My short time with the HTC Droid Incredible is coming to an end. My replacement Incredible which I’ve only had for little over a month is on the fritz. The screen is showing white lines going across similar to a burn in mark on a HDTV. For a gadget perfectionist like me this defect is a deal breaker. Now Verizon was more than happy to send me another Droid Incredible, but considering I’ve already geeked out 2 of them in less than 6 months, I wasn’t looking forward to customizing a third. This burn out factor on setting up the Incredible is the main reason why I fought with Verizon to switch me to the Droid X.
Again, I love the Droid Incredible and would recommend it to anyone looking to get into the Droid life. But for someone like me who often treats these types of devices like people, I just couldn’t mentally deal with setting up the same phone for the third time. So why not try and get another great Droid model for free? I’m equating it to leasing a car. I just lease gadgets! Knowing that I’ll be getting my hands on another primo Android based phone, has motivated me to do some preparation work to make sure I get as close to my Incredible setup on the X as possible. I’d like to list some steps to help you out if you may be going through the same process, or setting up a replacement Droid.
Step 1 – Back up all of your installed Apps
I’ve found the easiest and most convenient way to do this is to use an application manager program such as App Manager, or even better, ASTRO File Manager. I have used both, but have found that ASTRO File Manager is the better bet, because you also get a file browser for your SD card and phone storage, so you are knocking out two birds with one stone. If you already have a file management app that you love then I’d definitely recommend App Manager for backing up your 3rd party apps. Each of these programs offer bulk app selection and backup batching, plus bulk restore batching. I used the App Manager the first time I had to replace my Incredible and it worked great. Just know that you will have to go through and move all of the apps back to your SD card once you install them on the new phone. I found I also had to go into the Android Market and “Install” the apps there so they would receive updates. Really the App Manager type programs just give you an easy way to remember all of the apps you installed on your phone, because you still have to install them again using the Market if you want updates.
Step 2 – Backup the contents of your SD card (Only needed if you’re upgrading SD cards as well)
I’m listing this just in case you’re also thinking about upgrading SD cards when you move to your new Droid. After you have backed up your Apps using one of the methods above I highly suggest copying the contents of your SD card to a PC. Now you’ll have those files and the same folder structure ready to roll for your new phone. Once you get the new phone and SD card all you’ll need to do is hook it up to the PC and move your old SD card content on to the new one. I haven’t confirmed if this will copy your game saves for apps that are game related, but I hope they do. I’d hate to lose all of my Angry Birds progress, but I also wouldn’t mind playing through it again. If you know of ways to do this without rooting let us know!
Step 3 – Write down how your screens are configured (If you don’t have a rooted phone, no way to back up phone settings and themes)
Like I said, if you don’t have a rooted phone there’s no real way to save your settings and saved layouts. To avoid having to memorize how each one of my screens look on my Incredible, I just wrote down each app or widget that is on every screen. This way I’ll have a guide as to how to recover the customized look and feel that I spent so long to perfect on my old Droid. If there’s an app that will do this for you without rooting your phone please let me know, because this step is monotonous. You could take it a step further and go through every phone setting and write down what you have marked, but that’s up to you and how much patience you have. Again, if you know how to do this more efficiently without rooting let us know.
Step 4 – Setup the new Droid
Now that you backed up your apps, SD card, and marked down your desired settings, you’re ready to setup your new Droid. The first thing I do is either insert my old SD card into the new phone, or copy the files that I backed up onto the new SD card and install it into the phone. From there I download the app I used to back up my apps, which would either be App Manager, or ASTRO file manager. Once that app is installed I run the restore app process and let it do its thing. Please note that you’ll have to enable “Unknown Sources” on your new Droid to enable the installs from your app backups. Once that is done I recommend going through every app and moving them back to your SD card if that app supports APP2SD. I also recommend going into the Android Market and installing your apps again from there to make sure you get future updates for your apps. Big pain, but it’s the only way I can think of to get your apps recognized as being installed by the Android Market.
Step 5 – Enjoy fiddling with your new man-toy
Once all of your apps are back up and running it’s time to start customizing the look and feel of your new Droid. This could entail setting up each home screen, specific settings for phone functions, specific app settings, etc.. This is my most hated and loved step in the process. I hate that I have to go through it again, but I love learning new things about my new phone by having to do it. Use this step to realize the new features of your new Droid, and to become a master of your device. Good luck! You’ve been learned in the Droid life…
E.B. “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”