Samsung is starting to roll out a “Maintenance Mode” feature for its phones, designed to protect your messages, photos, information, and accounts while you get your phone serviced. The company has been testing the feature since July and launched it in China last month, but it’s now launching globally for the Galaxy S22, with more phones to come in the coming months.
According to Samsung’s press release, maintenance mode essentially creates a separate user account that will allow someone to access the “core functions” of the phone without being able to see any of your data. This means that a repair technician will still be able to test your phone, but you won’t have to worry about them seeing something they shouldn’t. Once you have recovered your phone, you can unlock it to turn off maintenance mode, which will also undo anything done during the phone repair (eg test photos will be erased, new apps will be uninstalled and parameter changes will be reversed).
To enable maintenance mode, go to Settings > Battery and device care > Maintenance mode.
Samsung says the feature will be “gradually rolling out over the next few months” to select phones running One UI 5 based on Android 13 – if you want to get an idea of when your phone might get this update, check out this article. It will also roll out to “more Galaxy devices” throughout next year. The company warns, however, that “time of availability may vary by market, model and network provider” as updates can take a while to filter out carriers.
There have been high-profile incidents of people sending phones in for repair and ending up leaking personal photos, one of which resulted in Apple paying millions to settle a case. While DIY repair options like those offered by Samsung, Apple, and Google are probably the best way to protect your data, it’s good to see that work is also being done on the software side and these features are starting to do just that. . on customer phones.