Samsung’s ‘Repair Mode’ Keeps Your Photos and Data Hidden from Techs

Samsung has launched a new “repair mode” for its Galaxy S21 phones that keeps photos and data hidden from repair technicians and assures privacy.

While only available in Korea for now, the feature assures that personal data on the mobile device is not readable by repair technicians and remains secure even when it is out of a user’s hands, SamMobile reports. Previously, the best way to prevent repair technicians from looking through personal photos and other data was to back up the device and then revert it to factory default settings. After the phone was repaired, a user could then restore it from that backup.

But with the new Repair Mode function, this process has never been easier. A user can execute “Repair Mode” in the “Battery and Device Care” menu in the “Settings” of a compatible smartphone, which at the time of publication was only the Galaxy S21 series. Once a device is placed in Repair Mode it will reboot and upon restart, no one can access personal data such as photos, messages, and accounts and can only use the default installed apps.

“‘Repair Mode’ is a function that allows you to selectively disclose data when repairing a smartphone, and fundamentally blocks concerns about access or leakage of personal information that may occur during the repair process through some private companies,” Samsung explains, machine translated from Korean.

After the device is handed back, Repair Mode can either be turned off or reset to the previous status by fingerprint or pattern recognition.

Samsung Repair Mode
Samsung “Repair Mode” in Korean

Samsung is first introducing the Repair Mode through software updates to the Galaxy 21 series phones but says that it plans to expand the feature to other models in the future. Repair Mode would also be possible in future releases of hardware.

The smartphone maker claims that they have been increasing the amount of security features to make it more convenient for customers to secure and protect sensitive information. For example, Samsung says that last year it added the “Samsung Knox Vault,” an information protection technology that blocks various attacks by storing encrypted personal information locally.

Image credits: Header photo of a Samsung Galaxy S21. Ted Kritsonis, PetaPixel.