Many diligent users won't skimp when it comes to backing up their desktop machine, but how many can say the same about their phones? Keeping a backup for your Android phone can feel like an unnecessary chore — until disaster strikes. What if your device is stolen, you install a bad ROM or you drop your phone in a puddle? Having a backup on hand just makes good sense.
While Google automatically backs up your contacts, Gmail and calendars, you can also do a lot to save your apps, as well as app data, documents and media files. Here are some of the best Android backup apps to help keep your app data, contacts list, photos, and media safe. (Image Credit: Jirapong Manustrong/Shutterstock)
The excellent Helium - App Sync & Backup is ClockworkMod's entry into the mobile backup app space. Like the best backup apps, Helium allows you to back up apps, data, contacts, SMS and your call log. But unlike many backup apps, Helium can do all this without needing to root your device. Unrooted users will have to install an extra desktop app to work with the mobile app when plugged in to a PC, while users with a rooted device just run Helium out of the box. A $4.99 premium version offers cloud uploading of backups, backup scheduling and no ads.
If your primary concern centers around documents, photos, and media files rather than a backup of your contacts, SMS, and other phone details, then you may already be well served by cloud storage services like Dropbox. The cloud storage pioneer offers cloud-based, multi-device-synced storage for everything from documents to photos and other important files, with automatic backups and 2GB of online storage (expandable through promotions or premium plans). Premium subscribers get extra perks, such as more storage, file versioning features, and encryption. You won't be backing up things like app installers or app data, but Dropbox is a great solution for simple cloud backups of your documents.
If you're looking to reduce the hassle of restoring your contacts when moving phones, you can try out contact managers like the excellent Contacts+. Contacts+ is an address book replacement that helps organize your contacts and integrates with your social media accounts and communications. The app automatically imports information from linked social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn contacts, allowing you to access them all in one place. Cover pictures can automatically be filled in from Facebook or Google+, and you can view your recent communications from each contact. Free users can sign in to Contacts+ to get 500 slots for cloud backup contacts, with premium users unlocking unlimited slots.
Sometimes, you're not looking to backup everything on your phone. If your main concern is backing up your photos, then one of the best options out there is the Google Photos service. Users can store an unlimited number high quality cloud-synced photos in their Google account, as well as up to 15GB of original resolution photos in your Google Drive space. In addition to the generous storage terms, Google Photos features a smart search tool for finding familiar objects, places and occasions, and smart album assistant and basic photo editing tools. Users shooting for one of the brand new Pixel smartphones also get the added bonus of unlimited cloud storage for videos and original resolution images.
If you're mainly concerned about SMS messages and call logs, check out SMS Backup & Restore, which saves your messages and call logs in XML format which can be backed up locally or in the cloud. Users can schedule automatic backups, selectively backup and restore specific conversations, and transfer SMS and call logs to another phone by email or Wi-Fi. While the app is nowhere near as comprehensive as other backup options, it's a simple and easy way to keep an extra copy of your SMS and call logs.
Own a rooted Android device or thinking of rooting it? Titanium Backup is a reliable workhorse for Android backups, with the free version allowing you to back up and restore apps and app data such as contacts, SMS logs and more to internal storage, with convenient batch actions automating many common tasks. The premium version adds a host of powerful features, such as cloud backups and cloud restoring. You can also automate your backup schedules, selectively back up items and then move your backup data to an SD Card. All this barely scratches the surface of Titanium's abilities, which also include the ability to remove bloatware, app hibernation and more.
My Backup is a reliable app backup and management tool for Android devices. My Backup provides app backup functions, with automated scheduling, cloud backups and more. While My Backup works well on non-rooted phones, the true potential of the app is unlocked when you run it on a rooted phone, allowing it to back up not just apps, but also app data and settings such as saved games, market links and more. A free 30-day trial version lets you demo the app.