7 Best Android Backup Apps in 2021: Protecting Your Phone Data

Although making backups can seem like a hassle, it’s the best protection against breakages and theft. In the past, this meant connecting your phone to a desktop and dealing with complex folder structures. However, with these Android backup apps, you can upload your files to the cloud; no USB cable needed.

Robin Barber
By Robin Barber (Assistant Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-10-05T12:21:53+00:00

As mobile storage capacities have gotten larger, it’s become easier to store your important photos and documents on your phone for a long time. This has made backing up your mobile as important as any other device. That’s why we’ve gone through to find the best Android backup apps to keep your data safe.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sync.com and pCloud are great choices for a secure backup of your pictures and personal files.
  • For a more comprehensive backup, you should go with IDrive, Icedrive or Google Drive.
  • You can also use many of these services to create a backup of files on your desktop.

Normally, we would recommend one of our favorite backup providers for Windows, such as Backblaze or Acronis. However, since many online backup services don’t have an app — or the app only lets you view and manage a desktop backup — our number one for this list is Sync.com, a cloud storage service.

There are big differences between cloud storage and online backups, but since the things that matter on a mobile phone are your personal files — such as photos, videos, downloads and documents — cloud storage services can make for a great backup. However, there are still some options closer to normal backups if that’s what you want.

  • 07/16/2021

    Updated article to include pricing tables and up-to-date information, as well as rearranging the list to reflect updates to the apps. 

  • There’s no app that will suit everyone’s needs. However, for security, Sync.com and pCloud are good choices. For a more complete backup, you should go with IDrive, Icedrive or Google Drive.

  • It’s pretty difficult to backup everything on an Android device, but with the built-in Google Drive backup and a more thorough service like IDrive or Icedrive, you can get the most important stuff easily.

  • If you choose an Android backup app that has a desktop version and make a backup of your phone, you can usually open this app on your computer and copy all the files over or use any syncing features that come with the app.

The Best Android Backup Apps

What Makes the Best Android Backup Software? 

Since you’ll likely keep all of your important files in the backup, the primary criteria are the service’s security and how well it protects your privacy. However, we’ll also consider things like the features, pricing, ease of use, speed and customer support to get a well-rounded list with something for everyone.

  1. Sync.com — Best way to keep a backup of your personal files safe
  2. pCloud — Customizable backups with plenty of security options
  3. IDrive — Backup app that makes it easy to both backup and restore data
  4. Icedrive — Affordable backup that can hold your entire file system
  5. MEGA — Feature-rich and generous with storage space
  6. Google Drive — Android’s easy-to-use, built-in backup provider 
  7. Dropbox — Fast upload speeds and great syncing features

Since security is a major focus, all the apps we chose have some kind of encryption — preferably zero-knowledge encryption — and have some security features to keep your data safe. You can get all of them through the Google Play Store, but you can also find APK files online if you prefer to sideload them.

1. Sync.com

best android backup sync.com
Sync.com makes it easy to upload files and keep everything safe

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Easy to use
  • Good value

Cons:

  • No monthly plans
  • Slower syncing speeds

Using Sync.com is a breeze. You can add files with three taps, plus it has a fairly intuitive interface and everything benefits from zero-knowledge encryption by default. You can choose to use the 5GB free plan or pay just $8 a month for 2,000GB of storage across many devices.

With Sync.com, you can also create a live backup of your pictures and videos. This is easy to set up and a great use of the 5GB free storage space. Although it would be nice to be able to backup more automatically, you can manually save any downloads, documents or other files in the app.

Keep Your Data Secure With Sync.com

Not only does Sync.com come with free zero-knowledge encryption for all of your data, but the app also has the option to add a passcode lock and a vault. If you choose to store your data in the vault, you can only access it on that device, so simply guessing your account password isn’t enough for a hacker to get your data.

Sync.com checks all the boxes and easily tops our list of the best cloud storage services for security. It’s simply a must-have if you want to keep your important documents away from prying eyes but don’t want to rely on local storage. For more information on this provider, read our full Sync.com review.

Best offline storage Sync CTA
Sync.com is a cheap and effective way to protect your data.

Although its free version doesn’t have the most space, the paid plans are some of the cheapest in terms of price per gigabyte. At just $8 per month for 2,000GB of storage, almost no other provider can compete in value and premium features; it’s just a shame there’s no monthly plan.

2. pCloud 

best android backup pcloud
pCloud is a great alternative to Sync.com for creating a secure backup.

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Customizable live image backups
  • Great for desktop backups

Cons:

  • Might miss some media folders
  • Expensive if you want private encryption

Much like Sync.com, the pCloud mobile app is best for backing up photos and videos. The 10GB free space and live backup of your media folders are great, and there’s the standard option to add specific files manually. You can even use your account to backup your PC with the pCloud backup desktop app, which you can read about in our full pCloud review.

Overall, pCloud is pretty similar to Sync.com, except with one major downside. If you want zero-knowledge encryption, you not only have to pay an extra $3.99 per month, but you’ll also need to use the dedicated “pCloud crypto” folder. This isn’t much of a hurdle, but it’s worth considering if you want this extra security.

pCloud’s Selective Automatic Upload 

Unlike most other apps, pCloud lets you choose to not backup all of your image folders. This means you can backup your precious family photos taken on your camera without filling your backup with the cat videos and memes that you’ve downloaded.

However, as it looks for these media folders automatically — and you can’t add specific folders — it may miss things like your WhatsApp images folder, so be sure to check that the backup includes anything important.

pcloud home page
pCloud is a fairly cheap service, although it costs extra for zero-knowledge encryption.

pCloud hits pretty close to Sync.com in price, and the monthly and lifetime options are great to have. However, if you want access to the “pCloud crypto” folder, you’ll have to pay an extra $3.99 a month, which is quite a significant additional cost compared to other zero-knowledge providers.

3. IDrive

best android backup idrive
IDrive is a simple way to automatically backup more than just photos.

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Powerful backup features
  • Great for desktop backups

Cons:

  • No monthly plan for individuals
  • Limited control over the backup files

Although you have to choose to set your own private key, IDrive has free zero-knowledge encryption for all of your data; hence its high-security rating in our full IDrive review. Combined with the ability to backup your call logs, text messages, calendar, media and more on a regular schedule, this makes it a powerful backup app.

You can also add extra files and view them in IDrive, but you won’t be able to upload full folders manually or sync them to other devices. This limits its utility and your ability to manage the backup. However, if you prefer a more hands-off approach to keeping your backup safe and up to date, it’s easily one of the best backup apps for Android.

Backup and Restore With IDrive

Not only does IDrive include a wide variety of files in its automatic backup, but with a few taps, you can do a backup restore for any of the eight preset categories. This means you can easily restore lost files — even in the free app — and don’t have to worry about your music files going in the wrong folder or if your SMS backup will sync to your messaging app. It’ll just happen.

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Using IDrive is a cheap way to backup lots of data.

IDrive isn’t the cheapest online backup software, but 5,000GB for $5.79 a month is still a great deal. If you don’t mind the more hands-off approach to what’s backed up and want to backup a PC, IDrive can do it all on the cheap.

4. Icedrive

best android backup icedrive
Icedrive is great if you want lots of control over your backup.

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Accepts folder uploads
  • Affordable, low-storage plans

Cons:

  • Limited automatic backup 
  • Private encryption only with paid plans

Icedrive hasn’t been around as long as many of its competitors and lacks some features as a result. However, it still gets a lot right: such as the zero-knowledge encryption with all paid plans, a 10GB free plan and the ability to backup your documents, audio files, camera images and videos, although it doesn’t include any downloaded pictures.

You also have the ability to manually backup whole folders — a feature that is surprisingly rare — and a 150GB plan for just $19.99 per year. This makes it one of the cheapest ways to backup your phone’s file system while still being able to view and adjust where files are within the app. If you want more details on this provider, read our full Icedrive review.

Manually Backup Files and Folders With Icedrive

Most backup apps will either backup a preset selection of folders or only let you upload files. This is fine for just putting photos into cloud storage, but Icedrive goes a step further. It lets you save folders and files inside the app. Folders will even automatically backup anything you add at a later date, so you don’t need to constantly update it to keep all of your data safe.

icedrive hard drive space
Icedrive comes with one of the cheapest plans available if 150GB is enough for you.

Unlike other services that just offer big plans for small prices, Icedrive also offers small plans for tiny prices. If you’re just backing up one smartphone, the 150GB plan for $1.67 per month will be plenty, and the one-off payment of $99 for lifetime access makes it more worthwhile.

5. MEGA

best android backup mega
MEGA is a great free backup app for large photo albums.

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Large free plan
  • Plenty of features

Cons:

  • Limited live backup
  • Mediocre user experience
  • Expensive

MEGA has always been a fairly popular file-sharing site, but over the years, it has grown into a powerful cloud storage service with some decent backup options as well. Plus, it has zero-knowledge encryption, a built-in secure chat feature and 20GB of free storage with extra unlockable space available. If these features interest you, learn more by reading our full MEGA review.

However, MEGA does have one major flaw as a backup app: it only accepts camera photos automatically. You can upload anything else as individual files if you have the patience, but MEGA really shines if you’re the kind of user to take a lot of photos with your camera and only want them backed up.

MEGA’s Live Chat 

Unlike other zero-knowledge backup apps, MEGA also uses its private encryption for secure chats. The app supports messages, voice and video calls and you can connect your contacts to invite them directly. It’s not the only end-to-end encrypted chat app, but for an add-on to a secure backup solution, it’s worth considering.

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MEGA has a generous free plan but is otherwise pretty expensive.

MEGA offers one of the largest free plans, especially considering the additional space you can get with the achievements. However, once you get into the paid plans, it’s a little more expensive than other apps. The prices aren’t crazy for what it gives you, but there are cheaper options if you look elsewhere.

6. Google Drive 

best android backup google drive
Google Drive is a great, no-hassle backup provider built right into your phone.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Can sync to new devices easily

Cons:

  • No private encryption
  • No way to check what’s been backed up automatically

Although the Google Drive app itself doesn’t have a live backup feature and only lets you upload files manually, Android phones come with a built-in backup feature connected to your Google account. You can find this by following our guide to backing up Android phones, and it’ll save things like your contacts, SMS messages, system settings and app data.

This is one of the few ways to backup various hidden files that aren’t easy to access without giving an app root access. However, this also comes with no private encryption and no way to check that your important files are backed up without also backing them up manually. If the weaker security isn’t a problem to you, read our full Google Drive review for more information.  

Google Drive Backup and Restore 

Since every Android smartphone has Google Drive, you can be sure that your new phone will accept your personal data. You won’t even need to download an app. Just sign in and click restore to import your app data, settings and texts, with photos and other documents being accessible from the preinstalled “Drive” and “Photos” apps.

google drive homepage
Google Drive is pretty cheap but comes with no zero-knowledge encryption.

Google Drive isn’t quite as cheap as Icedrive, as it only gives you 100GB for your $1.69 per month when paid yearly. However, as things like the automatic Android backups don’t count toward your used space, even the free 15GB may end up being more than enough.

7. Dropbox

best android backup dropbox
Dropbox is a decent backup app with high speeds and good sharing features.

Pros:

  • Block-level sync
  • Great sharing & syncing features

Cons:

  • No zero-knowledge encryption
  • Very limited free plan
  • Expensive

Much like MEGA, Dropbox limits you to only making a cloud backup of your camera folder, so you’ll have to upload everything else manually. However, Dropbox does collect all of your images into the “upload photos and videos” section, so making a backup with just your media files is a little easier than otherwise.

It also suffers from a rather limited free plan — only 2GB of storage — and no zero-knowledge encryption. This lack of private encryption allows Dropbox to use block-level sync to speed up the backup process after the initial run, but given the checkered history of Dropbox security, you’ll have to consider if you prefer speed or privacy.  

Move Data With Ease With Dropbox Transfer

Dropbox Transfer is the rather impressive sharing feature built right into Dropbox. You can use it to quickly move your backup to a PC or another Android device when you need to restore it. It doesn’t even require you to log in on the second device as long as you have the link. To learn more about Dropbox and its various sharing features, read our full Dropbox review.

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Dropbox is a little expensive but can be worth it for the extra sharing features.

The Dropbox free plan isn’t exactly generous, and its paid plans have a similar cost to MEGA. This means that while it isn’t quite competitive with Sync.com and pCloud, if you really need those sharing features and high upload speeds, you’re still getting a reasonable price if you go for the yearly plans.

Final Thoughts 

There are plenty of good backup apps for Android devices, although Sync.com and pCloud take the top two spots. So whether you just need to keep your photos safe or want your backup data to include everything, there’s an option for you. You won’t even have to rely on sketchy apps with no decent, zero-knowledge encryption to get a good deal or store all of your data.

Since many of these apps are also great for use on a PC, you should also read our guides to the best cloud storage services and the best online backup providers for desktops. That way, you can take advantage of the extra features and space that the various paid plans provide.  

Also, in case you need it, we have a guide on how to recover data from a broken phone.

Have you used any of these Android backup apps in the past? Do you agree with our list of the best backup apps? Were there any good apps that we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.