How to transfer data from your old Android phone to your new one
Got a new phone? Here's how to seamlessly transfer data over.
When it's time to switch from your older Android phone to a new one, you'll want to make sure all of your data makes its way across safely. With the 2023 launch season in high gear and Samsung continuing attractive offers for the Galaxy S23 series, a lot of users have migrated to the latest flagships. So if you've switched to a model in the S23 portfolio, or picked up the standout Pixel 6a, OnePlus 11, or any of the new launches in 2023, here's what you need to know about migrating all the data on your old phone to your new one.
Thankfully, Google makes it extremely convenient to migrate your texts, call logs, contacts, music, and photos over to your new phone seamlessly, so let's get started.
How to back up data on your old Android phone
You'll need to make sure that all the relevant data on your old phone is backed up to the cloud before you make the switch to your new phone. Google automatically backs up contacts, call logs, texts, and settings — including Do Not Disturb details — to Google Drive, so you'll be able to restore all that data to your new phone just by logging in with your Google account during initial configuration.
Best of all, the data that Google automatically backs up doesn't count toward your 15GB free Google Drive storage quota, so you don't have to worry about running out of storage. The feature backs up call history, app data, contacts, device and home screen settings, and text messages. So before you switch to a new phone, it makes sense to see if this data is already on the cloud.
Note: We're using a Pixel phone for reference, but the steps outlined below will be the same for all the best Android phones running Android 7.0 Nougat and above. You can always search for backup in the settings search bar to find the option.
1. Open Settings from the Quick Settings or your apps.
2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
3. Go to the System menu.
4. Tap Backup.
5. Make sure the toggle for Back up to Google Drive is set to On.
6. Hit Back up now to sync the latest data on the phone with Google Drive.
Pro tip: Go to contacts.google.com to see if all the contacts from your previous phone migrated to your Google account. The contacts that you see on this page will be the ones that show up on your new phone.
Once the data is backed up, you can get started with setting up your new phone. Before we do that, however, let's make sure your photos and videos are being backed up to Google Photos.
How to transfer photos and videos to your new Android phone
Google Photos is an outstanding service for backing up photos and videos. It seamlessly backs up data, has granular sharing controls, and uses on-device machine learning to automatically group faces. You can save your photos and videos at Original quality — the quality at which they were taken — or select Storage saver, which retains the same level of detail while cutting down on the size.
This is a good option to consider, as Photos doesn't offer unlimited uploads anymore; once you run out of storage, you will have to buy a Google One plan. That said, it is the best way to back up photos and videos from your Android phone. Once the data is backed up to the cloud, you'll be able to access your photos and videos from your new phone and on the web. If you haven't set up Photos yet, here's how to get started.
1. Open Google Photos on your phone.
2. Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner of the screen.
3. Select Photos settings.
4. Select Backup & sync.
5. Make sure the toggle for Back up & sync is set to On.
6. Ensure that the Backup mode is set to High quality.
That's all there is to it. Once your photos and videos are safely backed up to Google Photos, you can get started with setting up your new phone.
How to restore data and settings to your new Android phone
You've unboxed your new phone and are ready to set it up. There are a few ways to restore data from your older device, and here I'm highlighting the option that has worked best for me over the years (I switch phones once every two weeks, so I know what I'm talking about).
You'll need your old phone for this, so make sure you don't reset the data just yet. At this point, you should switch the SIM card over to the new phone. Let's get started.
1. Select your device language and hit Start on the welcome page.
2. Select your home Wi-Fi network and sign in.
3. Hit Next at the Copy apps & data screen to begin migrating data from your old phone.
4. Insert a USB-C to USB-C cable into your old phone and tap Next on your new phone.
5. Now, plug in the other Type-C connector into your new phone.
6. Hit Next once again here.
From there, you just select everything that you'd like to migrate from your old phone to your new one and follow the instructions. Android has become so intuitive that it even logs into your Google account and transfers all your saved Wi-Fi passwords. Because this is a direct data transfer method, you won't need to enter your Google account password or two-factor authentication — your details are securely transferred over to the new device.
That's all there is to it. Once setup is finished and you get to the home screen, you'll see the Play Store running in the background and restoring data from your old phone. This can take up to an hour based on the amount of content installed on your old phone and your internet connection, so you can let that run while configuring the rest of the settings on your new phone.
In the event that something does not copy properly, you can restore your files and data from your cloud backups. However, this method usually works incredibly smoothly.
Android to Android complete transfer: Using Samsung Smart Switch
If your new phone is a Samsung Galaxy phone, we have some good news. Samsung's propriety app called Smart Switch makes everything as simple and easy as Google's new data copying process. You can use the Samsung Smart Switch app to transfer all your data from your old Galaxy phone to your new Galaxy phone in almost exactly the same way.
All the best Samsung phones come with Samsung Smart Switch pre-installed. Can't find the app on your Samsung Galaxy? Don't worry, you can download it for free from the Google Play Store.
So, whether your new device is a top-tier flagship like the S23 Ultra or a mid-range phone like the Galaxy A53 5G, you can take advantage of Smart Switch to copy all you need. Samsung Smart Switch even works offline, transferring all your settings, messages, data, call logs, and backgrounds over a USB-C-to-C cable.
What I like best about Smart Switch is that it preserves state across devices — meaning your settings and home screen layout will move to the new phone, making saving you the hassle of configuring it all over again.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has all the features you're looking for in a phone: there's an AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, reliable internal hardware that is great for day-to-day tasks and gaming, cameras that take stellar photos, all-day battery life with fast charging, and 5G connectivity.
Get the Android Central Newsletter
Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.