While Google's services do a great job of keeping your content in the cloud, it gets a bit trickier when trying to back up certain types of local data — things like application data, game saves, and more. It's not hard to sign back into all of your apps when you get a new phone, but Samsung's Smart Switch app makes setting up a new phone a breeze.

Simply download the application onto your computer, connect your phone, and before too long you'll have everything backed up in case you need to transfer your data to a new phone, or restore your phone to an older state.

What is Smart Switch?

Smart Switch is Samsung's Windows or macOS program that is used for a few things. You can use it to install software updates for your phone, configure email syncing with Microsoft Outlook (handy for corporate users), or the focus of today's article: back up and restore your content as you move between phones. The Smart Switch mobile application can also be used to move contacts, photos, and messages from an iOS device to your new Galaxy phone.

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What can Smart Switch back up?

Smart Switch is used to back up contacts, photos, application data and any other local files on your phone. This makes moving between Galaxy phones a breeze: you can move all of your data to your new phone and pick up right where you left on the old device. The desktop applications take some setting up, but it's a straightforward process that only takes a few minutes.

How to install Samsung Smart Switch on your computer

We'll show you the process for installation on Windows, but it's a pretty standard installation process on Mac as well.

  1. Navigate to the Samsung Smart Switch support website.
  2. Click on the download link for Windows or Mac — whichever system you're using. For this how-to, we're using Windows
  3. Click to launch the downloaded .exe file (.dmg on Mac).
  4. If you see an error that says The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect…, download and install this Microsoft Visual C++ package.

  5. Click the two check boxes to verify that you accept the terms of the licence agreement.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click Finish once the installation process is complete. Smart Switch will then launch by default.

Now that we've installed Samsung Smart Switch, let's set it up to connect to your Samsung Galaxy phone.

How to setup Samsung Smart Switch for the first time

Once you've installed the Smart Switch application, you'll need to get it synced up with your phone.

  1. Launch the Samsung Smart Switch application after installation or from the desktop icon on your computer.
  2. Connect your phone to your computer via USB cable to get started. The program should instantly recognize when it's connected. You may be prompted to allow USB file transfers on your phone.

  3. Switching over to your phone, unlock and swipe down from the top to pull down the notification shade.
  4. Tap the notification for other USB options.
  5. Tap the Transfer files option.

Switching back over to the computer, your phone should now be connected in the Smart Switch application.

How to back up your phone data with Samsung Smart Switch

Once you've launched the Smart Switch application and have your phone connected, backing up your data is as easy as pie.

  1. Launch the Smart Switch app on your computer.
  2. Click Backup.
  3. You'll be required to allow access permissions on your phone.
  4. Pick up your phone.
  5. Tap Allow. If you have a micro SD card in your phone, you will have the option to back that data up as well.

Once the backup is complete, you get a breakdown of all the data that was successfully backed up. Click OK to finish.

How to restore your phone from a previous backup using Samsung Smart Switch

If it's time to upgrade to a new Samsung phone or something has gone wrong, requiring you to restore your data, it's super easy if you've got an existing Smart Switch backup.

  1. Launch Samsung Smart Switch on your computer and connect your phone via USB.
  2. Click Restore.

  3. Click Select a different backup if you want to restore from an eariler backup, otherwise click Restore now.
  4. You will be prompted to allow access permissions on your phone.

  5. Switching focus to your phone, tap Allow to continue the restore process
  6. Once the restore process is complete, you'll get a breakdown of the data that's been restored. Click OK to finish the restore.

Do you use Samsung Smart Switch?

The biggest alternative to Samsung Smart Switch is just using the cloud services that already come on your Galaxy phone. You have Google Contacts for the important people in your life, Google Photos for all your precious memories, and Google Play Games to keep your game progress in sync. Most of Google's cloud services work on both iOS and every Android phone, so your data won't be used to lock you to a particular vendor.

But Samsung's approach with Smart Switch has its benefits. Google's services don't backup everything, and you get a nice feeling of control with a local backup. If you've been using Samsung phones for years and aren't looking elsewhere, it's also a great way to keep your new phone as familiar as your last one.

Do you use Samsung Smart Switch? Let us know down below!

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+


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