Don’t use Samsung’s new Focus Modes if you’re running the One UI 5 beta

If you’re not careful, you’ll get locked out of your settings app


Samsung’s One UI 5 beta has been going pretty smoothly so far, with each update including new features, tweaking existing functionality, and of course fixing bugs. We’ve been testing the software since the first build arrived, and as relatively stable as the betas have been so far, bugs still exist. Today we’re sharing our experience with one of those glitches that remains, an annoying little issue that has the potential to render your phone essentially useless.

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One UI 5 removes Focus Modes from the Digital Wellbeing menu and reintroduces the feature as Modes within the Bixby Routines app. Functionality is essentially the same, and the Modes you create can enable DND, restrict access to certain apps, and more, based on triggers like location or time, or be activated manually.

The problem we discovered deals with how app access is restricted. While taking in a movie recently, we observed the Cinema Mode we created kicked in, restricting apps to just the Phone app, Telegram, Galaxy Wearable, and settings. But after the credits rolled, and Cinema Mode was switched off, the majority of apps were still being restricted. Even worse, the S22 Ultra we used for testing blocked access to its settings app, even though that was supposed to be white-listed.

Which so much locked down, obvious troubleshooting steps won’t get you far in this situation. Clear data and cache for the Modes app? Nope, you need access to settings for that. Rebooting into Safe Mode? No luck there either, as Modes is a system app that still restricts access in Safe Mode.

Ultimately, we had to resort to using Device Manager on another phone to do a remote factory reset. With that done, all we had to do was restore the Samsung Cloud backup, and within the hour, the S22 Ultra was back in the working state it had been before.

If you’re testing the One UI 5 beta on your Galaxy device, consider giving Modes a skip for now, and maybe take the precaution of going in and making sure all of them are disabled. We were lucky enough to have a recent backup in our case, but you’ll probably just want to spare yourself that headache altogether. Hopefully, Samsung can fix this quickly, and we’ll have a stable release before we know it.

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