Can't activate eSIM on a new Fairphone 5 <> How to open the Fairphone

Dear Fairphone user,

I’m one of those lucky guys who was able to live several decades without smartphone.

Last year I decided to buy one, and being ethical, and living AMAP naturally, I bought a Fairphone 5.

[yes, AMAP means “As Much As Possible”]

Today I got that wonder in my hands but… I can’t use it!!!

The instructions found on the internet (I have a desktop computer) tell me:

  1. Go to Settings → Network and Internet.

  2. Tap Mobile network.


There is no “Mobile network” option, only “Mobile plan” and when I tap this, I get:

Please insert SIM card and restart [OK ]

Frustrating as I dont have a SIM card, or at least not one the Fairphone can handle (the old SIM cards are to big/large for the nanoSIM).

I had a basic (= old) GSM (= NOT smartphone + no internet, only phone and texting), and I asked my provider to give me an eSIM profile as the Farphoen 5 can use a eSIM.

Next I tried to contact Fairphone via their official Support page ( and…

There I was asked to give the “IMEI1” code, which is well explained on a separate URL but… without telling me HOW TO OPEN a Fairphone 5!

As It is the second most valuable object I bought in 2 decennia time, PLUS the fact that I’m a bit disabled and thus not very handy with objects, especially those requiring a lot of dexterity and/or delicate and/orwith small parts, I’m too insecure to try open it with a tool, or via hard try-out methods.

So how to open that marvellous semi-miracle object?

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That cant work as long as no SIM is inserted or in case of an eSIM activated.

So did you get an eSIM code or not? Why did you try to contact support? The IMEI can be found in the settings-about the phone.

I’m a bit lost what status you are at…


To open have a look here

Or watch FPs videos


The IMEI can be found in your Settings (I think it’s Settings → About phone), and it is probably also written on the package (the box, the carton) you got your FP5 in.


Once you receive(d) eSIM, you should be able to activate it without opening the phone.
If you feel uneasy about opening the phone, and if you are about to get the eSIM, I can’t see any reason for you to play with it.
If you get a usual SIM, yes, that would be the must, but hopefully you can see the reseller and ask for help.


OUPS, This whole story made me nervous and I’m going to fast, forgetting important details. So:
My operator (mobile provider; sorry if I don’t n ow the correct word) gave me a numeric code AND a QR-code to activate the eSIM but none works, because:
The phone doesn’t ask me a code, nor is there a QR-CODE scanner app present and, of course, as I can’t connect, I’ve no access to internet or whatsoever.
So I’m totally blocked. The Fairphone site itself asks me for that other code (IMEI1) which I can’t retrieve for the same reason (= no SIM card available) and tells me how to get it from INSIDE the phone: behind the battery. S, for the moment I can’t even fill in the official support form.

You dont need a barcode scanner app.

Got to settings-network- press the plus sign to add a new eSIM start the process, scanner opens


Dear urs_lesse. I would say: “RIGHT!” but… the only code which is written on the package is just the model. Or is this “FP5 5G 256G TRA” the IMEI1 code?
Or is it the bar code? 23123004163405. According to most young people standards. I’m from prehistoric times. Indeed when I discovered there is NO MANUAL whatsoever (let alone small book, or even some decent instruction leaflets) and, CRAZY TO ME, not even (¡¡¡)a charger(!!!) I was starting to long back to those times where there carved their messages ins tone (OK? I’m slightly exaggerating). They even charged me 50 € for a charger because it had to be a SPECIAL charger due to the connections on the Fairphone. OK? back to reality, to practical stuff: WHERE can I see that IMEI1 code WITHOUT opening the Fairphone?

And for the IMEI go to Settings- About the phone, no SIM is required to show it


On the small carton box (“Change is in your hands” is printed at the big front side in white letters) of an FP5 I have here, there is a white sticker at the top small end of the box with three barcodes. The IMEIs are above two of these barcodes.

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GREAT, GOT IT! Even if, with a small wooden spoon, it was hard to lift the cover, I succeeded. The battery was another thing (the IMEI1 code is only visible on the side after removing the battery. I even broke a small wooden s-fork before being able to open it. SO yes;, it requires some strength to open it, which for security reasons I can understand. Anyway I got it. THANKS!!

YES DONE! THANKS! The links to those sites helped!

Edit three days later:
Sorry about the enormous delay. At that time I just got that FP5, and a total nitwit about smartphones. You were the first one mentioning the

Settings > “ About Phone”

option. So now I know, solved some issues and got many help from different people amongst you are one of the best.

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@Sono it may help you to know that a smartphone connects to the rest-of-the-world in 2 ways:

  1. over Wi-Fi. If you don’t have Wi-Fi at home I suggest you consult a trusted friend who has Wi-Fi. Your old mobile phone probably didn’t have Wi-Fi, so you may never have used it.
  2. over a mobile network; access to a mobile network requires a SIM (physical microchip as you have for your old mobile) or an eSIM (electronic SIM) which some but not all smartphones support. You’ll need a SIM or an eSIM to make/ receive calls on your FP5.
    If you want to keep the same mobile phone number on the same mobile network, you’ll need to get a new SIM (or perhaps an eSIM - depends on the operator) from your mobile operator. If you want to keep your number but are willing to change network (to get a better deal with calls and mobile data) you’ll need a new SIM or eSIM from another mobile operator and port your number to the new network. If you transfer you number to a new SIM or eSIM, then your old SIM will stop working and you’ll need to get a new SIM for your old mobile phone if you want to keep using it. Until you port your old number to your new SIM/ network your FP5 will have a new (temporary) phone number.
    The process of porting your number is very easy in the UK providing your old phone is unlocked. If your old phone is locked to a specific network, you will need to contact that network to get the phone unlocked. Sorry but I can’t give you any advice for any other country because I only know about the UK.
    Forgive me if you’ve already worked this all out! Either way, enjoy your FP5!

Hi Sono.

welcome here,
as a new phone user lots of things are very complicated.
even experienced users struggling with it.
you can see on this form.

many people will help you here, but as a new android user you probably overwhelmed from all te information.

lots of time it’s much easier to go to the shop from you network operator. the one how sell you your sim.
in person, i don’t mean online.

tey can make you sim card smaller or change it to a different one and help you doing the first settings.

but that’s my one experience and opinion ofcorse.
you are the one how can disiside what you prefer.

enjoy your phone.

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4 posts were merged into an existing topic: How to write and save a decent, plain, simple SMS without RCS, MMS or any fancy stuff?

@urs_lesse: Sorry for my extremely late reply.
You are right at 100%
I’ve learned a lot these last 5 days and… Ir’m aware I’m only at the very beginning.

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@JulianR: Sorry for my extremely late reply.
The FP5 at a certain moment (= SUDDENLY) asked me the QR-code (given by my Mobile provider) and I panicked… (too long to explain). Anyway today everything concerning this works without physical SIM, I just have an eSIM, Wifi and my Mobile Network.

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@T4om: ABOUT MY NETWORK OPERATOR: I can’t physically go there.

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: How to write and save a decent, plain, simple SMS without RCS, MMS or any fancy stuff?

@moritzheinz: YES ! Great, I just received the answer from @Meaghan. Its just that I need to tap twice because the first time il (¿always? at least in Notes & Messages) show the text I’m tapping in a magnifying circle. Is this normal? If I tap outside (and keep holding down), nothing happens If I chose the 3 dots I can choose “Make a copy” but then what?
In messages (SMS) I’ve to try several times before it works… but: it works!