When Batteries Die… Keeping Your Data Safe

TabletRecently, NHL suffered a technological tragedy. His beloved Galaxy Tab 2 tablet died. NHL plays many games on his tablet and, over time, had accumulated quite a bit of progress. The idea that all of this could be lost was quite upsetting to him. After much troubleshooting, including contacting the company and exploring sending it in for repairs, we got it working again.

Though we found a solution, let’s be honest. No device is going to last forever. At some point, something will happen that will mean the device can no longer be used. With that in mind, how can you protect your child’s data/game progress?

Let’s deal with the data first, since that’s the easy one. Some tablets and phones support microSD cards. If your tablet does, you can host photos, videos, and other important data there.

If your device doesn’t have a microSD card slot, or if you want to protect against a failure (like theft) that includes the microSD card, there is the cloud storage option. You can back files up to Google Drive, Dropbox, or other online services. There are also apps you can use to automate this process.  (I’ve tried a few but haven’t found one I really like just yet.  They exist, though, and when I find a really nice one, I’ll post about it at length.)

What about the games, though? If your device dies and you get a new one, you’ll reinstall your apps only to find yourself staying from square one. What we need is a way to back up the app’s data to be restored on a new device.

Unfortunately, there is no single solution to this problem. Each app is different. Some connect to your Facebook account (or another online account). For these, you merely need to log in on your new device and your game progress will transfer to the new device. Of course, this does present problems if the game to be backed up us for a child. Facebook limits accounts to people 13 and older. Even if they allowed younger people to join, I’d hesitate to put my young children in social media without any preparation merely to save a game.

For other games, there might be a support code in the app. Write this down somewhere safe and should you need to restore the game to the new device, you’d just send them this code in a support request. Of course, this process’ effectiveness will vary depending on the game company’s responsiveness and how old the game is. Some will respond quickly while others might not reply at all.

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