The Ultimate Guide for Backing Up Your Smartphone or Tablet

Backing up your home computer or notebook is a given, but what about your mobile devices? Your smartphone and tablet increasingly carry information worth keeping safe, especially if you're out globetrotting. Need a few tips for keeping your data secure wherever you are? SanDisk can guide you with the right strategies and apps for backing up what matters, no matter what platform you’re on.

The Right Memory Card

First and foremost, if your favored piece of kit is designed with support for microSD cards, don’t hesitate to purchase one. Expanding the built-in memory of your smartphone or tablet is a must. Most mobile devices these days come with at least 8GB of internal memory, but, even if you lean heavily on the cloud, that space can be filled up quickly with music, videos, and photos of your latest adventures.

Of all the hardware options out there, a SanDisk microSD card is perfect for storing data like contact information, apps, and media, and can be used to transfer data between devices. You also get a nice performance boost on your device. So if you mistakenly brick your device, that microSD card can help you recover everything you might have lost that isn’t backed up elsewhere.

The Right Apps

Next, a few good cross-platform apps for managing your life and files are an absolute necessity. These apps manage your data both at home and while you’re out in the world, so having them around is a no-brainer.

Evernote should surprise no one, as it’s mature, robust, and runs on all major platforms on the market. It can handle the one-off note and to-do list with aplomb, but you can also start keeping a list of your passwords so none are overused. Remember: reusing passwords puts you at serious risk, since any hacker who has one of your passwords could potentially access any account that uses it.

Cloud storage apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive are also musts; they can very easily become your dedicated storage locker for everything from personal files to work documents. Meanwhile, an app like the one provided by CrashPlan can help manage your entire digital life since their suite gives you the option to backup your things to their servers or on your home network.

Knowing Your Platform

Now for the nitty gritty. Before you start worrying about backing up your smartphone, know that each mobile platform handles backing up in its own way. iOS, for its part, lacks support for microSD on a hardware level, but it already does a good job of performing backups through iTunes with each and every sync. You also have the option of backing up to your machine or to iCloud, which covers you in most situations.

However, if you ever want to keep your local backups and copy them to a secondary drive for safer keeping (paranoid much?), you can find your iTunes backup data in the following directories:

OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

Windows 7/8: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Google does a good job of doing the heavy-lifting when it comes to keeping track of your data, mobile or not. Logging into your Android phone, phablet, or tablet with your Google account will sync your contacts, app purchases, but the onus is on you to rebuild your preferences from there, since app specific preferences aren’t saved.

An app like Titanium Backup goes the extra mile by allowing you to backup just about anything, from app settings to even SMS and MMS data, while also giving you the ability to move apps to and from microSD cards. It also gives you the ability to delete old or orphaned app data, can handle multiple backups, and can encrypt all that precious data in a snap. Basically, it does it all.

Finally, Windows Phone gives the user pretty granular control over what is backed up. You just need a Microsoft account and SkyDrive for photos and videos to pull it off. All you need to do is go to Settings ->Backup, and you can choose to backup your apps, text messages, and more. You even have the option to backup the Facebook Chat messages you’ve sent and received on your device. Neat.

Just know that restoring from a backup will still leave the home screen in its default configuration. But that's a small price to pay for your information being safe.


Backing up isn't hard. You can do it from home, and you can do it on the move. All it takes is the right tools and the right know-how. So, while you prepare to future-proof your mobile data, check out SanDisk's microSD card options right here. They're a good place to start for your personal backup plan.