Generally speaking, the Android ecosystem is fantastic at backing up. The primary source of backup is typically your Google Drive account. Even with that constant state of backup, you'll find certain elements of your smartphone or tablet missing. That's where you need to take advantage of a third-party backup tool.
One such tool is Sprite Export. With this tool, you can export various elements of your Android device onto internal or local storage, and then move them off to a secured location. Elements you can easily export are:
- Call history
- Application list
When you export one of the above, it will be in a .zip file that contains a folder hierarchy. Within the root folder, you'll find subfolders that contain files for each item you exported (such as Applications, Bookmarks, CallLogs, SmsMessages). Within those folders will be two more subfolders, one called csv and and the other called xml. Within the csv folder, you'll see a .csv file for the export — within the xml folder, you'll see an .xml file. Those files can then be imported on a later date.
Let's install and use this handy tool.
The installation of Sprite Export is quite simple. Just follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Sprite Export
- Locate and tap the entry by Sprite Mobile
- Tap Install
- Read through the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
You should now find a launcher for Sprite Export on your home screen and/or in your app drawer. Tap that launcher, and you're ready to go.
Using Sprite Export is incredibly easy. There are no configuration options... it's just a few simple taps to complete the export process. I'll demonstrate how to export a few items to local storage and then how to easily get them off of your device.
- Launch Sprite Export
- From the main window (Figure A), tap Start
- Tap to select which items you want to export (Figure B)
- Tap Export My Data
That's it! All you have to do now is wait for the export to complete. Depending on what you're exporting, the process can take some time. Pictures, Music, Video, and Contacts can take a very long time to export (depending on how large your files are and how many contacts you have).
When the export is complete, you should see a report of the success. The report will include how many items in each category were exported and the location of the .zip file.
To get that exported file off your device, you'll have to make use of a file manager. If your device doesn't include one, I recommend ASTRO File Manager. The file should be found in a folder named sprite-export. Navigate to that folder to find a file named export-XXX.zip (where XXX is the date of the export). How you share the file will depend on the file manager that you use. To share the file in ASTRO File Manager, do the following:
- Long-press the file to select
- Tap the menu button (three vertical dots in upper right corner)
- Tap Share (Figure C)
- Select how you want to share the file (such as Gmail, Drive, or any other app/service you have installed)
- Share the file
Sharing the file using ASTRO File Manager.
Now that you've shared the file out, save it in a safe location to be used in case you lose your data. We'll deal with importing that data at a later time (as each data type requires different instructions on importing).
If you're looking for a simple way to export various types of data from your phone, Sprite Export is one of the easiest routes to getting only what you want exported. It's a free app that does exactly what it says and not much more.
Do you have a backup plan in case of disaster? If so, what tool(s) do you use in the Android ecosystem? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
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 jackwallen.com.