When you send your Android phone in for repair, you want to give the specialists involved as much access as they need to run diagnostics and figure out what the problem is. At the same time, you don’t want them flicking through your photos and videos, or posting to any of your social media accounts.
That’s where a dedicated repair mode comes in: If you have an eligible handset, this mode creates a new partition on your phone, separate from the one where you’re logged into your apps, and where all your personal files and data are stored. The phone can still be used and inspected, but it’s in a “factory fresh” state. You can find it on select Pixel phones (where it’s actually called Repair Mode), and select Samsung phones (where it’s called Maintenance Mode).
It doesn’t take long to enable repair mode. The usual precautions still apply, though: Even when you’re turning repair mode on, you should still back up everything on your Android device in advance, just in case a full reset is required to get the gadget working again. We’d also recommend taking out your SIM card.
The repair modes we’re covering here are suitable no matter where you are getting your phone fixed, whether that’s the official Google or Samsung channels, your local Best Buy, or anywhere else you choose to trust with your phone.
Pixel’s “Repair Mode”
Table of Contents
To use Repair Mode on your Pixel, it needs to be running the Android 14 update issued in December 2023, or a later version of the operating system. You also need at least 2GB of storage space left on the phone (select Storage from Settings if you need to check).
To turn Repair Mode on, head to Settings, then tap System and Repair mode. You’ll be given some information about how it works, then you can tap Enter repair mode to launch it. You’ll need to confirm your phone’s security PIN, pattern, or password to keep your data safe. After a reboot, your Pixel phone is ready to be handed over or sent off.
Once your phone is (hopefully) repaired and returned back to you, you can head back to System and Repair mode to go back to normal, or you can tap the notification at the top of the screen. You’ll need your PIN, password, or pattern to exit repair mode, which stops anyone else from disabling the mode without your permission.
Any saved data or settings changes made during Repair Mode are wiped as you exit it, though any Android system updates that have been applied will stay in place. If you need to go into Repair Mode again, you’ll need to restart the process from the beginning.
Samsung’s “Maintenance Mode”
Samsung’s Maintenance Mode is very similar to the Repair Mode on the Pixel, but has been around a lot longer. It works on all recent flagship Samsung Galaxy handsets running Android 13, going back to the Galaxy S10 series (that includes the Flip and Fold foldable phones, too).
On your Samsung phone, open up Settings, then tap on Battery and device care. Pick Maintenance Mode and you’ll be reminded that it’s wise to create a backup of your data first. You’ll also get the option to create a temporary, 30-day backup in the cloud if you don’t already have one in place.
When you’re happy to proceed, tap Turn on to enable the feature. By default, the phone will make a system log that the repair technicians can analyze, and I’d recommend you don’t turn that off before tapping Restart. Your handset then boots up in Maintenance Mode, and it’s ready to be repaired.
To quit Maintenance Mode, you need to tap the notification at the top of the screen, then choose Exit. Your phone’s normal unlock method (like a PIN or fingerprint) will then be required, to make sure it’s really you taking the action. If you don’t already have a screen lock in place, you’ll be prompted to create one before your phone is rebooted into the Maintenance Mode.