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Samsung's new 'Maintenance Mode' protects privacy as your device is repaired

Maintenance Mode is a new feature aimed at protecting privacy.
By
October 25, 2022
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Samsung logo on spine
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Samsung is releasing a new Maintenance Mode feature with One UI 5.
  • Maintenance Mode creates a new user profile set with restrictions.
  • The feature hides sensitive information from the people repairing your device.

Whether you cracked your screen or there’s some sort of malfunction, you can always send your phone in to get it repaired. But there is always a risk of data theft when someone else has your phone. Samsung’s new Maintenance Mode aims to protect your sensitive information when you send your phone in for repair.

When you think about it, your phone contains loads of information. Some of that information you probably couldn’t care less if someone else saw, but you probably also have private data you don’t want other people to see. For example, the phone numbers of family and friends, addresses, private messages, and maybe even credit card information.

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but when you hand off your phone to someone else to fix, you’re trusting those people to not snoop around your phone as they work on it. To provide users with a little more privacy, Samsung has rolled out its Maintenance Mode.

First appearing in Samsung’s One UI 5 beta, the feature essentially creates a new user profile with a variety of restrictions that prevent other people from accessing your data while the device is being serviced. This includes blocking access to messages, photos, and local documents. The feature will even keep strangers from retrieving apps that you downloaded.

While in Maintenance Mode, the core functions of the device are still operational. Although the stranger can generate data or accounts, all of that is deleted once the user turns Maintenance Mode off.

VP and Head of Security Team at Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung, Seungwon Shin, said this in the company’s blog about the feature:

Our whole lives are on our phones, from credit card information to family photos. With Maintenance Mode, we are giving extra reassurance that Galaxy users can keep their privacy, even if they hand their phone to someone.

Maintenance Mode first launched in Korea earlier this year, but Samsung is officially announcing the global release. It’s expected to come to select devices — the company avoided naming any of the devices — running on One UI 5 in the next couple of months. And the rollout will expand to more devices in the next year.