlock your iPhone
  • On the home screen, tap ‘Settings’

iPhone Homescreen

  • Tap the Name of the device (usually your name or Apple ID) at the very top of the ‘Settings’ menuiPhone settings
  • Tap ‘iCloud’

Iphone Icloud

  • Tap ‘iCloud Backup’

Icloud Backup

  • Tap the toggle to turn ‘iCloud Backup’ on (it should be green)

  • To manually perform a backup now, tap ‘Back Up Now’

Once iCloud is setup, it will automatically back up the following any time it is connected to the internet:

  • App data
  • Apple Watch backups
  • Device settings
  • Home screen and app organization
  • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages
  • Photos and videos on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Purchase history from Apple services, like your music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books
  • Ringtones
  • Visual Voicemail password (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)

Please note that whatever you toggled on in the main iCloud menu (such as iCloud photos or Contacts) is information already stored in iCloud and is not part of the iCloud backup. That information is already kept up-to-date on all your devices sharing the same Apple ID.

 

How to Restore Your iPhone

restoring your iphone from your backup

There are two main ways to restore your iPhone: physically or manually or on a Cloud service.

How to restore your iPhone from a Mac

  • Connect your new or newly erased iPhone to your Mac with the data cable provided with your iPhone
  • On your Mac, go to your dock, and click ‘Finder’
  • On the left sidebar of the ‘Finder’ window, select the phone you want to restore the backup to then select ‘Trust’
  • On the phone’s welcome screen, click ‘Restore from this backup’
  • Choose the backup from the list, and click ‘Continue’

How to restore your iPhone from Windows

  • Connect your new or newly erased iPhone to your Windows computer
  • Open to iTunes app on your PC, click the ‘iPhone’ button on the top left of the window
  • On the phone’s welcome screen, click ‘Restore from this backup’
  • Choose the backup from the list, and click ‘Continue’

How to restore your iPhone from iCloud

While historically Apple used to make consumers use iTunes to restore all their backups, anyone running MacOS 10.15 or now has a more direct, easier way:

  • Turn on your new or newly erased iPhone
  • Choose your preferred language and region
  • Click ‘Set up Manually’
  • Click ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’
  • Follow the onscreen instructions

Please note you will likely be asked for your Apple ID. It should be the same email and password you used to access whatever phone you made the backup to iCloud.

 

How to Backup Your Android Mobile Device

android backups

Much like iPhone users, Android users have options in terms of how they can back up their phones. Two main options include a physical backup to your Windows or Mac computer or via the cloud.

How to Backup Androids on Windows

  • Connect your phone to your Windows computer with your USB cable
  • Open notifications on your phone by dragging it down the menu
  • There should be a notification from ‘Android System’ stating ‘Charging this device via USB,’ tap it
  • Under the ‘Use USB for’, click ‘File Transfer’
  • In the next window to pop-up, or ‘This PC’ window, click the phone you want to back up (listed in the left pane)
  • You should see folders and files on your phone listed. Highlight the folders or files you want to transfer, right-click, then select ‘Copy’
  • Choose a folder on your computer you want to save this data, and right-click then paste.

How to Backup Androids on Mac

  • Download the official Android File Transfer app to your Mac (https://www.android.com/filetransfer/)
  • Connect your phone to your Mac computer with your USB cable
  • The Android File Transfer app window should automatically open on your Mac with a list of folders and files on your phone
  • Copy and paste (right-click) or drag and drop files and folders you want to save onto your Mac

How to Backup Androids on Google Drive

In order to backup with Google Drive, you will need a Google account.

  • On your Android main screen, go to ‘Settings’
  • Click ‘Google’
  • Click ‘Backup’
  • Under your Google account info, click ‘Backup to Google Drive’ (it will say Google One on some devices) and click the toggle on
  • Under the ‘‘Backup to Google Drive’, tap on the ‘Back up now’ button

Please note that you can select what types of data will be backed up in the section below (under ‘Backup details’).

 

How to Restore an Android device

There are two main ways to restore your Android: physically or manually or on a Cloud service.

How to Restore Androids on Windows

  • Connect on your new or newly erased Android device to your Windows computer with the manufacturer-provided USB cable
  • Tap ‘Charging this device via USB’
  • Tap ‘Open USB for’
  • Click ‘File Transfer’
  • A window will pop up
  • Drag the files you want to transfer to your Android from your computer to your new Android device
  • Make sure to properly eject your device before you detach your phone from the cable or computer

How to Restore Androids on Mac

Because you’ve used a Mac to back up your Android device previously, you should have the Android File Transfer app downloaded on your Mac already. If not, go back to ‘How to Backup your Android on Mac’ section (above) and download the app.

  • Open Android File Transfer
  • Connect on your new or newly erased Android device to your Mac with the manufacturer-provided USB cable
  • Tap ‘Charging this device via USB’
  • Tap ‘Open USB for’
  • Click ‘File Transfer’
  • A window will pop up
  • Drag the files you want to transfer to your Android from your computer to your new Android device
  • Make sure to properly eject your device before you detach your phone from the cable or computer

How to Restore Androids via Google Drive

  • Turn on your new or newly erased Android
  • Choose the language if you prefer on the welcome page and tap ‘LET’S GO’
  • Click ‘Copy Apps and Data’
  • Click ‘Copy Your Data’
  • (Make sure you’re connected to the internet – if you haven’t already done so open Connect to Wifi page)
  • Click ‘Bring Your Data From’ then select ‘Backup from Cloud’
  • Sign into your Google Account where your original Google Drive backup is stored
  • Click ‘I Agree’
  • Click ‘Backup to Restore’
  • Select the data files you want and click ‘Restore’

What is the worst-case scenario you’ve experienced with your cellphone? While we hope it never happens again, having a solid backup routine will ensure your data will always be safe and available to you! Tell us what your backup plan is now!

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