If you live in the West and use an Android phone then you’re more than likely entrenched in Google’s services. You live your mobile life in Gmail, sort your pictures in Google Photos, write your to-do lists in Keep and balance your books in Sheets.
If you’re fully in on Google (and you may well be without realizing) then you can save documents and access them across other devices with Drive, record your steps and workouts in Fit, and have Gboard remember that no, you never mean to type ‘ducking’.
Thanks to the modern smarts of Android your phone ensures that a lot of your Google account data is backed up automatically.
While many of us keep a lot of our personal data in the cloud on various services like Dropbox, Gmail, and Google Photos, or consume our media through streaming services like Spotify, Netflix, and YouTube, there's bound to be some personal data stored locally on your phone you might want to keep before conducting a factory reset on it. Whether you're preparing to sell your phone, giving it a wipe to speed it back up again, or are fixing a broken device, here are a few steps you can take to ensure you preserve the most amount of data possible.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Most of us use our smartphones as our only cameras these days, but sometimes there's no replacement for a big tube full of optics and a viewfinder. And while modern mirrorless and DSLR cameras now frequently feature GPS, that wasn't the case until relatively recently, meaning that you may be taking photos without location metadata to preserve often crucial context. Thankfully, with a little help from Google Photos, you can effectively hack a GPS into your old camera just by making sure you've got a couple things set up right.
Android’s built-in backup system has improved immensely over the years, but it still falls short in a number of key areas, leading to much frustration for users. Its shortcomings are even more apparent when compared with Apple’s iCloud backup for iPhones, which — while not perfect — is better at copying over app data so users don’t have to spend hours setting up a new phone.
After years of using mostly stock-Android phones, I bought a Galaxy S10e for myself a few months ago, and I've used it almost every day since that point. While the software experience isn't perfect, Samsung does usually provide options to disable functionality I don't care for. However, there's one software quirk that can't easily be fixed: screenshots are constantly backed up to my Google Photos library.
Much of the world has moved on from SMS, but it's still one of the most popular methods of sending messages in the US. It's an unfortunate requirement here for many, and it probably will be until RCS gets off the ground. And if you're the data-hoarding type, then you might want to keep those SMS messages around for later reference — either in cold storage or an easily accessed format. But even bringing them with you from device to device isn't actually that hard, and we're glad to walk you through the different ways to do it.
I love flagship phones, but I'm always a little concerned when I take one with me, say, kayaking, or to a concert. Summertime is full of such potentially phone-ruining events, so if you're worried about the safety of your thousand-dollar pocket computer, consider grabbing one of these cheapo alternatives as a backup.
There was a point a year or more ago where Google Photos had a neat indicator on top of each media item that showed whether or not it was backed up. Thanks to it, you could always tell at a glance which photo or video had been uploaded and which ones were still pending. That indicator disappeared completely, but the Photos team has finally realized the extent of its mistake by removing it, so it's bringing the functionality back.
The recent addition of Linux app support to Chromebooks has made the laptops much more useful, especially in the eyes of developers. However, if you needed to wipe or upgrade your Chromebook, there wasn't an easy way to keep your Linux data. Previous code commits hinted at the ability to back up and restore the Linux container, and now that functionality has arrived in the Dev Channel.
An update to Google Photos began rolling out late last night. There appears to be nothing noteworthy on the surface, but a teardown has turned up a couple interesting details that point to upcoming changes. We will be getting some new informative boxes that can explain why backups aren't running, plus we may finally get back the much loved option to only perform backups while charging.