You should always back up 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. Unfortunately, with native tools becoming more popular, the app scene for this is getting a little weaker. Generally speaking, unless you’re a root user, your best options are usually cloud storage and Google’s native backup, but we talk about that more in depth below!
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.
Google Photos kind of counts as cloud storage. However, we think it’s a special case. This app backs up your photos and videos for free. The only thing Google asks is that you allow them to decrease the quality a little bit. This is an amazing budget option for smartphone shutterbugs. All photos are accessible via the website or the app. That makes them viewable basically everywhere with an Internet connection. There is an option to backup photos and videos at original quality. However, that uses Google Drive space and you have to pay for that.
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.
Simpler Contacts Backup and Restore is basically what the name says. It backs up your contacts. The app works offline, includes support for VFC, and quick export to basically whatever you want. That includes cloud storage, your email, or your PC. The app also has support for 15 languages, Material Design, and more. There isn’t much else to say. This app does one thing and it does it correctly.
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.
TWRP Manager is a really simple app for root users. It lets you manage and create Nandroid backups. It uses OpenRecoveryScript to make your phone reboot, perform a full Nandroid backup, and then reboot. This is great for basically any root user. Of course, this is a different kind of backup than most. Still, you never know when something might go wrong. Root users should always carry a Nandroid, just in case!
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.
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.
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!
If we missed any great methods or backup apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments!