Should You Backup your Smart Phone?

The short answer is yes!  Here’s why: Smartphones are increasingly replacing normal mobile phones.  A smartphone is a phone with PC-like capabilities.  Tablet computers are in many ways like smartphones with larger screens.

What’s great about having these smart devices is that they enable you to perform many tasks that previously would have required a full-sized computer.  While a lot of these applications are “cloud based” which means that most or all of the data is stored on central servers (that you don’t need to worry about backing up except if the cloud provider closes down or you discontinue your subscription to a paid service!) there is still quite a lot of important information that may only be stored on your smart device. Like with all backups this information builds little by little over time and sadly you may not recognise how important it is until it’s too late.  Some of the information that could be at risk on your phone includes:

  • Photos and videos
  • Emails
  • Address books
  • Calendar entries
  • Documents, spreadsheets, presentations
  • To-do lists
  • Notes

So how do you backup your smartphone or tablet computer?  Generally you back it up by joining it to a full sized computer periodically.

If your device is an Apple iPhone or iPad, iTunes by default will do a backup of your device whenever it’s attached to your computer.  It will also keep a number of backups.  For these people it’s important to plug in your device regularly to back it up.  Soon a new version of the iPhone/iPad operating system is likely to provide the facility to backup directly to the cloud.

Things that you should know about your backup in iTunes:

You need to do a full restore need to do a full restore to access data (some third party applications may allow you to restore files/applications individually)  It doesn’t backup your music and videos!  Again, you need to use a third party application to manually backup and restore these.

Blackberry devices have a similar computer-based backup and restore facility through “Blackberry Desktop Manager”.  Again you need to connect your blackberry to your computer to complete the backup so it’s key that you do this regularly.

For other smartphone and tablet devices such as those running Android you have to work a bit harder!  While talked about for some time there is not yet an officially endorsed way to do a full backup of an Android device.  This is likely to improve with time, but for now there are some third-party utilities that you can purchase which will backup most of the information on your Android. Just visit the Android Market and search for backup then try a few free/trial apps before you commit to purchasing one which works best for your device and needs.

Written By Steve Bakker