Although most of your phone data probably live in the cloud, there may still be some locally stored photos, videos, contacts, calendars and other important files that have not been archived. In this post, we'll look at how to check that everything on your phone is properly backed up so you can delete it without thinking twice that you've lost something.
Check your account sync status
First, you definitely want to make sure your Google Account syncs properly with your phone so that everything needs to be backed up, in fact is being archived. Open the Settings app, tap the Accounts option, select your Google Account, and check that all apps and services in your account are recently synced.
If some of the services haven't been synced recently (for example, if you haven't opened one of the apps in a long time), touch the Sync Now button on the page. Depending on your version of Android, the Sync Now option may be under the menu.
Make sure your photos are archived
If you use Google Photos to back up the photos and videos you take with your phone, you should make sure that it still does. All you have to do is open the Photos app and look for a bookmark in the cloud at the top that shows that everything is archived.
If you previously turned off cloud backups in Photos, open the side menu, tap Settings, and select Backup & sync to turn on sync. Super easy.
Of course, there are many other applications to back up photos for Android, including OneDrive and Dropbox.If you use one, go to the app settings and check the current sync status.
If you don't like using photo backup services, you can also just copy all images and you
Back up photos / videos to a flash drive
If you have a large enough flash drive and adapter, if necessary (or Type-C or microUSB), you can simply copy your entire phone Camera folder to your device Plug in your device to your phone, then use the Files app on your device to copy the "DCIM" folder on your phone to your device.
Each phone manufacturer has a different file manager, so if you can't figure it out, download Google files from the Play Store. After you open the application, here's what you need to do:
- Go to the Browse tab.
- Select your internal storage
- Locate and hold the "DCIM" folder next to it until a checkmark appears.
- Touch the menu button at the top right and select Copy To.
- Select your flash drive from the list.
Once your files are copied, you can turn off the flash drive and back up your photos as you see fit.
Backing up photos to a computer
An easier option is simply to connect your phone to your computer and copy the DCIM folder to your phone, since all you need is a USB cable, which is (probably) shipped with your phone.
Copy contacts and calendars to the cloud
When you create a calendar contact or event, your phone can allow you to save the data to your phone's internal storage instead of the cloud. While this is a nice feature, especially for privacy, it also means that you may have stored some important data locally if you didn't pay much attention. Before deleting our phone, you need to check that any of your calendar contacts or events are not archived in the cloud.
The exact process for this varies depending on the model of the phone, but you can start by opening the Contacts application and looking for a menu with all your accounts. For example, the Contacts app on Recent Samsung Phones displays "Phone" along with your Samsung and Google accounts. An option to move phone contacts to an online account appears in the menu above.
Copy a Local Contact to an Online Account on a Samsung Galaxy Phone
It is also possible to store a limited number of contacts on your phone's SIM card, but this is no longer common practice, so it is quite common difficult to do by accident.
Checking for locally stored calendar events is basically the same process: open your Calendar application and look for a calendar not associated with any accounts. It's usually called "Phone" or "My Calendar."
Left: Phone calendar for LG phone; Right: Samsung Galaxy Phone Calendar
However, most mobile calendar applications do not give you an easy way to export calendars. The best way to do this is to install this utility from the Play Store, open it, select your phone's calendar, and touch the Export button. This will give you a .ics calendar file that you can import into Google Calendar, Outlook, or another cloud service.
Remove online accounts and disable Device Protection
If you are selling your phone or giving it to someone else, you will need to log out of all accounts and remove all lock screen passwords. Android introduced a feature called Device Protection in 2015, which requires you to enter the password of the latest Google / Samsung / etc. the account used on the device after the device was deleted.
To disable device security, you must first log out of all your online accounts. Open the Settings app on your phone, go to the "Accounts" section and touch "Remove account" under each account.
Removing Google Pixel Phone Accounts
Removing Samsung Galaxy Phone Accounts
After doing this, deactivate any lock screen passwords you may have. This can be done from the Security section of the Settings app.