(Then Here’s How You Back It Up)
Seems like just yesterday phones were simple devices for making and receiving phone calls. These days, smartphones are as functional as full-fledged desktop PCs and hold valuable applications, e-mail messages, photos, videos, documents and, of course, phone numbers and contact information. If losing the data on your phone would be a true disaster, then you’ll want to back up your phone as regularly and carefully as you do your other devices.
Major smartphone platforms can back up their data to a computer or to a cloud backup via the Internet. Here are a couple of resources you can use with popular Android smartphones to ensure that all of your data is properly backed up.
iCloud is Apple's new service for backing up your iPhone and other media you purchase through iTunes. When you sign up, iCloud will automatically backup the mail, calendar and contacts on your iPhone, as well as any music, books, apps, videos or media on your iPad, Mac or even your PC. iCloud uses the power of cloud computing to sync your devices automatically, so you don’t have to dock your device to keep things in sync.
Start with the settings on your phone; go to “Settings > Privacy” on your phone and make sure the “Back up my settings” and “Automatic restore” options are checked. Next, go to “Settings > Accounts” and sync, open your Gmail account, and check off all options. With these settings in place, your contacts, system settings, apps, calendar, and e-mail will be restored whenever you set up a new Android phone with that same Gmail account. However, this is only a basic backup; it won’t save the photos and text messages on your phone.
For a more complete backup, you might try MyBackup Pro ($5 plus 50 MB online storage for free and $1 to $2 per month for more online storage). The program runs automated scheduled backups, supports a wide range of Android phones and will back up app install files that do not have copyright protections programmed into them. If your phone is rooted, you might consider Titanium Backup ($5.99 for Pro), which backs up all apps, all data associated with them and the Android Market links that show you've paid for them. It also saves most phone Pro versions and will integrate with Dropbox.