How To Backup the Samsung Galaxy S7
These days, our phones basically contain our entire lives in one convenient mobile package. Vacation photos, location tracking, movie tickets, debit and credit cards, messages from loved ones—everything in our lives has been reduced down to one single long slab of metal and glass we carry with us everywhere we go. When you think about it, it’s pretty incredible—but it’s also pretty dangerous. Losing our phones means losing our memories, our financial information, our forms of communication. But accidents happen, and most phones aren’t indestructible. You can break, lose, or have your phone stolen in a blink of an eye—which is why it’s so important to keep your phone backed up, preferably both locally and in the cloud.If you’re using the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of options for backing up your Samsung device. For users not on Verizon, Samsung packages their own backup service, Samsung Cloud, with the Android 7.0 Nougat update for your phone. Samsung Cloud offers nearly every backup option under the sun. With 15GB of free storage, you can backup your text messages, your photos, your notes, calendar appointments, and so much more. This is great for the majority of Galaxy S7 users, but for those of us on Verizon (myself included), we’ll have to look elsewhere for our backup options. Luckily for all of us, there are plenty of apps and solutions that will save the day if and when your device finally kicks the bucket.
No matter what carrier you’re on, backing up your S7 or S7 edge, both locally and to the cloud, is super easy. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular backup solutions for S7 users, and how to setup your backups.
For all Galaxy S7 users not using Verizon as their carrier, you’ll want to try out Samsung Cloud first for your backup needs. The app originally launched on the ill-fated Galaxy Note7, and came to the Galaxy S7 line earlier this year within the Android 7.0 Nougat update. Samsung Cloud is built directly into Samsung’s own software, so apps developed by Samsung like Calendar and Contacts will back right up to the Cloud without you having to fuss around with any complicated settings. To activate Cloud, all you have to do is enter your settings menu and find “Cloud and Accounts.” From there, you can select “Samsung Cloud” and sync your information and app data back to Samsung’s servers. You can also use this menu to view and manage your backed-up data, and restore any data you might be missing. Samsung Cloud uses a Samsung ID, so if you haven’t signed up for Samsung’s own account service, you’ll want to do that before setting up Samsung Cloud. Luckily, it’s fast, free, and easy.
Once it’s activated, Samsung Cloud takes care of the backups on behalf of the user, activating once the phone is plugged in and on WiFi. Everything happens in the background, so you don’t have to worry about your phone being bogged down by Samsung’s service and becoming unusable. Samsung Cloud will save most of your phone’s settings for you, including your internet bookmarks, phone logs, SMS and MMS messages, photos, home screen layouts, and settings. Their Cloud service also enables you to sync changes across devices, so deleting a photo on one device will carry over to every other device.
Samsung Cloud is one of the best available methods for your backups, but if you don’t want to sign up for Samsung’s account service, or you prefer to use non-Samsung apps downloaded from the Play Store, you may want to look into other methods of backups.
If you find yourself either on a Verizon Galaxy S7 edge, or you don’t want to use Samsung’s Cloud service, you have a few options for your backup needs. The next-best option for backing up your apps, contacts, and device settings is to use the backup service built into Google Drive. It functions fairly similarly to Samsung’s Cloud service, but it can be used on any phone or tablet and sync apps and system settings like WiFi passwords. The backup service is incredibly easy to setup: inside the Google Drive application is an option for backups. From there, you can set up a fresh backup or view your current backups for your entire library of Android devices, including your Galaxy S7 edge.
Google Drive, much like Samsung Cloud, backs up whenever you are connected to WiFi and your phone is charging for more than an hour. The app backs up silently, so you never actually see any sort of notification that the backup has been initiated or has begun. Unfortunately, Google Drive doesn’t back up nearly as much as Samsung Cloud, though it does offer the same 15GB of free storage you’ll see on Samsung’s backup solution. You won’t be able to back up your photos, videos, text messages, and call logs on Google’s platform. Luckily, if you do choose to use Google Drive for your backups, there are plenty of supplementary apps that will backup the missing pieces.
SMS Backup and Restore
SMS Backup and Restore is one of those apps you’ll wonder how you ever lived without before you used it. Thanks to this app, I have SMS conversations dating back to 2015—and I’ve switched phones twice since then! The app is fairly clean in design, and though it isn’t the most attractive app you’ve ever seen, it’s more than usable. With a strong 4.5 star rating on Google Play and more than 10 million downloads since it was first uploaded to the Play Store, SMS Backup and Restore is the perfect app to save both your text messages and your call log from total disaster.
SMS Backup is an incredibly easy app to use. Upon installing and launching the app, you’ll be given several options: Backup, Restore, Transfer, View Backups, and Manage Space. Setting up a backup is fast and clear, giving you the options for what exactly to backup and where to save the file. You can select specific conversations to be saved, or you can backup all chat logs on your phone. Backup also offers you the ability to select whether MMS and emoji are included in your message backup. The backup location can be saved both locally on your phone and in the cloud; SMS Backup recommends backing up to Dropbox or Google Drive instead of backing up locally, but luckily, you can do both. Once you’ve saved your first backup, you can enable automatic monthly saves, to be performed when you’re plugged in and on WiFi.
The app’s restore functionality works largely the same. You select what you want restored—call logs, text messages, and pictures messages—and can choose to only restore a portion of the backup to save time. Restoring your backed up data does take a while, so you’re better off restoring your data overnight. It’s also worth noting that, to restore your text messages on Android 4.4 or higher, you will need to enable SMS Backup as your default SMS app. Though you’ll still receive text messages, you won’t be able to see or respond to them until the restoration is complete. All another reason to set the restoration up overnight.
Finally, the app allows you to transfer backups over a WiFi Direct network between two devices, though similar functionality can be gained by simply using the Dropbox or Google Drive backup options, or by transferring your local backup files (which are stored as .xml files) to your PC, and then over to your new device. Overall, I’ve been using the app for years without fault. I’ve never had a restoration fail or have any issues, and the phone allows you to use any SMS app on your Galaxy S7 and still backup messages.
Google Photos is one of the best photo management apps out there. The app isn’t just a gallery and photo editor, but it also provides the best photo-backup service on Android. What makes Photos so great is the simplicity of the service. Google Photos will not just backup your photos from all of your Android devices, including your Galaxy S7—it’ll do it fast and, for most users, for free. Though the app doesn’t ship by default on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, it is available as a free download from Google Play, and is also viewable at photos.google.com. Much like Google Drive’s backup service, Google Photos uses your Drive storage limit—which allots you a free 15GB of maximum resolution photo and video sharing.
But Google takes it a step further with its backup system. Google Photos gives you the option to upload your photos in either High Quality or Uncompressed versions. For most users, the high quality setting—which allows for up-to 16MP photos and videos shot at 1080p—will be more than good enough for a free, unlimited backup. For photographers, videographers, or other users who need to view their files uncompressed, photos count against your total Drive storage count, which means you can upgrade to 100GB of storage for only a couple bucks a month, and opt to buy as much as ten terabytes of cloud storage from Google for industry-low prices.
Setting up Photos is simple—when you first launch the app, you’ll be given instructions to backup your camera roll. You can also backup your other files and folders on your device, including downloads and saved images from text messages, guaranteeing that every funny meme you’ve ever received will be saved for infinity. In my experience using Google Photos, I’ve found it to be one of the best backup and photo management apps on Android. Images, whether screenshots, photos, or videos, are quick to upload to the service so long as you’re on WiFi. You can also enable mobile upload in settings, to have access to your photos as quickly as possible, but it will count against your data limit on your carrier. Google Photos also features an option to delete any previously-backed-up Photos from your device, which helps keep your storage clean and clear from clutter. I’ve found the service works well, and I’ve never had the app accidentally delete a photograph it has not backed up. From it’s well-designed interface to its fully-featured operations, Google Photos is one of the best apps on the Play Store for backing up photos. It’s always one of the first apps I install on a new phone, and it works wonderfully on my Galaxy S7 edge.
Verizon Cloud is a great option for Verizon Galaxy S7 users looking to backup their data while keeping their backup services limited to a singular app. It’s available on any Verizon smartphone, and it’s also the reason Samsung Cloud is blocked from Verizon-based Galaxy S7 and S7 edges. In my testing, I found Verizon Cloud to be good for backing up the majority of what most users need the most: documents, music, photos, videos, text messages, etc. I don’t think that Verizon Cloud is by any means a bad app, but it is terribly limited if you’re comparing it to the other options on this list.
Verizon’s biggest limitation is the amount of storage space available for each user. Their free tier only offers 5GB of storage for photos, videos, text messages, and other information just isn’t enough in the era we live in. Video alone can fill up 5GB within less than an hour of recording time; even less if you’re recording in higher resolutions like 4K, which the Galaxy S7 can do. Verizon offers tiers of storage similar to Google Drive, including 25GB for $2.99/month, 250GB for $4.99/month, and an entire terabyte of storage for $9.99/month. While the latter’s pricing does compare evenly with Google Drive, Drive offers 100GB for only $1.99 per month, undercutting Verizon’s cheapest plan by an entire dollar a month while offering four times the storage. And while Google Drive doesn’t quite backup everything covered by Verizon’s Cloud application, both of the supplemental applications mentioned here—SMS Backup and Google Photos—use your Google Drive storage to save their information. It simply doesn’t make sense to pay for additional space on Verizon’s service when Google offers more for less.
If you aren’t looking to backup long videos or massive libraries of photos, Verizon Cloud isn’t a terrible service. The platform does automatically backup data not covered on Google’s end without a separate application: to cover every application backed up by Verizon Cloud, you’d have to use Google Drive, Google Music, Google Photos, and SMS Backup and Restore, and that still wouldn’t cover your phone’s documents, which you’ll have to upload manually to Google Drive. Verizon Cloud also features the ability to print photos from your backup library and create gifts using the materials from the cloud. It’s actually a neat little gimmick to go along with the app, though I wasn’t able to test the feature myself.
Overall, Verizon Cloud is a good-not-great option for those Galaxy S7 users who want their backup options consolidated into one application. It’s unfortunate that Verizon’s own Cloud offering can’t stand up to either Samsung’s or Google’s, and it’s downright disappointing that Verizon blocked Samsung’s own cloud service from their devices to try to make a buck off of their customers. It’s telling that Verizon has instructions inside the settings of their own app on how to disable Verizon Cloud on Android devices; there just isn’t a good reason for this me-too application to exist on Samsung phones that already offer Samsung Cloud. So, for those of us who can’t (or don’t want to) use Samsung Cloud, I do recommend sticking to the Google Drive route, even if it requires multiple applications to accomplish the same capabilities. Overall, you’ll just be happier with the performance of Google’s own software—plus, it keeps you untied from carriers.
There are no shortage of options for ways to backup your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge to the cloud. Whether or not your phone has access to Samsung’s new backup service, you can still find workarounds and third-party apps—many of them offered by Google—to backup your device’s information to the cloud. So, with this guide complete and your phone backed up to the cloud, you can rest easy knowing your photos, videos, music, and so much more is safe and secure in the cloud.