Samsung has introduced a feature that will protect personal data from being stolen during phone repairs.
The feature, known as “Repair Mode,” comes amid rising reports of phone technicians stealing private images from the phones of customers seeking repairs. Consumers for various phone companies have called for measures to be implemented to prevent this. Samsung has moved to offer these new protections first in its Galaxy S21 phones in South Korea. They will then expand to other models in the near future.
To enable Repair Mode, customers must navigate to Settings and select Battery and Device Care. From there, they may turn on the Repair Mode. The phone will reboot, and once back on, messages, photos, and other sensitive accounts will be hidden. Anyone fixing the phone will only have access to the pre-installed default apps. Repair Mode can be powered off at any time by the phone’s owner but must be authenticated with a pattern, pin, or fingerprint. Any data required during the repair procedure will be deleted, and all device settings will be reset to their pre-activation configuration.
This innovation is sure to be adopted by other companies who are also trying to combat techs swiping personal data from customers. Last year, Apple settled a lawsuit over two iPhone repair technicians who leaked a woman’s sensitive images on Facebook after working on her phone.