Google Nexus 10 tabletIt can be a tedious chore, but if you use mobile devices at your organization, it is likely there is valuable data stored on them. And unlike a desktop computer, it is pretty easy to misplace or drop (and subsequently destroy) a smartphone or a tablet.

Fortunately, backing up your contacts, photos, and apps is easier than ever.

In this three-part series, we'll walk you through backing up your mobile device. Last week, we covered Windows Phones and Windows 8 tablets. This week, we'll cover how to back up your Android phone or tablet.

Built-In Backup Settings

With Google's mobile operating system, Android, you can link your phone or tablet data with your personal Google account. Google's backup program includes your Android settings (such as your WiFi networks and passwords), your Google application settings (such as your browser bookmarks), and the apps you install from Google Play (formally known as the Android App Market).

Backing up your phone or tablet information to your Google account is a snap on phones running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean): Go to Settings > Personal > Backup & Reset.

If your phone is running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich): Go to Settings > Privacy on your phone and check the boxes that say "Back up my settings" and "Automatic restore." Be sure to specify which Google account you want to back up your data to.

Apps and Services

There are many third-party apps available for Android that can help you back up other settings and files that might not be covered by the built-in features.

For example, you might want to save your text messages or alarm clock settings. We recommend the popular MyBackup Pro app. This app is a little bit on the pricey side ($4.99), but it might be worth it in the long run.

MyBackup Pro will back up your phone or tablet data to a microSD card and/or MyBackup Pro's servers. It includes:

  • apps
  • photos
  • music
  • videos
  • contacts
  • call log
  • browser bookmarks
  • text messages
  • calendar
  • system settings
  • homescreens
  • and more. 

MyBackup Pro also offers a 30-day trial of the app if you want to give it a spin before purchasing.  

Symantec also has an app for Android devices called Norton Mobile Security. Like security software on your PC, Norton Mobile for Android protects your device against malware and viruses. It also lets you remotely locate and back up contacts from your Android phone or tablet.

Google has quite a few apps and services for backing up your photos, music, and other files to the cloud. For music, you can use the aptly named Google Music service, which allows you to upload your music library in bulk.

For documents, you can download the Google Drive app and store your files in the cloud.

You can upload your phone or tablet's photos to Google Picasa directly from the Gallery app in Android.

Lastly, if you use Google Chrome on your desktop, your bookmarks will be automatically synced with your Google Chrome browser in devices running Android 4.1 and up.  

More Resources

To learn more about disaster planning, visit our Disaster Planning resources page where you will find The Resilient Organization, TechSoup's disaster recovery guide, helpful articles, and products related to backup.

For more on mobile apps, visit TechSoup's App It Up page.

Image: Google's Nexus 10 tablet