Samsung to Roll Out 50 Specialized Galaxy Smartphone Repair Service Centers This Year – CNET

Your Samsung phone breaks — maybe your screen cracks after a drop, or your battery doesn’t hold a charge no matter what cable you use. Whatever the issue, you need to get it fixed ASAP — so where should you get it repaired?

On Thursday, Samsung announced it’s designating 50 existing uBreakiFix stores as flagship Samsung repair locations. These flagship stores — which the company has quietly opened in Houston, Los Angeles and several other major cities — will feature specialized repair equipment and expanded parts inventory to provide faster fixes and take on more repairs of Samsung Galaxy mobile devices, like the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Here’s what this all means for you, especially if you live near one of these specialized Samsung repair locations and need to get your device fixed. And here’s what you need to know about protecting the personal information on your phone when you hand it over to a repair tech and how you can even get a repair person to come to you.

For more, check out the best Samsung phones of 2023 and what to expect from the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

What are these specialized Galaxy repair shops?

Back in 2018, Samsung first partnered with repair service uBreakiFix to provide one-day, in-person care of damaged and broken Galaxy devices. A couple years later, in 2020, uBreakiFix launched its We Come to You service, which is exactly what it sounds like: A technician drives over to where you are, whether it’s at home or work or a coffee shop, and fixes your phone for you in a mobile repair van.

The new Samsung flagship repair centers announced Thursday are intended to build on this partnership and help technicians repair Galaxy smartphones faster, as well as broaden the range of repairs they can perform. These specialized locations are hosted at uBreakiFix by Asurian stores. Asurion, the device insurance and warranty provider, acquired uBreakiFix in August 2019.

Each flagship location will receive specialized equipment, parts and training from Samsung, to help improve the repair process for all Galaxy smartphones, like the Galaxy S23 series, upcoming foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Z Flip5 and even special edition devices like the Galaxy S23 Tactical Edition. Mark Williams, the head of Samsung Care, told me that the flagship locations will feature increased inventory to provide care for all devices, even the rare ones.

Williams also mentioned these flagship stores will feature pilot initiatives, like new repair types, before they roll out nationwide to other Samsung authorized repair providers.

Worried about your personal data if you get your Samsung phone repaired?

As if breaking your phone and dealing with getting it repaired isn’t enough of a headache, you may be worried about all the data on your phone when you hand your device off to a repair person.

If you’re getting your phone fixed at a mom-and-pop phone repair shop, they may ask for your PIN or account password to run diagnostics or make a repair. With your credentials in someone else’s hands, there’s always the possibility of your personal information — like credit card numbers and personal photos — getting accessed by a stranger.

And that’s why Samsung rolled out Maintenance Mode, which lets you create a separate profile on your phone that excludes all of your photos, videos and notes. It’s pretty much like your phone when you set it up for the first time, with only basic access to pre-installed apps.

If you hand over your phone with Maintenance Mode enabled to a repair person, they can access the settings needed to make their repairs, without requiring your password or PIN. Once they’re done, they hand the phone back to you, and you can enter your PIN to go back to your normal profile, with your photos, videos, apps and more.

To enable Maintenance mode, go to Settings > Battery and device care > Maintenance mode and turn on the feature. Your phone will restart and a new profile will appear, without any of your personal information, in only a couple minutes. Once it’s finished, you can give your device to the repair person. To disable Maintenance mode, go to the same setting, but this time hit Exit.

Maintenance mode on the Galaxy S23

You should Back up your data before enabling Maintenance mode and handing your phone off to a repair person.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

If you’re too busy, Samsung repair tech can come too you

But what if you don’t want to go outside and, instead, have the repair tech come to you? I got to find out first hand, because as part of Samsung’s partnership with uBreakiFix by Asurian, you can request an appointment for phone repair at your home, at work or even at a coffee shop — directly from your Samsung account or the Samsung website.

The We Come To You repair service costs $30 (not including repair), and with the service a technician who specializes in Samsung phones comes to your home. All you need to do is request a repair, hand your phone off to a technician when they arrive and then wait a bit — most repairs are done in less than an hour. If you’re covered under warranty or by insurance, you may not have to pay much — if anything at all — for fixes.

To test it out, Samsung and uBreakiFix previewed the service to me at my home. The service van that showed up at my place was equipped with the parts and tools the techs would need for most repairs of a Samsung device. The techs walked me through the process of running an initial quality check to diagnose what’s wrong with a phone, followed by specialized tests to determine camera quality, potential water damage and more.

I got to hang out in the van for a bit, look around and chat up the techs about what they do. I can’t guarantee that’s included in the regular $30 service fee.

Man sitting in van repairing a phone

Here’s the uBreakiFix by Asurion technician running a quality check on a Samsung phone.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

If the repair techs can’t repair the phone in the van, you have the option of allowing the repair person take your phone to one of the uBreakiFix locations or taking the phone in yourself. I’m not one for sending my phone via mail to have it fixed, I don’t have much time before and after work to go into a repair shop to get a phone fixed in person, and I’m honestly not that handy to do the repair myself. The We Come to You service fills that void.

If you want to learn more about other Samsung devices, check out Lexy Savvides’ review of the Galaxy Watch 6 and 6 Classic, as well as Mike Sorrentino’s review of the affordable $200 Samsung Galaxy A14 5G.