How to Backup Your Windows Phone 8 Data Automatically

It is easy to lose your smartphone or have it stolen by someone. And what can you do if this happens to you? Is there any way to restore your data and use it on another phone? Luckily, Windows Phone 8 has a built-in backup feature that can be set up and used with ease. Let's see how it works so that you won't have to lose your data ever again.

What Will Your Windows Phone Back Up?

Windows Phone 8 gives its users the option to backup the following types of items:

  • Photos and videos
  • Text messages and call history
  • Phone settings (related to Internet Explorer, location, lock screen, Speech, etc.)
  • Accounts that you've set up
  • Internet Explorer bookmarks

However, there are some quirks you should know about the way Windows Phone 8 saves these things:

  • Your apps will be saved, but their data (i.e. game saves) won't.
  • The Start screen will not be saved, so all the tiles you've set up will be lost. You'll have to customize the Start screen every time you reset you phone, even if you make backups.
  • Windows Phone 8 needs a Wi-Fi connection to upload the backups to the cloud. If one isn't available, then the backups are uploaded once a week, using your phone's 3G/4G connection.

All your photos and videos are backed up on your OneDrive, from where you can access them whenever you want to, from any computer or device.

How to Get to the Backup Settings Screen

Start by going to the app list on your Windows Phone. Then, scroll to Settings and tap on it.

Locate backup, in the list of system settings and tap on it. In the backup screen you have three options: app list+settings, text messages and photos.

For each type of items that can be backed up, you see whether the backup was turned on or not.

How to Turn On or Off the Backup for Your App list & Settings

Let's see how you backup your app list and settings:

Tap app list + settings. To turn the backup on for these items, set the Backup switch to On.

Below this switch, Windows Phone 8 also displays a short message saying when the last backup was made.

You can perform a manual backup by taping back up now.

If you tap advanced, the advanced screen is displayed. There you have the option to delete your app list + settings backup, and the automated backup for this category of items is turned off.

You will need to manually turn on the backup for app list + settings, if you want such backups to be performed again.

How to Turn On or Off the Backup for Text Messages

In the backup screen, the second item is text messages. Tap on it.

The available backup settings are Text message backup and Chat backup.

Use their corresponding switches to turn the backup On or Off.

How to Turn On or Off the Backup for Photos & Videos

In the backup screen, the third item is photos. Tap on it. A list of backup settings is displayed for photos and videos.

For each category (photos and videos), you can pick one of the following options:

  • Don't upload - obviously, your photos or videos won't be saved to OneDrive.
  • Good quality - your photos or videos will be saved to OneDrive, using a lower resolution than the original, so that it requires less data to transfer them while using your data plan. However, videos will not be uploaded unless a Wi-Fi connection is available.
  • Best quality - your photos or videos are uploaded using their original resolution and quality, but they are backed up only when a Wi-Fi connection is available.

NOTE: The possibility to backup videos is not offered in all regions and countries. If you are based in the US, this option is available. In other countries though, Windows Phone 8 allows you to backup only photos, not videos. We find this strange and we don't understand the rationale for not offering this backup feature in all countries. If you encounter this problem, don't hesitate to share in a comment.


Setting automated backups on Windows Phone 8 devices is not difficult. Considering how much they can help when you lose your phone, something happens to it or simply when you want to change your phone with a newer one, you should have them turned on at all times.
If you are looking for more tips and tricks about Windows Phone, don't hesitate to read the articles recommended below.