How do I backup my phone?

Backing up your phone saves important information on it such as photos, contacts, notes, and more. Whether you need to do a factory reset on your phone or you’re switching to a different phone, you will want to back it up so you don’t lose vital information. Even if you aren’t doing a factory reset or switching phones, it’s still a good idea to back your phone up on a regular basis to keep what’s important to you saved.

For instructions to back up your phone, please see the steps below based on your phone type.

Apple iPhone

Back up iPhone using iCloud

Use iCloud Backup so that you have a copy of the information on your iPhone. iCloud Backup includes app data, Apple Watch backups, device settings, home screen and app organization, iMessage, text (SMS), MMS messages, photos, videos, purchase history from Apple services like your music, movies, TV shows, apps, books, ringtones, and visual voicemail password (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup). Some information is not included in an iCloud backup but can be added to iCloud and shared across multiple devices like Mail, Health data, call history, and files you store in iCloud Drive

Follow the steps below to back up your iPhone:

  1. Go to "Settings" > "[your name]" > "iCloud" > "iCloud Backup"
  2. Turn on iCloud Backup. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when iPhone is connected to power, locked, and on Wi-Fi
  3. To perform a manual backup, tap "Back Up Now"

To view your iCloud backups, go to "Settings" > "[your name]" > "iCloud" > "Manage Storage" > "Backups". To delete a backup, choose a backup from the list, then tap "Delete Backup".

Android Phones

Back up using Android Sync

If you're using an Android phone and you have Sync on, then your Google contacts, calendars, and Wi-Fi network passwords are automatically backed up. Please note that contacts saved locally on your phone that are not in your Google contacts will not be backed up by syncing.

The following are not backed up by syncing your phone: text messages (SMS or MMS), playlists, alarms, applications, and application data such as saved games.

Back up Contacts to SD Card

If you have a phone that uses a SD card and you want to back up your contacts to it, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to "Contacts"
  2. Choose "Menu key"
  3. Select "Import/Export"
  4. Select "Export to SD card"

When you want to put these contacts back onto your phone, just choose "Import from SD card" in Step 4.

Back up using the Onboard Backup

Many Android phones have a Backup and Restore option in the reset menu. Using this, you can set an account to back up your app data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other settings. This generally doesn't cover photos and music and those will need to be backed up to a computer or SD card. To use the phone's back up feature, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to "Settings" > "Backup and reset"
  2. Enable both "Back up my data" and "Automatic Restore" and set a "Backup Account"
  3. When both of these are enabled, your app data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other phone settings are backed up to Google's servers; this also restores your app settings when you reinstall your apps

Please note that on some devices, the option for Automatic Restore will not appear until you have set up a Backup Account.

Back up using an App

Some Android phones give you more control with a native Backup app. You can choose between Manual and Auto-backup and configure it so that regular backups are stored in your phone or on the SD card. If you do choose to back up to your phone, you'll need to move those files off your phone regularly. If your phone doesn't have a native Backup app, there are several apps available that you can use to back up your device as well. Below are some popular backup apps. These apps will give you more control over what you back up and when.

Windows OS7/OS8 Phones

Windows phones generally come with a native ability to back up text messages, apps, and photos along with their settings. To use this backup option, follow these steps:

  1. Go to "Settings" > "Backup"
  2. Tap on the item you want to back up and enable back up
  3. You'll be prompted to set up a Microsoft account if you don't have one already
  4. Once you have an account set up, you can tap "Back up now" for an immediate backup
  5. You can also tap on "Advanced" to configure things like deleting backups and cloud settings

Please note that contacts are backed up based on the e-mail account you are using and will be restored to your phone when you set that same e-mail address on your phone again.

Feature Phones

Most feature phones don’t have a lot of back up capability. You can usually just back up photos and contacts. There are generally two ways to do this:

  • Bluetooth transfer
  • Direct file transfer to your computer using a USB connection

If you choose to do a file transfer to your computer by USB connection, as soon as you connect your phone, your computer should immediately detect contacts and picture files. Then you can simply copy and paste those files.

For many phones, Bluetooth transfer will only work with transferring contacts. Here's how you can do that:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your phone and the receiving device
  2. On the phone you're backing up, go to "Contacts"
  3. Select "Options"
  4. Choose "Send Contact"
  5. Select "Contacts" (Menu/OK key)
  6. Choose "Send Contacts"
  7. Your phone will look for Bluetooth-enabled devices in range and list them
  8. Select the device you'd like to transfer to and then select "Yes" to sending contacts

Some feature phones will allow you to send pictures by Bluetooth transfer as well, but not all. If this is an option, you can do so by going through the steps above but from the Photos settings instead.