Handing over your phone — full of photos, texts, and other personal private info — to a repair person can feel dicey. After all, the horrifying reality of having your data leaked during the repair process has actually happened to some people. SamMobile found a press release from Samsung’s Korean press site stating that the company hopes to put an end to that with a new privacy feature called Repair Mode (via Ars Technica). It’ll give technicians a limited amount of access to your phone’s innards. From the sound of it, they’ll be able to access enough to make the fix but not so much to leak your pics.
This feature is coming first to Galaxy S21 phones in South Korea. The company plans to expand support to other models in the future.
As noted in the translated press release, you’ll eventually be able to switch on the feature through the “Battery and Device Care” section within the built-in Settings app. After doing that, the phone will reboot into Repair Mode, and then your accounts, photos, and messages will be hidden. Only the default installed apps will be accessible by the repair person or anyone else who touches your phone during the process. And only you will get to decide when to turn off Repair Mode.
So far, Samsung hasn’t confirmed whether Repair Mode will arrive in other regions or exactly which phones will support the feature. The Verge has reached out to Samsung for comment. Of course, depending on what needs fixing, you may be able to do the repair yourself when iFixit starts stocking official Samsung components later this summer.