Samsung's 'Maintenance mode' keeps your data private during repairs — Apple should steal this feature

Security phone
(Image credit: Snappa)

When it's time to take our phones to the repair shop, many of us experience anxiety over the experience. Not only do we have to worry about the bill the technician will slap on the table, but we're concerned about whether our private data will stay out of the repair person's sight.

Fortunately, Samsung rolled out Maintenance Mode, a new feature that ensures that your photos, text messages, and contacts are hidden from prying eyes. This feature isn't available on all Android phones, though. Only Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S22 users can benefit from this new, useful perk. We hope Apple jumps on the bandwagon, too!

Samsung Galaxy S22

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

How to turn on Maintenance Mode

As mentioned, you need a Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S22 series phone; it must be running One UI 5 or later. You can check your phone's details by going to Settings > About Phone > Software Information.

Without further ado, here are the instructions on how to turn on Maintenance Mode.

1. Go to Settings.

2. Tap on Battery and device care.

3. Scroll down to the Additional care section and tap on Maintenance Mode.

4. Reboot the phone.

Once Maintenance Mode is on, the repair technician — or whomever you've entrusted with your device — won't have access to photos, documents, messages nor user-installed apps.

“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, Samsung's VP and Head of Security Team at Mobile eXperience Business.

If you don't see the Maintenance Mode option yet on your phone, don't fret. This is a gradual rollout and it should appear on your device within the next few months.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!