How to Prevent Unrecoverable Data Loss on Your Smartphone

94% of people felt either panicked (73%), desperate (14%), or sick (7%) when they lost their phone (Source: Lookout’s Mobile Mindset Study).

Why? Because for 93% of the people who were surveyed, one of their primary activities performed on their phone was accessing content and information. That’s information such as phone numbers, addresses, notes, reminders, calendar appointments, and the weather.

It’s one of the appeals of smartphones (anywhere access to your information). But do you ever worry about what would happen if your phone was lost or stolen or it suddenly died? Which one of those emotions – panicked, desperate, sick (if any) – would you feel?

If I suddenly lost my smartphone, I would definitely be shocked but it wouldn’t ruin my day. And I’m going to outline what to do in order for you to feel the same way.

My Sex and the City Moment

I learned this the hard way…

Years ago, I ripped my 150+ CD collection (remember those) onto a refurbished computer I bought at a discount price through my job. iPods were all the rage and getting my music onto a computer was necessary before I could add it to an iPod.

I wish my Sex and the City moment was about my “Mr. Big”, my on-again/off-again boyfriend who followed me to Paris – where I had moved to be with “My Luva” – to win me back.

But sadly, my Sex and the City moment was when I, like Carrie Bradshaw, had my prized computer die on me. It was then that we both discovered that everyone except us knew about backups.

Sex and the City Season 4, Episode 8 (My Motherboard, My Self )

Me: “Well how do I get my files and my music off the computer?”

IT Guy: “You don’t do backups?”


I was devastated. My loss could have been avoided had I purchased an external hard drive and did a regular backup of my laptop. Something that I didn’t even know about…

Don’t wish you had backed up your information when it’s too late.

What You Should Back Up

I’ve organized this data into categories that you should ensure are being backed up:

  • Media: photos, videos, and audio/music
  • App-specific data
  • “Super PMS” data: these are the solutions you have in place to manage People (contacts), Places (calendar), Priorities of others (email, text and multimedia messages), and Passwords.

Where Should You Back It Up

This list can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never thought about what to do if something happened to your smartphone.

Fortunately with a few systems in place, most of your backups can be automatic:

  • Use your email service provider. This is the easiest and most logical option to backup a good majority of your data. For your Super PMS items (contacts and calendar), make sure that you are saving new entries to your account (as opposed to your phone). SMS and MMS are a little trickier, but you can find a third party app or use iCloud.
  • Use a cloud-based storage provider. Online services such as Dropbox, Google +, Box, and iCloud can automatically upload and backup your photos, media, and music.
  • Register for an online account and/or export your app settings and data. Most apps require registration before you can use them. In essence, your data is being backed but what if a login isn’t required for an app? Check your settings for the option to export your data and then email the file to yourself.

Just like it’s not wise to not have homeowners or renter’s insurance, you need insurance for this content. Your insurance comes in the form of backups.

What are you currently doing for backups? If nothing, what are you going to do now? Pick the one item that would be most devastating if it was lost to tackle first.