How to Back Up Android Phone to a PC?

From uploading basic data to Google Drive to transferring large files directly to your computer, this guide ensures your data is protected and easily accessible for future use.

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How to Back Up Android Phone to a PC

Android Phone to a PC (Image via TechFirstNow)

Tacking up your Android phone's data is important to ensure your valuable information is protected. Whether it's photos from vacations, work documents, or text conversations with friends and family, you've likely accumulated many important files on your device over time.

However, data can be lost if your phone is damaged, replaced, or reverts to factory settings during repairs. This guide provides a simple step-by-step process for a complete backup of your Android phone's contents using Google Drive and your computer.

Back Up Your Android Phone to PC

This article outlines a no-cost approach to back up your Android phone's data to a PC using a two-step method without paid software. The first step is to upload settings, messages, call history, app information and other small files from your device to your Google Drive account. Since these types of files have minimal data sizes, they will not use a large amount of your available Google Drive storage.

The second step involves backing up large files such as photos, videos, and documents from your phone to your computer's hard disk drive. These files usually occupy considerable storage, this step secures their transfer directly to your PC.

While some backup software costs money and does it all at once, this free two-part way is easy to do. It splits the backup into two pieces, so it's not too hard to finish. It also means you're less likely to forget some important stuff by mistake.

Step 1: Back Up basic data to Google Drive

1. Access the Settings menu on your Android device. Usually, this is available either from the home screen or within the grouping of all installed apps.

2. The Settings menu opens. Towards the top right is a small search bar. Tap inside the empty text field of the search bar to select it.

3. A keyboard will appear under the search bar. Type the letters "Backup" sequentially into the field. Related options will populate in a dropdown as each letter is entered. Once the full word is typed, look for the exact entry "Back up data (Google Drive)" in the resulting list. Tap on this line item.

4. The backup details page loads. Scroll up if needed to locate the text "Back up data" near the top and select it.

5. If no Google account is linked yet, you will be asked to either select an existing account or add a new one. Choose your desired profile, then tap the "Back up now" button. It is important to uncheck Photos and Videos before doing so, as those media files will be backed up separately in the next step to avoid using excess storage space on Google Drive. Locate and disable the backup options for Photos and Videos.

6. The backup process will now start. Device settings, app information, messages, call logs, and other small files will be uploaded to your Google Drive account. Typically this backup uses a few hundred MB, which does not take up a large amount of your allotted Google Drive storage.

Step 2: Back Up Big files to the PC

1. Take the USB cable that came with your Android device and connect one end to your device's charging/USB port. Connect the other end to a USB port on your PC.

2. On your Android device, swipe down from the very top edge of the screen. This reveals the notification panel.

3. In the notification panel, locate the option labelled "USB for file transfer". Tap this selection once.

4. A pop-up may appear on your device asking you to choose a USB connection type. Select "Transfer files" or "File Transfer" if those options are shown.

5. On your PC, open the File Explorer program. This is usually accessible from the Start menu or by pressing Windows key + E.

6. In File Explorer's left panel, double-click the listing called "This PC" to view connected devices.

7. Under the "Devices and drives" heading, double-click the icon that represents your Android device.

8. Inside the device folder, double-click the "Phone" subfolder to enter the file system.

9. Find and double-click the "DCIM" folder containing photos and videos taken by the device.

10. Choose the specific files and folders to back up by selecting them within the 'DCIM' folder or others containing large files. Drag selected items from the device window and drop them into the preferred location on your PC's hard drive. As an alternate, you can copy and paste files. A progress bar will indicate the estimated remaining time for transferring files.

11. If other folders on the Android device contain additional saved files, access those locations by navigating through them via the PC. Transfer any further desired files from those areas to the hard drive using the same method.

Important Note: After transferring your large files to your PC, it is advised to first restore the backup from Google Drive (from Step 1) before moving those large files back to your Android device. This ensures the restoration process is fully complete and well-organized.


By following these steps, you will have securely backed up your entire Android phone using cloud storage and your computer's hard drive. Keeping regular backups is important for peace of mind knowing your data is safe. You can now wipe your phone, upgrade to a new device, or send it for repairs without worrying about losing pictures, documents, messages or other irreplaceable files.

Having backups also lets you easily restore your phone's content if it's ever damaged, stolen or breaks down. Be sure to update your backups periodically to capture any new content added to your phone over time.


What is the Fastest way to back up an Android phone to a PC?

The fastest way to back up your Android phone to a PC is by using a USB cable to create a wired connection. Connect your phone to the PC, then use the backup process as discussed. This allows you to quickly transfer photos, videos, contacts, messages and other data to your computer.

How often should I back up my Android phone?

It's generally recommended to back up your Android phone at least once a month, or whenever you make significant changes/additions to the data on your device. Backing up regularly ensures you don't lose important photos, messages, contacts and other files if your phone is lost, damaged or reset.

Can I back up photos and videos to Google Drive?

Yes, Google Drive offers free cloud storage for photos and videos. Ensure your phone has automatic backup enabled to upload them to the cloud for safekeeping.

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