Planning a phone upgrade: Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 edition

Are you excited by the new Samsung and HTC smartphones? If you're considering upgrading your old phone, here are some guidelines that will make the process easier and help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

Now that Mobile World Congress (MWC) is here, we have a pretty good idea of the season's new phones. Big on the list are the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, along with the HTC One M9. These are both impressive phones, and many of you, I'm sure, will upgrade as soon as possible.

If you're thinking about upgrading, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. Let's go through them one by one.

What condition is your current phone in?

This, of course, is a big concern for some people. If you've been living with a scratched screen or your phone is held together with Gaffer tape, then you may want to upgrade as soon as your contract allows.

On the other hand, if you take good care of your things, your phone's condition may not matter, because it's just as nice now as it was when you got it.

That's my situation: My phone is in excellent condition. The only issue is the battery power, which I discussed earlier in When the Galaxy S6 comes out, should you upgrade? (rumors and innuendo edition).

As such, the condition of my phone isn't driving me to upgrade. What about you? Does the physical condition of your phone necessitate an upgrade, or are you attracted by the new features and iPhone-like bling?

Transferring all your data ... and your app settings

If you've ever moved from one Android device to another, you may have noticed how all your Google-related data magically transfers to the new machine. But -- and this is one of those big buts -- not all your app data and settings will transfer.

This is not as big a concern if you're moving from one Lollipop-running device to another with Lollipop, since Lollipop's transfer mechanism has improved, but that's pretty unlikely for most of you.

It's possible to get around this problem with a backup program, but to transfer the settings, you might need to jailbreak your device. This is never a good idea.

Some apps will allow you to save their settings to individual files, but not all apps do that. And, if you have a ton of apps installed, do you want to take the time to investigate how to move all those settings?

For me, this is a big issue. I have a complex lighting system set up with Hue Pro and a ton of scripts set up with Tasker. And while I can export those, I am concerned what random dependencies I might not have caught before moving everything.

This is an area I'm going to explore further. I've been researching this, and think I've come up with some good suggestions. There is a way to do this without jailbreaking, and I'll discuss how that's done in an upcoming article. But, for now, it's something to be cautious about if you've tweaked out your device.

In the meantime, it's not a bad idea to take an installed app inventory (even just some screenshots of your app drawer pages) so you know what you're running and what you need to reinstall.

Do you want to take the time?

In addition to futzing over settings, there's the process of getting another phone, whether online or in a store. Do you want to take the time, diddle with the contracts, talk with carriers, and all of that?

Personally, I am so short of spare time that I'm likely to avoid upgrading simply to avoid the hassle -- at least for a while.

Final thought: Clean installs are always nice

Despite the question of carrying over all the settings and apps, sometimes it's nice to do a spring cleaning and start anew. Certainly, we've done that many times with new Windows reinstalls, and the fresh software environment often provides a performance and reliability boost.

So while it may be a pain to fix settings again and reinstall your apps, you might also find that you like the idea of a fresh start.

Have a great week!

See also:

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

Editorial standards