best online backup for mobile

Smartphones are everywhere and they can hold more data than ever. They are full of photos, videos, contacts, messages and more. Losing the phone, getting it stolen or forgetting to leave it on the beach before going for a swim is far more costly than just the price of it.

To avoid losing your data, you can back it up from your smartphone using online backup services. If you’re new to the topic, you can consult our guide on how to backup Android. It features Google’s native Android Backup Service and IDrive, which is one of the best online backup services for computer backup, too.

IDrive is our top pick and the proprietary apps for Android and iOS didn’t make the cut. That might confuse some of readers, but we’ll talk about why we axed Google below. Before we start our rankings, we’re going to discuss our selection criteria, which we hope will make our process clearer.

If you’ve stumbled here looking for cloud storage, you should consult our best cloud storage services list for ideas. If you don’t know the difference between cloud storage and backup, read our explanation.

The Best Online Backup for Mobile 2019

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$ per month
top features
Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available

What Makes the Best Online Backup For Mobile

If you read our Google Drive review, you’ll learn that we like the platform’s collaboration features, but we’re not fond of the company’s approach to security and privacy. Google has been tied to aiding government surveillance via the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM project. It might not have had much choice, but the matter stands.

On top of that shady privacy history, Google reserves the right to scan and analyze your content for targeted marketing in its terms and conditions.

You can take the matter into your own hands by using tools such as Boxcryptor (read our Boxcryptor review) to encrypt files on your smartphone, but we decided to stick with online backup services that have strong security and privacy and don’t share Google’s lax approach.

Built-in security is far more convenient and you’ll be sure hackers won’t be able to access your files. We took into consideration whether the service offered encryption for your backup and if it was zero-knowledge. Zero-knowledge will prevent anyone besides you, including rogue employees, from reading your files.

Passcode lock is good to have, too, because other people won’t be able to access your storage even if they have your phone.

We considered the quality of the app when it comes to ease of use because a complex user experience can lead to frustration and overlooked files for backup. The opposite is preferred so we looked for an enjoyable and intuitive user experience.

We took into account what the service can backup, too. Though services such as pCloud, Sync.com and other entries in our best cloud storage for photos and best cloud storage for videos articles may offer automatic photo and video upload for your mobile device, online backup services ideally offer broader protection.

Text messages, contacts, call logs and app data backup are capabilities we looked for to varying degrees of success.

We all want to backup more and pay less, so that’s what we looked for from the services we reviewed. On top of that, the more features the plans provide the better. It’s good if the service has a free plan or trial, too. Some services offer plans with unlimited backup space, as well.

The last criterion is platform diversity, which means we gave a nod to apps that can work and backup your computer, too. Unlike many apps in Google Play and the App Store that can only backup your mobile, some backup services on our best online backup services list can do both. We say some because we had to include G Cloud and Degoo, which aren’t on our list.

Best Online Backup for Mobile: IDrive

Screenshot_20190218-155532_IDrive Online

It’s no wonder IDrive’s our top pick because it’s our overall best online backup service. That’s thanks to its great value and security features.

The service provides zero-knowledge protection across all platforms, including mobile. The level of encryption is AES 256-bit, which, for all intents and purposes, can’t be cracked. It has passcode lock, too. If you enable it, you’ll have to enter a four-digit passcode to enter IDrive on mobile.

The app features a big, red “backup” button that takes you to a menu where you can select what you want to backup. From there, you can turn on automatic camera uploads, which works for images and videos. The app has a respectable 4.2-star rating in the Google Play store and over 1 million downloads.

It’s easy to automatically backup all content of a given type. You simply tap the checkbox beside it in the app.

You can backup photos, videos, contacts, texts, call logs and calendar on Android. You can do the same on iOS, except for texts and call logs. If your desired files don’t fall into those categories, you can use the “other files” option to select specific files. The file browser works fine, but it would benefit from the addition of folder selection.

Mobile backup with IDrive only occurs once per day, meaning continuous backup isn’t an option. That’s annoying, especially because you can turn off the use of your mobile data plan so backup operations don’t chew through your monthly data allotment. That said, one backup a day is the norm for mobile backup apps, so IDrive isn’t alone.

You can restrict backup to running when you charge your phone, too, if you don’t want it to interfere with your use.

Interestingly, IDrive lets you share your backed up files. You can do so by performing a long press on any file or folder you’ve backed up. That will fire up the share menu, where you can enter the email addresses of your recipients, along with a message. You can also view your files offline. You can enable sync to synchronize files across your devices, as well.

Other Reasons We Like IDrive

You won’t have to pay much to enjoy IDrive because its prices are competitive. It is among the best free cloud backup services.

IDrive Personal has two variants. The first one lets you store up to 2TB of content for $52 a year. The second lets you store 5TB for $75. You also get 2TB or 5TB of sync space, depending on which you choose, making for a total of 4TB or 10TB of space. On top of that, both let you backup unlimited devices.

If you have a business, the IDrive Business plan will suit your needs more. It starts at $75 for unlimited devices and users and provides 250GB of backup space. You can increase the space up to 12.5TB. You can opt to pay monthly on all but the two cheapest business plans.

Before deciding to subscribe for the long-term, you can use the free plan, which provides 5GB of online backup space.

IDrive works on Windows, macOS and Linux, making is one of the few services that support all three. The desktop experience has a slight learning curve because IDrive requires you to manually select files for backup unlike unlimited services, which backup everything. That said, it’s not difficult to use. You can read more about it in our IDrive review.

Pros:

  • Private encryption
  • Affordable
  • Backup for unlimited devices

Cons:

  • File explorer needs work
Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available

G Cloud

No, G Cloud isn’t a Google app, though it’s understandable that you might think so. It doesn’t backup to Google Drive, but rather Amazon Web Services. It’s not among our best online backup services because it can’t backup your computer, but it does a good job protecting your mobile data.

G Cloud uses AES 256-bit to encrypt your files, but it lacks private encryption. There’s a passcode lock feature that helps protect your account, too.

The app opens with the home tab, which shows how much storage you’ve used. To select what you need to backup, you have to use the “data” tab and choose specific files and folders. Once you do so, you can use the home tab to backup and restore the data you need. The app is clear and won’t have you scratching your head while trying to find what you need.

Users on Google’s Play Store are happy with the quality of the user experience and features because the app has a 4.6 rating and over 5 million downloads.

G Cloud lets you select many types of data to backup including contacts, call logs, documents, system settings, browser data, photos and videos. You can edit the file types G Cloud selects for backup from the advanced settings menu. Categories you can edit include photos, videos, music and documents. To do that, you can select a specific category to add or delete a file type.

As with IDrive, there’s no continuous backup, but you can force backups to run if needed, set it to auto-upload when charging or set a schedule. The schedule lets you set a specific time, day and battery level needed to run backup.

Other Reasons We Like G Cloud

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 an unlimited backup plan that only costs $3.99 per month and can be used to backup five devices, including iPhones. Data can be migrated between those devices with a single tap, too.

If you don’t need unlimited backup space and you’d like to save money, you can use the 100GB annual plan for $11.99.

There’s no desktop app, which would allow you to protect the files on your computer, but that’s a minor drawback because G Cloud is a great service for mobile data backup.

Pros:

  • Unlimited backup for five phones
  • Uses AWS for fast backup
  • Backup text messages

Cons:

  • Not zero-knowledge

Degoo

Degoo works on Android and iOS devices, as well as Windows and macOS, but we can’t recommend it because of clumsy design decisions and the lack of a backup scheduler. You can get the details about its shortcomings on desktop in our Degoo review. For better alternatives that support Windows, read our best online backup for Windows article.

Still, Degoo uses AES 256-bit to encrypt your files and provides private encryption with its Premium plan. To use it, you have to choose a passphrase and upload files to your “top secret folder.”

The Degoo mobile experience is much better than the desktop one. Its design is similar to other apps on mobile, but it still manages to be confusing because it requires you to complete more steps to start backing up your data than necessary. When you open the app, you see the “my feed” tab, which shows photos and videos from your phone.

To select what you want to backup, you need to go to the “my files menu” tab and tap the blue circle to upload from there. You can choose to upload files or folders, but not specific types of files.

To do that, you need to open the menu on the right and tap “my uploads.” The automatic uploads category lets you upload your photos, videos, documents and music. SMS, contacts, calendar and other data types aren’t available.

That didn’t stop Degoo from having a 4.5-star rating and over 10 million downloads in the Play Store, though. The fact that it gives you 100GB of online backup space, which is far more than other services, helped with that.

Like the previous two apps, Degoo doesn’t have continuous backup, but it doesn’t allow you to schedule your backups, either. The options available are to set it to run only when connected to WiFi or only when charging.

Other Reasons We Like Degoo

Degoo can help you clear storage space on your device by uploading your photos, then shrinking them when you view them on your phone. The full-size photos will still be available for access on Degoo.

You can add to the 100GB of free backup space by referring friends. You can make referrals until you hit the 500GB, which is quite generous. Plus, you can use the free plan on unlimited devices. Keep in mind that you need to access your account every 90 days, though, or Degoo will delete your data.

If that’s a concern, you can subscribe to the 2TB plan for $10 per month. You can try the plan by using the free 14-day trial before subscribing. That said, it’s the same amount of storage IDrive offers for twice the price.

Still, the free plan offers a lot and the user experience doesn’t detract much from the overall impression.

Pros:

  • 100GB free backup
  • Great referral program
  • Zero-knowledge encryption

Cons:

  • No SMS, calendar or contacts backup on mobile
  • No scheduling
  • User experience needs polishing
Starts from $ 093 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available

BigMIND Home

BigMIND Home is another online backup service from the company that created Zoolz Home Backup and G Cloud. It is similar to G Cloud, but it has novel features on the desktop and mobile clients that its counterpart doesn’t. That said, its user experience doesn’t quite match G Cloud’s.

BigMIND Home will take good care of your files because it uses zero-knowledge AES 256-bit to encrypt them at rest.

The mobile app starts with the “discover” tab selected. It didn’t show us anything, no matter what we uploaded. To select what you want to upload, you need to use the menu on the left and tap “data selection.”

From there, you can select contacts, call logs, photos, messages, videos and other file types. After that, you need to tap the “save” button to save your selection. Then, you will see the “dashboard” tab, which lets you upload by tapping “upload now.” A simple upload button in the data selection window would make the process more convenient.

BigMIND Home isn’t among the more popular apps, with just over 10,000 downloads in the Play Store. It has a 4.6-star rating, though.

It doesn’t have continuous backup, but you can set it to run when charging, on a schedule or when connected to WiFi. You can set the schedule for a specific time, day and battery level.

BigMIND Home can recognize faces and things on your photos, so it lets you filter them by those categories. When it detects faces, you can add names to them, so you can search for people more easily. The same goes for things.

You can use BigMIND Home to connect to social media apps, such as Facebook and Instagram, and backup the data you have on them. The feature isn’t limited to just social media, but also works with cloud storage services, such as Box, Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.

Other Reasons We Like BigMIND Home

BigMIND Home has several premium plans. The 16GB is 99 cents per month and lets you have one user who can backup three mobile devices and three computers. The 100GB plan lets you do the same for $2.99 per month. The 500GB plan costs $6.99 per month and can accommodate three users, which can backup nine computers and six mobile devices.

The final plan offers 1TB of backup space for five users. It can backup unlimited mobile devices and computers and stream high-definition videos. It’s $12.99 per month.

You can use the free 5GB plan to test the service before subscribing. If that’s not enough, you can convince friends to join and get 1GB of additional space for each person that does.

BigMIND Home doesn’t have the best value, but it does have powerful features and a passable user experience. You can learn how it works for desktop in our BigMIND Home review.

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Detects faces & things in images
  • Can backup from other online services

Cons:

  • Clunky user experience
  • Poor value
Starts from $ 299 per month for 100 GB
Free plan available

SOS Online Backup

SOS Online Backup is a decent service, but the subscription costs are expensive, to say the least. That doesn’t have to be the case for smartphone backup, though, because you can opt for a cheaper plan. We’ll talk more about the value below, but let’s talk security first.

The app doesn’t encrypt files by default, but you can enable it to and we recommend doing so. SOS Online Backup uses AES 256-bit encryption and lets you manage your key, which makes it zero-knowledge.

When you open the app, you see a simple start page with an option to “protect” that lets you select categories. You can backup images, video, music and app data automatically and select any other folder or file for backup manually. You can’t do that for text messages or call logs, though.

The design feels outdated and isn’t as intuitive as the other apps on our list.

Play Store users agree with the place SOS Online Backup occupies on this list, giving it a 3.8-star rating. The number of downloads is just over 10,000.

There’s no continuous backup, but you can set a schedule or restrict it to running only when connected to WiFi. If you choose to schedule, you can set the backup to run at a specific time and date or every day.

Other Reasons We Like SOS Online Backup

There’s a 5GB free plan and a 14-day free trial for the premium accounts. We advise you to try it before you buy because the premium plans are among the worst on the backup market. For a mere 50GB of backup space, you need to dish out $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year. The other plans aren’t better, but if you want the complete list, read our SOS Online Backup review.

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption

Cons:

  • Feels outdated
  • Expensive
Starts from $ 375 per month for 50 GB
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Final Thoughts

There aren’t many quality apps to choose from, so we had to fill the ranks by including SOS Online Backup. That said, you can still pick and choose because the other apps are good.

IDrive is our top pick because its plans have great value, it has zero-knowledge encryption, lets you backup unlimited devices and provides a strong user experience.

Our second pick, G Cloud, doesn’t have zero-knowledge encryption, which is why it’s behind IDrive. Still, it offers unlimited backup space for only $3.99 and is enjoyable to use.

Degoo is the best option if you don’t want to pay a dime because it offers a generous 100GB of free backup space. The Premium plan isn’t cheap, but it has zero-knowledge encryption. Degoo can’t upload SMS or contacts, though, and its mobile interface needs work.

The same can be said of BigMIND Home because the app can be confusing at times, but it does offer interesting features. It’s not cheap, but its prices are far better than our last pick, SOS Online Backup.

What do you think about online backup for mobile? Do you like our top pick or do you lean toward the free plan that Degoo offers? If you use a service we missed, what is it? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

Starts from $ 434 per month for 2000 GB
Free plan available
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