1. Rukbat's Avatar
    You drop your phone. It's in a really good case, so nothing breaks. But it fell off the curb and a bus came along. Crunch!

    Now you ask "how can I get my data back?" About the same way you get your written notes back after you burned the papers and scattered the ashes to the wind. You don't.

    So how do you make sure you don't lose your data if your phone gets damaged, stolen, wiped or something else catastrophic? (BTW, this doesn't apply only to phones. It's the same for any Android device.)

    If you can install a custom recovery, like TWRP, you can back up the data partition any time you think the last data has changed enough since the last backup that the backup is outdated. Always copy the backup to another device, like your PC or laptop and, for insurance, to a cloud account. Then, if you have to replace the phone, you can just install TWRP on the new phone and restore the data in one shot. (CWM is another custom recovery, and it works about the same way, but one can't read the other's backups, they use different formats, so stick to one.)

    If you don't want to do that (or you have a locked bootloader so you can't install a custom recovery, and there's no Safestrap for your phone [it inserts itself into the boot process and allows you to run a modified version of TWRP], or you don't want to install Safestrap), you have to back up each kind of data individually.

    Contacts:
    All your contacts should be entered as Google contacts. The default, unfortunately is Phone or Device. so the contacts don't get backed up to anywhere, so if the phone gets lost or damaged, so do your contacts. You have to change that for each contact you enter, as you enter it. Google doesn't allow that to be edited later. Fortunately, there are at least two easy ways to fix that:

    1) If you have a SIM in your phone (Edit: - you can use the phone's internal storage to do that), export (it's in the menu in the Contacts app) the contacts to the SIM card (or internal storage). Then import them (same menu), and you'll be able to choose your Google account. They're now Google contacts. You'll probably have duplicates. Delete the ones that aren't Google contacts - after checking thet the imported contacts imported all the data. If it didn't, manually add the missing data to the Google contact, then delete the Device contact.

    2) If you don't have a SIM, install the MyPhoneExplorer app. Connect the phone to your computer (where you'll have installed the PC end of the app already) and connect to the phone. MyPhoneExplorer can use USB, WiFi or Bluetooth to connect, it's your choice. Sync your contacts from the phone to the PC. Now comes the tedious part. For each contact, copy it (the usual stuff - right-click/copy), then paste it. Open the one you just pasted and you'll find that Phone or Device is a dropdown and you can change it to Google. Save it and delete the original. Do that for every contact. On the phone, delete all your contacts. Now sync MyPhoneExplorer to the phone. When you edit a contact in the phone's Contact app, you'll see that it's a Google contact.

    Now, whichever way you did it, go to Settings, to Accounts, to your Google (not GMail, they're different) account, and sync contacts if they don't show that they were just synced. (If syncing for contacts is disabled, enable it to sync. If it's enabled, it should have synced by the time you get there, or still be syncing.)

    Now if you go to Google Contacts, you'll see all your contacts on the page. Any time you set up another phone with that Google account and have Contact syncing enabled, it'll sync between the phone and that page.

    Phone Log:
    If you want to back up your call logs, there's a free app for that - Call Logs Backup & Restore.

    Calendar:
    If you have calendar sync enabled, this will sync to the Google Calendar, and resync if the phone is replaced or wiped, so there's no need to save it separately.

    EMail:
    Email is saved on the email server if you have your email account (on your email provider's site) set as an IMAP account. (A POP3 account saves emails on the device, so you have to back up each one you want to keep individually.). You don't have to sync it. If you want to save the text of an email in a text file on the phone for some reason, copy the file to the PC, in the folder you keep the files you back up from the phone.

    Texts:
    You can use SMS Backup & Restore to back up all your messages.

    Apps:
    Anything you installed from the Play Store or Amazon Appstore is remembered, so you can install it again. Even if you paid for it, the fact that you paid for it for that phone is remembered. (In the Play Store, the "Install" button will say "Installed", but that just means that you already installed that app. Press it and it will install the app again.) But installing 100 apps takes a lot of download time, so back your apps up. I use App Backup & Restore. It creates .apk files as backups. Those are the files that install the apps, so if you want to uninstall an app because you're not using it much, or you need to free up some space, then later on you want to reinstall it, you just find the .apk file, tap it and the app will install. If you're restoring all of them, install App Backup & Restore first, then you can install all the archived apps in 2 taps (well, 3, really - you don't want to install App Backup & Restore, so you tap to enable them all, tap to disable App Backup & Restore, then tap Install.) (Make sure you copy the App_Backup_Restore folder to your PC.

    Apps save data. A game may save your current status, an app to keep a record of car maintenance may keep a record of what's been done when, etc. and you'll want to save that data. Helium will do that. It needs a rooted phone to work, but if the phone isn't rooted, it'll tell you to download a file to your PC. That gets around the fact that the phone's not rooted. You can back up apps as well as data in Helium, but it backs apps up in its own format, so if you want to reinstall just one app, you have to have Helium installed too - and if the phone's not rooted, and you just installed Helium to install that one app, you'll have to connect the phone to the PC so Helium can get its permission again. Helium's folder is named carbon. Save that to your PC (and your cloud account) too.

    Note that Helium won't restore an app's data until you install (or restore) the app.

    As far as passwords, the wifi passwords are kept in a file that can't be accessed unless the device is rooted and, even if it's accessed, the password is encrypted, so it's of no use. Use a good password safe (I use Keepass2Android Password Safe on my phone, KeePass on my computers, and the data file for all of them on a cloud account, so they all use the same file, and any change made on one device shows on all devices).

    Everything else is pretty much just files in folders. Pictures are usually in a folder named DCIM (it stands for Digital Camera IMages). Copy the whole DCIM folder, so the folders under it stay in the same structure. (A folder shows up as an album in Gallery.) If you have pictures in other folders (like Pictures), copy those folders too. The same with videos, music, documents and anything else you don't want to lose.

    There are enough free cloud accounts that you should be able to find at least 1TB of free cloud storage. Make 2 cloud backups and keep one on your local computer. There's no excuse for "I didn't have it backed up".

    Everything else:
    If I left anything out, please post in this thread (if you posted as a guest, you'll have to create a free account - don't worry, no one even looks at the information you put in, except for what you make public) and, if there's a way to back up what you have and I left out, I'll try to find it and add it to this post.
    03-05-2015 02:52 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Highly valuable information. Thanks!
    03-05-2015 05:39 PM
  3. mustakim pawle's Avatar
    How to back up system image

    Sent from my XT1092 using Tapatalk
    07-01-2015 09:24 AM
  4. Lay Hak's Avatar
    After I updates my phone to lollipop awhile back. My phone has been over heating more, the system data takes up 4gb out of 8gb, and the button placements are weirdly placed.
    Patricia McKinney likes this.
    08-27-2015 09:00 PM
  5. callmecrash's Avatar
    This is VERY helpful information, Rukbat! I have to do something; my phone has become almost unusable ever since I downloaded the Lollipop updates (phone keeps freezing, apps keep freezing, keyboard has serious lag, etc.). I wish I never got rid of KitKat.
    11-25-2015 04:07 PM
  6. Zendroid1's Avatar
    Is there anyway to back up settings? It is a real pain to have to remember what to switch to what whenever I restore.
    11-30-2015 11:26 AM
  7. no_idea's Avatar
    how do i no if my photo's are backed up from my samsung s5?

    Posted via the Android Central App
    01-03-2016 06:49 PM
  8. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    how do i no if my photo's are backed up from my samsung s5?

    Posted via the Android Central App
    The easiest way is to set up Google photos, and have it back up over wifi only.
    01-08-2016 09:47 AM
  9. Rukbat's Avatar
    Is there anyway to back up settings? It is a real pain to have to remember what to switch to what whenever I restore.
    Only by backing up the whole ROM (which is the fastest way to back up everything in one shot). But you'll need TWRP or CWM recovery installed.
    01-16-2016 06:27 PM
  10. Damon Fey's Avatar
    Is a backup initiated by some utility within TWRP or CWN?
    01-30-2016 08:14 PM
  11. acsurfer's Avatar
    Q1 Is there a way to backup everything in one shot instead of using individual apps? (I mean something like Acronis for backuping the whole Windows system and files)

    Q2 Is there a way to schedule the backup? e.g. daily backup, Or is the only way to do it is by going through the steps that you have written manually daily?

    Thanks
    03-05-2016 07:33 PM
  12. Vpmsae's Avatar
    Is there any way to backup internal files?
    03-09-2016 12:54 AM
  13. acsurfer's Avatar
    How to use TWRP? I went to their website TeamWin - TWRP but I did nto see any installation instructions/manual, user guide.

    What does data partition mean? (not sure where is that in my Android)

    Thanks
    03-20-2016 03:37 AM
  14. acsurfer's Avatar
    TWRP requires root https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ft.twrpmanager

    Is there a backup method that does not require root?

    (I do not wish to root my device)
    03-20-2016 03:44 AM
  15. acsurfer's Avatar
    Does it mean that the TWRP backup is backing up the same stuff as the steps in thread #1 Contacts, Phone Log, Calendar, EMail, Texts, Apps?
    03-20-2016 09:05 AM
  16. Rukbat's Avatar
    TWRP backs up EVERYTHING - data, the state of the system, emails, messages - it's like making an image backup of a hard drive. Some things on a phone can't be backed up manually (using an app), but they CAN be backed up by backing up the entire storage system (with a recovery like TWRP). Can you install TWRP without rooting (which just adds one file that Android left out) - not on most phones. But changing the recovery to TWRP will void the warranty as quickly as rooting will.
    acsurfer likes this.
    03-22-2016 01:43 PM
  17. Rukbat's Avatar
    So much for using a browser on an app to answer questions in a thread.

    Is there any way to backup internal files?
    If by "internal files" you mean the ones you can't get to with a backup app,like SMSs, a recovery like TWRP will. (dd is even better if a) the phone is rooted and b) you take the time to learn to use it. It's like all the little tools in the world in one package - but you need a team of mules to carry the instructions.)

    How to use TWRP? I went to their website TeamWin - TWRP but I did nto see any installation instructions/manual, user guide.
    Try the devices page If there is a version for your phone, it'll be there. So will instructions on installing it.

    What does data partition mean? (not sure where is that in my Android)
    The part of internal storage designated for data (like a hard drive that's both C and D - each one is a partition).
    acsurfer likes this.
    03-22-2016 01:46 PM
  18. acsurfer's Avatar
    "Now if you go to Google Contacts, you'll see all your contacts on the page. Any time you set up another phone with that Google account and have Contact syncing enabled, it'll sync between the phone and that page."
    Q1 How do you enable contact syncing?

    "If you have calendar sync enabled, this will sync to the Google Calendar, and resync if the phone is replaced or wiped, so there's no need to save it separately."
    Q2 How do you enable calendar syncing?

    Thanks
    Samsung Galaxy S4, Android 5.0.1
    Jamaul Fortune likes this.
    03-23-2016 09:09 AM
  19. thomashermans's Avatar
    @rukbat

    Someone suggested me to ask you this here, I tried PM but that doesn't seem to exist on Androidcentral.

    I've been looking everywhere for a solution for my disappearing Playlists but no one seems to have an answer.

    In general: I've been using Google Play offline (the free version) for years to play all my 12000 songs. All of those are located on my SD card. I always make huge Playlists with the app, but every time I disconnect my SD card those Playlists are gone and I can start over...

    Somewhere people told me that with Poweramp I wouldn't be having this issue so I've been using this one for the last months until recently the exact same happened.
    I have to dismount my SD card regularly when I change my SIM card for my French number.

    My phone(s) that I've been having this issue with: Samsung s4, s5 & s7 non edge
    SD cards I've been having this issue with: SanDisk 64gb, Samsung evo 128gb.

    Is there anyone who knows a way to store all your music for free, make Playlists with it and to not lose those Playlists when uncoupling the SD card?
    An app to save Playlists would maybe work? (in what format, how to réimport them?) Or maybe a good music player that does save those Playlists somewhere not linked to the SD... Or maybe a free cloud-based music app that synchronizes my Playlists every now and then?

    I would be incredibly thankful,
    Thomas
    10-19-2016 10:26 AM
  20. sfoLAX's Avatar
    Sorry about that.

    You can try a Private Message,
    put the question anew in Ask any Question

    OR

    General Help and How To (Android Central Community)

    OR
    include the unanswered question when saying Hi in Introductions where site ambassadors greet new members.

    {I personally don't like PM's}
    10-21-2016 01:38 PM
  21. haarbeli's Avatar
    Thank you!

    I reviewed both backup methods (NAND backups, and Helium)

    I'd like to ask about each of them: does it apply if I want to recover on a completely different android device than the one I backed up? (different hardware, different OEM, possibly different android version/generation)

    Thank you
    10-29-2016 04:54 PM

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