Using the latest version 3.1 of the field app, it is possible to hide the repeat entirely when there are no records/data in the repeat by using the minimal appearance on the begin_repeat and when using the repeat_count setting.
Unfortunately once data exists in the repeat you will always see the repeat section and navigation buttons, although you could use hidden or read only questions if you do not want them to be displayed or edited.
I never want the repeat to show to the user. What I have done is set the relevance for the repeat to something that doesn't exist and it seems to still create the repeat. In the end I want to pass in related data into the repeat using REST from another survey. Is there a way to not show a text field if the username = specified user?