Imagine the following familiar scene. You go to the store to buy a new cell phone. You might be shopping for the latest model or looking to replace a device that no longer works properly. Just as you’re getting excited about using your new phone, the sales representative asks the dreaded question: “Have you backed up your personal data?”
If you're like many customers, this is when panic sets in. Will I lose all my data from my old phone? My contacts and my photos? Do I have to start everything from zero because no back up was made and, for whatever reason, my old phone doesn't turn on anymore?
This is the first in a new series of articles that will explore various ways you can transfer data from one phone to another or save it in a secure location—and enjoy peace of mind, no matter what happens to your device.
Whether you’re looking for a preventive measure or you’re attempting to salvage the contents of your phone, we hope these tips will prove useful.
- What is a data backup?
Backing up a cell phone means transferring data (photos, contacts, call history, settings, etc.) from your device to a different location for storage.
Different backup methods allow you to save different types of data. The purpose is to have an extra layer of security that allows you to recover the content on your phone and transfer it to a new device. It's important to choose the best method for your specific needs.
- Backing up data directly on a computer
The most common and best-known backup technique is using a USB cable to save your phone’s data to a computer.
Here’s how you do it:
- Connect your phone to your computer using the USB cable that came with your mobile device. This will give you access to your phone’s storage and allow you to transfer photos, videos and even songs directly from your cell phone onto your computer. The procedure is very similar to using a USB key.
- Once the USB cable is connected, your computer should recognize your phone as a new hardware device. Now you should be able to access the files on your cell phone.
- To complete the backup, simply save copies of your photos and videos onto your computer.
Pro tip: This technique allows you to transfer photos, videos and music only. You won’t be able to transfer other information, such as your contact list.
- Backing up data using transfer/backup software
If you want more options for phone-to-computer backup, your best choice is a software solution. If your newly purchased phone is the same brand as your previous device, the software allows you to transfer more content such as contacts, photos, apps and sometimes even more. It’s important to note, however, that transferable content varies from software to software.
Most cell phone manufacturers have a program that you can install on your computer. However, not all cell phone brands offer a transfer program. The steps to follow can vary from one company to another, but the basic principle is the same.
- Download and install the transfer software.
- Once the software is installed, connect your phone to your computer.
- Follow the instructions to back up your data or transfer content to a new phone.
Essentially, using software is a better solution if you want to save more than just photos and videos. It also guarantees a faster transition when you switch phones of the same brand.
Manufacturers that offer such software include Samsung, LG, Apple, Huawei, Sony and HTC.
Pro tip: Consider backing up your phone data every time you add new content that’s important to you. After all, data saved on your computer six months ago will not contain any new contacts or photos added since then. Make it a habit to back up your data regularly!
Now we’ve seen some of the different ways you can transfer data from your phone to your computer. But what if you don't own a computer, or if your new cell phone isn't the same brand as your old device? Not to worry! We'll provide the answers in a future article.
We’d like to know what you think! Send us your comments and suggestions.