Backing up your Windows Phone using the Connector for Mac

Backing up Windows Phones on Macs is a breeze

We've already established that backing up your Windows Phone can prevent any unnecessary headache due to the loss of personal data. There's no guarantee you'll always remember to take the Windows Phone out the pockets before bundling clothes into the washing machine. We recently took a look at how to back up Windows Phone using a third-party Windows tool since Microsoft doesn't offer said functionality in Zune.

In that article we incorrectly believed that the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac doesn't feature any backup facility. Turns out, it certainly does (officially too) and shares the exact same functionality as the tool we used in our previous how to, except we're now on a Mac. It's odd that Microsoft would provide Apple Mac users the means to successfully carry out backing up their Windows Phones without using third-party software, yet Windows consumers are left in the dark for now. 

Apple fans will thank Microsoft for making it this easy

So how does one go about backing up their Windows Phone using the Connector for Mac? It's incredibly straight forward (see above image). Simply plug in the device and launch the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac suite. Choose 'device options' and then hit 'create backup' in the new window. Should you wish to restore a previously saved backup, hit 'restore' instead.

Fortunately --through testing-- we were able to confirm that SMS conversations are indeed saved when backing up and are subsequently repopulated through restoration. That aside, it's good to see Microsoft offering an official means to safely store user settings, app data, and more. Let's hope the software giant adds this into the Windows Phone suite that will be released for windows 8.

Let us know your experiences using the Connector for Mac in the comments.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • So Microsoft made it for Mac but not for its own OS? How nice of them.
  • Should not be surprising considering how most MS divisions seem to put idevices front and center on their sites and dont seem to even recognize that WP exists.
  • Some might argue that they didn't make the Zune software available for Mac.
    Main benefit of the Mac WP7 Connector is it is a way smaller download and install than the Zune software on PC.
  • MSFT need to get their shit together, I'll wait 2 months after WP8 release to evaluate these deatils that drive me crazy about them. They have great produtcs but fail to polish, that's the only thing I like about Apple, they take care of every detail.I'm looking at you, Vista icons at Windows 8.
  • Hi Rich, 
    You seem to have made a mistake in your two step process. You say that you should press "Browse Device", then backup. When if fact you should press the "Device Options" button to bring up the menu in your screenshot. The "Browse Device" button does exactly that, just lets you view the photos/videos/music that are on the device. 
  • Thanks for pointing that mistake out ;-)
  • Hehe no probs :P
    I think I'm one of a very rare few who use an Apple computer with my Windows Phone!
  • I don't think it's that rare. In fact, everyone I know that uses windows phone also uses a mac (of course that's only 3 people, me included). I appreciate innovative UI design, which used to be apples forte, but with metro Microsoft looks to be pulling ahead.
  • No man. So do i. It was sketchy at first when i first bought the 900 but the connection works great now.
  • I'm not saying there are not others, but there's certainly less of us than than people who use Windows Phone with windows. I'm hoping this number will sky rocket as soon as the 920/820's come out. 
  • Where is this backup saved on Mac?  
  • Also, on syncing the pics where is it saved on mac?
  • This doesn't make any sense:
    Fortunately --through testing-- we were able to confirm that SMS conversations are indeed saved when backing up and are subsequently repopulated through restoration. It looks as though these are skipped in the backup process.
    You were able to confirm that they are saved and repopulated, yet they are skipped?  This appears to be contradictory.  Not that it applies to me, as I'm not creating a hackintosh just for WP Backups, but its a shame that this functionality is not present in the Windows interface.
  • Heh, it's been a long day, fixed :-)
  • Would doing this allow me to completely reset/wipe my phone and then restore it back to its original state?
  • Maybe it seems like a rare occasion, but well to be honest, I'm one of the odds. I'm a designer, and using an iMac is still wonderful for my jobs and other stuffs. But I never did fancy iPhone. n i was totally awed by the fluid and humane interface of WP, so a way i'm a WP supporter cause I think that's how a phone device should be... Seriously I wasn't aware that the backup function was available as all the while i wasn;t dare to trigger the wrong stuff as been checking forums and ppl been saying u can only restore upon updates and cannot backup normally. And knowing this feature precisely here on WPC seriously helps a lot. I'm not quite sure why MS didnt get their Zune right, maybe because they engineered the connector later for Mac only they found a way to implement it??? I dunno, nevertheless I would still think it's a good feature to convince Mac users to actually open up their options to consider WP in future...
  • What's a Mac? I'm a PC.
  • How about restoring, but to a different device? That's what I like about iPhone. When you go from iPhone 4 to 5 all your apps will be there once you've synced.
  • Why the discrepancy?  They probably had completely different teams develop the Mac connector vs. the Zune software.
    Let's just be thankful that the Zune software is getting canned, and hopeful that its replacement will be an improvement.
  • Rich, could you let us know what specific data is backed up? Can tile layouts be restored? 
  • It backs up the complete state of the phone but it can't be used to move your data to a different phone.  The backup is specific to the original phone.
  • I found this out when my first Lumia 900 went haywire.
  • From what I understood by reading up online, is that the device you backup is the only device you will be able to restore to. In other words, if you are thinking of running that backup on say HTC Titan in hopes to get all the content on HTC Titan II you are buying, you are probably out of luck. But non the less the feature is useful in case you need to factory wipe your phone for one reason or another.
  • This app is great. As someone else stated, its a small download in comparison to the Zune app that is required for Windows users. 
  • Should be noted that backups are extremely big in file size.
  • Would it be possible to backup using Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac then transfer over the data to my PC to use with Zune?
  • I was wondering if you could share a screen shot of what the device and computer screens look like during the back-up process. Every time I attempt to do this, my phone disconnects from the computer (I keep getting a prompt to reconnect my device) and I have a screen on the phone that shows the computer unable to to send information to the phone. Please help!