You should always backup your files. It’s one of the most important things a person needs to do with their electronics. You never know when things will go wrong and you don’t want to lose any of your stuff when such events occur. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to backup your files and apps on Android. For this list, we’ll take a look at the best Android backup apps.
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App Backup Restore is one of the simpler backup apps. It has a list of features, including the ability to backup and restore APKs, auto-backup, show a bunch of system stats, and more. You have the option of backing up to the cloud or to your SD card if you want to. It can also backup your contacts if you need it to. There are also some unnecessary features like a virus scanner. The only downside is that it cannot backup actual app data. It'll only store your APKs so that you can re-install them more quickly after a factory reset. Just something to keep in mind.
Backup Your Mobile is another basic solution for backup apps for those who don’t need a lot of features. It can backup a lot of things including apps, system settings, SMS, MMS, call logs, and other various bric-a-brac. The UI is fairly simple and using it to backup stuff should only take a few minutes of poking around. It looks antiquated, but it's not like you'll use this app more than a few times. Some have reported the occasional bug. Thus, your mileage may vary. Thankfully, it's free so it won't cost you anything to try it.
Cheetah Mobile’s CM Backup is one of the more popular and highly rated backup apps. It doesn’t backup applications, but it will backup contacts, messages, call logs, bookmarks, calendar info, alarms, and user dictionaries. Unlike most, CM Backup is a cloud solution so you’ll be backing up to their cloud and restoring from there. This makes it easy for cross-device restoring. It also includes a website that you can view and manage your backups. We're not always the biggest fans of Cheetah Mobile, but this app actually works pretty well. You'll also get 5GB of free storage for backups when you sign up.
As the name implies, Easy Backup and Restore aims to be simple. It backups applications and the usual assortment of other stuff. That includes MMS, calendar, and user dictionaries. You also have the option of backing up directly to your device or to cloud storage if you wish. You will need root access for some features, such as app data and batch restoring applications, but otherwise it’s a fairly simple application. It's also totally free to use. It's from the same developer that does Root Explorer, a file manager that we also really like.
Helium was one of the first truly useful “no root required” backup apps. Using this app, you can backup and restore your apps to your computer or your device depending on your preferences. If you fork out the $4.99 for the premium version, you can also sync apps between Android devices and backup to and restore from cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive) with more features coming soon. It's probably the best of the backup apps bunch for non-root users. However, you will need a bit of technical know-how to make this work effectively. There is also root support for those that need it.
List My Apps is different from most backup apps. Instead of backing things up, it creates a list of your apps for easy reference. This is great for people who don’t want to use cloud storage, don’t have a lot of internal storage for backups, and for those who don’t use a lot of apps. It creates lists in XML, plain text, BBCode, Markdown, market URLs, and you can even create your own using a template. It’s simple, it works, and it’s effective if you need a quick list of stuff you have on your device. It's about as good as it gets if you're rocking it old school.
Back in the good old days, MyBackup was the best alternative to Titanium Backup for root users. Thankfully, it's still fairly relevant. It can backup apps, photos, music, videos, and the usual assortment of stuff like call logs, SMS, and system settings. On the free version, you can backup to your device or external SD card. With the pro version, you have more options on where to backup and restore from. That includes cloud storage, other devices, and even your computer. Of course, as in the old days, root users have some extra features including freezing bloatware and system apps and more. It has its ups and downs. However, it's one of the better backup apps for root users.
Super Backup is another one of the simpler backup apps The interface is functional and easy to use. It includes buttons that backup each thing individually, including apps, contacts, SMS, calendars, and a few others. Users can define where the backups go for easy locating later and you can also schedule automatic backups along with backing up to cloud storage. There have been a few bugs reported here and there, but it’s a simple solution overall.
Titanium Backup is an essential tool for root users. It's been stable for ages, receives frequent updates, and has tons of features. Unlike many other backup apps, Titanium Backup is pretty much exclusively for root users without many features for non-rooted devices. You can freeze and uninstall bloatware, backup applications (along with app data), backup to cloud storage, and plenty more. The Pro version comes with far more features, including 1-click batch restore, syncing to cloud storage, and a whole lot more. This is the past and present king of backup apps for root users and everybody knows it.
Last on the list of apps is Ultimate Backup. It aims to be a competitor to Titanium Backup. It features the ability to freeze and unfreeze system bloatware, backup apps, sync apps to cloud storage, and more. Those who go pro will also get back actions (restore/backup), restoring apps from the cloud, and the removal of advertising. It’s a solid solution. However, it doesn't quite have the firepower that Titanium Backup does. It's a good solution for those who need something simple without a bunch of extra features. Please note, root users only for this one!
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Other ways to backup your stuff
There are other ways to backup various parts of your device. You won’t typically see the kind of depth that you’d see with one of the applications listed above, but with a little housekeeping, you can have a device that restores pretty much everything within an hour without the help of a backup applications. We’ll cover these briefly but our own Jonathan Feist covers them more in depth in his Android customization series.
Google Backup and OEM backup apps
Price: Free (usually)
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Android has the capacity to backup all of your stuff for you. You can access the options in the Settings menu of your device. It can backup a bunch of info, like the apps you have installed, some system settings, and more. OEMs such as HTC, Samsung, and LG usually have backup apps pre-installed on their devices as well. The OEM version can usually do a little more, including backing up phone contacts, passwords, bookmarks, SMS messages, and more. They're all usually free, come installed already, and usually work pretty well.
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You can access most of the files on your device. Using a file manager (or by hooking your phone up to a computer in MTP mode), you have immediate access to all of your music (in the Music folder), videos (in the Video folder), and even your photos (in the DCIM folder). It's quite easy to move all of these files to your PC for safe storage while you switch phones. You can also back then up to the cloud (share to the cloud storage app of your choice) and even backup and store your contacts using the Contacts app. It's tedious and requires a bit of technical know-how. However, you will always know where your files are.
Tons of apps have cloud syncing features all on their own. Many browsers, including Google Chrome and Firefox let you sign into an account where you can sync your Internet history, bookmarks, logins, and other browser data. Apps like Pocket Casts let you sync your podcast subscription list. Some cloud storage apps like Dropbox, Google Photos, and Microsoft OneDrive can automatically backup your photos. Many, many games have cloud saving via Facebook or Google Play Games. You can even save your contacts to your Gmail account and they will automatically sync with any phone that logs into your Google account. Passowrd manager apps like LastPass are great for backing up your login data. Before going down the rabbit hole to back up everything, check out what may already be backing itself up on your device!