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How To Back Up your Smartphones and Tablets – WHS 90 – The Wired Homeschool

You backup your computer, right? What about your smartphone? Backing up your smartphone is something a lot of people don’t think about doing. If you’re a busy homeschooling mom or dad you’ve probably got your contacts, homeschooling events, and more stored on your smartphone. Losing all of that data would set you back for days because you’d have to recreate it all.


It’s pretty easy to backup your smartphone and with these simple steps you can make sure you never lose your data even if your phone is lost or destroyed. The methods vary from device to device so here’s a rundown of the 3 major phone providers and how to back up your stuff so you don’t miss a beat when you replace your old one of if your current phone gets lost or stolen. 

Apple Devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod)

iCloud-backupFor Apple smartphones running iOS 6 backing up is very easy if you use iCloud. The thing to remember is that once you exceed 5GB of data you’ll start incurring a fee for this service. You can tailor what apps and data are backed up to iCloud if you want to save some money but for true piece of mind you’ll want to backup everything to “the cloud”. You can even manage multiple devices if you use the same iTunes account on each one. To start using iCloud on your device go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup then flip that thing on! Once you’ve turned on backup you can go back to the previous screen and manage what gets backed up. When you’re not using your iPhone iCloud will automagically backup your data. Cool! Keep in mind that this will disable automatic backups to iTunes when you plug your device into your computer.

The next way to backup your iPhone is to use iTunes. You can do this over wi-fi or a cable connected directly to your computer. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed so that you don’t encounter any problems.

To backup using a USB cable plug your iPhone into your computer’s USB port and then open iTunes. Now right-click your device and choose Backup. Easy. Sometimes your device syncs automatically when you plug it into your computer but that isn’t the same as a backup. You can disable that option if you choose or just leave it checked under the device summary.

You can also sync your device using wi-fi but you need to disable iCloud to use this feature. To setup wi-fi syncing, open iTunes and plug in your device to a USB port. Now click the device icon in the upper right-hand corner then click Summary.


Check the box that says, “Sync with this [device] over Wi-Fi”. Now when you’re at home, your device is locked, and iTunes is open on your computer it will sync over wi-fi.

Android Devices

Google is your friend when it comes to backing up your device’s data. If you’re using Google services you can backup much of your data to “the cloud” very simply.

To start backing up your Android device go to Settings > Backup & Reset then tap “Backup My Data” and “Automatic Restore.” Choose the account you want to backup your data to and you’re good to go.

SMS Backup+

A manual backup can be done by simply plugging in your device to your Windows computer and opening the device in ‘My Computer’ and dragging the contents of the drive somewhere on your computer’s hard drive. Mac users will need Android File Transfer to accomplish this.

Google backs up a lot of your data but it doesn’t backup everything so you’ll need a few apps if you want a complete backup of your device. My Backup Pro will copy your phone’s data to “the cloud” or an SD card in your device. It backs up just about everything so if you lose your device or want to transfer data to a new device you’re all set. If the Google backup is enough and you want to just backup your SMS messages give SMS Backup+ a try.

Windows Phone 8

Microsoft has provided numerous ways to backup your Redmond-powered smartphone just like the other 2 major players. The fastest way to backup data from your Windows 8 Phone is to simply connect the device to your Windows PC with a USB cable and copy the data from the mounted hard drive.

If you prefer using software to take care of this task then the Windows Phone sync tool for Windows 7 and 8 can take care of things for you but it can be a bit slower. Cloud backup for your photos, music, and videos is also available via the phone’s built-in (soon to be renamed) SkyDrive storage. Open Settings > Applications > Photos + camera on your phone, scroll to “Auto upload”,  and tap “SkyDrive”. Here you can choose what to backup and under what conditions (wi-fi only, 3G or 4G, etc.).

All of these backup tools for Windows 8 Phone only back photos, videos, and music so to backup your apps, settings and messages you’ll need to look elsewhere on your device. Go to Settings > Backup then flip the switch to “On” for App list + settings. There are also settings there for text messages and chat sessions. You can choose to backup those too, if you like. All of this data goes to the SkyDrive account associated with your Windows 8 Phone.

Sources: How to Back Up Your Smartphone (Mashable), How To Backup Media, Apps & Settings On Windows Phone 8 (MakeUseOf)

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Music for the podcast by Kevin Macleod.


By John Wilkerson

John Wilkerson combines over 20 years of professional experience in the computer industry with 17 years of homeschooling 7 children to give parents easy to understand advice on the application of technology in their homes.