Getting your phone repaired when possible is generally better for the world and, importantly, your pocketbook. But mailing it away or dropping it off somewhere risks exposing your personal data. Samsung’s new “repair mode” should help alleviate those fears.
We should go out of our way to say that no matter what Apple suggests, most repair shops aren’t going to break into your device and swipe your phone and credit card numbers. That’s a good way to lose your business, get a business shut down, or put in jail (or all of the above). But just because it generally doesn’t happen doesn’t mean it doesn’t ever happen.
In theory, you could try to lock down your phone entirely, but that could prevent repair technicians from properly diagnosing and fixing your phone, especially if the issue is on the software side. Samsung’s tool bypasses that problem. Instead of locking the entire phone down, it just locks out your data. Technicians can test the OS and investigate the phone, but they’ll just see default apps with blank data. When you get your phone back you can re-authenticate to unlock your apps and data.
Unfortunately, as first spotted by SamMobile, the feature so far only appears to be announced for Korea. There’s no word when (or if) it will come Stateside, nor an explanation of how the feature locks down your phone. Does it encrypt data? Create a new account and hide yours? It’s unclear.
But the sooner Samsung can roll up Repair Mode to more phones, the better because it’s a great idea.