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How to back up digital memories

By G Kiongo | March 22nd 2016

Smartphones are fast becoming substitutes for our brains as stores of information. They are also replacing the infamous box file as a log of transactions.

From notes and photos to bank transactions and emails, we are slowly delegating our memory functions to the devices in our pockets.

With this level of reliance on our phones, it is no wonder that losing these devices can be most depressing. Your memories can go down the drain at a moment’s notice. In some cases, literally.

Fortunately, you can prepare for such occurrences well in advance and back up your data. Too few people think to do this. Just like with insurance, we only realise the importance of such preparation after we have lost it all.

Many of the tools that back up data are free, easily available, quick to set up and easy to restore.

Regardless of whether you own an Android, Apple, Windows or Blackberry phone, you have a long list of cloud services at your disposal.

Photos and videos

These are perhaps the most precious memories in your phone, from videos of fun moments to photos of business cards and contracts.

Saving everything you take with your camera can be a pain-free affair with applications like Google Photos, Dropbox and Amazon Backup services. These are freely available in all app stores.

After signing up for the services and setting up some basic preferences, the apps automatically upload your photos as soon as you take them. You can change your settings to schedule uploads when you get wifi or at certain times of the day.

Text messages

In this paperless world, we have come to rely on electronic messages for all manner of official communication, from parking fees to bank transaction receipts. There are short codes for water and electricity payments, and even rent can be paid without having to queue for ages at a bank.

With this in mind, you can appreciate how your world could be thrown into disarray if you lost all this information.

Messaging apps like WhatsApp have an integrated feature that backs up all your messages regularly, including media like photos and videos.

With regular text messages, apps like SMS Backup Plus come in handy. This particular app can be linked to a Gmail address, and it automatically saves texts and call logs to your Google account. Again, you can decide what gets saved and when.


For your notes and calendar items, apps like Google Keep, Evernote and Dropbox put all your to-do lists, sermon notes or IOUs in cloud storage.


Apple’s solution for the previously mentioned categories deserves special mention since the back-up features are ingrained in the phone’s operating system.

Once you set up your phone on the iCloud platform, it backs up all your information. This approach, however, has been emulated by most other phone manufacturers, with varying degrees of success.

And while the list of apps mentioned is by no means conclusive, it should lead you in the direction of some peace of mind.

[email protected],ke

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