The basics of backing up your smartphone

Imagine this: All your photos, videos, phone numbers and notes—vanished. Scary, right? Not if you've hit 'backup'. Here’s how to make sure your phone is sorted to save your precious memories.

By Alex Brooks

We keep a lot of important stuff on our phones like photos, texts and phone numbers. 

It’s a good idea to backup your phone regularly, in case your phone is lost, damaged or stolen – or in case you buy a new phone and need to transfer your old data.

But it’s not as straightforward as it looks (I know. I’ve been yelled at by other family members who refused to help me out when I lost everything on my device). 

I still have the scars and now I can tell you it’s A LOT easier to set up a back up than it is to lose everything,

There are several different ways to back up the files, contacts, photos, messages and videos and they all depend on the type of phone you have. 

Nowadays though, a couple of taps on your smartphone and you’re usually sorted.

Different phones need different back ups - but choosing automatic back ups is the simplest

Set it up right from the start

When you first set up your phone, you would have created or logged into a free account from Apple, Google or Samsung (depending on what type of phone you have).

You need these account details to use your phone’s software and services. 

These account details would be:

Backing up to the cloud

No matter what type of phone you have, you’ll need a digital storage bunker for your files and photos. 

Whether it’s Apple's iCloud, Google's cloud, or Samsung’s storage, they all offer a chunk of free space. 

Unfortunately, what comes free with your phone fills up way too fast!

You can buy more - usually for a monthly fee - think of it as upgrading your suitcase because you shopped too much.

These cloud-based encrypted digital lockers for your phone’s backup app are definitely the easiest place to store your files (especially if you aren’t super tech savvy).

On an iPhone, tap your name at the top of the Settings screen and then tap iCloud. Read more on how to back up to iCloud.

On many Android phones, tap System and then Backup. 

You can set an Android to back up automatically (which usually happens when it’s connected to a Wi-Fi network and plugged into its charger), or opt for a manual backup that starts when you tap the button. Read more on Google.

On a Galaxy you can use your Samsung account, Google account or the Smart Switch app. You can even set your smartphone to create backups automatically, ensuring that your data is always secure.

This encrypted online backup is just one approach. You can keep your files on a local drive (but it’s more complicated).

Not keen on a monthly fee for cloud storage? Go old school

Hook your phone to your computer using a USB, Wi-Fi, whatever works.

It's like stuffing your digital life into a drawer. But remember, sync isn't backup. Sync changes everywhere; backup freezes a moment in time. 

A backup is a copy of a file that you store so you can retrieve it if you need it, while sync involves having a file in 2 or more locations where changes made in one copy are reflected across all others. 

This means paying to sync your files is the easiest, lowest headache way to store everything.

If losing your camera roll is your biggest nightmare, Google Photos, iCloud Photos and other services like Dropbox can be set to automatically back up all your pictures and keep them in sync across your connected devices.

Keeping digital life safe and secure

Decide what and how much to back up. It’s easier to back up everything, but this will cost you more if you need to purchase more space. If you want to reduce costs, prioritise the moments you couldn’t imagine living without.

Embrace the cloud: Let technology do the heavy lifting and use automatic backups with cloud services. Trust that your memories are in good hands and ensure your backups are always up to date.

If you don’t use the cloud, back up regularly. Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


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