Just as we mentioned in our factory reset for the Galaxy S5 article, backing up your data regularly and exhaustively is a boring but absolutely critical process. Getting good backup habits is like having good dental habits. It may not be the sexiest activity, but the alternative is far worse. Today we'll show you a couple of methods for backing up everything on your Galaxy S4.
Backups basically fall into two categories: those for rooted users, and those for non-rooted users. If you are not rooted, you still have several options available, which we'll cover below, and those S4 owners with root level access simply have an easier time of it (that's a topic for another tutorial).
We'll show you the best methods for keeping your apps and data safe so if you have your phone stolen, get a Gremlin-filled update or otherwise fall foul of good luck you're essential data will still be secure.
Don't just rely on backups
There's a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way of backing things up: regularly transferring them to your computer. Connect with a USB cable (don't forget to install the Android USB drivers first) and copy your pictures, music and documents to your hard drive.
You can also use cloud storage to automatically save various files on your computer, like Google's great Photos app that automatically uploads your camera shots. You can also link certain folders (like screenshots for me) to a cloud service like Drive or Box.
Of course, your emails are internet-hosted and WhatsApp messages are safe because they are backed up to your SD card every day at 4 am anyway (you just need to save the database file before doing a reset).
You don't need root for backups
If you're not rooted you've still got options. In the settings menu of your smartphone or tablet you'll find the backup and reset settings, where you can add an account to which your apps, data and passwords can be backed up. This is usually your Google account.
This is also where you set your restore options and activate a factory reset. It is also a good idea to sign in to your favorite apps with an account that can be used to store your data if you lose your phone or have to reinstall the app at some point. Many apps also offer cloud backup options and you've got plenty of cloud backup services that you can use to regularly schedule backups too.
How to make a Galaxy S4 backup
If you don't want everything stored in the cloud or on your Google account then you can simply use your computer to make a backup of your apps and data. The best in class in this area is Clockworkmod's Carbon Backup, now known as Helium.
Simply install Helium on your Android and then on your computer, click the following link to download Helium for desktop and follow the prompts. You'll be able to backup all sorts of stuff, including your apps and data, predictive typing predictions, text messages and call logs. Here's how it's done.
1. Just be aware that you need to have USB Debugging enabled in Developer Options in your phone first (see screenshots above). Just tap build number (in Settings > About Phone) seven times until it pops up. Connect your Galaxy S4 to your computer with a USB cable and establish the connection.
2. Once you've established the connection just start selecting the apps and data you'd like to backup. You can ''select all'' or individual apps and you also have the option to only backup your app data, but not the app itself. This makes your backup file much smaller, and you will simply need to reinstall the app from the Play Store before restoring your data.
3. Don't forget to enable PC Download in the action overflow menu to activate a unique IP address on the Helium server from which you can access your backup from your computer. Just type in the unique URL to download your backup for safe keeping. Otherwise, hit Backup and you're done. Now you just need to remember to do backups regularly!
Have you ever lost all of your smartphone data? How often do you do a backup?