Samsung’s new ‘repair mode’ is ingenious — everything you need to know

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Update: Repair mode is now Maintenance Mode, and Samsung just rolled it out globally.

Samsung is making the process of giving your phone for repair a lot more stress-free with a new and pretty ingenious function. A new “repair mode” by the company will protect your phone data from prying eyes and snooping technicians by limiting access to certain functions and apps on the phone when it is sent for repair. 

Handing over a phone for repair is an unsettling experience that could leave private data exposed in the hands of the repair technicians. More than often, if it is something like a software related repair, the technician requires you to leave your phone unlocked — this really makes you vulnerable to your data being stolen. Samsung’s new mode will give you peace of mind the next time you drop off your phone. At least to Samsung Galaxy users. 

Samsung will roll this out to the Galaxy S21 series in an update and it will come to other devices as well. Samsung has not mentioned when exactly it will roll out the update, although we know from the past, that it will roll it out one region at a time. 

What is Samsung repair mode?

Repair mode will allow users to block off social media accounts, access to photo galleries and any other app of their choosing so it is not accessible to strangers. Once repair mode is activated, the phone is rebooted and Samsung says, “you won't be able to access your personal data, such as photos, messages, and accounts, and only use the default installed apps.”

To enable repair mode, you will need to go into Settings > Battery and Device Care menu. To come out of repair mode, you will have to reboot your phone and then unlock it through fingerprint or pattern recognition.

Android and Apple don’t have a specific mode to put your phone into some kind of a lockdown — but you can lock certain apps in settings by using only your password or other authentication to open them. 

Apple also allows users to do this, but it seems like it is intended more as a “screen time lock” than anything else (it can be accessed in Settings > Screen Time > Use screen time passcode). 

Having one mode to toggle on before you send your phone for repair is a great feature addition by Samsung. In fact, the company has been rolling out many new handy updates for users in 2022. This includes the recent Enhance-X app, which lets you use AI to edit pictures. Our best Samsung phones guide can help you pick which one to buy in case you are considering a Samsung phone.

Good momentum for self repairs 

Speaking about phone repairs, Google recently tied up with iFixit for a DIY repair service for their Pixels. Samsung also partnered with iFixit back in March for the Samsung Galaxy S21, S20, and Tab S7 phone and tablet repairs. Apple also has their own iPhone Self Service Repair kits that operates in a similar fashion, but is slightly more expensive than using third-party repair. 

If you're keen to see what's coming next, check out our Samsung August Unpacked event preview and see our rumor hubs for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 before the big August 10 launch. 

Sanjana Prakash
News Editor

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.