Samsung launches important Maintenance Mode security feature

Samsung Galaxy S22 Maintenance Mode security feature

A new feature called “Maintenance Mode” is rolling out globally to recent Samsung phone models, designed to keep your personal information safe when your device is in for repairs.

We first came across the security function a couple of months ago, where it had a pilot program in South Korea under the reported moniker of “Repair Mode”. Now releasing around the world, Maintenance Mode allows you to limit access to non-essential apps and personal information to protect your privacy when sending your phone to a repairer. This includes blocking photos, messages and contacts, keeping your data from prying eyes.

Maintenance Mode works by generating something akin to a guest account on your phone, which grants a user access to just the core features required for fixes. It will also prevent access to any apps you’ve installed prior to activating the privacy feature. When someone uses Maintenance Mode, any data or users made gets wiped afterwards. So, if a repairer needs to download any software to fix your phone, it will be deleted when you get the device back and switch it back to normal functionality.

How to use Maintenance Mode

The feature rolls out over the next few months on select Samsung Galaxy devices on the One UI 5 operating system or later. This includes Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S22 devices, with indications Samsung plans to expand compatibility to more Galaxy devices in the future.

To activate Maintenance Mode, navigate to Settings and then “Battery and device care”, where you can turn on the feature. This reboots your phone, blocking access to personal information and any apps you’ve downloaded.

According to the process outlined during the South Korean pilot program, you can then disable the mode by rebooting the phone again using biometric or pattern authentication. All going well, you can then go back to using your phone as normal. More information on the feature is available on the official announcement page.

It’s a welcome software-level addition to increase security when your phone is in someone else’s hands. Other phone and hardware manufacturers will do well to introduce their own Maintenance Mode equivalents.

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