How to Backup Android Device Completely | Root & No-root

by | 27 Jun 2020

If you are about to switch to a new phone or root your device or install a custom ROM, then it is advisable to take a backup of your device before proceeding. In this guide, we will tell you how to take a full backup of your Android device, be it rooted or non-rooted.

How to Backup Android Phone Completely

1. Contacts

The first and foremost thing that you should consider backing up is your contacts. The primary purpose of a mobile device is communicating with people and phone numbers and other contact details come first in the list of objects that should be backed up.

Our recommended method to take a safe backup of your contact data is to sync your contacts with your Google account. Once you sync your contact data to Google, you can simply access it on any phone by simply adding your account. You can also access your contacts on the web by going to Google Contacts.

If you are already not syncing your contacts data with Google, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Google. Provide your credentials and log in.
  2. Once you have added the account, simply visit the above location again and make sure that contacts sync is enabled.

Once you have done the above steps, your contact data will start syncing to your Google account.

Note: When you adding any new contact, make sure that your Google account is selected as the default location to save the contact.

2. SMS/Text Messages

Google does not offer a way to sync or backup the text messages out of the box. So, we are going to have to make do with a third party application from the Google Play Store. There is an app called ‘SMS Backup & Restore’ which I am using since the Android Gingerbread days. You can download the app by clicking below:

SMS Backup & Restore

Once you have downloaded the above app, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the ‘SMS Backup & Restore‘ app.
  2. Click on ‘Setup up a backup‘.
  3. Click on the ‘Messages‘ option on the next screen. You can also choose the ‘Phone calls‘ option if you would like to back up the call records.
  4. In the next screen, you will be asked where to save the backup. You can add your online accounts such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive. Or else, you can also back up to your phone by choosing the ‘Your phone‘ option.
  5. Tap on ‘Next’.
  6. Done!

Your backups will now be stored on the location you had chosen to save them.

3. WhatsApp Messages

By default, WhatsApp keeps a local backup but that is not going to help us if we are switching phones or installing custom ROMs. That is the reason why our recommended method to backup WhatsApp data is Google Drive backup. If you have not enabled the Google Drive Backup, follow the below steps:

  1. Open WhatsApp.
  2. Go to Settings > Chats > Chat backup.
  3. In this screen, choose your Google account to which you want your WhatsApp messages to be backed up to and then also choose the frequency of the backups as well.
  4. If you want to include videos also in your backup then you have to enable the ‘Include videos‘ button.
  5. Once you have added your account details, tap on the green ‘BACK UP’ button to immediately backup your WhatsApp data to Google Drive.
  6. Done.

Your WhatsApp messages and other data will be automatically backed to Google Drive. You can easily restore WhatsApp messages from Google Drive any time you want.

4. Photos and Videos

I am going to recommend two ways to backup your media such as photos and videos.

Offline Backup:

The first way is to have a backup of your media in a hard drive or SSD. Now, if you are someone who does not have a fast internet connection or enough bandwidth, then backing up a huge volume of data is not feasible. Even if you do backup the media online, it is always recommended to have an offline backup.

Online Backup:

The only way I am going to recommend to do an online backup of your media is to backup via Google Photos. You can simply download and install the Google Photos application from Google Play Store and enable the backups and it will take care of the rest.

How-to-Backup-Android-Photos-1Google offers unlimited storage for your photos in ‘Standard Quality’, which means Google uses AI to compress the image to a smaller size but without much loss of quality. But if you want to upload your images in original quality, you may want to purchase additional storage from Google Drive.

Google Fotos
Price: Free

5. Apps and App Data

There are tons of apps in the Google Play Store that helps you backup Android apps as APK file to your phone. But the key is to backup the app along with the app data as well. And that is what exactly we are going to cover in this segment.

Note: There are two ways to do this. One for non-rooted users and another for rooted users. You can use the method you like as per your device’s root status.

Non-rooted users:

For this method, we are going to make use of an awesome app called Helium. You can get it from the Google Play Store by clicking below:

Caution: Please note that some applications such as Instagram do not allow to backup user data and for such apps, the app data cannot be backed up. This has nothing to do with the Helium app.

  1. Make sure you have downloaded the app from Google Play Store.
  2. Enable USB Debugging on your Android device.
  3. Download and install the Helium Desktop app on your computer: Download.
  4. Download and install ADB Driver on your Windows computer.
  5. Run the Helium desktop app on your computer and follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. Once the above setup process completes, you can go ahead and open the Helium app on your phone.
  7. Go to the “Backup” and select the applications you want to backup.
  8. Finally, tap on the backup button and choose where to save the backups. You can choose local storage or online storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
  9. Once you select the save location, the backup process will begin.
  10. Done.

Rooted users:

If you are a rooted user, then your life becomes easy when you want to backup your app along with app data. For this method, we are going to make use of an app called “Titanium Backup“. You can download the app by clicking below:

  1. Open the Titanium Backup app and grant it root permissions when prompted.
  2. Tap on the “Backup/Restore” tab
  3. Here, you will find all the apps on your phone: the ones you installed and also the system apps that came with your device. Yes, titanium backup can backup/restore even system apps.
  4. Simply select the apps that you want to backup and tap on the “BACKUP !” button.
  5. The app will backup both the app and its full data.

The backups from the Titanium backup app are stored in a folder called “TitaniumBackupon your phone. If you want to restore any app, you can simply transfer this folder to the device you want to restore it on and use it.

6. Nandroid Backup: Complete ROM/Firmware Backup

A Nandrioid Backup is a complete backup of your phone ROM including the apps, media, apps data, settings, and more. In short, literally everything is backed up and you can restore everything back again with a single click.

Note: The TWRP method mentioned below requires TWRP to be installed on your device (you don’t say). And the FlashFire app method requires your device to be rooted.

Using TWRP

  1. Reboot into TWRP Recovery on your device: You can use the button combination in your device to do this or else, you can execute the below command by connection your device to your computer.
    adb reboot recovery

    Note: For the above command to work, you must enable USB Debugging on your phone and install ADB Driver on your computer.

  2. Once you are in TWRP, tap on “Backup”.
  3. In the backup screen, you can choose the partitions you want to backup. You can also give your own name for the backups.
  4. I usually choose these partitions: Boot, System, Vendor, Data, Cache, and EFS.
  5. Once you have selected the necessary options, you can swipe the button on the bottom of the screen to start the backup process.

TWRP backups are stored here on your phone: TWRP > BACKUPS. You can transfer these backups to another device or even your PC.

Using FlashFire App

There was a time when the only way to take a full back up of a ROM is via TWRP. But, thanks to chainfire, now there is a more efficient and better way. The FlashFire app does most things that a custom recovery does such as wiping partitions, flashing ROMs, etc. Additionally, it can also take full Nandroid backups. You can get the FlashFire app from Google Play Store by clicking below:

[root] FlashFire
Price: Free+
  1. Open FlashFire app.
  2. You will be asked to grant root permissions; do it.
  3. Tap on “Actions” menu > tap on the “+” icon on the bottom right > select “Backup”.

    How-to-Backup-Android-Nandroid-FlashFire
    Taking Nandroid Backup with FlashFire

  4. Select the backup type as “Normal“. It includes all the regular partitions such as Vendor, Boot, System, Data, and also the internal storage (You can deselect any option you don’t need.).
  5. Next, you can provide a custom name to the backup file and hit the checkmark icon on the top-right to start the backup process and backup Android ROM completely.

Caution: Your device might show a black screen during the process; don’t worry this is expected. Give the app some time to complete the process.

7. Other Data

Apart from whatever we have covered above, there might still be other important documents, files, media on your storage. We have deliberately added this section to make sure you do not miss them. Simply scan through the files and folder on your device to see if you have anything important and back them up to your computer safely.

Final Thoughts

We hope we have covered everything related to backing up Android devices. Did we miss anything? Or is there a better way to do any of the above things? Do let us know in the comments below!

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