Q

IPhone vs. Android backup

Eric Slack of Storage Switzerland compares iPhone and Android backup in this Expert Answer.

Can you compare the backup process for iPhones to Android devices? 

In general, the "process" is the same. You can back up to a traditional backup application (like Symantec), back up to the cloud or back up to a local computer. In general, iPhone offers fewer options due to its more closed nature and to the success of iCloud, but there are multiple ways to achieve both iPhone and Android backup.

At the enterprise level, many of the major applications support both iPhone and Android backup as endpoint devices. They typically load an agent on the smartphone and it controls the backup process. For smaller companies, a number of in-house and cloud-based backup solutions support both these devices as well. For individuals or small companies that don't require smartphones to be backed up as part of the organization's backup strategy, there are several other options.

Traditional consumer cloud backup services like Carbonite support Android and iOS devices as part of a home or small business backup account. Even more options become available as third-party apps for the iPhone and Android that provide different levels of backup protection for individual users. Some are even available at no cost (but be aware that you get what you pay for). These download and run on the phone, controlling what gets backed up, when, etc. For an Android backup, examples are MyBackup Pro and inDefend Mobile Backup. For iPhone, examples are PhoneCopy and SOS Online Backup.

Apple's iCloud service stores all purchased content (music, movies, apps, etc.) for free and they'll give users 5 GB of storage space for their other data (photos, app data, device settings, etc.). Similarly, Android users can set up their phones to back up calendar, email, apps, system settings and contacts to their Google accounts. If they have a Google+ account, they can back up photos and videos as well.

Users can also back up these smartphones to their computers. Apple makes it easy with iTunes, which can back up an iPhone every time it's plugged in. Other products like MobileGo and the iPhone Tool Kit are an alternative to iTunes. MobileGo has a solution for Android, too, as does Helium App Sync and Backup (which also allows backup to a cloud account).

This was first published in May 2013

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