Dr Mike J Smith
Backup is critical for any mobile device so what's the best way of making sure your Droid is recoverable should it get lost (or stolen)?? Well one neat starting point is Prey which is installed on your phone or laptop and allows remote activation to send reports back about where the phone is. It can auto-start your wifi, take photos with the camera, send back location information and lock the system. A great way to try to recover a lost/stolen device.
Your device will often have quite alot of data onboard so how to save this? Well the earlier post on syncing is a good start: contacts and calendar are two of the biggest areas you want back up.
Another one is apps that have been downloaded and installed on your phone. Google provide no simple (out of the box) method to save downloaded APK files (which are just ZIP archives), so if your phone gets mullered you have to download them all again. A great option here is to use Android Mate. This is an apps organizer that allows a multitude of useful things like installing APK files, navigating the file system, uninstalling apps and, yes, backing them up. If will extract the apps and save them in an APK file backup. This will be on your SDcard but thats easy enough to copy off on to a PC
The other main backup app is Titanium Backup; the free version requires root access. This is immensely powerful allowing batch operations for backup and restoration of apps, as well as removal of apps that come installed with your phone and can't be uninstalled through "Manage Applications". A great way to remove crap from your phone and backup apps and their data, as well as system data to your SDcard. And in case you've wondered, all base install apps on your phone are in the \system\apps folder. You need root access to see these.
The ultimate in backup is to create a custom ROM with all your base apps in it. It's a bit like ghosting your device and means you can get back to a fully working base version should everything go wrong (or you just want to start afresh). More on that in another post.