Samsung not too long ago introduced a new feature called Maintenance Mode for its Galaxy devices. This mode can be used by the device owner and activated prior to handing over the device to a service technician at a service centre. The Maintenance Mode by Samsung basically 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 will not need to backup and reset their smartphones when handing it over for service. This also reduces the need to log into a fresh device and setup everything all over again. According to a recent report, Google too is working on such a mode for its Pixel devices. But now it seems that Google is also working to add the feature natively to all of its Android-powered smartphones.
Called “Repair Mode” the code was spotted by Mishaal Rahman who claims that it will work natively and can be activated and deactivated by using the preferred authentication method set by the user. As per Rahman, Google's system works very differently compared to Samsung's Maintenance Mode.
While Samsung's Maintenance Mode creates a new user profile, Google's approach to the same basically simulates a factory reset. This is accomplished 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, which preserves the user's data.
The swapping happens in the very next boot, which is when the original system is replaced by the new data image. It was only until Android 14, where it was possible to swap out just the data partition (like with a factory reset), leaving the original data intact. And this is probably what's happening when a user activates Repair Mode on a Pixel device.
According to Rahman, once Google activates the new Repair Mode in the source, smartphone makers will be able to decide if they want to use their own version of repair mode versus Google's soon to be native Repair Mode. As for the user, who hands over their phone for service, the technician servicing the phone will basically see a factory reset phone, which can then be used to test out hardware during a service. Google is expected to first release Repair Mode as a feature in the December Pixel feature drop.
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