Do You Backup Your Phone Locally? How?

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iceport
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Do You Backup Your Phone Locally? How?

Post by iceport » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:34 pm

Hi all,

Novice smartphone user here...

I'm looking for the best way to backup the data on an android smartphone. I don't want to use cloud services, and I'm somewhat concerned about security and privacy. My first inclination is to simply backup the phone data locally to my PC periodically, which is also backed up periodically to an external hard drive. Is that a reasonable way to proceed?

It appears there are free programs available to install on a PC that can accomplish file back-ups. A couple of them I found quickly are Anvsoft's Syncios and Samsung's Smart Switch. (My phone is a Galaxy S9+.) The trouble is, I'm not sure if they're safe. Particularly with the Samsung tool, I'm also concerned about potential privacy issues.

Is anyone familiar with either of these programs? Are there better options out there available? For free? Or purchase if necessary?

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Last edited by iceport on Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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patrick
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by patrick » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:38 pm

What specific data do you want to back up -- photos, text messages, applications, settings, etc?

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C4NT
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by C4NT » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:40 pm

What exactly do you want to back up?

The only files I want a copy of are my pictures. For that, you can just drag and drop the files onto a computer.

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iceport
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by iceport » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:50 pm

patrick wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:38 pm
What specific data do you want to back up -- photos, text messages, applications, settings, etc?
Yes. :)

I just went through the data entry chore of creating a contact list from scratch, and realized I don't want to have to go through that again. I also would like to back up (or upload) any photos or mp3s, etc. I've been downloading pictures regularly with Windows File Explorer, but I don't know how to back-up other data.

Also, looking ahead, I'd like to be able to use the same tool to transfer everything to a new phone when that time comes — either sooner (by accident) or later (by normal wear and tear).
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mouses
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by mouses » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:53 pm

I believe my Nook HD+ is an Android underneath. When I plug it into my Windows laptop's USB port, it looks like an external drive and I can drag files in both directions.

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iceport
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by iceport » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:05 pm

mouses wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:53 pm
I believe my Nook HD+ is an Android underneath. When I plug it into my Windows laptop's USB port, it looks like an external drive and I can drag files in both directions.
Yes, I've been downloading pictures regularly. I also uploaded a bunch of MP3s to use for ringtones. But, for example, I can't seem to locate the contacts file I just created, even with "hidden items" in view. So I was thinking that a program dedicated to backing everything up would make it simple. This seems analogous to using the software that came with my external hard drive for backing up my PC. It makes the process simple and painless.
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C4NT
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by C4NT » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:56 pm

I know you said you were worried about privacy issues, but I just save all my contacts to my google account. I've switched phones and reset phones several times over the past few years, and I never have to worry about my contacts.

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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:02 pm

C4NT wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:56 pm
I know you said you were worried about privacy issues, but I just save all my contacts to my google account. I've switched phones and reset phones several times over the past few years, and I never have to worry about my contacts.
Exactly. I got a new Android phone 2 weeks ago. All my apps installed automatically. My photos were carried over (well, obviously not all physically, but they are in the cloud), my contacts, many of my apps data, etc. I also use a launcher (Nova), so I restored a backup of my home screens. The only thing I basically had to do was login to most apps the first time I opened them.

If you don't trust the Google backup option, you probably shouldn't trust anything Google and not use an Android phone.

I remember when it tooks days to get a new phone setup the way I wanted it. Now it is so easy.

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iceport
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by iceport » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:21 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:02 pm
C4NT wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:56 pm
I know you said you were worried about privacy issues, but I just save all my contacts to my google account. I've switched phones and reset phones several times over the past few years, and I never have to worry about my contacts.
Exactly. I got a new Android phone 2 weeks ago. All my apps installed automatically. My photos were carried over (well, obviously not all physically, but they are in the cloud), my contacts, many of my apps data, etc. I also use a launcher (Nova), so I restored a backup of my home screens. The only thing I basically had to do was login to most apps the first time I opened them.

If you don't trust the Google backup option, you probably shouldn't trust anything Google and not use an Android phone.

I remember when it tooks days to get a new phone setup the way I wanted it. Now it is so easy.
Yeah, you guys might be right. Judging from the (virtual) blank stares I'm getting, I guess most people just rely on the cloud and don't worry about backing anything up locally. I'm a true dinosaur.

I just created a new Google account to get apps and such, but I've been reluctant to grant access to my files, when I've been given an option. I don't use the Samsung apps, whenever possible.

Here's the spiel for Syncios from tom's guide:
Syncios Mobile Data Transfer is a free app for Windows which helps you to easily transfer files from your smartphone to your Windows PC and vise-versa.

With the app, you can easily transfer various files such as music, video, photo, apps, ebook, contacts, messages and more from your smartphones to your PC and from your iOS to your Android. More importantly, the app can back up and restore your various files & recover mobile contents from the iCloud backups. It also helps you sync contents from your iTunes library to your PC and smartphones.

Download the Syncios Mobile Data Transfer and be at ease that the app has got you covered with back-ups of your important files and can easily retrieve them when needed.
That's exactly what I was looking for, but I questioned the safety. But judging by the other stuff tom's guide puts out, I suppose it's safe. I just downloaded the Syncios PC app, but haven't installed it yet... 97.4 MB seem huge for a file transfer program.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:24 pm

What specifically are you worried about? If someone where to get my photos or contact or emails or texts that I didn't know, I wouldn't go crazy. It is mostly garbage. To me, that is less important than my SSN, banking information, investment account info, etc.

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iceport
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by iceport » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:31 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:24 pm
What specifically are you worried about? If someone where to get my photos or contact or emails or texts that I didn't know, I wouldn't go crazy. It is mostly garbage. To me, that is less important than my SSN, banking information, investment account info, etc.
I don't know! I'd just rather not have all my stuff out there. I don't do anything nefarious, but I just don't know where stuff ends up. Until this smartphone purchase, I've had practically zero social media presence — no facebook, twitter, google accounts, etc. I don't even know how much I don't know... so I'd rather be as cautious as I know how to be.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:49 pm

iceport wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:31 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:24 pm
What specifically are you worried about? If someone where to get my photos or contact or emails or texts that I didn't know, I wouldn't go crazy. It is mostly garbage. To me, that is less important than my SSN, banking information, investment account info, etc.
I don't know! I'd just rather not have all my stuff out there. I don't do anything nefarious, but I just don't know where stuff ends up. Until this smartphone purchase, I've had practically zero social media presence — no facebook, twitter, google accounts, etc. I don't even know how much I don't know... so I'd rather be as cautious as I know how to be.
Fair enough. I guess I've gotten used to it. I've paid all my bills online for decades. I have done all my stock/mutual fund/ETF trades online for decades. I've never had any issues. The thing that I have had issues with is credit cards. As far as I can tell, most of that fraud came from issues at the issuer end or the merchant end. I've never lost a card.

I backup my data from my laptop to the cloud. However, I encrypt it before sending it. This is stuff like tax returns, financial information, etc. That kind of stuff I am more careful with.

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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by fortfun » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:59 pm

I know you want a local backup but I wouldn't trust that much either (i.e. harddrive fail, fire, water, etc.)

Sign up for a gmail account. Install the google photos app and have your pictures automatically backed up there whenever your phone is on wifi. This may save your bacon someday.

Last year, we vacationed in Hawaii over xmas. After about one week, the water proof bag that my phone was in failed. I figured I had lost a weeks worth of amazing photos. Luckily, I only lost a few that I had taken that morning because the others had automatically been backed up without doing anything. Having Google photos on my phone was the best decision I made. Once those 15 gigs fill up, just sign up for another gmail account (add a one behind the name of the first one) and continue doing this as long as you need.

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iceport
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by iceport » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:07 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:49 pm
iceport wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:31 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:24 pm
What specifically are you worried about? If someone where to get my photos or contact or emails or texts that I didn't know, I wouldn't go crazy. It is mostly garbage. To me, that is less important than my SSN, banking information, investment account info, etc.
I don't know! I'd just rather not have all my stuff out there. I don't do anything nefarious, but I just don't know where stuff ends up. Until this smartphone purchase, I've had practically zero social media presence — no facebook, twitter, google accounts, etc. I don't even know how much I don't know... so I'd rather be as cautious as I know how to be.
Fair enough. I guess I've gotten used to it. I've paid all my bills online for decades. I have done all my stock/mutual fund/ETF trades online for decades. I've never had any issues. The thing that I have had issues with is credit cards. As far as I can tell, most of that fraud came from issues at the issuer end or the merchant end. I've never lost a card.

I backup my data from my laptop to the cloud. However, I encrypt it before sending it. This is stuff like tax returns, financial information, etc. That kind of stuff I am more careful with.
Maybe I'll get there, but I doubt it at this pace. Of course I manage my portfolio online, exclusively, and also do all my banking online now. But that seems entirely different from freely dispersing troves of personal information to companies whose business models prominently include selling and/or mining it.

My state (CT) let my social security number get stolen from a laptop on Long Island a while back, so that might have started my paranoia. I mail in paper tax returns and have never filed electronically or registered my tax software, which involves commercial third parties (besides me and the IRS) having access to sensitive data. I would never opt for cloud storage of my tax returns. The mobile phone company I just signed up with wanted my social security number to verify my identity, and that was almost a deal-breaker. The work-around was to submit to automatic credit card billing for a year, which I was told I could end after a couple of months and which won't even be used if I pay on my own first. Then they tried a credit check using my credit card number, but I have credit freezes at the three big credit bureaus. Rather than temporarily unfreezing credit at one bureau, somehow after a lengthy phone conversation with customer service they waved me through without the credit check or a social security number. (Whew.)
fortfun wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:59 pm
I know you want a local backup but I wouldn't trust that much either (i.e. harddrive fail, fire, water, etc.)
This is an excellent point. So far, I've just been biting the bullet and relying on an external hard drive for backup.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At any rate, rather than discussing the virtues and prudence of cloud storage, I'd rather focus on ways to backup an android locally.

The Syncios program was a bust. The UI was crude and clunky. As soon as I fired it up, it started what seemed to be a second download of the entire software all over again, and there was no cancel option — I needed to force an "end program." The fatal flaw was that the free version only allows for 5 items of each type to be backed up! this was only a trial version, and full access cost $30. So I uninstalled it.

Surely there must be other Bogleheads out there that back up their phones locally... right? How do you do it?
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by blueman457 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:58 am

I don’t intend to start a smartphone war, but your reasons are why I choose to get an iPhone. I can backup locally with encryption with ITunes. I know this doesn’t help you now, but may be a consideration for your next smartphone.

Blue Man

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iceport
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Re: Do You Backup Your Phone Locally? How?

Post by iceport » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:09 am

Bumping to try again for help on this...

Anyone have any suggestions for backing up personal data from an android phone locally (to a PC)?
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Re: IT Help Needed: Best Way to Backup a Phone?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:23 am

C4NT wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:56 pm
I know you said you were worried about privacy issues, but I just save all my contacts to my google account. I've switched phones and reset phones several times over the past few years, and I never have to worry about my contacts.
This is what I do as well.

Every 6 months I drag & drop my photos to a hard drive and then wipe the corresponding folder on the phone.

I also have a password file that I manually copy to a laptop.

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Alexa9
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Re: Do You Backup Your Phone Locally? How?

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:33 am

I store favorite music and photos on several computers and in the cloud. Not much else worth backing up. Emails and documents are stored with Google. I don't have many files that I would truly miss if I did lose them either.

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