How do I back up my data on my Galaxy Device?

Last modified : Mar 19. 2019

Keeping your photos, contacts, documents and all the other stuff on your phone is pretty important! There's nothing worse than going to find something on your phone and realising it's missing. It's best to back up the content of your device to make sure you don't lose any down the track. It's up to you to decide how often, or how many ways you want to save the content on your Samsung phone or tablet. There are a couple of different solutions available; and two different styles of saving your content.


When we say back up, it means you're saving a copy of your data to another place. To sync data, it's a slightly different story: You can save the same data, but you're saving the information (photo, contact, document etc) as it currently exists. This makes it great for when your friend lets you know they've changed their email address - when you update it in your phone, it should have changed by the next time you log into your email account on a computer. The downside is that it also means that if you delete a photo from your phone, the next time you sync your device, the photo may delete from the cloud storage too. 

Back Up to a PC:

The most comprehensive way to save the contents of your Samsung device is to use Smart Switch for Mac or PC. The Smart Switch program will let you copy the contents of your device onto your computer, which each new backup created saving separately. There's a short video and step-by-step guide on how to use Smart Switch PC at the page Back Up to a PC with Samsung Smart Switch. There's lots of information at the Smart Switch website, including links to download the program onto your computer. Check out Samsung smartphones compatible with Smart Switch to see if your Galaxy is compatible with Smart Switch PC.

 Below is a List of types of content that will be saved by Smart Switch PC:

Contacts: With the option to save as CSV format to read the information on your PC

Calendar: Calendar stickers or Calendars synced with an external account will not be backed up.

Messages: With an option to save only 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years or All messages

Samsung Notes: Saved as .sdoc - you won't be able to read these notes on a PC without exporting them as .pdf first.

Call Log: The history of your Phone app will be saved.

Clock: Alarms and clock settings.

Samsung Health: Health data will be backed up

Reminder: Your saved reminders will be saved.

Images: All images on the device (not on an SD card or in a locked/hidden app)

Video: All videos on the device (not on an SD card or in a locked/hidden app)

Documents: Most types of document file types are supported.

Voice Memo: Voice Recordings from the Samsung Voice Recorder app.

Apps: Apps will be saved, however in some cases app data will not be saved. Make sure to save your app content within the app to be safe.

AR Emojis: If your device is able to create AR Emojis.

Home Screen: Live Wallpapers will not be backed up.

Settings: Font Size, Wi-Fi Networks, Quick Panel layout, Notification settings, Accessibility and App Settings.

Back Up SD Card: If you have an SD card inserted in your device, you'll be prompted to save this content as well. Images, Music, Videos, Documents and Voice Recordings will back up if you choose to include an SD in your back up.

Please Note: Files within Workspace or Secure Folder will be excluded from any back up.

Back Up to SD Card or USB Flash Drive:

If your Samsung device takes a microSD card or you have an OTG adapter and USB drive handy, you can use the Smart Switch app on your device to save the content of your phone or tablet straight to the SD card. The Smart Switch app is pre-installed on most Samsung devices; it's normally used to transfer content between two phones. An extra feature of the Smart Switch android app is that your photos, contacts and data can be saved to external storage from the device. There's a full step-by-step guide at the page Back up a Samsung Phone to SD card. This option is the best if you don't have a computer or need to back up while you're on the go. The content that the Smart Switch app will back up is shown below:

Calls & Contacts: Call Logs, Contacts (from SIM, device and Accounts)

SMS Messages: All Messages, except any RCS attachments.

Apps: Apps will be saved, however in some cases app data will not be saved. Make sure to save your app content within the app to be safe.

Settings: Font Size, Wi-Fi Networks, Quick Panel layout, Notification settings, Accessibility and App Settings.

Home Screen: App and widget shortcuts, Lock screen wallpaper, Home screen wallpaper, Bixby Home settings, Samsung DeX settings.

Images: All images on the device (not on an SD card)

Video: All videos on the device (not on an SD card)

Audio: Music and Voice Recordings

Documents: Most types of document file types are supported.

Please Note: Files within Workspace or Secure Folder will be excluded from any back up. Content that can be backed up by the Smart Switch app can vary depending on the device.

Sync to a Google Account:

If you have a Google Account (usually a @gmail email address) on your Samsung device, you can sync your information to keep it saved to your Google account. This means that whatever device you use, when you log into the same Google account, the information will be the same. There's a page dedicated to Back Up to a Google Account that will help you set up your device to sync to your Google Account. Syncing data requires an active Wi-Fi connection - you can opt to use mobile data, but you'll need to ensure you don't go over your data allowance and risk excess charges. The data that will save to a Google account is listed below.

App Data: All of the App Data of Google Apps, as well as the App data of some apps not made by Google.

Call History: The record of your phone calls.

Contacts: Your contacts can be found at

Device Settings: Brightness, screen time out settings, Wi-Fi networks and passwords, Date and time.

Photos: Google offers unlimited storage space for photos saved in High Quality. You'll need to use the and opt into using the back up service.

Google Drive: Use the Google Drive app for a cloud-based storage service for documents and other files. Access them on any computer at

Please Note: The data you can back up to a Google account may vary depending on the device and operating system.

Sync to a Samsung Account:

A Samsung account set up on your Samsung phone or tablet can sync information on your phone every 24 hours under the following conditions:

  • The device is on, and not in use
  • The device is plugged into power
  • The device is connected to a Wi-Fi network


See the page on How to Create a Samsung Account if you don't already have one. Backing up to a Samsung Account is also the only way to save data from Secure Folder. Check the page How to back up to Samsung Cloud for a step-by-step guide on turning on Samsung Account back up. The data that will sync to a Samsung Account is as follows:

Phone: Call & Message History

Messages: SMS and MMS Messages

Contacts: Phone numbers, email addresses, business card info, etc.

Calendar: Events and Tasks.

Clock: Alarms, World Clocks and Timer information.

Settings: Accessibility settings, ringtones (except the default), keyboard data, Wi-Fi Networks & Passwords, paired Bluetooth devices, Always on Display settings

Bixby Home: Pinned cards and Settings

Home Screen: Home screen layout, wallpapers (except default), DeX settings.

Apps: Installation files and app settings.

Documents: DOC, PDF, TXT & HTML files.

Music: MP3, M4a, 3GA, OGG & WAV files.

Please Note: Files larger than 1GB can't be backed up to Samsung Cloud. The data that you can back up may differ depending on your device and operating system.

Back up Photos and Videos to Samsung Cloud:

Depending on your Samsung device, you may need to manually turn on the Sync option in the Gallery app to save your photos and videos to Samsung Cloud. The reason for this is that lots of people have lots and lots of photos - it's easy to max out the free 15gb of Samsung Cloud storage. See the page on Back up the Gallery app to Samsung Cloud for a step by step guide.


Access other documents in Samsung Cloud Drive:

With a Samsung Account and a compatible mobile device or tablet, you can send documents and other media to Samsung Cloud Drive for access on other devices or computers. You'll also be able to see the photos and videos saved from the Gallery app. For more information, see the page on How to Use Samsung Cloud Drive

Lost or Stolen Devices:

If you already have your Samsung Account logged into the phone or tablet, you may be able to force a back up of your Samsung Account remotely. Sign into the Find My Mobile service with your Samsung Account to see. This functionality is only available on certain devices, and can potentially use up a lot of mobile data. For more information see the page on How to Use Find My Mobile.

Device that won't turn on:

There's not too much that anyone can do about a phone or tablet that won't power on or is damaged to the point of not being able to use it. The best thing we can recommend is logging into your respective Google and Samsung accounts on a computer or another device to see what, if any, information has already synced. 


If your device turns on, but the touchscreen doesn't work - you might be able to save some data by using an OTG adapter with a cabled mouse. Attaching a mouse will bring up a pointer on the screen so that you can navigate through the Smart Switch app to back up to an SD card or force a sync of your Google Account and Samsung Account.

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