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My thoughts about smart phone and computer backups

17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

Smart phones today are more powerful than ever before. They have more storage than ever before. The cameras take better photographs than ever before. Yet far too many people forget one simple fact – a mobile phone is about the least secure device you will ever own. They are easy to lose or damage or, regrettably, they can be stolen. Or they can just break and stop working like all devices. If and when that occurs, what happens to all of the data that we have happily been storing on these wonderful devices? Is it lost forever or can we protect ourselves from losing those precious photographs?


Making sure that your information is protected and saved somewhere is an essential element of owning a smartphone. There are many ways to achieve this but they fall into two major categories: backing up and saving your data to a computer or backing up and saving your data to a cloud based service. Frankly, in my view, you should be using both methods and more than one backup is a very good idea.


It doesn’t matter if you are using an iPhone, an Android device, a Windows phone or a Blackberry – there is a backup method for you. Let’s think about backing up to a computer first. Most phone manufacturers provide a software solution for connecting your phone to a computer. Apple for instance has a facility in iTunes for taking a backup of an iPhone and saving it to your local computer. Samsung has a software product called Kies that does something similar. Other manufacturers will have their own software suites. There will also be backup apps in the App and Play stores. A Google search will show up lots of potential software solutions and one of them is bound to suit your requirements and your pocket.


But cloud backups is really where you should be concentrating in my opinion. Once again, individual manufacturers will provide their own solutions. Apple has iCloud, Samsung and HTC have their own products and of course Google and Microsoft provide their own cloud based services in the form of Google Drive and OneDrive. If you have a Google or Microsoft Live account you will automatically get some free online storage space, and buying more is often quite inexpensive. Google for instance charges $2 a month for 100GB on Google Drive and Apples charges 79p per month for 50GB of storage or £2.49 for 200GB. Although everyone likes free stuff, paying a few pounds a year for a decent slug of cloud storage could be the best investment you’ll ever make.


Often, photos are the most valuable files on your phone and probably the most susceptible to being lost. Emails are probably on a server somewhere and your ranking in Angry Birds, while important, isn’t the end of the world. But precious photos? Their loss could be heart-breaking and thus they are the most important things to protect. If you have an iPhone your camera roll should be getting backed up to iCloud. But in my view, whether you are on iOS or Android, Google Photos cannot be beaten for storing photos. If you elect to let Google Photos choose the maximum file size for you (up to 16mp or a 1080p video to be precise) the storage is unlimited and free. If you elect to upload the actual file size as stored on your phone you will either have to stay within the storage limit offered to a free account of 5GB or buy extra storage. As I said earlier, 100GB costs $2 a month and that would give you enough room for many tens of thousands of photos. The app will automatically upload new photos to the cloud if you are connected to Wi Fi. It also has a feature called ‘Assistant’ that will produce little videos and other special effects that can be quite interesting and fun.


There are of course lots of other options for saving photos, and indeed all files, so have a look in the Play or App stores for something that meets your needs.


Android is more flexible in some ways than iOS. For instance, in the Play store there are apps for backing up just text messages or your call log. I have successfully used these and as well as putting a backup on a removable external storage card, if your phone supports that feature, they can also upload the backup to your Google Drive account. This is the belt and braces approach to backups that I like and recommend to anyone who’ll listen to me.


Taking a backup of your laptop or desktop computer is just as important as your phone, and quite likely more important. An external USB hard drive is the best way to achieve instant results and they are now at a price that makes them very affordable. But once again I would recommend a cloud backup service as a secondary method of keeping your storage secure. If you have a Mac you can sync with iCloud. Both Macs and PC’s are very happy syncing data with Google Drive or One Drive. There are also dedicated backup services that can automatically copy your entire ‘user’ folder to a cloud based service. Personally I use a service that backs up documents online virtually as they are created with unlimited storage for £48 a year. This is incredible value and for additional £12 you can add extra computers.


There is a sort of rule in computing circles that would tell you that a backup only exists if it’s saved in at least three places and I would agree with that. Whether it’s a phone or a computer think of the three places as being the original device, an external device like a USB hard drive and a cloud based service. It might cost you a few pounds but you’ll never regret it and may well be forever grateful that you spent the money.



16: Advanced member
16: Advanced member

Backup is definitely something one has to prioritise. Any new device, the first thing I do is set the Backup option.


Before smarthpone mainly contacts was the only priority. All 3 phones in the Household used to have the same contacts. You could update anyone, and rest used to be updated, with copy held on the Computer.

With Smartphone started backing up Photos, Enhnaced contacts.


With different preferences on devices, now I have invested in a 4TB NAS drive. As soon as any of the 3 household phones are put on charge and WiFi available, the phone is backed up.

Also have backups on several cloud accounts.


With Samsung, have just been given 100GB of free storage on One Drive for 2 years.