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Lock it down: Samsung brings encrypted folder support to Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Why it matters to you

Samsung's Secure Folder makes encrypting sensitive content on your smartphone easier than ever, and adds critical features for locking apps and accounts behind an added layer of security.

We store our entire lives on our smartphones, and at one point or another, every user has sensitive content on their device they’d rather keep private from prying eyes. That’s surprisingly hard to do on Android or iOS without a third-party app, as neither platform gives users the ability to create encrypted storage spaces out of the box. Fortunately, Samsung is bucking that trend by launching Secure Folder support for its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones.

Secure Folders actually debuted on last year’s Galaxy Note 7, though, regrettably, not many owners got the chance to become well-acquainted with the feature. That’s changing now that Samsung has released a downloadable version through its Galaxy Apps store. Secure Folders pretty much accomplish exactly what you’d imagine they would, allowing users to lock images, documents, and even apps behind a form of authentication, be it a PIN, password, pattern, or fingerprint.

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What differentiates Secure Folder from other solutions, however, is that it can actually be used to store copies of apps with their own unique data, sandboxed from the rest of the phone. For example, a user could copy Twitter to a Secure Folder, and use that copy of the app for a separate account that wouldn’t be accessible from the original app on the home screen. As Samsung notes in its Newsroom post, “any notes, photos, contacts or browsing history within the apps stored in Secure Folder will remain separate from the same apps outside Secure Folder.”

That is a useful, powerful addition that is sure to please users managing high-risk information on their phones every day, made better by the fact that Secure Folders also support Samsung’s cloud-based backup and restore functionality. These backups remain isolated from the phone’s other general backup files, and are tied to a single Samsung account.

Finally, Samsung points out that Secure Folders can be customized with different names and icons to make them less conspicuous, or be hidden from the Apps screen entirely. Secure Folder is currently only compatible with Galaxy S7 devices running Android 7.0, though Samsung says it expects to bring the app to more of its phones in the future.