Birthdays, graduations, vacation trips, random day-to-day memories — so much of it lives in your phone these days. Without the habit of plugging in your DSLR to your computer to download your photos, you can easily forget to do the same with your phone. Not only that, but an updated backup file can also make switching to a new phone a breeze.
Unfortunately, that makes your memories vulnerable if you lose or damage your phone. According to a Pew Research study, nearly one-third of cell owners have experienced a lost or stolen phone. And, while the same study found that while 59% of smartphone owners backed up their phones, they mentioned it was only "every once in a while." Then there’s the 39% who said they said they never do.
So how often should you be backing up your phone?
Daily is a good habit, but at least once a week is recommended. Make sure that your computer is on a safe network (not on a coffee shop's free WIFI, for example) before doing a backup.
If you want to do it manually…
Manually backing up your photos regularly can be challenging to remember. But some people like the reassurance of manually moving everything to a safe place.
To manually back up your iPhone, plug in your phone to your Mac.
- Open Finder
- Select your device under Devices on the left
- Click on General on the right side of the window
- Click Backup Now
To manually backup your Android, plug in your phone to your computer.
- On Windows, go to My Computer and open the device’s storage
- On your Android phone, click the ‘Charging this device’ notification
- Click ‘File Transfer’ under the options
- Just drag the files you want to back up to a folder in your computer
If it's difficult for you to remember, luckily, there are several ways to automatically backup your smartphone, whether it's an iPhone or Android phone.
If you have an iPhone, the best thing you can do is use iCloud. Setting up iCloud will create a backup daily when your iPhone is connected to power, locker or on WIFI. You can confirm it's on under Settings > Apple ID at the top > iCloud > Turn on iCloud backup. You'll have automatic backups after that and the peace of mind that comes with it.
You may run out of iCloud space, so upgrading is vital. iCloud will stop backing up daily when it hits the limit, and you need more storage. iCloud offers a family cloud plan if you'd like to share it with other family members.
You can upgrade right on your iPhone. If you were to lose your iPhone, you can restore the last backup and keep going with your day.
Nearly all new Android phones come with Google's backup service, like iCloud, built into the phone. The backup service will be turned on by default, but you can always check by going to Settings > System > Backup. Turn on the 'Back up to Google Drive' and confirm 'Photos & Videos' is also backed up. All your media will be backed up to Google Photos.
None of your backups will count against your Google Drive storage, but you can always upgrade to more storage on Drive. These backups will save contacts, Google calendar, Gmail settings, apps downloaded, and other settings. It will back up every time you've connected to WIFI automatically.
If you're just looking to back up your photos and files, Dropbox is another good option for cloud-based storage. Download the Dropbox app, and you can set it to back up photos and videos as you take them automatically. It won't backup your whole phone's files and settings (you'll have to do that manually), but it's a good option if that's all you need.
In the end, no matter how you're backing up, ensure you do it over WIFI to avoid errors and using too much of your data plan.
Need some refreshers to keep your mobile phone in top shape? We got you covered: