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The feature lets technicians access your phone, but not your data.

Samsung is introducing an interesting feature for people sending in their Galaxy phones for repair. When shipping off your phone, you might want to do something to protect your data, and the new feature sounds like a great solution. ‘Repair mode’ locks down your data, but not your phone.

Samsung has so far only announced the feature in a Korean press release. It is first launching in Korea for the Galaxy S21. The S22 is Samsung’s latest flagship phone.

The mode provides technicians with the access they require to make a fix, including the apps a user employs. But repairers won’t see user data in apps, so content like photos, texts and emails remains secure.

When users enable repair mode, their device reboots. To exit, the user reboots again after logging in their normal way and turning the setting off.

Protecting your data during mail-in repairs

Handling data during a mail-in repair process is tough. You could wipe your phone, but that’s a big hassle. You don’t want to just send in a completely locked down device, as technicians can’t thoroughly test it if they’re locked out of everything. Most repair technicians won’t want to view or steal a customer’s personal data – but it does happen.

While in repair mode, technicians can still poke around in your device and test everything, but they’ll only see the default apps with blank data. When you get your device back, you can re-authenticate and disable repair mode and you’ll get all your data back.

Samsung has not explained how the feature works. Android devices already offer the chance to establish accounts for different users, so perhaps Samsung has created a role for repair technicians and made that easier to access.

However the feature works, it’s a great idea, and it’s something other manufacturers should implement. For now, repair mode is only available on one model and only in Korea, but Samsung says it will get a wider rollout in the future.

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