Save Your Life – How to Back Up & Sync Your Smartphone

My smartphone contains my life. From contacts phone numbers to calendars, to months of photos, my financial information, and a list of all my passwords. It would be a real mess to find all of that information if I lost it. The number one problem people are having when upgrading their iPhone software to iOS 7, is that their phone goes into recovery mode. While recovery mode can restore the iPhone to its last backup, most users haven’t backed up the phone prior to upgrading. Unfortunately, they lost all of their information, photos, settings, and more.


To safeguard your important information you need to synchronize it with your computer.  To sync information on an iPhone, you sign into the iCloud on your phone and computer. Android phones sync with a Gmail (google) account, and Windows phones use a Microsoft account login. Once logged in to an account, smartphones save basic information like contacts, calendars, reminders, and notes to the cloud and can access information that was entered on your computer using the same account. If your phone becomes inoperable or is lost, the information is still available and can be reloaded on your repaired or new phone.

Not all information is synced. The only way to save your phone’s settings– ringtones, home screens, app organization is to backup your phone. To backup information in downloaded apps–drawings, health stats, documents, password databases– typically requires a full backup to your computer.

How to Sync with iCloud – iPhone or iPad

An iPhone or iPad syncs using your iCloud account.  Check that you have signed into iCloud on your iPhone (or iPad) by going to “Settings,” then “iCloud.”  Further down the page, tap on”Storage & Backup.”  Turn on the iCloud backup under the Backup section.  Apple offers 5GB of free cloud storage for basic backup. If you have hundreds of apps, you may want to purchase additional storage.


How to Backup to iCloud - iPhone or iPad

While backing up to the iCloud will save your settings, only a full backup to your computer will save the information within the apps on your smartphone. In iTunes choose automatic backup to “This computer” for full backups. Before any software update, click on “back up now,” to safeguard against losing your information during the update.

Photos can be wirelessly saved to iPhoto on a Mac. In the iPhone settings, under “Photos & Camera” be sure to turn on “My Photo Stream.” In the iPhoto preferences, be sure that “Automatic Import” is checked in the Photo Stream section.

How to Sync and Backup Android Smartphones

Android phones can be synced to your Google account.  Go into your phone’s settings (available by tapping the menu button when in the home screen). Go to the “accounts” submenu or tab and click on Google. Tap on the Gmail address to turn on syncing of contacts, calendars, and so forth.

For a complete backup, go into the settings menu then to “Backup and Reset.” On a Galaxy S4 it is in the Accounts tab, but may be different on your phone. Check the “Back up my data,” and “Automatic restore” options.


Transferring photos to your computer requires connecting your Android phone to your computer using the phone’s USB cable. The phone shows up as an external drive and the photos files will be listed.  Drag and drop the photos to a folder on your computer in the same way you would from any external flash drive.

Samsung smartphones include the Kies Air app. Download Kies software to your computer and enable “Kies Via Wi-Fi” in the “Connections” tab of the Samsung phone’s settings. Everything will be backed up to your computer automatically.

Windows Smartphones

Windows phones can sync contacts, calendars, and more, using a Microsoft account that can be set up on a Windows computer, phone, or an Xbox. Click on the Setting gear icon on your phone, and go to Backup to set it up.

Windows phones will save your list of apps, call history, theme color, any accounts set up on your phone, and you Internet Explorer favorites. It will also save your photos, messages, emails, home location, lock screen, speech and more. Backups are automatic when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi.

Do it now

If you haven’t set up your backup, pick up your phone and do it now. Most syncing and backups are automatic so you can set it and forget it. A few minutes to set up your phone today will save you time and trouble in the future. - Barb Gonzalez ~ The Simple Tech Guru

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  1. This is so useful! Great info to know!! Thanks, Barb!


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