Alternative OS options for Fairphone 3+

Hi. I just purchased a secondhand FP3+ and it should be delivered in the coming days. I’m interested in opinions about some of the most popular alternative OS options available. I’m sure if I were to trawl this forum I’d find similar discussions but perhaps my particular phone history, needs and requirements put a unique spin on the question.

I’m principally interested in popular and well-established alternatives that are not too niche, geeky or awkward to install/maintain, and likely to be around and supported for some considerable time. e/OS, Lineage and Sailfish seem to fit that category. Which do you consider the most stable / feature-rich, or better for some other reason?

Some more lengthy background for those who can stomach more than two paragraphs:

I’ve thus far managed to avoid the Android / iPhone ecosystems and hope I still can to the most extent, although it seems inevitable that at some point I will be forced into using an app, be it by my bank, a government or administrative site or something like a local transport / parking service. If you’re wondering how I’ve got to 2022 without apps, it’s partly because I live in France, where (sometimes thankfully, sometimes infuriatingly) technological progress seems to be transported back to an earlier age, and partly because I managed to keep existing until six years ago with a tiny Sony Ericsson featurephone (still in service as my backup UK phone), and have spent the last six years with a 2012-era Nokia 808 running the very last (community-modified) version of Symbian. Technically, that uses apps too though I make minimal use of them. I’ve been forced into getting another phone since the USB and charging circuit conked out on the 808 and I have to keep charging the batteries externally every couple of days (but that’s a good example of why having a removable battery is important).

I had thought I was going to buy a Pinephone Pro, being a Linux user (though not in any way a geek) and running Plasma on my desktop, it would be great to also have Plasma Mobile on my phone. I’d be keen to hear from anyone who has tried that on the Fairphone 3+. But it seems there’s still some way to go before that’s fully usable. I was also looking at the Volla phone and the Teracube 2e. The Fairphone 4 is currently out of my price range and I find the 3+ suits me better. I need dual SIM so I can also finally unplug my 2007 UK featurephone that’s struggling to survive, and not have to drag around a second phone and charger when I travel.

I am very much against the whole app ethos. I like being able to run software on my Linux desktop without any privacy or walled garden concerns. Stock Android is not for me, and I want Google’s and any other privacy-invading company’s dirty hands off my phone.

Having used the Nokia 808 these last few years, I think some things are going to seem like a bit of a comedown transitioning to almost any other phone, not least the camera for which the 808 was notable and world-leading for many years. It also had a built-in FM transmitter which I use in the car, HDMI out, a battery that lasts days, amazing sound recording, xenon flash, a compact design and… wait for it… a lanyard! The wrist strap is actually one of my favourite features. Can you use one on a Fairphone? It certainly helps protect against the pickpockets I encounter daily in the metro.


Hi and welcome to the forum.

Most alternatives are versions of Android.
My approach is to use the stock and de-google. it’s simple and I’m not paranoid about security, I just don’t want a lot of google demanding my attention etc.

For indepth discussion on alternatives I suggest you search the forum for those you mention and read the hundreds of posts that refer to them.

No one can really advise you, just promote their experience, which as I said to be realistic you can’t do better than a lot of reading.

In the end I went with none of the 3 OS options I mentioned before. It turned out that Sailfish isn’t available or actively developed for the FP3. I was going to go with e/OS but the GUI installation tool came in a snap package for Linux and I don’t know how to install snaps on my openSUSE distro, whilst the command line method didn’t sound like it would be so friendly. I never got into looking at Lineage OS before I stumbled across a couple of reddit posts mentioning another alternative based on Lineage, iodéOS.

Since it focuses more strongly on privacy controls and a privacy-oriented default selection of apps, almost entirely de-Googled, it sounded enticing. What’s more, it’s developed by a team in Toulouse but with French and English documentation, and with me living in France that also appealed. The install instructions however were far too vague and brief and I needed to hunt down some missing steps and ultimately fiddle at least as much as I would have done with the CLI install method of e/OS.

After a couple of scares where I thought I’d messed up and bricked the phone, I got it installed and have been testing it with my lesser-used backup SIM in preparation for inserting my main SIM in the 2nd slot and switching over fully. So far so good. A few niggles with certain default apps which don’t have the necessary permissions to do fundamental things, like the Magic Earth navigation app not having access to GPS by default, so some things need tweaking. The iodéOS version for the FP3 is based on Android 11 so at the time of writing that puts it one rung up compared to the Android 10 offering on the standard Fairphone install. I found that stock Android install depressing to look at on the brief moments I spent with it, not least that irritating bouncing Google search bar on the home screen. I was absolutely desperate to get everything Google off my phone and iodéOS has done that rather well. Just updated from v2.3 to v2.4, which went smoothly and only required a reboot. Only installed one app thus far, KDE Connect, which provides almost seamless integration with my Plasma desktop. Kool!

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It was a very good decision to choose iodeOS over /e/OS. I’m glad everything went well and you’re happy

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