How To Backup Your Windows Phone

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    Degree of Difficulty (1 Easiest, 10 Extreme Expert) - 1/10


We all now how important backups are on our Macs or PCs and your Windows Phone is no different.  You have a lot of data on there – Apps, pictures, files, etc – that if you lost, you would be frustrated at best and heart broken at worst.  Microsoft has made it quite easy to backup your Windows Phone, leveraging your OneDrive account to have a cloud-based backup of your phone that can easily be restored.

This How To is based on Windows Phone 8.1 so the screens may look slightly different if you are running an older version.

The ability to backup your Windows Phone is actually built into the Settings on your device.  If you navigate to Settings you will see Backup about 1/2 down the page of all the settings you can adjust on your phone.  Tap the Backup page and you will be taken to the settings for backing up your device.  There are three options you can check:  Apps + Settings, Text Messages and Photos & Videos.  All three of these are important but I’m going to concentrate on the Apps + Settings and Text Messages mostly.  I say this because

Apps+Settings Backup Settings

Apps+Settings Backup Settings

Backup page in Windows Phone

Backup page in Windows Phone

I’m assuming that you already have Photos + Videos being backed up automatically to OneDrive through the Photo + Camera application settings.  If not, do yourself a favour and enable it.  This will assure that every time you take a photo or video it is uploaded automatically to OneDrive so you don’t ever lose it.

Apps + Settings, as the name suggests, backs up key information for you when you backup your Windows Phone.  You can adjust these by tapping the Apps + Settings on the backup page in Settings.  Settings backs up things like browser favourites, your Start screen layout (although I’ve found this to be a bit hit-and-miss) and passwords to your OneDrive account.  Apps backs up content of the apps such as high scores, notes and app settings to OneDrive.  It does not actually backup the app itself as those will be restored by re-downloading them from the App Store automatically during the restore process.

On the Apps + Settings page you will also see when the last backup of your device was performed and the option to force a backup immediately with the Back Up Now button.  Backups are automatically performed when your phone is idle, connected to

Messages Backup Settings

Messages Backup Settings

power and has WiFi available.

The Manage Backups button will allow you to delete backed up information and to see how much space your backups are taking in your OneDrive account.  Generally this is a pretty small amount because it is only storing application and settings content, not apps themselves.  In my case, my backup it taking only 3.92MB of storage on my OneDrive account.  Considering I have over 1TB of storage available (thank to my Office 365 account), I don’t fret over this much. 🙂

For Text Messages, backup will save all of those messages that you have received and sent from your Windows Phone.  On this page you can also adjust delivery confirmations and acknowledgements for text messages received and sent.

As you can see it is straight forward on how to backup your Windows Phone.  The key is to make sure that you have it enabled so it can be performed for you automatically.  As a best practice, I always recommend doing a Back up Now if you are going to be traveling and regularly during your trip to assure any settings, messages and photos you have taken are backed up in case the worst should happen to your Windows Phone.

For other Windows Phone How To’s, be sure to check out the How To for Windows Phone page


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