How to backup and restore Android apps

Keep your apps and data safe and easily transfer them to a new phone by using the backup feature in Android.

If you’re thinking of upgrading to a new Android phone or need to factory reset your current one for any reason, you’ll want to know that your apps and data are safely backed up and can be moved across with no problems. Thankfully this is quite easy to achieve by using Google’s own backup feature in Android.

Here's what you need to do to ensure that your apps will happily make the transition from one phone to another.

Backing up your apps and data

The simplest way to back up your apps and their relevant data is to employ the feature included within Android itself. Google states that so long as you use Google Drive as the save destination then the following will be included in your backup:

Google Contacts data
Google Calendar events and settings
Wi-Fi networks and passwords
Wallpapers
Gmail settings
Apps
Display settings (brightness and sleep)
Language and input settings
Date and time
Settings and data for apps not made by Google (varies by app)

To start the process, go to Settings > System > Advanced > Backup.

In here you’ll see the option to Back up to Google Drive.

Switch this on via the toggle button, then tap the Back up now button.   

The process will take a few minutes, depending on how much data there is to backup. When it’s finished, you’ll see in the Active backups section a list of what was backed up and when.

Remember, you’ll want to use Google Photos to back up your photos and videos, so be sure you’ve logged into that app, while documents and files should be placed in folders on Google Drive to ensure they are safe and sound.

Read our How to move your photos to your new phone guide for more details.

How to restore an Android backup

This part of the process is mainly automatic, as when you set up a new device with your Google account, you'll be asked to choose which backup to restore.

If you find things are missing from your apps then you can try going to Settings > System > Advanced > Backup, then tapping on App data in the Active backups section.

If the Automatic restore option is not turned on, enable it and then you can try uninstalling the app. Then reinstall it by going to the Google Play store, finding it and tapping the Install button, then the backup should be restored when you open the app once more.

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By Martyn Casserly

By Martyn Casserly

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