How to fix Google Now Launcher on the Galaxy Note 7 after using Secure Folder

By | 26th August 2016

Samsung's Secure Folder gets in the way of Google's launcher.

Google Now Launcher is one of the most popular third-party launchers out there, but it unfortunately doesn't always play nicely with the Galaxy Note 7. It turns out that Samsung's KNOX security platform causes issues with Google Now Launcher when both are in use. That actually shouldn't be a surprise if you've used the Galaxy S7, Note 5 or S6, either — this longstanding issue has annoyed plenty of people over multiple generations of phones.

We have a couple of tips to hopefully get them both working together, though. Let us show you what you can do about it.

Fixing Google Now Launcher on the Note 7

So if you downloaded Google Now Launcher, and use Samsung's KNOX security features in any way — including its new "Secure Folder" system — you may have run into issues. Chief among them being that Google Now Launcher won't be able to see any apps, so the app drawer will appear blank and you can't configure your home screen. Here's how you can fix it.

Disable KNOX and Secure Folder first

The first step is to stop using Samsung's KNOX features, at least for a little bit. We're going to show you how to turn off Secure Folder, which is the most popular new use of KNOX on the Note 7.

  1. Open the phone's Settings.
  2. Tap on Lock screen and security.
  3. Tap on Secure Folder.
  4. Tap on Uninstall.
  5. Tap on Back up and Uninstall if you wish to save your Secure Folder data.

If you're using a full KNOX installation instead, perhaps because of a security policy set by your work's IT department, you'll have to follow the appropriate (and more convoluted) steps to stop using KNOX in that situation.

Download and install Google Now Launcher

Now that KNOX is no longer active on your Note 7, you'll want to install Google Now Launcher. For the most friction-free experience, it's best to uninstall and reinstall the app if you already tried to (unsuccessfully) use it before.

  1. Open Google Play on your phone.
  2. Search for Google Now Launcher.
  3. Tap Install.
  4. After installing, press the Home button.

Now that you installed Google Now Launcher without KNOX being active, the app will be able to see your app list and you can configure and use it as you'd like.

Re-enable Secure Folder on the Note 7

So here's the thing: while you can re-enable KNOX and then continue to use Google Now Launcher, chances are the victory will be short lived. If any of the involved apps are updated or you have to restart your phone, chances are you'll end up right back where you started with a non-functional Google Now Launcher.

We wouldn't recommend expecting to use Google Now Launcher and KNOX or Secure Folder — but you can always uninstall it once again if you find it doesn't work.

  1. Open the phone's Settings.
  2. Tap on Lock screen and security.
  3. Tap on Secure Folder.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions for setup.
  5. You'll now have a Secure Folder shortcut on your home screen and app drawer.

The Secure Folder can now be accessed like any other app, and you can manage Secure Folder settings from the same Lock screen and security settings area that you used to set it up.

For some, having their familiar and consistent Google Now Launcher experience across multiple phones and tablets is worth more than being guaranteed that they can also use the Secure Folder — but for others, the instability and uncertainty just isn't an option. Until Google and Samsung work out a fix, we're going to be in a limbo of workarounds and issues. At least now, you have the knowledge to understand what's going on, and how to deal with it best you can.