Samsung recently introduced a new feature called Maintenance Mode for its Galaxy devices. This mode can be used by the device owner and activated before handing the device over to a service technician at a service center. Samsung’s Maintenance Mode essentially creates a new user profile, locking the main user’s data once the mode is activated. Samsung came up with this feature so that users don’t have to backup and reset their smartphones when handing them over for service. This also reduces the need to log in to a new device and set everything up again. According to a recent report, Google is also working on such a mode for its Pixel devices. But now it looks like Google is also working on adding the feature as standard to all its Android smartphones.
Called “Repair Mode” the code was noticed Mishaal Rahman which claims that it will work natively and can be activated and deactivated using the preferred authentication method set by the user. According to Rahman, Google’s system works very differently from Samsung’s maintenance mode.
While Samsung’s maintenance mode creates a new user profile, Google’s approach essentially simulates a factory reset. This is achieved using a mechanism called Dynamic System Updates (DSU), which was introduced in Android 10. DSU basically makes it possible to boot without overwriting the existing installation, thus preserving the user’s data.
The swapping happens at the next boot, which is when the original system is replaced by the new data image. Only until Android 14 was it possible to exchange just the data partition (as with a factory reset), leaving the original data intact. And this is probably what happens when a user activates repair mode on a Pixel device.
According to Rahman, once Google activates the new Repair Mode in the source code, smartphone makers will be able to decide whether they want to use their own version of Repair Mode instead of Google’s soon-to-be-own Repair Mode. As for the user handing over their phone for service, the technician servicing the phone will essentially see a factory reset phone, which can then be used to test hardware during a service call. Google is expected to debut Repair Mode as a feature during the Pixel feature drop in December.
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