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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.


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.


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

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