Upgrading to a new smartphone is an exciting time for users, as they finally get to say goodbye to an outdated handset and enjoy all the bells and whistles of the latest and greatest on the market. Yet, the task of backing up one’s data and migrating content onto a new device can be rather daunting. Fortunately, there are several services available through Google, individual wireless carriers, and third-party applications that make this process much easier.
Backup With Google
While the Android operating system does not offer a native backup service, users can choose to save their smartphone settings to their Google accounts, which can make transferring contacts, system settings, e-mails, apps and calendar events to a new handset a breeze. This backup can be enabled on an Android device by checking off “Back up my settings” and “Automatic restore” under Settings > Privacy.
Apps and contacts can then be easily synced to a specified Google Account using the Account & Sync option under settings on an Android device. Once the user registers his or her Google account with the handset, apps and contacts will download to the new smartphone automatically.
What About Pictures And Music?
Syncing with a Google account will not transfer pictures, texts, and other multimedia content over to a new device. However, Google also offers a service that can automatically upload any photo or video taken on a smartphone to a private album on Google+. Dubbed Instant Upload, the program is available on devices running Android 2.2 and higher, and can be enabled by going to Menu > Settings.
Transfer With A Computer
Backing up a device on a Google account does have some shortcomings, since it could require signing up for Google+ or using a third party service in order to save multimedia such as photos, videos, music and text messages. Users can always go the more traditional route of connecting the smartphone they want to back up to a computer via USB and then drag and drop any media they’d like to save from their smartphone, to their hard drive.
Manufacturer Software & Third Party Apps
Users can also look to software provided by the smartphone manufacturers to back up photos, text messages and music, with offerings like Samsung Kies, HTC Sync and Motorola MotoCast all providing safe ways to migrate media from one device to another.
There are also third party options such as SMS Backup+, a free app available in the Google Play store that lets users save messages and call log entries. The free app automatically sends SMS threads to Gmail and stores them under a new label entitled “SMS.”
Some users might be more inclined to use apps like MyBackup Pro or Titanium Backup to store and transfer all of their data. While the latter works best with rooted phones, MyBackup Pro is a great alternative for unrooted devices. Priced at $5 in Google Play, the application backs up everything, including contacts, SMS, photos, call log, apps, bookmarks, system settings and more to its online server. Users can also opt to save their content to an SD card.
It is also possible to upload images to third-party sites such as Photobucket Mobile or Flickr Companion. The Flickr app costs $1.99 USD in Google Play, which might make the Photobucket platform a more attractive choice, since unlike the Flickr App, Photobucket is free and automatically uploads newly added pictures to the user’s account.
If going through multiple steps to backup data isn’t appealing, most carriers offer wireless transfer services that will not limit what can be save. For instance, Verizon’s Backup Assistant Pro lets users save contacts, pictures, videos, music, emails and documents on a secure storage cloud that can be accessed anywhere. While the program isn’t compatible with the Motorola Droid, the Motorola Devour, or the Droid Eris by HTC, it is available on all other Android devices and offers storage options of 500MB, 25GB, 75GB and 125GB.
After downloading the Backup Assistant Plus app on a soon-to-be old phone, users can upload any file they wish and then download them on a new handset via the application. The service is certainly helpful for customers backing up old smartphones in preparation for an upgrade, yet it is also a useful precaution if your phone is lost or stolen.
AT&T also offers users the ability to save various forms of media with its Mobile Transfer service, though unlike Big Red’s Backup Assistant, it is only good for a one-time wireless transfer and is limited to contacts and 2GB of photos and videos. The program is compatible with more than 30 Android smartphones and can be downloaded for free in Google Play. In order to backup data, users must download the Mobile Transfer app on their old device and set up an account. Once their new phone is activated, users will have 7 days to complete the transfer.
Sprint & T-Mobile
Sprint and T-Mobile provide customers with backup options as well, though these selections are a bit more restricted. Mobile Sync from Sprint lets users store and access their phone’s address book online, but not much else. Users will not be able to backup photos, videos, messages or emails with this program, forcing them to use third-party applications or the methods mentioned above.
T-Mobile is a little better in its service, with its MobileLife Contacts and MobileLife Album programs, which save phone numbers, pictures, videos and audio files on a secure server. Users are initially given a 1GB cap for storing images and videos as multimedia messages with MobileLife Album, though they can upgrade to Album Plus for more storage.
With so many choices available for saving and migrating data, it’s hard to say what service is the best. For Google die-hards, saving everything to a Google account may be what works for them, while others might turn to their wireless carriers or third-party applications for storing their data. Either way, it’s important for anyone upgrading smartphones to do some homework so that they can choose the service that they feel most comfortable with.