Debating using warranty to ask for money back on FP4 since Android 13 update broke it

Android 13 rollout has been a QA disaster in may view, and I see I am not alone.

In common with others, I find the that horizontal screens are particularly frequent triggers, freezing the app UI system. You can trigger Goggle Assistant from the power button, and that can even play Spotify in the background, but the UI is frozen and dead so you can’t actually change screens and the phone is unusable. Disabling autorotate reduces UI freezes, doesn’t solve them, and no one wants to watch videos or see horizontal photos on a vertica screen. Hard reset is the only solution.

More generally there are lots of apparently transient issues, where the phone will restart for no obvious reason or trigger without too many apps open simultaneously or running intensive processes. It will just restart. It has happened to me while using Google maps in the middle of driving.

I have several restarts a day.

I am a supporter of fairphone as an environmental alternative but I’m so frustrated I may write a blog article criticising it. The main driver of phone waste is not hardware obsolescence but software obsolescence. This is a prime example. I was hoping to keep this for 5 years, but I may need to buy a new phone because they got their software update wrong. To cap it all, support says they are busy promoting FP5 so they will ignore me for 5-6 days. This is (working) day 6 with not a peep. A case study in generating premature obsolescence and waste to promote a new product. I don’t believe the inattention is intentional (although breaking the last model while promoting the new is probably a neat commercial coincidence). But if you don’t have capacity to launch a new product and support an OS upgrade for old models… maybe don’t do both at the same time? Unless profit trumps ethics and you find that your broken FP4 increased sales of FP5 so might as well not patch it.

My first FP and I am feeling disappointed and disillusioned with the company, the phone and the environmental implications.


Searching around on this forum you might have already found workarounds for your problems.
If not I’d propose you try these workarounds which could make life with your phone easier until there’s a SW fix:

  • disable auto rotate to avoid UI freeze and use the rotate icon instead which should appear at the bottom right corner once you turn your phone vertically
  • disable 5G to avoid the reboots

Hello Leamsi; I observe exactly same disorders on my FP4 since I updated to Android 13end of October! It is full disaster. Internet connection is interrupted every 5 min, system restrat for no reason, … I am fed up too. I bought my FP4 in June, I am really thinking of claiming refund…

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Did any of you try a factory reset or reinstalled from scratch using an image ? Just backup and then go ! In the worst case, you still have an unusable phone.

Thanks @Jacques_Laebens for the validation. I am most irked not by the functionality degradation but by the ethical/environmental disappointment. E-waste is one of my areas of expertise and just received a FairPhone ad for a campaign against e-waste ahead of the big electronics offers. It now seems so cynical, with their FP5 release and focus, their explicitly saying they will not prioritise support for FP4 because of launch, and their coincidentally releasing a breaking upgrade for FP4 just as the push us all to buy FP5. They are a prime example of what their campaign is critiquing, and profiting from the feel good branding “we’re the good guys”. Also their e-waste message and campaign is implicitly saying “keep your FP phone and don’t buy from a competitor offering you bargains!” while promoting the FP5 just 2 years after selling us the FP4. Gotta admit there’s a tinge of hypocrisy here. Still giving the benefit of the doubt and applying Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”, but it’s becoming counter-intuitive and harder to not take a more cynical view. I acknowledge they do need to be profitable, and the profits in selling you and FP5 will be much higher than the profits in helping you upgrade your FP4 hardware and software and extend its life. But at least the competition doesn’t claim it’s environmentally motivated.

“Did any of you try a factory reset or reinstalled from scratch using an image ? Just backup and then go ! In the worst case, you still have an unusable phone.”
Thanks @Alain_Guillet for the suggestion, definitely worth a try. That might just work and I will definitely try it. There’s also the possibility of a rollback to 12, but I don’t have the time and have lost confidence, so probably won’t manage to experiment with that. If anyone rolls back to 12 and it works, please let us know.

@Volker thanks for the suggested workarounds. I have tried disabling the autorotate but for my use case it’s not sustainable. I app switch between horizontal and vertical apps for work and in transit, where it matters, and for leisure, where it is just an irritant. In the country I live in, if you disable 5g where 5g is available, the data speeds slow down and make it unusable for a lot of things, probably due to ISP throttling as not many consumer protections. But the main point really is that forcing users to find clever ways to degrade the functionality of a phone they bought months ago to avoid even bigger degradations is the opposite of a solution, and accelerates e-waste and environmental destruction in the name of helping the environment. Intentionally or not, it is greenwashing at its worst,

When I bought FP4 and they said they facilitated hardware upgrades by normal users embracing Right to Repair I thought: I can keep upgrading my FP4 to keep up with growing software and OS demands and prevent software-driven hardware obsolescence and e-waste. But the message their actions are sending is that if I have money, my simplest step is to waste my FP4 and buy the FP5. Same as everyone. My aspirational wish would be for them to release not just FP5s but ways to manually replace FP4 components to get them as close to FP5 as possible, rather than keep falling so behind you eventually need to waste hardware that still works but can’t cope with software advances. That’s just aspirational, I understand they can’t do everything at once and this may not be top of their list yet.

But my absolute minimum, non-negotiable, is that my FP4 is not rendered too painful to use when they roll out a year-old OS upgrade at the same time as they sell us their new model. I may not have as many extras as the FP5, but I should be able to keep using the FP4 without degradation, for at least 5 years! And if there is degradation (we all make mistakes), to have the bare minimum decency to communicate about it, to acknowledge it, to have a timetable and route for fixing it, and aligning to their campaign against e-waste, which again conveniently happens to coincide with their selling a new model when state of the art competitors will be promoting at bargain prices.

The combo of: “Buy FP5!” + “FP4 upgrade makes FP4 a pain” + "you’re about to be offered lots of superior phones at bargain prices, resist e-waste! (implicitly translated as “keep your FP phone!”) begins to really look cynical, Hanlon’s Razor and all.

The silence from the company on patches, on problems and even on direct support, is really bad. I have a green tech podcast and blog and I am increasingly inclined to name and shame, not destructively but as a call to action. I suspect they have commercial and environmental voices on each shoulder, and the latter I think need some support, and the former some boundaries.

My personal favorite sign of this is that the (former) community manager seemingly denies knowing anything about the issue that can potentially brick devices when you lock the bootloader in certain cases. It’s been like this since day 1 and they seemingly just don’t care.

My workplace has given me an iPhone 13 and I’ve mostly started using that instead. It has only two issues that drive me mad; the hotspot feature is unpredictable and the phone reception is terrible when I’m inside of a train station. But aside from that I’m very much happy. As happy as I can be on iOS that is. It feels like a downgrade compared to Android IMO. No YouTube Revanced is a deal-breaker for me so I’m hoping I’ll get the choice of a Pixel next time.

I think it’s a bit sad that almost every aspect of my Fairphone 4 is mediocre or worse. I remember buying it and thinking “man, I’ll have a solid device for at least 5 years” and that just wasn’t meant to be I guess.

I feel like I bought a beta at full price and instead of fixing it they launched a newer device and largely gave up on this one.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to buy a Fairphone at this point.

If I were you, I would wonder if it is not to make me buy the iPhone 14 or even 15.

Honestly, this discussion happened several times and who would be stupid enough to buy an FP5 after an upgrade have broken his FP4 ? Of course, nobody but people who think complot before the rest. The normal people will just run away from Fairphone and choose another company.

I don’t know who said it to be a solution.
I just proposed it in case it might help you to live with the problems temporarily. If the workarounds don’t work for you, well, then go ahead, sell your device and get something else. It’s fully up to you.

I just believe it’s a coincidence that A13 upgrade introduced problems you can’t live with while at the same time FP5 was released. I’m sure this didn’t happen intentionally. But well, maybe we agree to disagree here… :person_shrugging:

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The thought has occurred to me, but I’m buying an iPhone over my dead body. I’d rather buy Samsung if it came down to it.

I’m totally up for buying another Fairphone if they can get their software together.


Sorry @Volker , that wasn’t directed at you, as I said am grateful for your suggestions, and they did help when I tried after reading the forums. I wrote that in the hope there’s someone from Fairphone reading this thread. You were helpful, but your help was a sign of the problem that was the big issue for me. I meant Fairphone need to provide a solution, not lean on the goodwill of users to manually degrade their own FP4 to avoid even worse problems caused by FP.

I also agree with you that poor product management and QA and probably poor top leadership under competing pressures is a more likely explanation than conscious designed obsolescence, hence my mention of Hanlon. I am a software engineer and manager so I’ve seen this a lot. Anyone could have guessed that doing a massive OS upgrade and a new phone rollout at the same time was risky. The problem is that they have explicitly said they are deprioritising comms and support for FP4 owners because they are busy rolling FP5. That’s not an accident. It’s a decision. In fact it’s a policy.

And that essentially means that they are accelerating e-waste. 3 people on this thread are considering or have started to abandon FP4 because of bugs they have formally decided not to prioritise in order to sell their new product.

And then they send a message warning you against e-waste with an entire campaign, timed in a commercially advantageous way.! That I am certain is not a coincidence, just a good marketing department timing a positive message in a timing that happens to be good for the bottom line too.

Again, I can understand the logic behind all of this. For FP to succeed environmentally it needs to succeed commercially. To do this, it sells new phones, rather than helping you upgrade your existing one. Not ideal, but understandable. They have limited people, so they have prioritised FP5 over 4. Makes sense. But once they realise their FP4 upgrade is broken, to double down, is to put profit over environment. Like everyone else.

I bought FP4 thinking it was a good, innovative option. This saga makes me think it’s only a less bad one, and I’m not certain by how much. I want to give them a chance to make it right, the benefit of the doubt. I will a little longer. But as it stands right now, I know plenty of people walking around with iOS and Android phones over 6 years old, with less hindrances than my months old FP4. Environmentally, right now, I’m pretty confident that if I’d spent the same amount on a second hand top tier android or IOS phone, I would have a better phone and a lower environmental footprint than with my FP4. I’m sticking around a bit longer, to support them, but I have far less confidence in both, their competence and their ethical integrity, than I had when I bought the model.

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Honestly, if I considered them trustworthy (jury’s out), I would. They appear to be genuinely trying to innovate to improve environmentally and socially an industry with a terrible environmental and human rights footprint. There are implementations of Right to Repair that should be standard and are ahead of everyone else. They are raising awareness of important issues.

I’d love to see competitors emerge, but right now I can’t think of any. I suspect a company that took a similar approach, but targeted their product at African markets, prioritising low purchase cost, high repairability and physical upgrade ability, and mobile wallet transactions (60% of the market is African) would make a huge profit.

So if I trusted them, their leadership and investors, and the minimum technical quality of their FP5, I’d consider upgrading to help them reach profitability and scale in their mission, if I truly believed that FP5, unlike 4, would really last 5 years without significant decline, or with true upgradeability. And that profit/shareholder/leadership pressures will not drive them to release a new model every year or two with big marketing to encourage us to buy the new model without the option of increasing the power of our existing one by installing new components and software. If next year they releas FP6, then 7, and just follow the iOS or Android phone norm, then I think all their innovations are a drop compared to the ewaste and demand growth they stimulate, and FP is a net negative. This iteration diminishes my trust and hope. I reckon they will do exactly what I fear, and prove another green brand with good original intentions which the profit and growth imperative just turned into a net contributor and accelerator of climate change. The soft, pretty, outer edge of greenwashing. I hope I’m proven wrong.

Sorry, I again disagree here. There are imho good reasons to realease a new model every couple of years (without inviting the existing customers to upgrade!). But I think we shouldn’t go on with discussion here. You’ll find all pros and cons in this topic:


I understand your frustration. I was so happy with my phone at first and now just reached the point where I will get a replacement display so Fairphone can’t blame my broken display for any problems, then I will reset my phone and send it in for warranty. I won’t accept it back until the problems are solved. Low quality of the upper speaker, display too dark most of the time in bright light, USB-C port isn’t working right anymore (and I did not plug it even close to a 100.000 times…), my back cover is nearly fully broken from opening it about 20 times by running the fingernail around it. From time to time it has problems with the recognition of multi-touches since they tried to fix a hardware problem with software…

I would have started that process earlier but it’s always kind of stressful to replace a fully customized LineageOS phone and go back to one with a stock ROM. So I tried to avoid it, expecting the release of upgraded parts. Seeing the FP5 getting published instead was quite a punch in the face.

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Thank you @Volker.
“Sorry, I again disagree here. There are imho good reasons to realease a new model every couple of years (without inviting the existing customers to upgrade!)”

Even you acknowledge the FP5 should not be marketed to existing customers but I am certain their CRM knows I’m a recent buyer and sent me, and targeted that customer population to send an e-waste campaign of stunning cynicism. It says, to FP4 users. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming, don’t buy new models if you don’t need to. E-waste is a terrible problem, here are alarming stats to make you feel guilty and a nice Big Button saying, barefacedly, “we have the solution”. You click on it and the solution, marketed at FP4 owners among others, is: abandon your working phone and buy an FP5.

But say they excluded us from the campaign. You say it’s OK for Fairphone to release a new model every couple of years. I refer you to Fairphone’s own marketing pitch (sorry, awareness raising green message):
“In 2019 alone, we saw over 50 million metric tons of electronic waste being generated globally, as per UN estimates. Various reports say that annual number could reach 74 million metric tons by 2030.” As they say, 82.6% of this is not recycled. They don’t add that only something like 3-8% of what is recycled is reusable, so the ewaste is higher. They also don’t mention that a high proportion of what is marked as recycled because you left it in the electronics bin of your recycling facility is merely dumped into huge toxic piles that create neurological damage in children in nearby villages and destroy biodiversity.

Above all, neither they, nor you, note that for the vast majority of this waste, the hardware still works. People stopped using their iPhone 4 because 5 came out, then 6, etc. Most people in the West have 4-6 devices on average at home they have stopped using. Just at home. After several years, they dump them. And it becomes the issue above. What’s more, this drives redundant manufacturing, so raw material extraction, energy, emissions, land use, environmental impacts grow from pure redundancy: the demand for a new product to replace a fully functional one.

FP practices have all the worst features that drive these two issues, but greenwashes it more effectively. It releases and markets new devices while existing models work; it does so in a backward incompatibile way that forces you to choose rather than physically upgrade; it abandons or deprioritises software support for previous models, meaning they become unusable not because they are physically obsolete, but because the software has not been maintained effectively, driving you into the new product. And it aggressively promotes your buying a new product as a solution to ewaste in the name of product longevity, without a trace of irony.

The helpful thread you pointed me to, just confirms and all but seals my disenchantment. This is not a new practice. FP4 was incompatible with FP3.

The FP approach is textbook premature, designed and promoted obsolescence, empirically, undeniably. But with a nice coating of green paint.
Choices consciously not taken:

  1. Make physical FP5 upgrades backward compatible, so earlier model users can upgrade parts without buying a new model.
  2. Prioritise longevity in your software team. Roll out Android 13, debug it, make it competitive, THEN roll out backward compatible FP5 so new clients can buy that and old ones can physically upgrade.
  3. Have a swap service. Pay a small surcharge for labour and swap your FP4 for FP5 since they are backward compatible and FP can reuse and repair.
  4. Don’t aggressively market new model to existing model users in your CRM, unless you have 1-3 in place and are not encouraging them to simply abandon their model.
  5. Don’t deprioritise support for old models to plug your new one.
  6. Don’t be blatantly hypocritical and cynical and advertise your new model as “the solution” to ewaste.
  7. Actually live your values.

So I would say to you @Volker that there are good reasons NOT to release new models prematurely, using the arguments you surely received from Fairphone telling you November was about device longevity and adding a bit of research into why it is so urgent and terrible for the planet. I would think you would agree with Fairphone’s lovely ewaste arguments and campaign, and see how it is obviously in contradiction to releasing new models with high frequency.

And if you are nevertheless going to release new models while previous ones work, then, surely you would agree that there are good reasons to do so responsibly, to choose 1-7, as opposed to the way FP has _ chosen_ to do it.

Now tell me that you still think there are good reasons for FP to release new models while previous ones (should) work; advertise them to existing users, say that buying them is the solution to ewaste and device longevity, make the new physical upgrades incompatibile with existing models rendering the latter unupgradeable and prematurely obsolescent; while deprioritising support and maintenance for older models and releasing a buggy upgrade that accelerates obsolescence, without providing any mechanism for company swaps, reuse and repair?

Or maybe agree that FP is squarely in contradiction to its values, that November is not, as FP claims, about “product longevity”, and that their entire model replicates and adds to the causal factors of ewaste and simply accelerates the problem while advertising itself as THE (not A) solution.

I will reach out to their comms staff before writing an exposé, in case they have some good reasons I’m not seeing (I really wanted to believe and support them), but what I described above is structural, and the thread you referred me to shows they did the same for FP3. I wouldn’t be surprised if pro-rata, the incumbents contributed less to ewaste than FP, with a smaller percentage of models being prematurely wasted, even if the net numbers are obviously incomparably higher. Given their policies, I suspect 80-90% of FP3s are sitting in someone’s drawer, waiting to join the piles of e-waste in a few years. And that in a year at most the same will be the case for FP4. Unnecessarily. These were FP’s conscious design choices, obviously informed about the issues, and deciding to do it this way anyway. The environmental impact of redundant production, consumption and ewaste are far, far, far, far greater than the impact of the materials used in each product. Fairphone’s material design improvements are cosmetic, compared to the environmental impacts of their product maintenance, backward compatibility and promotion strategy. The latter is as terrible as their competitors’ but with ten times the hypocrisy.

These are the last words I will leave here on this: Fairphone consciously made informed design and marketing choices unnecessarily and empirically destructive of the environment, far more so than FP’s environmental features, in the presence of alternative, viable design options consciously not taken, replicating the most environmentally impactful choices of the industry they claim to want to disrupt, to profit from a well meaning but under-informed green consumer market that will see a definitely greener product but not assess the far greater environmental impacts of premature obsolescence in their overall product design and marketing strategy.