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Back up your Android phone with these two apps

Jack Wallen walks you through the process of backing up your Android phone with two free apps: Handy Backup for Android and On The Fly Backup for Android.

If you're a power Android user, you'll want to have a backup handy. For instance, you might need a backup when you migrate to a newer, more powerful piece of hardware, and/or when something happens to your phone to render it unusable.

Even though the Android OS works seamlessly with Google, you cannot back up your applications, SMS messages, call logs, or non-Google contacts. With Handy Backup for Android and On The Fly Backup for Android, you can back up your applications, contacts, SMS messages, and call logs to your SD card or online (online backup requires an online account). I'll walk you through the process of backing up your Android phone with these easy to use free apps.

Handy Backup

Handy Backup enables you to back up SMS messages, call logs, and contacts. This reliable app is also fast; in no time, you'll have backup files on your phone's SD card (or online), which can be restored when needed using the same application.

You can find Handy Backup by doing a search for backup in the Android Market. Once you install Handy Backup, you can start it up by opening the Applications window and clicking the Handy Backup icon. On the main window, you will see the following buttons:

  • New Task: Tap this button to create a new task.
  • Manage Tasks: Tap this button to edit your tasks.
  • Backup Task: Once you have created a task, you tap this button to run said task.
  • Online Backup Setup: Tap this button to set up your online backup account.
  • Help: Tap this button to get help with the application.
  • Exit: Tap this button to exit Handy Backup.

If you are going to use the online backup option, follow these steps:

1. Tap the Online Backup Setup button.

2. Fill in the information. (You should already have your account information, which you get after you sign up for your account).

3. Test the connection.

After you complete these steps, your online connection should be ready.

Follow these steps to create a new backup job:

1. Tap the New Task button.

2. Select Backup from the new window.

3. Give the task a name.

4. Tap the What To Back Up button.

5. Select My Phone or SD Card (you can back up either or both).

6. After you make your selections, tap the phone's Back button to go back to the New Task main window.

7. Tap the Where To Back Up button and select either Online Backup or SD Card.

8. After you make your selection, tap the phone's Back button to go back to the New Task main window.

9. If you want to enable a scheduled backup, select the Enable Schedule check box.

10. If you are scheduling a task, tap the When To Backup button.

11. Set your day/time and then check if you want the task to repeat.

12. Tap the Save Task button.

Now that you have created the task, you can tap the Backup Task button to run the backup.

On The Fly Backup

If you want to back up those installed applications, you will need to use a tool like On The Fly Backup. After you install On The Fly Backup (it's available in the Android Market), you will see it in the Application window on your phone.

When you fire up On The Fly Backup, you will see a screen filled with icons and several buttons at the bottom of the screen. The buttons at the bottom of the screen control what applications you see. If you tap the All Installed Apps button, you'll see every application installed on your phone. If you click the Apps Saved On SD Card button, you'll only see the apps installed on your external memory. Tap the All Installed Apps button and then click the application you want to back up; a new window will appear, offering you the following choices:

  • Launch: Launch the application.
  • Backup To SD: Back up the application to your external memory.
  • Uninstall: Remove the application.
  • Search On Market: Search for the application in the Android Market.
  • App information: Get information about the application.

To back up the application, tap the Backup To SD option, and On The Fly Backup will back up that application to your SD card. Once that application is on your SD card, you can re-install it to your phone (in case something happen to your phone for whatever reason) by following these steps:

1. Tap the Apps Saved On SD Card button.

2. Tap the icon for the application you want to re-install.

3. Tap the Install option from the list.

4. If needed, unblock applications not obtained from the Android Market by tapping the Settings button.

5. Click OK.

6. The installation will proceed, and you can click Done when finished.

Summary

With the help of these two free tools, you can ensure your Android phone has applications and other data backed up in case of an emergency or when you purchase a new phone.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

10 comments
zehra 1
zehra 1

Thanks for such an informative post. You mentioned two apps for the backup, I would like to add third. It is available on Google play named as Backup Caretaker. It creates the backup for SMS, MMS, System settings, alarms, Custom dictionary, call logs and contacts. The free version gives the backup facility on SD card where as by purchasing the Pro version we can save all the data online.

SGrdn
SGrdn

I looked at MyBackup but based on the FAQs it would seem that data is not encrypted on the site and your password is recoverable from the site which would mean that it is available to the site. I hesitate to store my personal information anywhere that a company can read it, even if they promise not to. And yesterday i read a blog post which it seemed like a teaser but it's clearly obvious it is a backup app for android since it's publish on a backup services provider website. I'm really excited to try it but there is nothing about the release date or any of the features. here is the blog http://blog.genie9.com/index.php/2012/07/03/android-user-this-is-the-app-youve-been-waiting-for/#

dowss
dowss

For Android SMS Backup, I recommend VeryAndroid SMS Backup. It helps me to transfer SMS from Android to computer with ease.

terry.floyd
terry.floyd

I'm pondering the wisdom of rooting my new Android phone and have found plenty of resources with instructions for how to accomplish this task. Most advise the user to first do a full backup of the phone so you can restore the system in the event something goes wrong. The backup utilities described here will only do partial backups (e.g., Handy Backup only preserves "SMS messages, call logs, and contacts" while On the Fly only backs up installed applications, and Lookout only backs up Gmail contacts). I already use the Ubuntu One app to back up my Contacts to my Ubuntu One account, so that is already covered. If I plan to root my Android, what backup utility would I use to create a full snapshot image of my system (kernel, apps, contacts, etc.)?

DavidShepherd
DavidShepherd

Thank you for sharing the details, info and steps.

ccurdt
ccurdt

HAve you reviewed Lookout? It has abackup feature also.

acmp
acmp

Handy Backup sounds good, but I can't find it in the market. Is there an alternative source, everywhere I try just links back to the market.

General Chat
General Chat

I use the also free Astro File Manager which allows you to back up applications to SD card and also allows you to individually select files to copy elsewhere.

Glastron
Glastron

A word of caution. Lookout only backs up Gmail contacts not any others.

paul.ob.tech
paul.ob.tech

The QR code doesn't work and the only download I could find(short search) was for an .msi