The new privacy feature will gradually roll out to Galaxy devices starting with the Galaxy S22, allowing users to block access to their data while their device is being serviced.
Samsung Electronics today begins the global rollout1 of Maintenance Mode, a new privacy feature for select Samsung Galaxy devices, following a successful pilot program in Korea and an initial launch in China. Maintenance mode can relieve users of the anxiety that comes with handing over a personal device to someone for repair by allowing users to block access to their personal information, such as their photos, messages or contacts.
“Our entire lives are in our phones, from credit card information to family photos. With Maintenance Mode, we provide extra assurance that Galaxy users can maintain their privacy even if they hand over their phone,” said Seungwon Shin, Vice President and Head of Security Team at Mobile eXperience Business, Samsung Electronics. “This is just the latest example of our continued drive to introduce new ways to make people feel safe and in control, so they can explore new mobile experiences with peace of mind, knowing we’ve got their backs.
Maintenance mode is a way to create a separate user account when you take your device in for repair so that it can control basic functions without having access to any of your private information. All the user needs to do is select the maintenance mode in the “Battery and device care” menu under “Settings” and restart their smartphone. Once it is restarted, all their personal data including photos, documents and messages will be restricted.2
Once maintenance mode is on, the person to whom the device was entrusted will not be able to load applications installed by the user. Data or accounts generated while using maintenance mode are automatically deleted when the owner exits maintenance mode. They will be able to download apps from the Galaxy Store, but they will be automatically deleted along with any data or accounts created once the owner exits maintenance mode.
Samsung Galaxy devices are protected by Knox, Samsung’s defense security platform that offers a multi-layered approach to protection. By working openly with trusted industry partners, any potential threats can be detected and neutralized more quickly. Integrated hardware and software security guarantees in all areas of the device, from the chips inside to the apps users download. Real-time protection ensures continuous security enforcement day and night. With this industry-leading security, users can rest assured of their privacy. Samsung Galaxy devices enable control and transparency with features like the Security and Privacy Dashboard and Permission Manager, so users can easily determine what happens to their data.
Samsung is constantly evaluating and promoting new ways to ensure user safety. In 2021, Samsung introduced Knox Vault, which isolates the most important information from the rest of the device. This month, the company unveiled Knox Matrix, its vision for the next level of security across multiple devices. By constantly innovating to deliver the most secure and private experiences customers can trust, Samsung is committed to becoming a leader in mobile security.
Maintenance mode was successfully tested on the Galaxy S21 series in Korea in July and then launched in China in September 2022. It launches globally today and will gradually roll out to select models with One UI 5 over the next few months. The rollout will continue throughout in 2023, with availability expanding to other Galaxy devices. Stay tuned for more information on local availability.
After first being introduced in Korea in July and then launching in the Chinese market in September, Samsung is now rolling out the maintenance mode globally. This feature, also known as repair mode in Korea, allows you to block access to your personal data on the phone while it is being serviced.
The maintenance mode rollout begins on “select models” of the Galaxy S21 and S22 series with the just-released One UI 5. The rollout will continue throughout 2023, “as availability expands to additional Galaxy devices,” Samsung says.
If you’re lucky enough to have a device with this feature, you’ll find it under Settings > Battery & Device Care. Once you turn on maintenance mode and then restart your device, all of your personal information will not be accessible to the person working to repair your phone. They will also not be able to load your installed apps.
Data and accounts generated in maintenance mode, as well as apps downloaded from the Galaxy Store, will be automatically deleted when you exit it. Speaking of exiting – you do this by tapping on the mode’s quick setting icon and then verifying with your fingerprint. After that, the phone will reboot into normal mode as if nothing ever happened.
That sounds pretty cool to us; you just need to make sure your local repair shop doesn’t have a blanket policy of hard resetting devices before they arrive (and/or before they return to customers).