Android Backup and Restore Guide | Reset Smartphone | Move Data to new Device

No matter if you only want to backup your current device, if you want to reset your smartphone or if you want to move your data to a new phone, here are several options ordered by increasing difficulty.

I recommend to use as many backup options as possible in case something goes wrong, or in case the restore procedure fails. It's always good to have a plan B :-)


This is the easiest way, but many settings can not be backed up this way.

Manual Backup

App Specific Backups

Note: these are personal examples of apps I use.

  • Contacts app -> Menu -> Import/Export
    • Export into VCF -> Store preferable on external SD card, otherwise on internal storge
    • The file will be created in the root directory of your selected storage, eg. 00001.vcf
  • Color Notes -> Menu -> Backup
    • The backup file will be created in internal storage /data/colornote/backup/1512345678-MANUAL.doc
  • Locus Maps -> Menu -> More functions -> Backup Manager -> Backup All
    • The backup file will be created in internal storage /Locus/backup/

Data on Internal Storage

  • Connect the phone to your PC via USB cable and select "file/data transfer mode"
  • Use your PC's file browser/explorer to copy everything to your harddrive

Data on SD Card

  • Similar to "Internal Storage", or remove the SD card from your phone and copy the data with an SD card reader

Manual Restore

Simply copy the desired files or directories to the same location on the new phone. Common directories are

  • /Downloads
  • /DCIM (photos)
  • /Music
  • /Movies
  • /Pictures (e.g screenshots)

Many apps store their data and settings in the directory

  • /Android/data/

Example: /Android/data/com.nextcloud.client

Sometimes it is sufficent to copy an app's folder to the same location on the new device.

App specific backups, as mentioned above, usually need their backup file in the same location and offer an option in the app to restore settings and data.

Backup with "Helium Backup" App without root

Helium Backup allows to backup nearly all data of your Android Smartphone. To make this possible without rooting the smartphone, Helium uses the Android Debug Bridge (adb).

See this article for details:

Backup with adb (Android Debug Bridge)

An alternative to "Helium" app is the native adb backup option. It allows to make a near full backup of your smartphone including apps, settings and internal storage.

See this article for details: