Over the past few years, there have been a few scandals in the online space about smartphone service technicians allegedly stealing data from customers’ phones, such as photos or personal information. Samsung has a solution for such problems in the form of “Repair Mode”, a new way of running software on Galaxy phones that will ensure the phone remains secure throughout the repair.
Repair Mode will protect customers’ personal data when their phones arrive for service
This feature has been announced in South Korea, but it will surely come to phones in other regions. Repair Mode will be available on Samsung devices starting with Galaxy S21 series models and can be activated from the Settings app in the Battery and Device Care menu. Once activated, the phone will reboot and data in apps will be inaccessible. The only apps that will be able to be used are the phone’s basic apps, probably also used to diagnose or check if problems have been fixed.
Incidentally, users can manually configure which apps are allowed access in repair mode.
To take the phone out of Repair Mode, it is necessary to reboot the device again and authenticate with the fingerprint, password or whatever other security methods the user has registered.
This feature is certainly welcome, providing added security of user data and more control over access to it. You can, for example, use Repair Mode even when you don’t leave your phone in service, just to secure your personal data in a public place.
The reason such a mode is necessary is that phones should not be parked when they arrive for service. With Repair Mode, there is no need to remove passwords or authentication methods.