We talk a lot about backing up on Make Tech Easier, but generally this is with respect to computers. Backing up mobile phones is still in its infancy as mobile internet has just recently started to become more ubiquitous.
The two leading smartphone operating systems, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, both have some backup functions built-in. In the case of Apple, it is possible to backup to the cloud through MobileMe. However, this is a relatively expensive solution and reviews suggest that it has some serious limitations. Google’s offering is also limited, but it is completely free. In both cases there are restrictions as to the type of media that can be backed up. Android only syncs your contacts, calendar and email and neither syncs bookmarks, messages or calls.
With such poor offerings, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across m:IQ. This app is a simple tool to ensure all the data (including photos, videos, calls, messages and bookmarks) on the phone is backed up.
Note: This app heavily consumes data (as uploading photos and videos takes up a lot of bandwidth). Hence, it is advisable that you have an unlimited data plan on your phone.
Although it is possible to register this app directly from your phone, I prefer to start with the web. First, navigate to the m:IQ and sign-up for an account.
M:IQ supports a large catalogue of devices including phones running Android, Symbian, Windows and Blackberry.
Once you have signed-up on the web, navigate to http://m.miqlive.com/ on your phone. On my Android phone this opened up the marketplace and displayed the m:IQ application (other systems may produce different different results).
2. First Use
Once installed, launch the application and login.
That’s it! Providing your phone has a stable connection, your data will immediately start backing up to the m:IQ dashboard. You can also click on the big green button to start/stop the sync.
There are a few (limited) settings that allow you to select the type of data that you would like to backup (contacts, calendar, messages, calls, bookmarks, photos and videos).
Further, you can set whether you want your data to be private or made public. M:IQ integrates a number of social features (discussed below), but these can be universally blocked by switching on the Privacy Mode.
The m:IQ dashboard is the control centre for all your backed up data.
The Home page displays a summary of all your data. Along the top, you can select the type of data you want to view. You can also upload photos and videos and add contacts directly from the dashboard.
Each of the dedicated pages also offer a number of useful features, including the ability to search your data.
Your contacts names along with their contact details (email, phone, address, etc) are displayed.
The contacts who you have received message from or sent to you are displayed alongside the text of the messages. You can also send messages directly from this page.
The names of the persons who called and who you called are displayed alongside their telephone numbers.
The Calendar page displays all the events in your default Google calendar. In my case it has also backed up my “Phone Calls” calendar (added through CallTrack), but has not backed up any of my other custom calendars.
Photos and Videos
The photo and video pages allow you to share and download the photos that have been uploaded to m:IQ. If you have set up your sharing to public, you will be able to select which photos you want to share with the public.
Only photos and videos from the following folders are uploaded (so ensure you move your data to these folders):
- BlackBerry: Pictures, Videos
- Android: Gallery
- Symbian S60: Images, Videos
- Windows Mobile: My Pictures, My Videos, DCIM
There is also a 1GB storage limit for all your photos and videos and your photos and videos remain on m:IQ even after you delete them from your phone, so ensure you keep an eye on your data limit.
4. Social Features
What really set m:IQ apart is the social features that come with this app.
Firstly, all m:IQ users get a dedicated “social” page at http://miqlive.com/your-username. Here your shared photos and videos are displayed.
Next, it is possible to have the photos and videos synced with m:IQ to be automatically uploaded to your social media sites. You can do this automatically, or on a piecemeal basis.
To automatically share your photos, first click on “Social Settings” from the Home page of the dashboard.
Here you can allow Facebook and Twitter to automatically share your status and photos, and have Flickr and FriendFeed automatically share your photos. Unfortunately, the number of social networks is limited and there does not appear to be any method of automatically sharing videos.
Now, whenever a photo or video is synced to m:IQ it will automatically be uploaded to your social networks.
To share individual photos navigate to the Home page and look for the “I WANT TO…” section.
Click on “SHARE A PHOTO” and a small box displaying the four social media networks will pop-up. You can then drag your photos to the social networks to have them upload.
Remember, if you have enabled privacy mode on your phone, no matter what you select on the dashboard, your data will not be shared.
M:IQ is not only a powerful backup tool, but has also managed to develop robust social features.
Backup is not something we want to have to think about on a regular basis. In that respect m:IQ exceeds my expectations: once the app is turned on I don’t ever have to worry about my data. In addition, the integration of social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, allow you to easily share your photos with your friends.
Finally, if you change phones syncing all your data to the new phone will be a breeze (I have not tried this feature).
Can m:IQ be your solution to mobile backup? Can us know in the comments.