The sophistication and versatility of today’s smartphones is something of a double-edged sword.
On one hand, the combination of rear-facing and selfie cameras has made them the ideal tools for capturing spontaneous events and memorable moments.
Internet access supports document downloading on the move, and cloud-hosted software enables us to construct and share documents with ease.
On the other hand, storing media files on a handheld device which is taken out of the house on a daily basis introduces a degree of risk.
Devices can be lost or stolen, damaged in severe weather or broken by being dropped onto hard surfaces. They could simply stop working, too.
In any of these situations, content stored on the phone might be lost permanently unless it’s previously been duplicated.
Being able to backup smartphone files is an essential skill, and there are three main ways to proceed:
Backup smartphone files by hardwiring
Owners of Android handsets are able to plug their phones into a PC, and grant the computer access to phone files and folders.
It’s then possible to view and edit documents in their various sub-folders through Windows, using Copy and Paste to transfer duplicate files onto the external device.
Apple iPhone owners need to install iTunes, and then choose Back Up Now to manually initiate a duplication of media files.
Backup smartphone files to the cloud
This is where Apple’s proprietary suite of software comes into its own, since iPhones can be configured to automatically share media files with the cloud.
That’s why a photo taken earlier today on your handset might appear on Apple TV’s photo-montage screensaver, or pop up on an iPad.
Android users with a Chromebook can connect a handset to the laptop, open the Files app and then create a backup on Google Drive.
Google also makes things easy for owners of its Pixel phones, thanks to the Back up to Google Drive option in its Settings > System > Advanced > Backup sub-menu.
It’s possible to backup individual files directly from any Android device, by choosing the one-circle-to-two-circles icon, and specifying a location to share the image to.
This could be Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or even the handset manufacturer’s proprietary cloud-hosted file storage system.
Logging in once should see these credentials stored for future access.
Alternatively, enable automatic backups by turning on Back up My Data in the Backup and Restore menu. This mainly covers user data, but may also include documents and photos.
There are dedicated file backup apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, simplifying the process and enabling users to determine which files they want to preserve.
Backup smartphone files onto memory cards
Some Android smartphones have microSD card expansion slots, which provide a compact and robust auxiliary storage medium.
Examples of microSD-compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S9/Note 9, the Huawei P20 Pro and the LG V40 ThinQ.
The cards themselves offer up to 512GB of capacity, though a 64GB microSD card ought to be sufficient for most smartphone users over a two-year period of ownership.
Being able to move files around within the device eliminates sluggish uploads to the cloud, or any need to hardwire phones into an external device.
You can copy saved files onto the SD card, or set it as the default location for storing new documents.