Migrating From Your Old Android Phone to a New One
Moving to a new phone can be a pain. However, with the right Google tools, third-party apps, and perseverance, you should be able to squash most of the misery that usually comes with prepping for a new device. Sure, it takes a little work, but what you learn here will be good practice keeping all your data backed up should some catastrophe hit your phone.
Or more likely, when you buy a phone next week or want to upgrade three months from now.
Know your backup options
First things first: make sure you’re signed in to your Android phone with your Google account. Head to the Settings and then find Backup and reset (the categorization will vary by device).
Make sure Back up my data and Automatic restore are both flipped on and that your Google account is linked. The former ensures that your application data, Wi-Fi passwords, and various phone settings are sent to Google servers. They’ll be at the ready for you when you sign in to a new phone. This way you won’t have to re-enter passwords to networks you’ve already saved. Yes, that means Google probably has all the world’s Wi-Fi passwords. But that’s a story for another day.
If you have a Samsung device, you can also use the Back up my data option to your Samsung account. This will save your text messages, phone logs, contacts, or email accounts that you’ve used with Samsung’s apps. You can also pick and choose, say if you use your Google account for contacts, email, and photos, but you want to save your texts and calls to Samsung since Google doesn’t yet offer a way to back those up.
Of course, if you’re not going to get a new Samsung device, you can safely turn this feature off. As for non-Google email accounts, you can choose the Samsung backup option on a Galaxy phone or just download the Outlook app on your next device.
Transfer SMS messages
Moving over text messages is usually the wonkiest and most inconsistent part of this process. Our main advice is this: use an over-the-top service. With Facebook Messenger or Hangouts all you have to do is sign in and voilà! All your messages are right there. Same goes with WhatsApp, which just launched backup with Google Drive.
If you’re dead-set on moving your SMS messages, a favorite solution of mine is SMS Backup & Restore. It takes some patience to work through the options. Also, the design is more suited to Android Jelly Bean, but it gets the job done. The app will offload your messages to a microSD card (if your phone has one). Otherwise, export them to a PC and then use the app to restore them on your new phone by using Android’s ability to connect to a PC.
If nothing else, let this be a lesson—don’t wipe your phone until your new one is operational. This way you have access to all your old stuff before it’s gone forever.
Get your storage device ready
You don’t want to start from the scratch with your music, pictures, videos and other files especially when they are stored on your phone memory. An easy way is to get your PC ready, create a folder on it and connect your phone via USB. Now, navigate to your phone memory and copy your file and folders to the new folder on your PC.
When you get a new phone, connect via USB and transfer back from your PC to the phone. Simple as that!
Some software to ease the move
Some phones may offer more of a helping hand when it comes to moving over your stuff. Samsung offers its own app called Smart Switch, which promises to move your messages, contacts, photos, and more over to a new Galaxy phone. The company is so confident about the app, you can watch their funny video on it here.
However, we still feel the strongest option is to keep your critical data in a Google account as the primary home for your email, photos, and contacts. Microsoft, Dropbox, and other services work great as standalone Android apps, but given that it’s Google’s operating system, going Google will always have its own perks.