Google Drive has long been a boon to collaborators and cloud users around the world, holding all kinds of Google account data and documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. The cohesive Google ecosystem lets you access that info from your phone or your Chromebook, nearly anywhere you might be. Still, sometimes it needs a little maintenance.
Thanks to the modern smarts of Android, your phone ensures that a lot of your Google account data is backed up automatically. But many devices and platforms support Google data, so ensuring everything is updated across operating systems, devices, browsers, and more is important. Here’s how to double-check that everything on your Google account is saved and synced.
Make sure you still have enough Drive storage
When you sign up for a Google account for the first time, you’re given 15GB of free storage space for Google apps. That means you get 15GB of space to use across Google Drive, Photos, and Gmail for no cost. That may be enough for casual and light use, but long-term users, students, and professionals often need more. Since Google Drive holds all Google-related files and uploads, it can run out of space quickly without an upgrade.
Google offers several upgrade options for its online storage via Google One plans, which can help you ensure its cloud always has enough room2TB storage, sharing, VPN, and Workspace Premium at $9.99 per month. Business plans that can be customized for more storage as necessary Google has a lesser-known service called Google Takeout that lets you export a full copy of your Google account and save it physically rather than in the cloud.
Back up your Google account on your Android device
Your Android phone is likely your main portal to all your Google data, so that’s the best place to start. Modern Android phones back up your data automatically, but you can double-check the details. These steps are from a Google Pixel phone but should work with most.
On your phone, go to Settings > Google > Backup. The Back up to Google Drive toggle is on by default, with your Google account listed below and the name of your device with the time and date of the last full Google backup.
The Backup options on an Android Google account.
Depending on your phone, you can reach this page by going to Settings > System > Backup.
This settings page is a window into when you last backed up this specific phone to Google Drive. It also lists the last Google Photos backup. This covers most people who primarily use one device, and the nature of Google’s apps means they back up and save your data as you use them.
These backups are usually done automatically in the background, particularly if you mainly use one device constantly. But if you are an infrequent user or switch between phones regularly, make a weekly habit of diving into these settings and tapping Back up now to ensure your Google account’s most recent data is backed up.
In this form, you can fully restore your account data to a new phone if you lose yours or upgrade to a shiny new Android version.
For a more in-depth look at backing up your data on your Android phone, we have a complete guide to the process.
Download your Google account data using Google Takeout
There’s another way to ensure your Google account data is backed up that’s a lot more manual. Still, it’s vital if you need to access data even if your internet is unavailable or if you are trying to prevent data loss.
You won’t find the term “Takeout” in Drive, but the free download tools remain for anyone who wants to export backup data. If you have valuable data in Drive, we suggest exporting it to a local drive and updating that export every month or so, just in case the worst happens, like getting locked out of your Google account forever.
Visit the Google Takeout page on your computer on Google Chrome. Sign in to the correct Google account, and select the data you wish to include. This page shows how many services Google provides and how much data you won’t want to lose.
We recommend keeping everything selected, but you can go through and choose only the necessary items. Options include Google Contacts, info from various Google services, and more. Then click Next step to create export details like file type, frequency, and destination. You can select whether to send yourself a download link via email or add to Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box. Backup checklist options shown in Google Takeout. It’s best to select Download link via email, as you can click the link sent to you and then save the full backup to your computer or external hard drive. If you select Add to Drive, it saves an entire Google account back up to your Google Drive, taking up a lot (probably way too much) of your cloud storage space.
Select whether to Export once or Export every 2 months for 1 year. Then select a file type (we recommend the universal ZIP format) and maximum file size. If your export is larger than the selected file size, the export process automatically splits your data into several files.
Once you’ve selected your preferences, you’re shown the below screen. Your Android device should also receive a notification saying, “Archive of Google data requested.” If you chose a download link via email, wait to receive it in your Gmail inbox. From there, you can download and save the file. It’s a good way to keep an ongoing archive of your Google data.
Export choices displays in Google Takeout.
It might take hours or days, depending on how large your Google account is. But it’s worth the effort as Google Takeout is the most comprehensive way to back up your Google account data.