How to make a backup of mobile phone

Lately I’ve been testing several ROMs on my phone, and ROMs either stock or custom involve a series of wipes in which the contents of the phone is lost. This becomes very important when you do it with your main phone because contains your life: contacts, SMS, photos, etc, so it is very important to make backups of everything.

The ritual of backups I’ve learned from computing, based on goofs, formattings, etc… yep, in those days I was a padawan of technologies. So I’ve been researching and refining a way to make backups that can restore the phone without recourse to 1:1 copies of recovery, cloud services (sic NSA), branding solutions (eg. Kies, Companion) and, of course Google contacts.

I know that there’re solutions all-in-one but the experience has made me flee from everything that work in automatic mode and I prefer get my hands dirty: there’s no better job than done oneself.


The best way to make a backup of contacts is through own Android that will save your phonebook in .VCF format, is the most compatible method, will not give errors, the only one “but” is the images of contacts lose quality at restore them. With other methods always need to polish small inconsistencies in the phonebook by hand.

  1. Let’s go to Contacts.
  2. Press “Options” and then in “Export contacts”.
  3. Choose the place where want to export contacts. 
    Obviously the best option is to store the contacts is µSD card (if you possess the writing), but also can save in internal memory and copy it manually. The path for card is μSD /sdcard1/System/PIM/*.vcf and there would be the numbered copies of the phonebook, being the higher number the most recent. For internal memory is same thing /sdcard0/System/PIM/*.vcf


  4. Will give the path where will export the contacts and will ask us confirmation.
  5. Finally will export whose progress and ending will see it in the notifications.


SuperBackup is the best app I’ve found to make backups gathering in one app the backups of contacts, SMS, call log and calendars, as an extra also includes the backups of apps and bookmarks. This very well because if you have the writing on the μSD will be safe from any issues, also can make backups are automatically performed by time you define. Faithfully fulfills its function, but I don’t use bookmarks because I use Opera and only make backup of apps that are outside of PlayStore because the PlayStore apps I can install them all in a row and besides updated.

  1. Open SuperBackup.
  2. Press on Contacts Backup and then on Backup.
  3. Will jump us a window with path and the chance to changing the name of file.
  4. Go back to main menu, make click on the rest of items (SMS backup, Call-logs backup, etc) and repeat from point 2 to 4 with each one of them.

This would be the manual way, because another score in favor of this program is that makes backups automatically at an interval that you can specify, also the ability to make copy in GoogleDrive.

The path for the backups in the μSD card is rummaged and a somewhat strange so I leave it you here:
and from there would hang the contacts, SMS, call logs, etc.


Although we have covered the most obvious, our photos, videos and some apps settings should also have a copy of everything, both the internal memory and the card. Here we have a problem and is the phone that’s connected as MTP and not as mass storage, that would give us great advantage as would be as copying a flashdrive and could use third-party programs for face to mirror copies and synchronizations.

On MTP use comes with some limitations, you can’t copy all in one go, if we try to copy all at once or copy too volume of files will give us an eternal “calculating time” or copying will be partial and useless as backup, in addition to be useless we couldn’t know if is made a partial or full copy because it will not give any error.

Therefore can copy for example three directories each time and with large files (eg DCIM, which mean pictures-videos) one at a time. And then for “safe side” with the respective file explorers we’ll check the file sizes of all directories of 1st level, if there’s a variation was not copied everything, and must to copy less volume of files, it means be copied separately the subdirectories and/or files.

Android bring us the possibility of connect the phone to computer as mass storege, but only the µSD card ignoring the content of internal memory.

These are the generic directories that should copy although this will depend on if there’re files or if you are interested to save them:
bluetoothTransfers received through BT.
DCIM Photo-Video captured by the camera(s) installed in mobile phone.
Download Downloads done through browsers and some apps.
Movies Films
Music Music
Pictures Pictures

Passwords WIFI

Google pulled our legs about WIFI passwords will be saved to restore them later, it has not worked for me, and that I have given “carte blanche” to Google in some ROMs.

As it’s a element of system we can’t do so without further: we’ve to have root access. We’ve two options:

  • “Bareback”

    To backup/restore “bareback” of WIFI passwords is done through the file /data/misc/wpa_suplicant.conf, there are passwords, security type, etc. You just have to copy this file to make backup and overwrite when the time comes to restore the passwords.

  • Via app

    The app make the same but in a graphical way, exporting all saved networks on internal memory (sdcard0/WiFiKeyrecovery/backups/*) or sharing a network via QR code or any service that have in phone, BT, e-mail, Whatsapp, SMS, etc.

Then there are the apps that each have installed on phone, excluding session-based apps and data in cloud, for each of them there’s a different way to backup/restore, but is beyond of this post.

Obviously there are many apps that do this and can compare them on “Similar” section, although not all allow restore.

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