How to make a backup of your Android Smartphone

We all fear the day that everything on our devices will be “magically” deleted, and all our important documents, pictures, videos, and files will vanish into thin air. Which is why most security experts, or just users in general recommend everybody make a backup of their hard drive or device, and I’m here to show you how to do just that.

Making what’s called a “Nandroid Backup” of your device is incredibly simple. First you will have to boot into your system’s default Recovery, which can be done by powering off your device, and holding the Power + Volume Down buttons. Once your device turns on, you should be granted access into your device’s default Recovery, which may be a “stock recovery” or a “Custom Recovery.” If you want more features and more functionality, you are recommended to install a “custom recovery.” You can do this by downloading the Flashable zip or image file for the type of recovery you want; (make sure that particular file is supported for your device.) Let’s go over the different Recoveries that are available.

  • Stock Recovery
  • Clockworkmod Recovery
  • TWRP Recovery (Team Win Recovery Project 2.0)
  • Philz Recovery

TWRP and Clockworkmod Recoveries are by far the most popular and most used Custom Recoveries in the Android world right now. They provide a lot of functionality and support for different popular devices on the market, and can perform simple and complex commands for you, assuming you know how to use them. Note that Custom Recoveries are very powerful, they are capable of operations that could potentially brick or permanently damage your device logically. Please do your research when tampering with Custom recoveries, as you could cause some irreversible damage.

Now, let’s go over how to actually make a Backup of your device. I will go through how to do this on each different recovery you may have or are thinking about getting.

You can use TWRP to backup your cell phone

The first Recovery method is TWRP. Power your device off, and Hold the Power and Volume Down button to access your TWRP Recovery. Next, head over to the Backup tab, and select the different data you want backed up, this includes your downloads, your personal files (music, pictures, videos, documents, pretty much all media files), Apps, and even the Cache. Just simply Swipe the bar to Confirm a Backup, and this should take roughly 5 to 10 minutes depending on how much Data is on your device.

Once that is finished, hit the Reboot to system button, and you’re all done. The Backup software installed with TWRP creates a Flashable MD5 file for you to be able to revert back to, in the case of any errors that cause permanent software damage to your device. You should plug your device into your computer and navigate to the root of your device’s internal storage and look for the folder “TWRP,” then navigate to/Backups/(Your Created Backup with time and date) and make a copy of this Backup file, so In case something goes REALLY, REALLY wrong and deletes your backup, you can always transfer the Backup from your computer into your Device’s internal memory, or SD Card, and Flash the Backup file you created, to get all of your data back. This general understanding applies to all recoveries and Nandroid backups.

Now that we’ve gone through the manual, safer way to perform system backups, let’s go over ways that are easier, and more automatic. There are apps that backup your device automatically, and provide you with a more diverse amount of options. One of these apps are “Titanium Backup” which is my personal favourite (DOES REQUIRE ROOT ACCESS), not just using it to perform system backups, but other operations as well, like freezing unwanted apps and processes.

titanium backup to backup your android phone

Visit the Google Play store and download Titanium Backup, and install it for free. Now that you have it installed, open up the app, and grant it Root Access. Now head over to the Backup/Restore tab at the top, click the Menu key. Now click Batch Actions and click run for Backup all user apps and All System Data, and let the process run. The length of the backup is determined by the amount of user apps/data that your system contains.

After that’s all finished, you can navigate to /TitaniumBackup/ in your device’s storage/SD Card and find all your backups here. To restore your old backups, do the same operation as last time, head over to Backup/Restore, hit menu key, and click Batch actions. This time, under Restore, click Run for the data you want Restored, like your user apps, or system data. Fairly straight forward stuff.

Alright, that wraps up this edition of our Android Guides, be sure to check back to for all your guides and coverage of MWC in the upcoming week. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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About Kenny Leung
Kenny currently lives in Buffalo, NY. Where he studies computer networking & programming. He has owned a number of Android phones including the Galaxy s3, Galaxy 3 mini, Galaxy s4 mini, LG optimus 3D, and the Oneplus one which he is currently using. Kenny will likely get the Oneplus two once it is released.

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