How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

A feature that's been added to Windows Phone is the ability to back up your settings, wallpaper, home screen arrangement, text messages, photos and videos, passwords, notes and more. This means that it's very easy to get everything back exactly the way it was before disaster struck your smartphone, or simply when you upgrade to a new Windows Phone. Here's how to make a backup of your Windows Phone and how to restore it to a new device.

We're using Windows Phone 8.1 here, but all phones running 8 onwards should be largely the same.

How to make a backup of a Windows Phone

Step 1. On your Windows Phone, go to Settings, then scroll down to 'backup'.

How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

Step 2. In backup you'll find three different sections: apps + settings, text messages and photos + videos. Under each is displayed the status, such as 'backup on' or 'backup off'. Tap each to set your preference, but we recommend turning on backup for everything.

Step 3. Under photos + video, there are options to back up photos at 'good quality' which will use your data plan (or Wi-Fi if you're connected). However, it's best to choose Best quality (needs WiFi).

How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

For videos, that's your only choice.

Step 4. To manually create a backup, tap on apps + settings (under settings, backup) and then 'back up now'.

How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

How to restore a backup of a Windows Phone

Step 5. When you first turn on a new device, you'll need to choose your language, accept the terms of use, connect to Wi-Fi, choose WiFi Sense options, general phone settings and the time and region. Only then will you be asked to sign in to your Microsoft account.

How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

Step 6. During the sign-in process, you should see 'Finding backups…' at the top of the screen. Then a list will be shown for you to choose from. The date is shown so you know which is the most recent. If you're not sure which phone the backup was from, you might have to Google the make and model number.

How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

Step 7. Tap the backup you want to restore and tap next. The restore process will begin, and you should see a message saying that your apps will be downloaded in the background. If there are any you need to use straight away, you can download them manually from the Windows Store.

How to backup and restore Windows Phone 8

See also: How to factory reset Windows Phone 8