While a growing number of smartphone makers are offering spare parts, tools, and guides that let you repair a broken device at home, it’s probably easier for most people to take their phone to a repair shop.
Now Samsung is rolling out a software update that may allow you to do that without worrying that the repair tech will be able to se your photos, contacts, or other sensitive information.
The new Maintenance Mode feature basically lets you quickly create a second user account on your device before handing over your phone. All you have to do is:
- Open the Settings app
- Navigate to Battery and device care
- Enable Maintenance Mode
- Reboot your device
Once that’s done, a repair tech will be able to use your phone for diagnostic and testing purposes, but will not be able to access photos, documents, messages, contacts, or user-installed apps from your personal account.
And when the repair person returns your phone, any data or accounts they created will be deleted as soon as you exit Maintenance Mode and login with your own account, and any apps they installed will be removed.
Of course, this is all contingent on your device working well enough to be able to enable Maintenance Mode in the first place. If your phone doesn’t turn on or your display doesn’t work at all, you may be out of luck.
Samsung says it ran a trial of Maintenance Mode in South Korea this summer and then launched the feature in China in September. It begins rolling out globally today, starting with Samsung Galaxy S22 phones running One UI 5, but Samsung plans to expand support for Maintenance Mode to additional devices over the next year.