If you’ve been using your cellphone for some time then there’s a good chance that you’ve saved up more than a few names and numbers of people that you call – AKA, your “contacts” list.
If you ask anyone who’s had the experience, you’ll hear that it can be quite bothersome to lose your cell phone contacts; even if it’s a fairly short list. And it’s easy to lose your contacts. If your phone breaks or gets lost; poof! But upgrading to a new phone can lose your contacts too.
Happily there are some easy ways to back up your cell phone contact list and some are even free! Then if, for whatever reason, you need to switch to a new phone, you just download your contact list and away you go.
By the way, this is true whether you use a regular, basic cellphone or fancy “smart phone”; Apple or Android or Blackberry or Windows.
Smart phones, in general, will come with some way to “sync” with either an online system or with your PC or both. Syncing your contacts to one or more other devices is one way to back up your contacts. It’s always a good idea to back up your computer’s data, including your contacts, just in case of accidental damage or deletion, but, once done, your contacts are safe. Sync up frequently.
For basic cellphones it’s a little different matter. They mostly do not come with a built-in way for syncing with a desktop computer or an online service, so you need to proactively add a backup feature to your phone. For most phones and carriers it is quite easy to do!
I’ll describe a method for the major carriers in our area, but if your carrier or your phone isn’t covered by what’s here, please give me a call and we can figure it out together.
Verizon Wireless offers their subscribers a free service called “Backup Assistant” and it works for almost every cellphone on their network. (info: http://goo.gl/gTVG8) Backup Assistant will automatically backup your contacts list every day. It also lets you view and edit your contacts online, via the web. It doesn’t work, however, unless you explicitly start it on your phone. It may be installed on your phone already or you may need to download a tiny program (free). Once you have the little app, open it on your phone and follow the directions to sign up. Backups will start automatically.
Sprint also offers a free contacts backup service called “Mobile Sync”. (info: http://goo.gl/4mkxU) The features are the same as with Verizon, including the handy web-based online editing. Again, it supports most every phone in their lineup, but you do have to sign up for the service to get it started.
AT&T wireless also has a backup service but they charge an extra $l.99 per month for it. Go figure. It works quite similarly to the others, supports most of their standard cellphones and is quite easy to use. (info: http://goo.gl/E1HJ6)
As an alternative to the for-pay service at AT&T, and for all other carriers, you can look into free (for personal use) services that use “SyncML”, such as “My.Funambol.com”. Most major phone makers support the SyncML protocol for backups, but older phones may not work. It is free though, and reviewers say it is quite reliable.
One quick word about “syncing” versus “backing up”. Syncing is a form of backing up, but it is better than just plain backing up. A single back up is a copy of your data frozen at the moment that the backup is made. A syncing service actually tries, to some degree, to keep an up-to-date copy of your contacts. Usually this is once a day, but whatever it is, it’s better than just one, stale copy.
Hoping this is helpful, please do give me a call if I can help or answer any questions.
Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy