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Pixel’s December 2023 Feature Drop brings Repair Mode

Repair Mode will help Pixel owners protect their data when they send their phone to get fixed

Google Pixel phones got several new features as part of the December 2023 Feature Drop. One that may have flown under the radar, however, is a new ‘Repair Mode.’

Repair Mode is basically exactly as it sounds — a special mode users can enable to protect their data when a device is sent in for repairs. Android expert Mishaal Rahman detailed how Repair Mode works on Pixel phones in a recent YouTube video, which you can view below.

Repair Mode is accessible through the Settings menu by heading to System > Repair Mode. It requires at least 2GB of available storage to work because Repair Mode leverages Android’s dynamic system updates capability. In short, Repair Mode creates a new partition for the phone to boot into, locking the partition with your data so it’s not accessible without your PIN or passcode.

Repair Mode requires you to enter your PIN or passcode to enable Repair Mode. Then the smartphone reboots, launching a version of Android without your apps or data. There are a few basic Google apps that are pre-installed, like Chrome, but for the most part, there’s nothing there.

Notably, Repair Mode does add a diagnostics app, but it only works for Google-authorized repair vendors.

Anything done in Repair Mode, like copying files, gets deleted once you leave Repair Mode. To exit, users can jut tap the exit option in the Repair Mode notification or navigate back to Repair Mode in the settings menu. Either way, users need to enter their PIN or passcode again to exit Repair Mode.

Repair Mode will be a handy addition for anyone who breaks their Pixel phone and needs to have it fixed. Smartphones have a ton of personal data and information in them, and leaving the phone with a repair technician can be a major security concern, especially with recent investigations showing that repair techs often snoop through devices. Without Repair Mode, people would need to back up their data and reset the phone to protect themelves.

It’s worth noting Samsung recently launched a similar feature on some of its smartphones.

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