Device Data Backup Guide

sync-01-512Customers come in Smart Phone Repair frequently with devices so broken there is no saving their data. Most customers understand the damage, and the main question is “Can you get my data off my phone?” This data can be anything in the phone including pictures, video, contacts, app data, passwords, voice memos, and even those settings that you spent time to get just how you like it. There are options for retrieving this data, but they can be slow, expensive, and still not guarantee your data can be retrieved. The best way to recover your data is to have it backed up already, and restore your device data from a backup.


Schofield’s second law of computing states that data doesn’t exist unless you have at least 2 copies of it. (Don’t worry, I don’t know who Schofield is either.) Basically, if something happens to your device there is no inherent guarantee that you can get your data back. That means the photo/video of your newborn baby, or the photo of that important document are not safe. THE ONLY PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR SECURING YOUR DATA IS YOU.  Device data backup has two major types: Local computer backup and Cloud service backup. These apply to iOS and Android. Let’s walk through what those mean and the benefits of each.


Cloud service backups are not really new on the scene, arriving for apple with IOS 5 in 2011. They feature a no hassle backup system that you can turn on, and forget about (until you run out of space and need to pay for more in Apple’semail case). For Apple, the iCloud can store 1 TB of data from a single Apple account, the first 5GB are free. In this case, when an iCloud backup occurs over wifi, your data is encrypted and stored at Apple or one of their various storage facilities.With Cloud service backups you can retrieve and restore your device using a backup no matter where you are in the world, which is very convenient. iCloud backups store most of your data, excluding data stored in other services like Gmail, Apple Pay information and settings related to it, Touch ID settings and saved fingerprints, and content you loaded onto the device through iTunes like MP3s and videos. For Android, Gmail backs up your device data and settings. This includes SMS, Email, Calendar, and Apps. The pictures and video can be backed up by Google Instant Upload to your account’s Google+ page in a private album. These backups can be unlimited if you allow Google to compress the files to lower quality. If you want them to stay at the original quality it counts against your accounts 15GB allocation that stores email and other documents.


Local computer backups have been there since the beginning of true smart phones. Even BlackBerry devices had the ability to be backed up to a computer. Using iTunes, Apple devices can be backed up by connecting it to a computer using the chaandroid-logorging cord for the device. There are two backup options: the normal iTunes backup and the Encrypted iTunes backup secured with a password. Making an iTunes backup is like making a copy of your device, the encrypted backup being an exact copy even with sensitive info like heath data, wifi passwords, web history, and stored passwords. For Android, the computer backup process is more complicated and incomplete. On a Windows system, with your device connected by the charging cable, you will be able to copy and paste the photos, videos, and music, to a folder on your computer. You can use that same process to put the media back onto another device. For Mac users you will need to download “Android FileTransfer” to access the files and copy them over. Beyond simple media, Android devices tend to be very complicated to backup to a computer. We suggest the Gmail Cloud service backups stated above as it seems to be the only reasonable way to save your settings and device data. Backing up your device to the computer gives you control over your data and the people who see it, but also means you have to keep track of it and keep it safe.


On the comparison of the backup types and what is the best, we can only really compare Apple’s options because the Cloud based backup on Android is without question the easiest option. The SD card you may be using with your Android device is not a backup option as it is a   As far as Apple goes the backup plan you decide to use is dependent on what you want saved, and how much effort you are willing to spend on it. If you don’t mind your data being stored on servers out of your control, or you don’t want to have to think about your backups, then the iCloud backup will probably suit you just fine. If you don’t mind taking the time once every two weeks (or whatever interval you decide) to backup your device to your computer, or really want your personal data to stay with you, then the iTunes computer backup is going to be the best fit.  


As stated previously, the only sure-fire way to keep your data safe is to back it up. Smart Phone Repair urges you to consider the options presented and take action, it will save you a big headache and heartache in the future.

Liquid Damage & What to Do

This post originally appeared in the November issue of VIP Magazine in Florence. Our team wrote the article for the magazine but they have graciously let us include it on our new blog as well.  

After fixing phones for four years, I can’t tell you the number of stories I have heard about phones getting wet. Some stories seemed impossible, some were hilarious, and others were so disgusting I didn’t want to touch the phone. All of them were unfortunate accidents in an unpredictable world. Over the years we have helped hundreds of people with liquid damaged devices. Along the way we have learned a few tested and true tips to help prevent your phone from ending up unrepairable.


The first, and most important, thing to remember if your phone gets wet, is to never try to turn it on or plug it into a charger. If your phone gets wet, turn it off and, if possible, take out the battery. Turning your phone on while still wet sends a current through the phone that can cause the electronics to short creating a bigger, possibly unfixable, issue.

After ensuring the phone is off, try to remove anything you can from the phone such as sim cards, SD cards, the battery, a case etc.. If you can shake some of the water out of the device, it might be helpful. It is important to remember that at this stage, even though it looks okay from the outsidcorrosione, the real damage happens inside. If your phone was completely submerged into salt water or acidic liquids such as soft drink, juices, tea, or dirty water, it is not a bad idea to rinse the phone out with purified water if possible. This seems scary, but pure water can rid your device of corrosive minerals or chemicals that lead to serious corrosion. (pictured right)

At this point, most people have been told to put their phone in rice, however, from our experience the use of rice can cause several unforeseen issues. While rice can absorb some of the moisture, it does not have the ability to remove the chemicals left inside the device once the moisture is evaporated. Also, it is not uncommon for pieces of rice to lodge themselves inside openings on the device such as charging ports and headphone jacks. Some options for trying to get liquid out of your phone include using a vacuum or a food dehydrator, as long as the temperature does not exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If your phone wiphone-in-riceas only briefly submerged, and is functioning after retrieving it from its liquid bath, the steps listed above have a good chance of saving your phone from partial liquid damage.

Restoring a water damaged device requires multiple stages of cleaning. Each situation is different, but one thing we know for sure, the sooner we are able to work on a liquid damaged device the better chance we have to save it. If your phone spent a prolonged amount of time in, or was totally submerged in liquid, your best chance of recovery is to take it to an expert as soon as possible. When a phone has standing water in it from a recent encounter with water, we see a tremendously higher success rate than if we get a phone after a week of it sitting in rice.

iphone5sWaterDamageIf you find yourself in this situation with liquid damage, while we will try our very best, there is no guarantee that we will be able to save your device or your data. In this unpredictable world, It is very important to keep your phone backed up so that you do not lose anything important to you. Making sure you have a backup can help take the stress away from a bad situation. If you are prone to getting your phone wet, there are cases available that can help keep your phone waterproof.

In closing, the point to remember is that water and electronics are not friends. There are ways to lessen the impact liquid has on a device, but that requires handling the device well in the first moments after an accident. Knowing what to do and what not to do can make all the difference.