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Did you know that the average smartphone user in America spends about 4 hours and 30 minutes every single day using their devices? From capturing precious family photos to keeping in touch with friends and storing important documents for work — it goes without saying that so much of our lives revolve around and are made possible by our phone. But what if you lost all those valuable files on your Android device?

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Why You Should Backup Your Android Phone

Unfortunately, there’s always a huge chance that you could lose your device. You could get pickpocketed out on the street or you might even drop and totally destroy your phone.

While one might think that you can simply buy a new Android phone, these devices actually hold a significant meaning outside of the physical. For many of us, our phones are an extension of ourselves, with so much data about our daily lives, conversations, and even thoughts saved through various apps.

It’s understandable, then, that losing your phone is more than just losing the physical device. And this is where cloud backups come in.Cloud backups are described by Box as an online storage space that allows you to have copies of your data uploaded automatically in order to be securely stored.

In this way, you will still have access to all of those important files if anything ever happens to your Android phone. Not to mention, a cloud backup allows easy access to your data.

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Instead of waiting for hours on a hard drive or flash disk — which can also easily get compromised through physical damage or malware — a cloud backup lets you re-download all of your data into any new device in no time.

That being said, here’s what you need to know to backup your Android phone.

Use Your Google Account

The first step to backing up your Android phone is adding your primary Google account to your device. This is especially important because your account essentially is the key to accessing all of your backed up files. To ensure that your Google account is synced to your phone, go to your device’s Settings app, select the Google option, and then select Backup to add your Google account.

However, this process doesn’t apply to all Android devices. For instance, to find this feature on a Samsung Galaxy, you’ll need to go through these steps in order:

• Go to the ‘Settings’ app

• Scroll and choose ‘Cloud and accounts’

• Select ‘Backup and restore’

• Look for the ‘Google Account’ to secure your files

Meanwhile, Google’s Pixel phones also have their own way to sync your account onto the device. Here are the following steps to complete the process:

• Go to the ‘Settings’ app

• Look for ‘System’

• Select the ‘Advanced’ option

• Tap ‘Backup’

• Lastly, select the ‘Back up to Google Drive’ option. Google Drive allows you to store up to 15GB worth of files for free.

Once you’ve successfully added your Google Account, your contacts, calendar events, saved passwords, and other files on your phone will automatically be synced to it. If you ever lose your phone, you can then access your data by logging onto your account using the Google Chrome browser.

Back Up Your Photos and Videos 

Chances are, your Android phone already comes with the Google Photos app, which will sync all your images and videos to the cloud. In case it doesn’t appear on your phone, you can always download it for free on the Play Store.

To complete the backup process on the app, look for the ‘Settings’ option, and then simply turn on ‘Backup and sync’. What’s more, the Google Photos app is very user-friendly, as it lets you decide whether you’d like to backup using your cellular data or Wi-Fi. Also, it provides the option of selecting which specific albums you’d like to have stored and which to skip, in case you need to save on storage space.

Make Room for More Messages

Although Google will automatically backup your messages, there is a limit of 25MB on your saved SMS data. Plus, your Android phone doesn’t automatically save any MMS messages — these are the photos, videos, and other media sent to you in a text. If you’re looking to save more messages, Google has provided another option for storage, but it comes with a price.The Verge highlights that Google One is a paid storage plan that allows Android users to backup more data than the standard backup option allows.

Another way to store all of your messages is by downloading the SMS Backup+ app. This is a free alternative that doesn’t just backup MMS, but also saves call log entries. The app also utilizes OAuth, so your Android phone data will be in safe hands.

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