Settings + personalisation

Backing up your stuff

When you sign in with your Microsoft account on your Windows Phone 8.1, you can turn on a service that lets you automatically save important things to the cloud so you'll have a backup if something happens to your phone.

You can choose how your phone backs up your apps, settings, text messages and photos and videos. In the App list, just go to Settings Settings icon > Backup.

To learn about restoring a backup, see Restoring a backup to your phone.


  • This topic is about Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some options and icons may look a little different, and some features may not be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.
  • Microsoft doesn't use the information that you back up for advertising or marketing purposes.

Apps + settings

One of the toughest things about replacing a lost phone or upgrading is getting your accounts, apps and settings just the way you like them on your new phone. We can create a backup of all sorts of things to make the transition easier, including:

  • The apps you've installed on your phone, along with high scores and progress from participating apps.
  • The passwords for your accounts.
  • Your call history.
  • Your Start screen layout and theme colour.
  • The accounts you've set up on your phone.
  • Your Internet Explorer favourites.
  • The custom words you've added to your phone's dictionary.
  • Settings from around your phone, including photos, messaging, email and accounts, lock screen, Speech preferences and more.


  • Your phone will wait until it has a WiFi connection and is plugged into a power source to automatically create a fresh backup.
  • You can do a manual backup at any time – go to Settings Settings icon > Backup > Apps + settings, then turn on Settings backup Toggle control icon and tap Back up now.
  • After three weeks without a recent backup, your phone will prompt you to create a new one.

To turn on apps and settings backup

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Backup.

  2. Tap Apps + settings.

  3. To back up your settings, turn on Settings backup Toggle control icon.

    To back up your apps, make sure Settings backup is turned on, then turn on App backup Toggle control icon.

To delete backups

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Backup.

  2. Tap Apps + settings, tap Manage backups (called Advanced on Windows Phone 8), then do one of the following:

    • If you want to delete your entire backup, tick the Settings backup checkbox and tap Delete.
    • If you only want to delete your app data, untick the Settings backup checkbox, tick the App backup checkbox and tap Delete.


    Deleting backups on your phone only removes the local copy, but you can delete backups permanently from OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive). Log in to your OneDrive account and go to Settings > Options > Device settings. You'll see a list of your backups and can delete any you want.

Text messages

You can automatically back up your SMS and MMS messages to the cloud. That way, the next time you get a new Windows Phone, you can restore your conversations when you set up the phone. When you delete your messages from your phone, they'll be deleted from the cloud as well, so you're always in sync.

To turn on text message backup

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Backup.

  2. Tap Text messages, then turn Text message backup on or off.


  • Turning off backup won't delete previously saved SMS and MMS messages. To delete messages from the cloud, you'll need to turn on backup and delete the messages from your phone.
  • On Windows Phone 8, you can also turn Chat backup on or off.

Photos and videos

You can automatically upload your photos and videos to OneDrive and get to them later from any computer or device that connects to the web. (This might use your data plan and incur charges.)

To turn on auto-upload

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Backup.

  2. Tap Photos + videos, and choose one of the following for your photos and for your videos:

    • Tap Don't upload if you don't want to automatically upload your photos or videos.
    • Tap Good quality to automatically upload photos at a resolution that uses less data and OneDrive storage space. (This option isn't available for videos on Windows Phone 8.1.)
    • Tap Best quality to automatically upload photos or videos at the highest possible resolution.


    You'll need a WiFi connection to automatically upload videos and best-quality photos.

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