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The Safest Way to Back Up Your Phone Data

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When it comes to losing your phone or having your personal data stolen, you probably think, “That’s never going to happen to me.” This conviction might be driving your phone security habits. The problem is this: once it does happen, it’s too late to do anything to protect yourself.

While it may seem like backing up your phone data is just one more thing you have to remember to do regularly, there are ways to do it automatically so you never have to think about it. The most important thing to keep in mind is the significance of encryption.

Say you back up your phone data to an external hard drive that’s not encrypted. This is great if you lose your phone and you need to recover the lost data, but what if someone steals your hard drive? They’ll be able to easily access your personal information and potentially use it against you.

Whether you have an iPhone or Android, you need to find a reliable, encrypted way to back up your phone data. Once you have this habit in place, it will be much harder for others to steal your personal information. 

The importance of backing up your phone data

Since most people tend to operate on the principle of the path of least resistance, you probably need to understand the seriousness of data security before you’re motivated to repeatedly back up your phone data.

The most practical reason to back up your phone data is to make it easier on you should you lose your phone or purchase a new phone. In that scenario, you’ll be thankful to have your most recent phone data stored in a different place so you can instantly have access to everything on your new phone.

But what if your lost phone falls into the wrong hands? Hopefully, you have a strong six-digit password that can’t be broken. If that fails, however, you run the risk of identity theft. After all, so much of your life is on your phone. 

Identity theft is an absolute nightmare for those who fall victim to it. It’s difficult to determine exactly how much of your personal information has been stolen until it’s too late.  You have to assume that nothing is safe anymore. It can takes months or years to undo the damage.

When choosing the best method for backing up your phone data, look for one that is encrypted. Encryption is a way to store data in a scrambled format that is unreadable by computers and people who don’t have the passcode. It adds an extra layer of security that can’t be easily broken.

You might be under the impression that your phone data is not very valuable to outsiders. Who cares about the photos from your trip to Greece last summer or the messages between you and your dad?

The problem is the collective impact of your phone data. Once someone has access to all of it, they can typically put together a complete picture of who you are. This allows them to use your personal data against you.

How to back up your iPhone securely

If you’re an iPhone owner, you’re with a company that highly values encryption and data security–so much so that the FBI has had an incredibly challenging time trying to convince Apple to break into certain iPhones. You have a couple of options for securely backing up your phone data.

The most convenient way is to use iCloud. As long as you set up two-factor identification for your Apple ID, your data is encrypted and secure. The best part is that your phone data is automatically backed up whenever your phone is connected to WiFi. Once you set it up, you don’t have to worry about doing a manual backup periodically.

The biggest issue with using iCloud is the amount of storage space. With only 5 GB of free storage, you’re likely to run out of space quickly. It’s not very expensive to add storage space…but it’s not free. iCloud also doesn’t allow you to restore a previous version of your phone. It only stores the latest backup.

Another option is to use iTunes to store your phone data. Make sure you enable encryption when you plug in your phone. Using iTunes is completely free, and your computer probably has enough storage space to hold all of your phone data. Also, it doesn’t usually take long for the backup to finish.

One of the hardest things about iTunes is you have to remember to plug your phone into your computer frequently so that your most recent phone data can be uploaded. The other drawback is that your phone data is stored on your computer, so you may not be able to access it if anything happens to your computer. That being said, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll lose both your phone and computer at the same time.

The safest way to back up your iPhone data is to use both iCloud and iTunes. It will require some extra setup on your part, but it’s with it to keep your personal information safe.

How to back up your Android securely

As an Android owner, your choices for backing up your phone data depend on which manufacturer you have. There is one option that should work for all Androids, though, and that’s Google Sync.

Google Sync stores your data using your Google account. It allows you to encrypt your data with a passphrase. The setup is pretty easy, and your data is automatically synced as long as you’re logged into your Google account on your device. That means you don’t have to worry about remembering to back up your phone in the future.

If you’d prefer something different, you can look into the phone backup options offered by your phone manufacturer. Some possibilities include HTC Backups and Samsung Kies. Make sure you check whether there is an option to encrypt your data before moving forward.

Backing up your phone to an external hard drive

Maybe you’re old school and you’d rather store your phone data on an external hard drive. Before purchasing a hard drive, check if it allows you to encrypt your data. Without encryption, your personal information is readily available to anyone who stumbles upon your external hard drive.

Regardless of whether you own an iPhone or an Android, you shouldn’t have a problem backing up your phone data to an external hard drive. You’ll most likely need to plug both your phone and the hard drive into your computer and do the transfer that way. This option means your phone data is protected even if your computer becomes damaged.

Other best practices for keeping your phone safe

Regularly backing up your phone data is just one of several best practices you should be following to protect your phone security. Here are some other phone safety tips:

  • Keep your apps and operating system updated at all times
  • Don’t include your name as part of your phone’s name (e.g. Name McName’s iPhone)
  • Use two-factor authentication for your Apple ID
  • Come up with a much better phone passcode than 123456
  • Only turn on your WiFi when you’re actually using it

When it comes to the security of your phone, one of the most important things to do is to back up your phone data regularly in an encrypted format. If you implement this practice, you’re much less likely to have your data compromised. Stay on the lookout for other key tips for protecting your digital data.

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