Like any business, Samsung has been hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus — it even had to shut down a plant in South Korea to prevent the spread of the illness. In order to limit the reach of the virus, the company now offers to sanitize your phone with UV-C light when you're willing to walk into its Samsung Experience stores and its Service Centers in a few countries.
In the territories where the service is available, Samsung will always sanitize your phone after repairing it in its stores. But you can also walk in with a handset from any manufacturer and get it cleaned for free. Some shops are also able to sanitize tablets and smartwatches. The company guarantees that it has tested the UV-C light and found that it doesn't damage or affect the performance of your device. That's unlike liquid chemical cleaners that could erase the oleophobic coating applied on screens or even enter the handset and corrode it.
Samsung's ad promoting the service.
The service comes with a big disclaimer, though: Samsung can't guarantee that the UV-C treatment will kill all germs, bacteria, and viruses there are on your phone, and the results may vary across stores since the company relies on a variety of third-party hardware. SamMobile reports the devices are available in Samsung Experience stores across at least 19 countries, including:
- New Zealand
- United States
The company is looking to further expand availability.
Concerning the spread of COVID-19, the CDC writes that "the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person," but it "may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes," though that's not as likely as being infected by another person. Thus, people flocking to Samsung stores to get their phones disinfected would likely experience a higher risk of exposure than they would by carrying an unsanitized phone, so you might want to refrain from using the service — just like you should avoid unnecessary trips and meetings in the first place.