My mom’s phone died, but these 3 settings helped me get everything back

A few weeks ago, my mother called me from my father’s phone frustrated and on the verge of tears. His Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was completely dead. No matter how many times she tried to charge it or turn it on, she refused to come back to life. I immediately reassured her that nothing was lost. Not her chats about her with family members and group messages with other retired colleagues, not photos of the only international trip she ever took, and not my late grandmother’s voice messages. Not even the phone number of the grocery delivery service.

Let’s put aside the very shameful fact that I – someone who writes about phones for a living – had let my mom use a Galaxy S7 Edge until now. Instead, I’d like to focus on my ingenious foresight and the three very simple settings I had enabled years ago that allowed me to recover everything for her.

“Accidents” tend to happen more often on my parents’ phones than mine.

My parents, like many parents I believe, have a propensity to delete important data and uninstall crucial apps all of a sudden. One second there are all their photos, the next the gallery is empty and they blame the phone for misbehaving. Panic calls about a disappearing weather widget or banking app are not a rare occurrence.

And it’s not like they’re noobs or anything like that: my mom catches me doing the most unexpected nerdy things sometimes – she also used to write entire college-level chemistry exams with all the formulas and multi-level superscripts and subscripts on her. computer when he was still teaching. But let’s say “accidents” tend to happen more frequently on her phone than on any of mine.

Whenever I set up a new phone for a family member, I enable these 3 backups: WhatsApp, Google Photos and the whole phone.

That’s why, many years ago, I had enabled these three backups on her phone: WhatsApp, Google Photos, and the full phone backup. This ensured that no matter what he inadvertently deleted, regardless of whether his phone was lost or stolen or stopped working, I could get his most important data back and restore it.

If you’re new to this and would like to do the same thing on your parents’ phone – or yours, I’m not judging – here are the steps:

  • For WhatsApp backups: Tap the three-dot overflow menu in the top right, then Settings> Chat> Chat Backup> Backup to Google Drive. Choose the Google account you want to save the backup to, then choose whether you want it to happen daily, weekly or monthly. Personally, I don’t include videos and I don’t enable cellular data backups because my parents’ plans are very limited in bandwidth, but feel free to enable them if you wish.
  • For Google Photos backups: Tap the avatar in the top right, then Photo settings> Backup and sync> Backup and sync. Enable it and choose if it should back up to a data connection and the upload size you prefer. The quality of the “storage saver” should be more than enough: it reduces the size of the image or video without any serious loss of quality or detail.
  • For the entire Android phone backup: go to the phone Settings> System> Backup> Google One Backup. Enable it, choose the Google account you want to backup to and make sure each switch is enabled Google account data. This ensures that contacts, calendar events, documents, emails, Keep notes and other crucial information are synced with the cloud as well.

With these three settings, I can restore everything that matters to my mother at any time. And father, aunt and mother-in-law because I did it on their devices too.

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Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

After my mom called me, I mounted my Pixel 5, which I was planning to upgrade to during the slower Christmas season (see, I’m not a bad daughter, just a lazy one). I restored it and restored everything from her account. This reported her apps installed, Wi-Fi networks saved by her Galaxy S7 Edge, every contact, every chat, every photo, every video and every voice message.

These three settings allow me to retrieve everything my mom cares about, whatever happens to her phone.

I can’t tell you how relieved she was to see that nothing was lost. I received a few kisses and she emphatically sang my praises to her entire family and network of friends. It was almost as magical as that time I recovered her unsaved 6 hours of chemistry exam preparation by restoring the temporary Microsoft Word document from the folder I had set up for automatic backup to Google Drive. (Yes, for years I have been honing my backup and recovery skills with my parents because they like to challenge me like that.)

Your parents may be more tech-savvy, less prone to unintentional mistakes, or they may have other crucial apps, but let me tell you this: if you’re reading this article, chances are you know how to get around a phone’s settings and you’re probably better equipped to set up, explain or verify their backup strategy. Just do it. And be sure to ask which data they are interested in and which is saved somewhere. You never know when things will go wrong and, as they say, better safe than sorry.

Do you set backups on your parents’ phones?

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