Great Backup Utilities For Android – Best Software
You try to stifle back a tear as you pick up your phone, noticing just how broken it really is. Suddenly, all of the good times you’d had together flash before your eyes. You and your partner in crime… and now it’s gone.
You have insurance through your carrier and you’ll have a new phone in two weeks, but what you didn’t have was the insurance that your memories with your smartphone remained intact. You had never backed it up, not even once.
Of course, I’m talking about myself. In second person.
All of my photos text messages were gone, never to be seen again. After that realization, the biggest blow came. My Flappy Bird score, gone. Along with my Candy Crush level progress, because I refused to sign in with Facebook.
One day, you too will know my pain. Unless you back up your phone.
Most of the applications you’ll find below are capable of doing much more than just backing up and restoring applications. To keep things simple, I’ll be discussing how easy it is to back up and restore applications first and foremost, and go on to more notable features from there.
Helium was released a little over a year ago and has become a fan favorite. Not only can you backup your apps and data to your phone or cloud storage services, but you can also sync data from one device to another.
By default, Helium backs up only app data so your file size is smaller, saving you time in the process. Of course, it’s just a swipe and tap away to save the entire application to the internal storage of your phone, if it’s not a protected application.
Outside of regular apps and app data, you can just as easily backup SMS conversations, Wi-Fi connection settings, user dictionaries, and more. For simple backups and restores directly onto the phone, it doesn’t get much easier.
Download: Helium — Pro price: $5
Titanium Backup has been around for many years, and is one of the most popular backup applications among those who like to mod and hack their phones. It requires root out of the gate, so this isn’t the app for unrooted or inexperienced Android users.
While Titanium Backup may be one of the oldest and most comprehensive applications found on the Google Play Store today, someone needs to tell the developer that applications can be both powerful and pretty. Seriously, this app makes any calculator application look like an elegant and sophisticated work of art.
No one said that a utility application needs to be beautiful, but Titanium Backup would greatly benefit from a dramatic UI refresh.
I wouldn’t recommend this application for someone that’s just looking to back up applications and app data. It almost offers up too much for the unseasoned Android user.
Download: Titanium Backup *root — Pro Price: $6
Another application that’s been around since the early days of Android, My Backup used to be my go-to application.
Easily backup applications and media or app data to your phone’s internal storage, or Rerware’s cloud servers (you’re given a limited amount of space). Upgrading to My Backup Pro will allow for application data backup and data migration between more than one device.
Outside of applications, My Backup Pro allows for SMS backups, along with system settings, alarms, access point names, and more. Really riveting stuff going on with this app.
Other applications may offer up more functionality for the same price, but this is an option that’s easier to use than others. That has its own value.
Download: My Backup — Pro Price: $5
Ultimate Backup offers up a ton of options and is possibly the best-designed app in the category.
The app offers of a ton of utility features, and even a few UI tweaks. You can set the layout of how applications are displayed, but also choose what screen transition animation you’d like to see when swiping through the panes. This is hardly helpful, but it’s a nice touch. Titanium Backup could learn a thing or two from this app.
Apps, app data, SMS, contacts, and other phone data options are all accounted for, and rooted users can even restore from Nandroid backups.
It’s ok to judge this app by its looks. It knows it looks good and it has the features to back it up.
Download: Ultimate Backup Free — Pro Price: $3
App Backup & Restore
This is by far the simplest application on this list, and it does exactly what it claims to do and little more. Consider this one the baby backup app.
Very few options are available, and that’s actually a good thing. If you want a way to simply back up your applications with no fuss and don’t care for saving app data, this is going to be the easier option for you.
There are a few modest features that you’ll have access to, like the option to auto backup applications every time you install one, but nothing out of the ordinary for a free application.
Download : App Backup and Restore
Backup Your Mobile
Backup Your Mobile is another basic solution for those who don’t need a lot of features. It can backup a lot of things including apps, system settings, SMS, MMS, call logs, and other various bric-a-brac. The UI is fairly simple and using it to backup stuff should only take a few minutes of poking around. Some have reported that transferring data to a new device and restoring is a little complicated and bugs have been reported sporadically so your mileage may vary. It is free so there’s no harm in trying it out.
Download : Backup Your Mobile
Cloud storage has long been a bastion on keeping your data safe from a failing device. Google Drive (or the newly formed Google Photos), Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, and others can be set to automatically backup your camera photos and videos which is a great way to keep that stuff safe.
You can also use it to backup documents, various files, and pretty much whatever you want. In fact, many of these other backup apps have cloud storage support so it probably can’t hurt to have one of these accounts ready. As an added bonus, you can also backup your entire music collection on Google Play Music for free which can come in handy.
Download : Cloud Storage
Cheetah Mobile’s CM Backup is a fairly popular and highly rated backup solution in the Play Store. It doesn’t backup applications, but it will backup contacts, messages, call logs, bookmarks, calendar info, alarms, and user dictionaries. Unlike most, CM Backup is a cloud solution so you’ll be backing up to their cloud and restoring from there.
This makes it easy for cross-device restoring. It also includes a website that you can view and manage your backups. It’s also directly affiliated with CM Security so if you use that, it can’t hurt to try this one too. It’s worth noting that you’ll get 5GB of space for free.
Download : CM Backup
Easy Backup and Restore
As the name implies, Easy Backup and Restore aims to be simple. It backups applications and the usual assortment of other stuff including MMS, calendar, and user dictionaries.
You also have the option of backing up directly to your device, to Dropbox, Google Drive,, and OneDrive if you use cloud storage. You will need root access for some features, such as app data and batch restoring applications, but otherwise it’s a fairly simple application and it’s totally free to use.
Download : Easy Backup and Restore
Which insurance package is right for you?
If you’re just looking to backup applications and no data, My Backup and App Backup and Restore might be what you’re looking for. If you’re rooted, the former can backup data for you, too.
The middle of the road app for content backup is Helium. It’s well-designed and powerful without being overwhelming. Helium also doesn’t require root to backup your application data, which is a big plus. After all, you can easily re-download your apps; it’s the app data you don’t want to lose. Still, this is the only app that allows for app data backup without requiring root access.
Ultimate Backup and Titanium Backup are definitely on the advanced side. Both applications can backup and restore applications easily, with Titanium offering up more functionality and Ultimate Backup bringing more style to the table. Of course, between the two, I’d probably go with Ultimate Backup. I’m a sucker for pretty things.
Other ways to backup your stuff
There are other ways to backup various parts of your device. You won’t typically see the kind of depth that you’d see with one of the applications listed above, but with a little housekeeping, you can have a device that restores pretty much everything within an hour without the help of a backup applications.
Google Backup and OEM Backup
Google has the capacity to backup your applications. This is especially obvious in newer versions of Android where it will ask you if you want to backup/restore from your Google account upon signing in for the first time. Once you select that option, the Google Play Store will automatically begin to download all of your applications.
If you’re on a tiered data plan, we strongly recommend you find WiFi before doing this because the data adds up quickly. The only caveat is Google doesn’t keep your app data so take steps to deal with that if need be.
Some OEMs, like HTC and Samsung, also have backup solutions. Samsung’s built-in backup will save your SMS, contacts, system settings, and others. HTC goes one step further and claims to backup app data and system settings, among other things. If you have access to these services, you might as well use them. They’re built in and completely free to use.
Most files on your device are accessible from a computer, including music, photos, videos, and downloaded files. If you hook your device up to a computer, you can manually drag and drop those files onto your computer for safe keeping. You can go a step further, enter your contacts app, and export your contacts to your SD card and put that file on your computer as well for importing later. About the only thing you can’t backup this way (without technical know-how) is your applications and system settings.
Save your contacts to Google
One of the best things about owning an Android phone is the potential integration with Google. You can backup music using Google Play Music and the Play Store can restore apps for you. One thing that doesn’t get talked about much is contacts.
If you go to your Gmail, enter the contacts section, and manually put your contacts into your Gmail, those contacts sync with your phone as soon as you sign into your Google account. I did this back in 2009 and I haven’t had to manually restore contacts in six years. It may take a bit depending on your phone book, but you’ll never have to worry about losing your contacts again.
If we missed any great Android backup apps or any great ways of backing up apps, tell us about them in the comments!