With all the noise about Samsung Galaxy Note 7 batteries exploding, causing house fires, blowing up jeeps, and what have you, no one would blame you for wanting to perform an about face and return your Samsung Galaxy Note 7. And you absolutely should do that — it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
But before rushing to it, you’ll probably want to back your phone up. Whether you’re moving on to another device or looking to get another Galaxy Note 7 once they have resolved its issues, be sure to take the time to make sure your data is saved for easy transfer to whichever device you’re moving to. Let’s look into your options.
Before you do anything
No matter how you may choose to back your phone up, it’s important to first contact your carrier to make sure you understand their exchange process. Some carriers may ask for the original device before giving you a replacement. Some will give you a loan device. Some will ship you a device before you have to send yours back. And some will require you to head in-store to carry-out the exchange.
Figure out what your carrier does so you can know exactly how to proceed with your backup needs and best determine which of the following methods is right for you.
Moving from one Galaxy Note 7 to another
If you’re looking to go with another Samsung Galaxy Note 7, there’s a fantastic option waiting for you known as Samsung Cloud. This feature was introduced with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as the premier cloud backup option for Samsung users.
You’ll get 15GB of space to backup photos and video, contacts, notes, apps, app settings, voice recordings, calendar and contact entries and more. Better yet, Samsung lets you backup your bookmarks, call log, app data, home screen layout, device settings, and email accounts.
Once you have backed up all elements you want, you can sign into your new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to restore the phone using the backup. The result will be a near-100% representation of your old device. All your files, videos, photos, music, contacts, and more are right where you left them. Your home screen is exactly like it was on your old phone. Settings are copied, too. Your only setup is to log in and press a few buttons.
Note that these steps require you to be signed in using your Samsung account. If you don’t already have one, head to Samsung’s Galaxy Apps or the accounts section in the Settings menu to create one.
Backing up your entire Galaxy Note 7 using Samsung Cloud
Backing up your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is really easy. Here’s how you go about doing it:
- Go to Settings > Cloud and accounts > Samsung Cloud > Back up my data.
- Select all of the types of data you want backed up by flipping their respective toggles.
- Once ready, select the “Back up now” option at the bottom of the screen.
Once finished, your data will be backed up to the cloud, and it should be safe for you to return the device.
Restoring your Galaxy Note 7 using Samsung Cloud
When you’re ready to restore your data on the new device, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > Cloud and accounts > Samsung Cloud > Restore.
- Be sure to select the latest backup you’ve created. It’ll be named something like “Note 7: 9/9/2016”.
- Here, you can choose to restore some or all elements of your phone, such as call data, apps, and homescreen layout. Select what you want restored to your phone.
- Press the Restore Now button.
The process will complete after some time, and you’ll be ready to go on with your day.
Verizon and AT&T users
As it relates to Samsung Cloud, here’s a quick warning: Verizon has completely removed the app in favor of their own backup solution. There are workarounds — such as using ADW Launcher to create a shortcut to Samsung Cloud’s activity — but if you aren’t comfortable doing that then you’ll want to explore other options ahead. We should note that this also seems to be true for some AT&T Galaxy Note 7 users and not others. To check if you have Samsung Cloud, head to Settings > Cloud and Accounts > Samsung Cloud.
Moving from the Galaxy Note 7 to another Android or Samsung phone
Unfortunately, Samsung Cloud is not yet available for all Samsung phones. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will soon get it in a software upgrade, and Samsung’s 2015 flagships will also get it at some point. If the device you’re moving to has Samsung Cloud then we suggest going that route.
But if you’re moving to another Samsung phone or a version of the Galaxy Note 7 without Samsung Cloud, or pretty much any other Android phone, you’ll need a couple of things. We feel the combination of Google’s backup option and third-party cloud backup services of your choice is the best route to go.
We like all of Google’s options in that regard, so we’ll be focusing on their apps. Be sure to alter any of these steps for your app of choice if you have different preferences.
Note: If you’re moving to iOS, then your best option is to use the Move to iOS app Apple has created. The app will transfer message history, contacts, photos and video, bookmarks, email accounts, and calendar entries to your iPhone. For other data, back them up to your computer or use cloud services to transfer them.
Backing up your Apps and Google account
Using Google’s option, you’ll be able to backup data from apps, Calendar, Chrome, Contacts, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Fit, Google Play Movies, TV and Music, People details, and Google Photos. Restoring your phone from your Google account will re-download the apps you had installed at the time of backup, as well as restoring the app data that was stored in the backup.
On your Samsung Galaxy Note 7, you’ll want to follow these steps to ensure your data is syncing:
- Go to Settings > Personal > Backup & reset.
- Make sure “Backup my data” is enabled.
- Also ensure “Automatic restore” is enabled.
As for app data syncing:
- Go to Settings > Data usage
- Tap the overflow menu (the three-dot menu symbol) at the upper-right of the screen.
- Make sure “Auto-sync data” is turned on.
Backing up your photos and video using Google Photos
With the advent of Google Photos, it is ridiculously easy to backup photos and videos in their original quality to Google’s secure cloud servers. These photos will be made available on any device you have Google Photos installed, and they can be downloaded to your local storage whenever you want them. Or you can keep them in the cloud indefinitely and manage them through Google Photos.
In case you need help, be sure to check out our previous article showing you how to backup your photos and video using Google Photos.
Backing up documents and other files using Google Drive
Unfortunately, Google Photos won’t backup anything other than photos and video, but Google Drive will. You can upload almost anything to Google Drive as long as you have enough space. Go through your phone and find the files you want (you can use Samsung’s My Files app to easily traverse your phone’s storage), and use the Share feature to upload them directly to Google Drive. This may take some time to complete, so grab a drink and let it do its thing.
Backing up local music tracks to Google Play Music
We have a separate section for your local music files because Google Play Music is one of the best places for it (aside from dumping it to a microSD card, which the Galaxy Note 7 now supports). While there are still valid reasons for backing music up to Google Drive — such as being able to upload your playlist files — Google Play Music gives you space to store 50,000 tracks, all of which can be played back from the cloud and managed in a neat user interface.
The only way to upload tracks directly from your phone is to first upload them to Google Drive and then sync your Google Drive account to Google Play Music. This method isn’t ideal, however, as large music libraries may eat up a significant portion of your storage limits.
To upload your tracks directly to Google Play Music, you will need a desktop PC or Mac that can use the Google Play Music Manager app. Head here for instructions on installing it. Once installed, it’s really easy to get your tracks uploaded:
- Transfer the music files from your phone to a designated folder on your computer.
- Select the Music Manager icon . You’ll find this at the bottom right of your screen (Windows) or the menu bar in the upper right corner (Mac).
- Select Preferences
- In the “Upload” tab, click Add folder to browse and select a folder you would like to upload music from.
- Click Upload.
Alternatively, you can install Google Play Music for Google Chrome and drag/drop audio files to upload them directly to Google Play Music. When you’re on your new phone, simply download Google Play Music and sign in to access all your music.
Because your tracks will have already been transferred to your PC, you can consider that the primary location of your local copies and transfer them back to your new device’s storage, or simply reinsert the microSD card into your new phone if you prefer local copies to be on your phone. If your new phone doesn’t have a microSD slot, you’ll need to transfer your files to its internal storage using a USB cable.
When you’re on your new phone
The initial setup wizard will prompt you to restore a backup from your Google account. It’ll show you all of the apps and data that will be restored. Confirm the list of stuff you want restored and commence with it.
Once finished, you should have all your apps — including the ones we’ve discussed above — installed and immediately ready to use. Most apps’ data should be restored, so their unique data should be waiting for you on the new phone. Your photos will be in Google Photos and you’ll be able to download local copies, if you wish. Google Play Music tracks will be ready in the cloud and available for offline listening if you choose (or, as we discussed before, simply reinsert your microSD card or transfer over USB from your PC to your internal storage). Calendar, Contacts, email, and more should all flow in like normal, too.
Enjoy your new device
Whether you’re waiting on a replacement or moving on from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, these steps should make your transition much easier than having to start from the ground up. No matter what backup tool you use or which route you go, it’s important to be thorough in making sure all your data is easily retrievable and restorable. Do research on your tools to make sure you have enough trust in them to handle your data the way they’re supposed to. Above all, be careful about where you’re putting stuff so you don’t wind up wiping precious memories and sensitive files away forever.