September 8, 2021

How To Backup Your Data

Written by kevin-c

Tips & Tricks

This is truly a first-world problem, but man backing up your phone used to be such a hassle. First of all you had to remember to actually do it before disaster struck, because turns out, time machines haven't been invented yet. The chances of me having done that were approximately zero.

Luckily it's so, so, much easier these days. So whether you have a Droid or an Apple device, here's how to make backups a snap.

For Android

Here's the good news. If you use the Google Photos app, then you pics are already backed up. Ditto for Google Drive. If you save your documents to your Google Drive, then everything you save in there is already backed up.

But what about your apps and such? Dig into your Android phone under Settings > System > Backup. The Backup page looks like this:

the backup page in android

You can tap on manage storage to see a dashboard of your backup settings, or just smash that backup now button. Google One is Google's cloud storage subscription service, which you can use totally for free, although they'll happily take your money if you need more storage. For the average user the free version works just fine. Note to that all of your legitimately acquired apps are automatically saved in your Google Play Store account if you ever need to download or install 'em again.

Or, if you're feeling old school, you can always backup everything to your desktop or laptop. Plugging your droid phone into your PC will treat your phone like an external drive, and you can open it up in Windows Explorer and copy whatever you need onto your computer. When you plug it in via USB, a notification will pop up. Select transfer files and you're all set, like so:

transfer files usb

For Apple iOS

If you're all things Apple all the time, then backups for you will be easy as pie. On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backup, which will get you to this page:

iphone settings

Switch on iCloud backup, and  iCloud will automatically backup your iPhone daily when your iPhone is connected to power, locked, and on Wi-Fi. No cords needed. And if you click Backup Now, your phone will back up everything to iCloud, well, right now.

But what if you want a local copy of your phone's data on your Mac? Slightly more complicated:

  1. First, grab your charging cable  and plug your iPhone into your Mac.

  2. In the Finder sidebar on your Mac, select your iPhone.

  3. At the top of the Finder window, click General.

  4. Select Backup all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.

  5. To encrypt your backup data and protect it with a password, select “Encrypt local backup.”

  6. Click Backup Now.


But what if you have a PC instead of a Mac desktop or laptop? Well that's slightly more annoying, in that you have to install iTunes onto your PC to do it. I know, it's ridiculous.

  1. On your Windows PC, open iTunes. If you don't have it on your PC, download iTunes.

  2. Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable.

  3. If asked for your device passcode or to Trust This Computer, follow the onscreen steps.

  4. At the top of the Finder window, click General.

  5. Select Backup all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.

  6. To encrypt your backup data and protect it with a password, select “Encrypt local backup.”

  7. Click Backup Now, just like above.

And that's it! You can now relax in the knowledge that your phone's precious data is safe and sound. One less thing to worry about!