How to back up your Fairphone 2 and restore the data


Your smartphone has data and personal information that you do not want to lose. That is why we recommend to do regular backups! No matter how careful you are, you never know when a rainstorm, washing machine incident or thief will ruin your day and your data.

It only takes a few minutes to back up your phone and keep your information safe. This article gives detailed instructions on the easiest ways to back up your data.

Note: we use screenshots from the Fairphone 2, but these tips will work for any phone with Android 5.1 or higher plus Google Mobile Services.


Back up your data with Google Mobile Services

This is the easiest way to do a simple, automated backup. Use the Google services that come pre-installed on the Fairphone operating system. However, this does not include all your data. To have a backup of all desired data, including text messages (SMS) and/or Whatsapp and/or your Google app settings, you have to prepare some things first.


Apps in general

Apps you downloaded via the Google Play Store, will be saved in your library. Their content can also be saved on your SD card.

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Open the Menu via the hamburger icon (three horizontal lines)
  3. Choose the Google account you want to use (if you have more than one)
  4. Back in the menu, choose My apps & games
  5. Choose the tab Library
  6. There you can see all apps that you have downloaded via the Google account you use now and if they are installed on this device or not
  7. You can now install each app or game you have listed there
  8. You probably will need to manually log in again and adjust the settings for every single app.

Apps you downloaded via a standalone APK, you'll have to download again, or use your SD card to store them.



If you want to keep your WhatsApp chats, you have to back them up separately on your Google Account:

  • Open Whatsapp tap the Settings icon  tap Settings → Chats → Chat backup → Back up
  • Restore the backup the first time you use Whatsapp. If you do not do this, you will need to clear the data in the Whatsapp app before doing it later on. You will then lose the chats that happened in-between.


Text messages (SMS)

Text messages are not backed up automatically or included in Google services backups. It depends on the app you use for your SMS messages how to make a backup of them. With some apps (like Signal) it is possible to make an automated backup via the settings menu of the app itself.

If it is not possible to make a backup via the settings menu of the app, you can opt to download a third-party app.


Back up your settings with Backup & reset

This backup saves the settings of your apps such as Wi-Fi details, passwords, bookmarks and more. To back up your settings:

  1. Go to Settings → Backup & reset
  2. Make sure Back up my data and Automatic restore are both switched on (green)



Backup with your Google account

You need a Google account:

  1. Go to Settings → Accounts → Google and tap on your email address. If you see more than one email listed under your Google account, pick the one you want to use for your backup
  2. A list shows of apps that you can sync (backup) with your Google account. Use the toggle bars on the right to switch the sync function ON (green) or OFF (grey) for different types of files and information
  3. Under each category, you can see when the data was last synced. This syncing happens throughout the day or whenever you make a change or add information.
  4. To force a start of the backup, tap the Settings icon (three vertical dots at the upper right corner) and select Sync now.




Back up your private files by hand

This final step requires a little more effort. You have to do a manual backup of any files that you have saved to the internal storage or SD Card. Think of photos, movies or music. Since this backup is not automatic, we recommend setting a reminder to do every week or month.
Want to backup your SMS text messages? You will have to do so manually as well.

Use this method when you do not want to use Google services or if you are using Fairphone OPEN.

Transferring files manually via USB

  1. Connect your phone to a computer with a data cable
  2. Once the computer recognizes your device, you see FP2 appear in your file manager.
    If your phone is not visible:
    1. Open the pull-down menu on your phone
    2. Tap the message that says USB for charging
    3. Select File Transfers (MTP) or choose Photo Transfer (PTP) if MTP is not supported.
  3. Tap FP2 to see one folder for internal storage and one for your SD Card, if you are using one.
  4. Find the relevant folders (music, photos, etc) and copy them over to a safe location on your computer. You can use Finder or Explorer.

Using third party apps

You can look for applications on the Play Store to facilitate the process, especially for data that is hard to find by just navigating your phone's memory.
A good use case is backing up SMS messages. Doing so with an app is going to be very easy.

Restore your data 

If you followed the previous instructions, it is easy to get all your information back on your phone.

To restore your data:

  1. Turn on your Fairphone 2
  2. Select the language and press Let's go
  3. Select Copy your data. If you press Set up as new you will not be able to restore your data.
  4. Connect your device to the Wi-Fi
  5. The wizard will ask where you want to bring your data from. Select A backup from the cloud
  6. A prompt from the Google setup wizard will ask you to enter your Google Account details
  7. Log in to your Google account and select I agree
  8. Select from the device from which you want to restore your apps and data
  9. When on Google Services, scroll down to double check the settings and select I agree
  10. Your phone needs time to download all your apps. It may take up to an hour. Go to the Play Store  My Apps & Games to see if all the apps you had in your library installed
  11. Files that you copied manually (like photos or music), you also have to restore by hand. Plug your phone into your computer with a data cable and copy the information back into the relevant folders.

Please note

The first time you open the Photos app after you restore your data, it will ask you if you want to sync with Google Drive. Say Yes or you will not be able to see them. This is also the case for WhatsApp.


Advanced backup options for Fairphone 2

The previous instructions cover the backup needs of most Fairphone users. If you need an extra level of security, encryption or you use Fairphone Open, there is a range of other apps and services on the market to back up your data. Feel free to share your favourites -along with any other back up tips and tricks- in the forum.


Need more help? Contact our support team!