Here’s an overview of what crops up most often on the forum:
Most annoying Bugs
Note that where workarounds are listed, these are not meant as a permanent solution. In other words, Fairphone should/will come up with a permanent fix. The workarounds are provided as a temporary measure. A statement by Fairphone about future updates can be found here.
If you are affected by any of these issues, please add any useful new information on the official bug tracker. If you don’t have anything to add, but are affected by a bug, upvote the issue by clicking the up arrow next to the bug title on the bug tracker. A bug tracker account is required to add information or vote, but is easy to register for. More information about what statuses mean and how Fairphone developers use the bug tracker can be found in the bug tracker wiki. Here’s a list of all reports entered into the bug tracker, and here’s one of all reports that have been replicated and confirmed by the developers.
Remember: This a community forum, Fairphone staff does not often show up here. Addressing Fairphone directly here is mostly wasting your time / akin to screaming into the void. Instead if you have useful information for the development team at Fairphone, add it to the bug tracker. Keeping them busy with reports that are incomplete, are duplicates or add no new information that help determine causes and/or solutions, will not speed up finding a solution, so please think/read before you post (as we all want solutions as quick as possible). Upvotes work better than ‘I have the exact same problem’ reports. If you need customer support, contact Fairphone Support either via the Troubleshooter or the general contact form.
- ‘Power off’ reboots devices with new camera module. (a.k.a. ‘phone doesn’t shut down’). Affects all devices that were shipped with the new camera module (Q4 2017 and later) and devices that have upgraded to the new camera module. Workaround: Enable the torch (flashlight function) and then shut down the device normally. You may need to disconnect from USB chargers/devices and bluetooth devices for the workaround to work. Fix included in 19.02.
- Can’t turn on phone while charging. Workaround: unplug phone before trying to turn it on. Fix included in 19.02.
List of Wifi networks freezes / cannot connect / connection lost when waking the phone from sleep. Four workarounds:
- Toggle Airplane Mode on and off, or
- Toggle Wifi tethering on and off, or
- To avoid running into this issue when waking the phone up, the setting ‘keep wifi on during sleep’ can be set to ‘always’ (at the cost of increased battery usage).
- Connecting to specific Wifi networks does not work. If the workarounds above don’t work, and you find you can connect to open networks, you may be running into this bug. Some people find that changing location settings to ‘device only’. Help in nailing down the exact issue is appreciated in the bugtracker.
Other connectivity issues
- Cannot disable SIM card in dual SIM. No workaround yet. This feature is not part of Android 6/7, but is a vendor (qualcomm?)-specific extension that needs to be ported. A preliminary fix is part of the beta-test for 19.10, though more development may be required before full release.
- No connection to computer. [Fairphone Open OS / Sibon]. Workaround: Enable developer settings > USB debugging. Set connection mode to MTP in developer settings.
- android.process.media keeps stopping when connected to PC. This does not seem to be common. Try deleting data for the app ‘media storage’ - after this the media storage database will automatically be rebuilt, which takes time according to how many files are stored. The phone might get warm and have higher battery usage until done. Be prepared to maybe keep it connected or do this when actually not being on your way depending on battery only.
- OpenGL ES 3.0. It’s absence is not dealt well with by certain apps, most notably Pokemon GO (which crashes when trying to catch a pokemon). Other symptoms include getting a blank screen, where there used to be content. Experimental fix in 19.08 for unencrypted phones (enable under developer settings), beta testing for wider release in 19.10.
- H.264 Video hardware acceleration. This may cause playback issues in apps that rely on hardware acceleration, or cause the phone to run hot and have increased battery usage during video playback. Partial fix included in 19.05
- Fairphone Open OS / Sibon only: Widevine DRM. Licensing issues that may not be solved are holding this back. Community ports have worked around this in a way that Fairphone cannot.
Manual update issues
- Encryption / potential data loss issue when upgrading a device encrypted under Android 5. The updater checks for this, but if you do a manual install make sure to read the instructions in the release notes and/or the linked bug to disable secure start up before updating. If android complains about data corruption and suggests wiping storage: shut down the device instead (do not OK the wipe), downgrade to Android to 6, and this time disable secure storage before starting the update.
General issues that can co-occur with updates
- Increased battery usage after an update. A lot of system maintenance processes will run after the actual update. An example is the rebuilding of the media database that android uses to show things such as options for ringtones, audio tracks in your favourite media player and even which files can be downloaded to your computer (when connected over MTP). This rebuilding runs in the background, can take significant time (if you have many pictures/audio tracks/videos/other files), and will cause increased battery use whilst it is running. If battery life doesn’t improve after a couple of days to a week, start checking for other issues such as apps gone rogue in the background. If the battery shows weird charge/discharge patterns, check the #batteryguide, and keep in mind that batteries are rated for ~1000 charge/discharge cycles. Issues relating to worn out batteries become more apparent under heavy use such as that experienced during/after an update. Issues with SIM cards and SD cards that are wearing out can also become more apparent as increased battery use after an update. A factory reset and fresh start is also worth considering, as sometimes things do go wrong with user data in unexpected ways when upgrading Android. Exporting data and importing it again is recommended over restoring a backup if you suspect problems related to a combination of user data and Android upgrade. Finally, if you are running Fairphone Open OS with openGApps, remember that openGApps needs to be installed again after each update to avoid runaway processes that cause heavy battery drain and system instability.
- Some files / audio tracks / ringtones appear to be missing. See comment above, the media database may be being rebuilt. Sometimes it gets ‘stuck’. In this case a rebuild can be forced by going into Settings > Apps > (Show system apps) > Media Storage > Storage and clearing data. If you get messages that process.android.media has stopped a lot, clearing this data may also help.
- App compatibility issues. Compatibility (as listed in Play Store) for some apps appears to have changed with the new Android version. There’s a brief discussion here. Currently it is unclear whether this is due to limitations on which Android version is supported by the App’s developers, or whether this is due to missing features (see above), or other issues. Note that under Fairphone Open / Sibon, Firefox Klar is now a system app, which means that it will not update via F-droid.
- Random reboots. Check the #rebootsguide for general advice, and there’s a topic for the Android 7 update for regular Fairphone OS here. Often these issues are difficult to reproduce, which suggests it very much depends on combinations of the android version, installed apps and other factors that are specific to your setup. The guide provides methods of narrowing down the cause specific to your case. It is worth ruling out hardware issues (SIM/SD cards), as the updates can sometimes stress the phone just enough to push failing components over the edge.
Why haven’t I received the update yet?
Fairphone appears to have starting rolling out updates in stages, which is a common approach in the industry. As a results, not everybody will receive the update notification on the same day. The initial Android 7 update will have been rolled out to everyone by now. If you don’t see the update, make sure you’re running the latest version of the updater. If you have the regular version of Fairphone OS, this is done via the Google Play Store. Fairphone Open OS / Sibon users, please check code.fairphone.com.
I regret upgrading, how do I downgrade?
You’ll need to do a manual install of an older version of the OS you are using. Fairphone provides general instructions here, but note that the file in step 1 may not be the file you are looking for. For Fairphone Open OS / Sibon, a manual install file can be found here. For regular Fairphone OS, use this file. Also, it is recommended to back up any data that you don’t want to lose beforehand - just in case something unforeseen happens.
If you’re unlucky and stuck with a continuously rebooting phone after the downgrade, please see the discussion here.
I’m running Fairphone Open OS / Sibon: how do I install openGapps?
The TWRP version installed during the update doesn’t work for installing openGapps. You can update TWRP using an image file from the TWRP FP2 page (see under ‘Downloads’). The file can be installed from TWRP as an update; you’ll need to switch the file browser over to show .img files. Install the update to Recovery (NOT boot), and reboot the phone holding volume up to immediately boot back into TWRP (booting into Android will revert the TWRP version at this stage). When TWRP is updated, disable zip-verification and update openGapps (remember to use the Android 7.1 version - the architecture is still ARM). For more on this, or to ask questions, see this topic.