It will eventually happen to all of us, no matter how careful you are. Maybe you drop your phone and the screen cracks, you accidentally spill a drink on it and it won’t charge anymore, or maybe you did nothing to directly cause the hardware defect and you’re just out of luck. Either way, you will need to get your phone fixed, which you can do or do it yourself or through a repair center.
Most people in this situation would take their phone to the nearest authorized repair center or mail it if there is no repair location nearby, but in addition to temporarily losing access to their phone, they would also have to face the inconvenience of backing up your data and factory resetting your device before sending it. That is unless they are comfortable with a complete stranger having access to all of their personal data, which describes absolutely no one.
To save its users from having to reset their devices, Samsung announced a function last year called Maintenance mode which protects the user’s private data while repairing the device. While the device is in maintenance mode, the people who fix it have access only to the pre-installed apps. Any changes made while the device is in maintenance mode are lost when it is shut down, which can only be done by the user unlocking their device. This way, the user only needs to put their device into maintenance mode before handing it in, the repair center can do whatever it needs to do while it’s in their hands, and the user can simply exit maintenance mode when it recovers. the device. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Unfortunately, not all phones have access to a feature like maintenance mode on Samsung devices. Google’s Pixel phones, for example, lack such a feature, which is why Google he tells his customers reset their devices to factory settings before sending them in for repair. Google has done a great job of making their own devices more repairablebut most people won’t have the know-how to fix a phone like the Fold Pixels. The launch of the Pixel Fold will really test Google’s after-sales services, which is why I think Google needs to make the repair experience as painless as possible for users.
For starters, Google should copy Samsung’s maintenance mode feature so that Pixel users can rest assured that their personal data is safe during the repair process. Fortunately, Android already provides an excellent tool that the Pixel team can leverage if they want to build such a feature. Here’s what they should do.
How Google could bring maintenance mode to Pixel
You might be thinking, “You can’t just Google use guest mode or add another user?” If you were, you’d be partially right. While it is true that a secondary user cannot access the primary user’s data without a PIN/password, the secondary user will still need the PIN/password of the main user to log into the device after booting in. This means that the device would have to be powered on when it was sent in for repair, and the people working on the device would not be able to power down the device at any time while they were working on it.
i don’t know the Exactly which is why Android requires the root user to enter their PIN/password before any other user can log in, but it could be because the root user and also the “system” user who is “always running even when other users are in the foreground”. If Android requires the “system” user to always be running, then it makes sense that it needs to be unlocked before anyone else can boot.
Whatever the reason, this behavior seems to be intentional, as it happens not only on Pixel phones but also on Samsung and other OEM devices. That’s why I think Samsung’s maintenance mode is not As soon as just creating a guest user as some think, as I noticed when testing myself that involves rebooting the device to activate. I’m not exactly sure how Samsung implemented maintenance mode, but I know Google and other OEMs can replicate it using Android Dynamic System Updates (DSU) characteristic.
Google introduced DSU in Android 10 to make it easier to test Generic System Images (GSI). GSIs are vanilla builds of Android compiled directly by the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). They are mostly used by OEMs for compatibility testing, but can also be used by developers to test their apps on a clean build of Android running on physical hardware. The advantage of using DSU to install a GSI over just manually updating the GSI is that DSU does not overwrite the original installation. Instead, DSU creates new system and data images that Android mounts in place of the originals.
DSU was designed for use Anyone the system image is provided, and the device will boot from that image as long as it passes verified boot (or the bootloader is unlocked). It makes sense that DSU would require a system image to be provided since it’s designed for testing GSI, and GSI don’t ship on retail devices. But what if DSU lets you skip providing a system image and instead uses the existing system partition plus a new data image? This would effectively simulate a factory reset but without it Actually erasing any user data, which is exactly what we would like to happen when you enter the Pixel’s hypothetical maintenance mode.
While the Pixel’s maintenance mode is purely a hypothetical idea at the moment, using DSU to simulate a factory reset isn’t. This is a feature that DSU will be introducing Android 14 next to other improvementssuch as the ability to restart immediately after installation, the ability to persist the installation between restarts, the ability to hide the default notification so you can show a custom one, the ability to change the strings used for the dialog which prompts the user for credentials and the ability to lock the device in DSU mode.
Combined, these improvements should allow Google (and any other OEM) to replicate Samsung’s maintenance mode. To demonstrate, I made a short video showing me tapping a button called “Maintenance Mode” on my Pixel which triggers DSU to simulate a factory reset. The main thing missing from this demo is an app that explains to the user what maintenance mode is, provides a button to enter it, and swaps the DSU-provided notification for a custom one that tells the user that they are in maintenance mode. of maintenance. Also, it is currently not possible to exit this pseudo maintenance mode by entering the main user credentials.
You may have also noticed (or just read the description of the video) that I have cropped some parts of the video. To be precise, I cut a few seconds when my device shows the orange/bootloader unlocked state during the boot process, as an unlocked bootloader shouldn’t be required for this to work. I also cut out the part where I ran the Setup Wizard after the device boots, and that’s because it’s actually possible to skip the Setup Wizard by setting the ro.setupwizard.mode system property to “DISABLED”. This could be done by creating an init script, a script that runs during boot, which sets this property when Android enters “maintenance mode”.
As for how Android would know it’s in maintenance mode, that could be done by setting another system property called “ro.gsid.dsu_slot” in something like “maintenancemode”. Adding “.lock” to “maintenancemode” would make it look like this”authorized users only” can exit provided, again, that the root user credentials are transmitted.
If Google or any other OEM were to copy Samsung’s maintenance mode, this is how I could see it happen. Samsung’s implementation may already be using a forked version of DSU that does everything I’ve described, but I don’t know how theirs works under the hood. I also don’t know whether or not Google is already working on this feature, because there’s no direct evidence to suggest that they are. I have my suspicions, but without hard evidence, we’ll just have to wait to find out what Google is planning. Maintenance mode would be a great feature for Google to announce alongside Pixels 8 series later this year, so I hope the company has some surprises in store for us.
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Image Source : www.androidcentral.com