You know what Apple kills Android on? Backups. You can save a backup of your entire phone, apps and all, to iCloud. That’s built right into the OS. Android has nothing like that. Absurd. Saving your data should not be this difficult. Keeping backups is essential, too. Phones fail. Backups are essential.
The best equivalent on Android is to install a custom recovery and use a nandroid backup. It’s like a snapshot of your entire phone that can be restored at any time. Nandroids are critically important, especially if you do any work with custom ROMs. My nandroid backups have saved me from having a bricked phone more times than I can count.
But not everybody has access to a custom recovery and nandroid backups. What if you’re not rooted or can’t install a custom recovery? If that’s the case, you need an alternative. We rounded up four of the most promising alternative backup apps for Android.
Indie developer OmegaVesko created something impressive with Holo Backup. It’s a simple program for Windows and Linux that backs up your phone data, apps, system apps, storage, and texts.
The best part? It doesn’t even need root. As long as you’ve got ADB and a phone on Android 4.0+, you can use Holo Backup. Though we’re sore about the lack of Mac support.
You can use Holo Backup over wifi as well. As long as you enable wireless ADB debugging in the settings, no cords are required.
Overall, Holo Backup is the best option for users without a custom recovery looking for a good way to keep backups.
The guys at ClockworkMod created another alternative for people without their famous ClockworkMod Recovery. Helium is an easy way to back up your phone, with or without root.
Rooted users need only download Helium to start backing up to their SD card or PC. Non-rooted users can use it as well, though they’ll need a companion desktop app.
The free version works well enough, provided you don’t mind ads. Coughing up $5 for the premium key gets you regular backups and no ads.
Helium is another good way to keep backups on your PC. We also have to give it a nod for supporting Windows, Mac, and Linux.
G Cloud Backup
Like the name says, G Cloud Backup stores all your phone’s data in the cloud. You can keep up to 10 GB of data in the cloud.
G Cloud Backup saves photos, videos, music, system settings, and messages. Unlike other systems, it also focuses on security during the transfer to the cloud. It uses only SSL and 256-AES for storage.
If you’re rooted, you can save even more data like app states and settings. It’s a good deal overall.
The cost could become a factor. G Cloud Backup is free up to 10 GB. Subscribe for $2/month and you can remove the ads and get unlimited storage. Overall, not a bad deal.
Super Backup is a longtime backup app that offers decent features in the free version. Download this app and you can backup apps, call logs, messages, and bookmarks to your SD card or Gmail.
The app differentiates itself by offering scheduled backups in the free version, a nice touch compared to other apps. It also requires no PC companion apps.
Give Super Backup a shot if you need something less fully featured but would like free automated backups.
Again, if you have the chance, I’d highly recommend using nandroid backups. They provide the best protection against failure as they back up everything. However, if that’s not an option, try some of these instead.
Want to backup your Windows PC? Check out our guide to creating a complete System Image in Windows 7 and 8.