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How to Back Up and Restore Android Using Google One

The Google One app icon on an Android phone.

Moving from one phone to another can be as traumatic as changing schools or moving to a new city. To make the transition less painful, you can use Google One to back up and restore Android.

What is Google One?

Every Google account includes 15 GB of storage shared across Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos. According to Google, the only files that don’t consume your free space are “Shared with Me” items, along with photos and videos stored in “High Quality.” Any media you purchased on Google Play doesn’t use your free space either.

You can get additional Google One storage if you pay a monthly or annual fee. As of August 2018, you can increase the storage capacity from 100 GB to 30 TB. Other benefits include customer support, family sharing (up to six people), Google Store benefits, and hotel discounts.

You can choose from the following plans:

  • 100 GB: $1.99 per month, or $19.99 annually
  • 200 GB: $2.99 per month, or $29.99 annually
  • 2 TB: $9.99 per month, or $99.99 annually
  • 10 TB: $99.99 per month
  • 20 TB: $199.99 per month
  • 30 TB: $299.99 per month

You can download and install the Google One app from Google Play for free. However, when you open the app, you’re prompted to select a subscription. You can’t use this app if you want to stick with the free, 15 GB plan.

How to Back Up Your Android Device Using Google One

After installation, the first time you launch Google One app, it prompts you with three toggles to back up “Multimedia Messages,” “Photos and Videos,” and to “Back Up Using Cellular Data.” Enable these to suit your preferences. Google One enables the “Device Data” option by default.

When you’re finished, tap “Next.”

Toggle-on the back-up options you prefer, and then tap "Next."

A permission prompt appears. Tap “Allow” to grant “Photos” access to your photos, media, and files.

Tap "Allow."

The app loads with the Home tab open by default. The first item you see is the “Device Backup” card.

If you’re ready to save your phone’s media in its current state, tap “Back Up Now.” If you want to make changes (now or later), tap “See Details.”

If you want to make changes (now or later), tap "See Details."

If you tapped “See Details,” you can change the back-up settings on the following screen. If necessary, toggle the “Device Data,” “Multimedia Messages, or “Photos and Videos” options on or off. You can also toggle-On or -Off the “Backing Up Using Cellular Data” option.

When you’re done, tap “Back Up Now.”

Toggle-On the back-up options you prefer, and then tap "Back Up Now."

In the future, if you want to keep your current settings, you can just tap “Back Up Now” on the main page.

Keep in mind Google One doesn’t back up any media sent through the phone manufacturer’s texting app automatically. You have to save any attached media manually to Google Photos, which is backed up automatically if you enabled the “Photos and Videos” back-up option.

However, if you use Google’s Messages app as your default messaging client, Google One will back up everything automatically.

So, if you previously used Samsung’s app to send media, like stickers and videos, via text, you can install Google’s client and set it as the default to back up that media. You won’t see the media in either client until you restore from the Google One backup, though.

Restore Your Device Using Google One

If you’re moving from an old phone or replacing a damaged unit, Android’s setup process already includes a restore option if you enabled automatic backups and restores for your Google account. Tap the backup created for your device. Next, select the backup items you want to return to the phone, including apps, call history, device settings, and messages, and then tap “Restore.”

When your device is up and running, open the Google One app. You might see a “Restore” card under the “Device Backup” card. If you do, tap “Restore Backup” to get started.

Tap "Restore Backup."

If you don’t see a “Restore” card, tap “Settings” in the app’s toolbar. Next, tap “Restore from Your Backup” in the “Storage Settings” section.

Tap "Settings," and then tap "Restore from Your Backup."

On the following screen, tap the “Restore” links to restore your images and videos in their original quality, and all media sent through Google’s Messages app.

Tap "Restore" next to each option.

Kevin Parrish Kevin Parrish
Kevin Parrish has been writing online since the mid-1990s. For a decade, he wrote reviews, previews, news, and more covering PC and console gaming. In 2008, he began covering hardware and devices after Tom's Hardware closed its dedicated gaming website. He's published news, reviews, how-to guides, and op-ed pieces on websites like Digital Trends, Android Authority, Tom's Hardware, Tom's Guide, and Maximum PC.
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