Data backups are a must no matter who you are. You never know when you’re going to accidentally delete an important interview, document, spreadsheet, etc. And if you think such things will never happen to you, think again: they’re called “accidents” precisely because you don’t expect them!
And that’s not to mention the threat of ransomware making your data irretrievable. When you’re faced with the decision of forking over hundreds of dollars to some hacker just to get your data back, backups can prove priceless.
Of course, it’s not always so dramatic. A simple toilet bowl mishap could fry your phone and wipe out all of your contacts. It isn’t hard to make a Facebook update asking everyone to send you their numbers — but it’s so much easier if you just have a backup somewhere.
That’s why you need at least one of these backup apps.
Note: Some of these apps may require your device to be rooted. If you don’t know what that means or if you need guidance, check out our article on how to root your Android phone.
1. CM Backup
4.7 rating from 663,000+ users.
Cheetah Mobile really has a foothold in the Android landscape. You might already be familiar with it for well-regarded apps like CM Security Antivirus and CM Browser, along with some not-so-well-regarded apps like Clean Master and CM Speed Booster. Long story short, a lot of controversy surrounds this developer.
The two main concerns over Cheetah Mobile involve the fact that they are Chinese (which may introduce privacy and security concerns) and the fact that they tend to buy out and monetize once-free apps. I think a lot of the backlash against the company is unwarranted, but you should be aware that such backlash does exist. If it worries you, skip to the next app.
You’ll need to create an account to use this app. By signing up, you get 5 GB of free cloud storage that you can dedicate to the backups you make — and according to the app, that’s enough room for 3,600+ HD photos, 400 million text messages, or 1 billion contacts. Storage is encrypted and hosted by Amazon S3.
CM Backup can backup and restore the following:
- SMS, MMS, and Hangouts
- Call logs
Important features include history of backups, photo and file compression before uploading to the cloud, automatic scheduled backups, a browser interface that you can use to view your backups at any time, and all of this is available without needing root access.
Download — CM Backup (Free)
2. Titanium Backup
4.6 rating from 355,000+ users.
Titanium Backup reigned long and hard as king of the backup apps for many years — at least until CM Backup arrived and took over. Still, this app provides a lot of benefits that you can make use of, including several features that you won’t find in the other apps on this list.
Standout features include the ability to back up and freeze apps (and backups can run without closing apps), multiple backups per app, sync with Dropbox/Box/Google Drive, backup encryption, and more — all in addition to the basic features of backing up SMS, MMS, call logs, and bookmarks.
But Titanium Backup does have three major drawbacks:
- It’s ugly, looking like an app from years and years ago.
- It requires root access to do anything.
- Most of the nifty features are in the premium version.
You could get over the first issue pretty easily. If it gets the job done, who cares if it doesn’t have Material Design? The second one could be an issue depending on your device. And the third one is only an issue if you need those features. For simple backups, free is fine.
Download — Titanium Backup (Free, $5.99)
3. G Cloud Backup
4.6 rating from 212,000+ users.
Like CM Backup, G Cloud Backup comes with its own cloud storage aspect that requires you to create an account before you can start using the app. You’ll start with less space (1 GB), but can earn more through actions and referrals (up to 10 GB).
The very first thing you’ll have to do after signing up is choose which apps, files, and settings to protect. Options include:
- Call logs
- SMS and MMS
- Photos, Videos, Music
- System Settings
- Browser Data
All backup uploads are done over a secured and encrypted connection, and will only occur when you’re on Wi-Fi. So there’s no need to worry about wasted data (though you can enable that if you want). And it only uploads when your charger is connected, so there’s no need to worry about it draining your battery.
There’s no root required for any of its features. it supports automatic backups and viewing of backups on the web. It’s 100% free but has banner ads.
Download — G Cloud Backup (Free)
4. Super Backup
4.4 rating from 118,000+ users.
Even though the full name of the app is Super Backup: SMS & Contacts, it actually does a bit more than that, putting it on a slightly lower tier than the apps listed above. Here’s what you can back up:
- Apps (requires root)
- Call logs
- Bookmarks (prior to Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
Backups can be stored locally, to an external SD card, or synced to Google Drive or Gmail. Scheduled backups are also supported, but you should know that task killer apps will interfere, so make sure to add this app to your whitelist (then again, you shouldn’t be using task killers anyway).
The app is completely free to use but does contain banner ads. You can remove them by upgrading to Super Backup Pro. No extra features are locked behind the upgrade.
Download — Super Backup (Free, $1.99)
5. Easy Backup & Restore
4.2 rating from 40,000+ users.
Easy Backup & Restore is exactly as it sounds. In just a few taps, you can have a full backup waiting to be restored at a moment’s notice. And on top of that, it has one of the easiest-to-navigate interfaces I’ve seen among backup apps.
Here’s what it can back up:
- Apps (requires root)
- Call logs
- SMS and MMS
The nice thing about this app is that it has the widest variety of cloud backup options: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Gmail. Or you can just back up to your SD card.
Automatic scheduled backups are possible, and you can view a backup’s contents without having to restore the entire backup first. That’s about it — and I don’t mean that as a knock against the app. It only does so much, but it does it well. What more can you ask for?
Download — Easy Backup & Restore (Free)
What’s Your Worst Data Loss Story?
There isn’t much you can do to prevent accidental deletions and the like (except to double-check and triple-check every single thing you do for the rest of your life), so what’s the most effective thing you can do to guard against data loss? Fend off malware.
A lot of users are skeptical about the need for security apps, but don’t get sucked into that mindset. Even security pros use them! They act as an additional line of defense for when you do make those mistakes, so don’t neglect them. Don’t know where to start? Check out our favorite mobile security apps.
Do you have any stories of when data backups came to the rescue? Or any stories of when you needed a backup but didn’t have one? What’s your favorite backup app? Share with us in a comment below!
Originally written by Joel Lee on April 12th, 2013.