Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Phone Backup

A friend of mine lost her phone recently which reminded me that I didn’t have a decent backup of people’s phone numbers in case I lost mine. With my phone book holding not far off 100 numbers that’s a lot of data to lose.
Nokia thankfully make it easy to do backups via their Data Suite software which is what I use for transferring images to and from the phone. It comes with a Content Copier tool which allows you to backup your address book, text messages, phone settings and user files to your hard disk, which can then be restored either to the same phone after you’ve had to reset it or accidently deleted something important, or to another phone, say if you got a new one or had lost the old one. It’s all done through a nice easy wizard.
The one concern I have with it, however, is data lock-in. Your backed up data is stored in a Nokia proprietary format which can only be opened by Nokia Data Suite, which in turn only works with Nokia phones. In short, if you use this tool and then lose your phone, unless your new phone is also a Nokia you’re screwed.
If you do have a Nokia phone then the Data Suite tool is well worth checking out since it lets you do cool stuff like using your phone as a GPRS modem and offers an easier way of working with text messages – great for mass-deletion.


  1. Just use it to sync all your contacts with outlook and then go into my computer to browse the phone and get your pictures off, then no matter what phone or software you use you can always copy them back over.

  2. Ahh, the joys of iSync on my mac (along with the rest of the advantages.. using phone as remote for dvds, sending texts of pc, and apple shinyness)

  3. Bread: You’re assuming that I actually have Outlook, which I don’t. I use Mozilla Thunderbird which isn’t supported.
    Dan: Will look forward to that when I get a Mac 🙂

  4. I used the Nokia Data Suite a while back. It was a complete nightmare to get it working with the official data cable. I’ve now got a Bluetooth adapter which refuses to work except with a POS program. I can’t use other BT devices nor the Data Suite.
    “lose” your phone. I think more likely situation, in Bradford, is mugged and beaten up. That’s how you’re most likely to “lose” your phone.

  5. The Nokia Phone Editor (part of the sam esuite) stores all its data in MS Access databases which may help.

  6. I have one major problem with Nokia’s PC Suite. It doesn’t allow me to copy my phone numbers/contacts. Does it make a difference whether information is kept on the phone or on the sim? I usually keep my phone book on my sim so that when I have to switch phones they come with me. However I would like a copy on my PC for security reasons incase worse case the sim is fried or stolen.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    I have a Nokia 6200 World Phone.

  7. PC Suite only copies phone books stored in the phone memory, so if the phone goes so does all the info on your SIM. Same goes for the Outlook Sync (don’t understand the logic of that – why only sync half your info?). Need third party stuff like Logomanager for a full solution.