Google’s Drive and online storage management program, Google One, now includes an easy way to back up your smartphone for resetting. The feature was spotted in the app this week and does precisely what is suggested by that description. After logging into the app — typically used to manage cloud storage for a paid individual or family account — users can choose to back up their device to the cloud too.
The change appears front and center via the Home page when the app is opened up. It takes up its own “Device Backup” card UI at the top. The card describes what will be backed up and offers up self-explanatory “Back up now” and “See details” buttons.
Settings for that can be found by navigating to the “Settings” tab. After tapping the “Manage backup settings” option they’re found under the “Storage settings” subheading. That’s also where options to restore a device from the most recent backup is located.
As to just what users can back up, Google provides toggles for “Device data,” Multimedia messages,” and “Photos & videos,” with an added option to backup over mobile data. There’s no option to backup SMS messages. But the service does backup photos, videos, and audio files pulled from messaging.
Now, obviously, Google already gives users plenty of options for backing precisely this kind of data up. In fact, each toggle seems intrinsically linked to those other services. Tapping the toggle for images backups actually tells users that the actual size of uploads is managed by Google Photos.
Google isn’t allowing users to back up files at their original size here unless that’s what Photos is set at.
Similar caveats can be found throughout the service, with the lack of SMS backups pointing to another one. If a user toggles off the device backup setting, for example, their backup won’t just be halted. Any backup they already have stored will also be deleted.
Obviously, backing up over cellular data will eat through that for any users that don’t have an unlimited plan.
While that may seem counterintuitive, the reasons for Google’s decision here are hardly a mystery. The company has consistently put forward the resources to try and bring as many of its services together as possible. It’s also tried to make them accessible from as many places and from under one platform as often as possible.
That means that the update going to effectively be used to anybody outside the Google One platform. Since it will make accessing backup features easier, it should still see plenty of use. It’s also reliant on those other services, as mentioned above. So users who don’t want to take advantage of the consolidation don’t have to.
Google hasn’t provided any indication as to whether or not the new Google One device backup feature is limited to any given region or subset of users. It appears to be just another part of the relatively regular updates the app receives.
That means this should work just about anywhere the service is already available. As implied, it likely also requires users to be an active subscriber to Google One’s storage plans.