We all know the dread of having to send out devices off to service without being able to remove our data, especially when service staff has been caught on many occasions stealing private data from customers.
Samsung has a solution, however. The company today began the global rollout of Maintenance Mode, a new privacy feature coming to select Samsung Galaxy devices.
Maintenance Mode can relieve user anxiety that comes with giving a personal device to someone for repairs, by letting users block access to their personal information, such as their photos, messages or contacts.
“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,” said Seungwon Shin, VP and Head of Security Team at Mobile eXperience Business, Samsung Electronics. “This is just the latest example of our constant efforts 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 have their back.”
Maintenance Mode is a way of creating a separate user account when you hand in your device to be repaired so they can operate core functions without being able to access to any of your private information. All the user needs to do is select Maintenance Mode in the “Battery and device care” menu within “Settings” and reboot their smartphone. As soon as it’s rebooted, all their personal information including their photos, documents and messages will be restricted.
Once Maintenance Mode is switched on, the person who was entrusted with the device won’t be able to retrieve user-installed apps either. Data or accounts generated when using Maintenance Mode are automatically deleted as soon as the owner exits Maintenance Mode. They will be able to download apps on Galaxy Store, but those will be automatically deleted along with any data or accounts created as soon as the owner exits Maintenance Mode.
In 2021, Samsung introduced Knox Vault, which isolates the most critical information from the rest of the device. This month, the company revealed Knox Matrix, its vision for the next level of security across multiple devices.
Maintenance Mode was successfully trialed on the Galaxy S21 series in Korea in July and then launched in China in September 2022. It launches globally today, gradually rolling out over the next few months on select models running One UI 5. The rollout will continue throughout 2023, with availability expanding to more Galaxy devices.