How to back up information from a smartphone and why do it?

For some time now, the smartphone has become not just a smart phone, but a device that stores information about all aspects of our lives. Sometimes the value of its content far exceeds the cost of the gadget itself. In this case, taking care of the safety of information is not only desirable, but vital.

Why backups are needed

Backups will keep all your phone data in case it gets lost or broken. It is not always possible to extract data from a broken phone – sometimes after fixing its memory is pristine. In both cases, without a backup, you will completely lose the data stored on the phone.

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In addition, a backup may come in handy when replacing your phone with a new one. By restoring a backup copy from an old device on it, you will receive a phone customized for you that has saved all contacts from the address book, call history, installed applications and correspondence in instant messengers. In theory, not bad, but there are nuances associated with the peculiarities of creating backups in different operating systems.

How to backup on Android
With Google Backup
Many of the data stored on your phone can be backed up to the Google Cloud using Android’s built-in backup tools.

On newer phones (starting with Android 9), the backup options are in the “Google” submenu of the phone’s settings. On older phones, they can be in a separate item “Restore and reset” settings.

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In any case, all you need to do to have the latest version of up-to-date data in the cloud is to enable automatic data backup for the selected Google account in the settings. On newer phones, you can manually initiate a backup by clicking the “Start Backup” button. On the old ones, there is no such button, only automatic saving is possible during periods of inactivity of the phone.

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Everything seems to be simple. But, firstly, few people will like the fact that confidential information is sent to some third-party servers located in an unknown place. And although Google assures that the data is stored in encrypted form and neither she nor anyone else can access it, many would prefer to keep a backup copy on their computer or flash drive.

Secondly, Google does not store all the information. By default, Google autosave only saves contacts, email, Google Docs, and calendars. They are synchronized with the relevant Google services, and you will be able to access them not only from the new phone when restoring information, but also from any computer via the Internet. Just go to, sign in to your Google account and all the information will be available on the screen.


If you use the Chrome browser, Google will store its data – bookmarks, history, etc. Photos can be backed up if you’re a Google Photo user and have turned on photo backup.

Google also saves some system settings and information about installed applications. When restoring, you will be prompted to install these applications again from Google Play. Alas, application data may not be saved. Many applications and games are able to synchronize with Google services to save user information, but not all. Some of the applications may have their own autosave service, such as the popular Whatsapp messenger. But again, not all.

Thirdly, the space allocated for your backups is limited. Only 15 GB is free. If the amount of your stored data is larger, you will have to purchase additional volume for them in the Google cloud.

Using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
As you can see, Google’s standard backup tool is far from perfect. Which is quite surprising, since Android has a tool to create a full backup of the phone on the computer, but using it is not so easy.


First, you need to enable USB debugging mode. How to do this is written here .

Secondly, install or update the adb drivers on the computer. If you did everything correctly, when you connect your smartphone to the computer with a standard USB cable, it will be possible to create a backup copy.

Check that adb “sees” your gadget using the ” adb devices ” command. The program should display a line with the name of your device.

Create a backup using the command ” adb backup -apk -shared -all -f C:\ backup.ab “. Instead of C:\, you can specify any other path to an existing folder.
To restore the saved information, use the ” adb restore C:\ backup.ab ” command.
Alas, this method does not work on all smartphones. Some manufacturers “cut out” this feature from the firmware.

Using custom recovery
Recovery (recovery) is a low-level smartphone software that performs primary device diagnostics and starts the operating system. If you know what BIOS is on a computer, then this is the same, but on a smartphone. Standard recovery does not know how to backup the system. But this can be done by custom recovery, which can be flashed onto the device.


How to do this is written here .

Attention! Do not try to reflash the phone with any programs without understanding in detail what exactly you are doing and why, otherwise there is a great chance to “brick” the device. A “brick” is a gadget with damaged low-level structures that can no longer be restored via a connected cable – an expensive repair with desoldering and programming microcircuits will be required.

After installing TWRP, backup can be done from its menu using the Backup and Restore items to save and restore information, respectively.

Using third party apps
There are a number of third-party applications that allow you to back up and restore data from your device. Unfortunately, most of them require rooting the device, which in itself is not an easy task. Applications that save a backup without root rights use the ADB described above and only slightly facilitate the backup job. All steps to enable USB debugging will have to be performed in the same way.

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And in general, at the moment there are no applications that perfectly save all data on all smartphone models – even with root rights. There are quite a few such applications – My Backup, Helium, Titanium, Alpha Backup, etc., but none of them can guarantee the creation and successful restoration of a full backup on your device. And if you got root rights using this article , you don’t need a third-party application – use TWRP recovery.

How to backup on iOS
Using iCloud
iOS saves almost everything on your phone to the iCloud cloud. Only some data that can affect security will remain unsaved – Apple mail data, Apple Pay information and settings, Face ID and Touch ID settings.

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True, the provided free volume in iCloud is only 5 GB, and if this volume is exceeded, you will have to connect a paid plan.


To create a backup, you need to go to the “iCloud” settings menu item, activate iCloud backups and click the “Create a backup” button when the Internet connection is on.


When restoring a backup on a clean iPhone, you need to go through the initial setup process to the Apps & Data page and select Restore from iCloud Backup. The system will restore all applications and all data from the old phone. You only need to enter the Apple IDs you used on your old device.

If you want to restore a backup on a device you are using, you must clear it first. Select the settings menu item “Basic” – “Transfer” or “Reset [device]”. In the window that opens, click the “Erase content and settings” button. After receiving confirmation, the device will be completely cleared and after rebooting it will offer to perform the initial setup.

Using a computer
You don’t have to pay for iCloud space, you can also back up on your computer using iTunes (Windows, macOS Mojave and earlier) or Finder (macOS Catalina and later).


Connect your Apple device to your computer, answer the prompt “Trust this computer?” and enter a password if required. Launch iTunes or Finder. Select your device on the screen. In the first window “Basic” of the program, check the boxes “Back up on this computer” and “Check the box” Encrypt a local copy. Click the “Back Up Now” button.

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Backup created. You can restore it in the same window by selecting the desired backup copy and clicking the “Restore from backup” button

How often should you back up
It all depends on how important data is stored on your device, and how often it is updated. Keep in mind that any changes made since the last backup was created will be lost when the backup is restored.


The backup is not instantaneous and can take up to several hours. If the most important thing on your smartphone is photos of you and your family, it will be enough to do a manual update every couple of months. But if you are constantly working with important documents, it is recommended to make a backup copy daily.

If important data is not updated so often, you can make a backup once a week. Doing it manually is already inconvenient. Both Android and iOS, when using cloud storage, contain the most recent backup – both systems use periods of inactivity of the device (during charging, for example) to update the backup.

If the capabilities of the system are not enough for you (which may well be on Android), then you will have to set root rights and install some application like Alpha Backup – they have settings for creating backups on a schedule.