As Android games become more robust and in-depth, it’s becoming increasingly likely that we’ll want to be able to pick up our game progress between phones. This used to be a fiddly business, as you’d need to manually create backups of the game data, then restore it on the new device. But things have improved thanks to Google Cloud Saves.
Here we’ll show you how to seamlessly sync your game progress between Android phones using the cloud method as well as the more old-school manual method, should a given game not support cloud saves.
Manually Move Game Progress Between Android Phones
To move your game progress manually between devices, once upon a time you had to use a tool called Helium Backup. Unfortunately, that’s no longer available, but the good news is that you can do it all directly through Android.
First, make sure you’re signed into your Google account on both the phone you want to transfer your game data from and to. Verify this by going to “Settings -> Accounts” and checking that under “Google” you have the same sign-in information on both phones.
Next, check that Backup is switched on on your old phone under “Settings -> System -> Backup”.
Give a moment for both phones to sync up to your account, then on your new phone go to Play Store, tap your icon at the top right corner, then “Manage app & device”. Here you should see a list of apps that are still on your previous phone, including all your games.
You should see a list of the apps and games “you’ve used before”. Tap “Review All” and select the games you want on your new phone.
Move Game Progress via the Cloud
The first thing to note is that there is no universally implemented cloud-save system with Android games. Google Play Games has its own cloud-save method, but not all games utilize it. Nevertheless, it’s worth setting up in case your game does support it.
In order to sync your game progress between devices using Google Play Games, you’ll need to be signed into the same Google account on both devices.
You don’t necessarily need to have the Play Games app installed, but this will give you more control over your cloud syncing (for example, by letting you select an option to automatically sign into Google Play Games as soon as you open a compatible game).
To make sure you have Play Games Cloud Save switched on, go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Google -> Account sync” and make sure that the “Play Games Cloud Save” slider is switched on.
Most (but not all) games take advantage of Google Play Games’ cloud saves service. When looking at a game’s store page, tap “About this game”, then scroll down to the “More info” section and look for the “Uses Google Play Games” indicator.
Whatever you do, if a game prompts you upon opening to sign into Google Play Games, you should go ahead with it. Then, once you’re logged in, you can look in that game’s individual settings to see whether it has Google Play cloud saves (or another cloud-save method, for that matter).
That should just about cover all bases for saving your game progress across devices. If you want to keep exploring the possibilities of Android, head on over to our list of Android emulators for PC and also explore these top GBA emulators. And if you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your phone, you should protect your eyes too.
Image credit: Smartphone with game on screen by DepositPhotos
Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.