For most of us, the majority of our important data lives in the cloud. However, your phone or tablet may still contain information that was never transmitted to Google’s servers.

If you want to make sure all your data is backed up before you upgrade or reset your phone, we’re here to help. Here are different ways to backup all your smartphone or tablet data.

Check account sync status

Checking the Android sync status for your cloud accounts is a good first step. This ensures that whatever should being saved is actually being saved. Here’s how to check:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Faucet Accounts
  3. Select your default Google account and verify that all apps and services have recently synced.


The settings may look slightly different (or be in different places) depending on your device.

If some services have not been synced recently, tap the Sync Now button on the page. Depending on the version of Android installed on your phone, the Sync Now option may be in a menu. Chances are everything is already activated in this area, but sometimes things break – better safe than sorry.

Back up your photos and videos to Google Photos

If you use Google Photos, you’ll want to make sure it has backed up all of your media recently. The process is quite simple:

  1. Open the Google Photos app.
  2. Tap your profile icon in the upper right corner.
  3. If you see the message ‘Backup completed,‘ you are ready. Yes “Backup is disabled” appears, you will need to tap the message to fix the problem.

Google ended free, unlimited high-quality photo storage in 2021, so if you have a lot of media, it might be a good idea to delete unnecessary images and videos before enabling backups in Google Photos. For example, Samsung phones and tablets place all screenshots in the camera directory that Photos watches for backups, which can quickly eat up your allocated storage space. If you’d rather keep all your media online, Google One costs just a few dollars a month.

Of course, there are many other photo backup apps for Android, including OneDrive and Dropbox. If you are using one, go to app settings and check the current sync status. You can also import photos manually into these apps if you only want certain files or folders.

Back up your smartphone data to Flash storage

If you have enough storage space on a USB-C flash drive, you can simply copy your phone’s entire camera folder to the drive. Plug the drive into your phone, then use the Files app (or file manager of your choice) on your device to copy the “DCIM” folder from your phone to the drive. All other folders and file types, like your Downloads folder, can be copied just as easily.

Each phone manufacturer has a different file manager, so if you can’t figure it out, download Files by Google from the Play Store. Once you’ve opened the app, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go on Browse tongue.
  2. Select your internal storage.
  3. Find it DCIM folder in the list and hold it down until a check mark appears.
  4. Tap the menu button in the top right and select To copy.
  5. Select your flash player in the list.

Once your files are copied, you can disconnect the flash drive and save the photos however you like.

Backup your smartphone data to a Windows PC

If you have a computer with enough storage, you can also simply connect your phone or tablet via USB and copy the DCIM (and/or other desired folders) with just a few clicks. Make sure your phone is in MTP (file transfer) mode from the notification shade and not set to charge or any other USB connection mode.

Backup your smartphone data to a Mac

The official method for copying files to and from a Mac is the Android File Transfer Tool. This app is so notoriously bad and outdated that no one recommends using it. Often it just refuses to work and it’s a big headache all around. We have a dedicated article here with other software you can try.

When you create a contact or calendar event, your phone may offer you the option to save the data to the phone’s internal storage, rather than to the cloud. While this is a nice feature to have, especially for privacy-conscious people, it also means that you might have some important data saved locally if you haven’t paid close attention to it. Before erasing your phone, you should check if any of your contacts or calendar events are backed up in the cloud. It is also possible to store a limited number of contacts on your phone’s SIM card, but this is no longer common practice, so it is quite difficult to do this accidentally.

Some phones, like Google Pixel devices, don’t offer the option to save contacts and calendars locally.

The exact process for this varies by phone model, but you can start by opening the Contacts app and looking for a menu with all of your accounts. For example, the Contacts app on recent Samsung phones displays Call alongside your Samsung and Google accounts. Some devices have the ability to move phone contacts to an online account, but in some cases you’ll need to export the file (usually accessible via the Share button) and import it using Google Contacts on the web.

Copy Local Contact to Google with Samsung Galaxy Phone

Checking locally stored calendar events is essentially the same process: open your Calendar app and look for a calendar that isn’t linked to any account. It is usually called Call or My calendar. However, most mobile calendar apps don’t let you export calendars easily. The best way to do this is to install this utility from the play store, open it, select your phone’s calendar and press the Export button. This will give you an .ics calendar file, which you can import into Google Calendar, Outlook, or any other cloud service.

Delete online accounts and disable device protection

If you sell your phone or give it to someone else, you’ll need to sign out of all your Google accounts and remove all lock screen passwords; If you don’t, the new owner may not be able to set up the phone without your old email and password.

Although Google says Device Protection shouldn’t trigger password verification after factory reset on most phones, regardingmoving your Google accounts and lock screen before the reset is the only way to guarantee that it won’t.

To turn off device protection, you must first sign out of all your Google accounts. Open the Settings app on your phone, go to the Accounts section and tap “Delete Account” under each account.

Once you’ve disabled device protection, disable any lock screen passwords you may have. This can be done from the Security section of the Settings app.

Once you’ve successfully backed up all your data, you’ll probably want to take a few minutes to delete old photos and organize your Google Photos albums.


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