From photos, videos, text message, contacts to call logs, the rise of the smartphone has greatly increased how much data the average person generates. Losing that phone, or watching in frozen horror as it sinks to the bottom of your toilet, can result in a loss that’s far more costly on a personal level than the price of the phone itself.
Coming up, we’ll be taking on the topic of best online backup for mobile. For those who need a little help walking through the process, we also have a guide on how to backup Android that features both Google’s native Android Backup Service and IDrive, one of the best online backup services for computer backup, too.
While using Android, or iOS for that matter, to backup your phone didn’t make our list below, IDrive ranks as our top pick. That may leave some Google fans scratching your heads, but we assure you the reasons for leaving it off the list are sound. Before we get to our rankings, a discussion of our selection criteria should help put our decisions into more perspective.
The Best Online Backup for Mobile 2018
- Continuous Backup
- Incremental Backup
- External Drive Backup
- NAS Backup
- Unlimited Backup
- Private Encryption
What Makes the Best Backup For Mobile?
Read our Google Drive review, and you’ll find that while we love the platform’s collaboration features, we’re less than impressed with the company’s approach to security and privacy.
For one thing, Google has been tied to aiding government surveillance via the NSA’s PRISM project. Just as bad is that, per Google’s terms and conditions, the company grants itself the right to scan and analyze your content for targeted marketing.
While there are some steps you can take to sidestep these efforts, like using Boxcryptor (read our Boxcryptor review) to encrypt files on your smartphone, we decided to stick with online backup services that have a strong security profile and don’t have Google’s reputation for shenanigans.
Of course, we also considered what the service can actually backup. While services like pCloud and other entries in our best cloud storage for photos article may offer automatic photo upload for your mobile device, online backup services ideally offer broader protection. Text messages, contacts, call logs and app data backup are all capabilities we looked for, with varying degrees of success.
We also considered the quality of the app itself when it comes to ease of use, since a difficult process can lead to overlooked files. Then, of course, there’s cost. Some of the selections below have free plans, but for most people those offerings won’t be enough to protect all of their files, so you’ll probably be looking at a subscription.
Finally, we went for platform diversity. While there are many mobile-only backup apps to be found in Google Play and the App Store, we prefer tools that can protect your smartphone and computer, too. For that, we dug deep into our online backup reviews library for services with Android and iOS support.
The only pick we made below that isn’t in our library is G Cloud. However, the team behind it, Genie9, have developed both Zoolz Home backup and Zoolz Intelligent Cloud, both strong desktop backup tools. Now that we’ve properly explained our mindset, let’s get to the picks.
Best Online Backup for Mobile: IDrive
IDrive provides easy backup of your photos, videos, contacts, texts, call logs and calendar on Android, and the same on iOS, minus texts and call logs. It’s easy to automatically backup all content of a given type simply by tapping the toggle beside it in the app.
There’s also an “other files” option that lets you backup any other file type.
Mobile backup with IDrive only occurs once per day, meaning continuous backup isn’t an option. That’s a bit annoying, especially since you can turn off the use of your mobile data plan so that backup operations don’t chew through your monthly data allotment. However, one backup a day is generally the norm for mobile backup apps, so IDrive isn’t alone here.
IDrive does let you pick what time your backup runs, and you can even set a separate schedule for each backup category. Also, if you want to run a manual backup at any time, that’s an option.
Overall, the IDrive interface is extremely easy to use, with more settings options than you get natively with Android or iOS, but it’s the security we like best. IDrive lets you enable private, end-to-end encryption for your mobile backup, which is sometimes called zero-knowledge encryption. It also uses the 256-AES encryption protocol, which for practical purposes is uncrackable.
The IDrive mobile app in Google Play has over one million downloads recorded, far more than most backup apps, and a respectable 4.2 average customer rating. You can use a generous 5GB of free backup to test it before buying.
Other Reasons We Like IDrive
If you do decide to upgrade to an IDrive subscription, you’re in luck. As detailed in our IDrive review, the company offers both 2TB and 5TB backup plans for a reasonable cost, and those plans can be used to backup unlimited devices. That includes not only Android and iOS, but Windows and MacOS, too. Basically, you’re getting an all-in one backup solution suitable for your whole family.
On top of that, with an IDrive subscription, you get a matching allotment of cloud storage space that can be used for file sync between devices. IDrive is one of the few cloud services to offer both online backup and cloud storage, improving its value even more.
- Private encryption
- Affordable plans for unlimited devices
- Backup text messages
- Backup can run slow
- No two-factor authentication
Despite what the name might have you thinking, G Cloud isn’t a Google-made backup service, or even backup to Google Cloud (it uses Amazon AWS). No, G Cloud is the mobile backup solution of Genie9, developers of one of the more innovative desktop backup tools available, which we detail in our Zoolz review.
The G Cloud app can be used to backup everything you’d want, including contacts, messages, photos, videos, music, documents, call logs and app data, with customizable scheduling. Like IDrive, continuous backup isn’t offered, but you can force backups to run if needed.
For security, G Cloud uses 256-bit AES. However, the absence of private encryption is a big miss, and why we ranked it below IDrive. There is, at least, a passcode option you can use to prevent any one who steals your phone from accessing your backup data.
Other Reasons We Like G Cloud
Like IDrive, G Cloud is a popular pick in the Google Play app store with over one million downloads. It actually has a higher average customer rating than IDrive, too, at an impressive 4.6.
You only get 1GB of free backup with G Cloud, but you can earn up to 10GB with referrals. If you need more G Cloud has a unlimited backup plan that only costs $3.99 per month and can be used to backup five devices, including iPhones. Data can be easily migrated between those devices, too, with a single tap.
- Unlimited backup for five phones
- Uses Amazon AWS for fast backup
- Backup text messages
- Not zero knowledge
- No desktop app
Acronis True Image provides a nice advantage over IDrive in that it can be used to backup your phone wirelessly to your computer or NAS device if you don’t want backup to the cloud. The result is a faster backup. Alternatively, you could backup both to your computer and the cloud if you want to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule (three file copies, two local and one in the cloud).
True Image doesn’t have as much of a fanbase as IDrive or G Cloud, at least going by its modest 50,000 downloads via Google Play. Some of the user reviews have not been kind, either, with buggy PC connections a common complaint. However, we tried it out and were able to backup with no problems.
Our issue with the mobile app is that it can’t backup app data, or documents for that matter. Instead, you’re limited to contacts, photos, videos and text messages. The app does support migrating data from iOS to Android for those that decide to ditch their iPhones, or vice versa.
Overall, though, we really like the design of the mobile app, and if you’re going with Acronis True Image for your computer backup, you might as well take advantage of its better security to keep your personal data secure, while letting Android Backup Service or iOS handle your phone settings and app data.
Other Reasons We Like Acronis True Image
On the topic of using True Image to backup your computer, we heartily approve. True Image has come a long way in the past few years, and offers in our experience much faster computer backup than most other home backup solutions. We have the details of our speed tests in our Acronis True Image review.True Image isn’t has cost-friendly as IDrive and subscriptions don’t support unlimited devices. However, the pricing is far from the worse we’ve seen (250GB costs $50 a year), and the fast backups make it worth spending extra.
- Backup mobile data to computer & the cloud
- Fast backup speeds
- Nice app design
- Doesn’t backup documents (mobile)
- Doesn’t backup app data (mobile)
- Doesn’t backup unlimited devices
As an online backup tool for you computer, Degoo is far too flawed to recommend seriously. We detail our problems with the service in our Degoo review, so we won’t recount them here except to say that they’re glaring enough that we almost feel bad about recommending Degoo for mobile backup.
However, the Degoo mobile experience is actually quite good. Nearly 200,000 five-star rankings out of 250,000 total rankings in Google Play concurs with our assessment. Granted, the fact that Degoo gives you 100GB of free online backup, far more than any other online backup service, probably has something to do with that.
For those just looking to backup their smartphone, that’s probably more than enough. Unfortunately, the Degoo Android and iOS apps don’t provide text, call log or contact backup, just backup for photos, documents, videos and music, plus an option for “other files.”
Degoo does, however, provide zero-knowledge encryption to protect your files using 256-bit AES. Being located in privacy-friendly Sweden doesn’t hurt either.
Other Reasons We Like Degoo
In addition to your 100GB of free backup, you get 3GB per referral if you can convince others to come on board. You can keep that up until you hit a cap of 500GB, which is pretty generous we have to say.
We should point out that you need to access your Degoo account every 84 days or your data could be deleted. If that’s a concern, you can sign up for a 2TB plan for $10 a month that will store your files indefinitely. However, at that price, you might as well go with IDrive, which costs half as much for the same amount of backup space.
- 100GB free backup
- Great referral program
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- No SMS or contacts backup (mobile)
- Terrible desktop backup
- Unresponsive customer support
SOS Online Backup has the makings of a decent overall online backup service, but the subscription costs are a “bit” much at $400 a year for 1TB of backup. For smartphone backup, though, you can opt for a lesser plan like 100GB for $80 a year. Still not great, but if you can swallow the cost, the Android and iOS apps work well.
You can backup images, video, music and app data automatically, and can select any other folder or file for backup manually. Text message and call log backup aren’t features.
SOS Online Backup has an option for zero-knowledge encryption with 256-bit AES, so it’s a good way to keep your files protected from prying eyes.
Other Reasons We Like SOS Online Backup
While not as quick as Acronis True Image, our speed tests using SOS Online Backup came out better than average when we were putting together our SOS Online Backup review. We also like the fact that the desktop app lets you turn on unlimited versioning. Sadly, there’s no free backup plan here, with the only option to try the service out being a free 15-day trial.
- Reasonably fast backup
- Nice mobile app
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- No SMS or contacts backup (mobile)
- No continuous backup (desktop or mobile)
For those that don’t want to rely on Google or Apple to protect their mobile data, there are plenty of options out there for Android and iOS backup. While G Cloud and Acronis True Image are both interesting picks, the best of the bunch is IDrive.
IDrive backs up everything we’d want it to on Android, and almost everything we’d want on iOS. It’s also cheap and secure. As an added bonus, the service ranks as one of the best online backup for home tools. Have a better alternative than IDrive for mobile backup? Share your tip in the comments below, and thanks for reading.