Dictionary Entry: Fastboot

What is Fastboot?
Fastboot is two things (to keep things simple)

  1. A way to start up your Fairphone (FP2/FP3/FP4). This allows you to connect to your Fairphone from a computer with Fastboot
  2. Software on your computer you use to connect to a Fairphone in fastboot mode.

How to start the Fairphone in Fastboot mode

  • Disconnect your Fairphone from your computer
  • Shutdown the Fairphone
  • Press and hold down the Volume down button while pressing the Power button

The black startup screen with the logo of Fairphone and Android will appear and stay. This means the phone is now in Fastboot mode.

To get out of Fastboot mode, hold down the Power button for 10 seconds. Your Fairphone will restart in normal mode (this might take longer than normal, so sit back and wait).

How to get the Fastboot software on your computer:
This was mostly copied from this article on trendblog.net.

There are several ways to set up Fastboot. For beginners, the easiest way is to install Android Studio which includes all important tools.

On Windows

  • Download Android Studio here.
  • Launch the .exe file that you downloaded and follow the setup wizard
  • Once the installation is successful check if you can find a folder called “platform-tools” in \Users<user>\sdk. In this folder, you should find two files called “adb” and “fastboot”
  • That’s it!

Skip the Mac installation part below and see how you can use ADB and Fastboot inside a command line window.

On Mac OS X

  • Download Android Studio here.
  • Launch the downloaded .dmg file
  • Add Android Studio to your applications (drag & drop)
  • Open Android Studio and go through the installation process
  • Once that’s finished, you can find ADB and Fastboot in this directory: /Users//Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools

If you don’t see your library folder, make sure to switch on its visibility in the view options (right click in the finder window).

On Linux

  • Open a terminal window

  • On Fedora use the command sudo dnf install android-tools (you need the root password)
    or become root first and then dnf install android-tools

  • On Ubuntu use the command sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

How to use Fastboot in a command line tool

Now that you have the necessary SDK tools installed, you need to know how you can use them to connect to your Android device. All you need to do is start up a command line tool like Terminal on OS X or Windows’ Command Prompt and change into the directory where ADB and Fastboot are located (not necessary on Linux).

On Windows, you can simply have the platform-tools folder (located inside the sdk folder) open and make a right mouse click while holding down shift (shift + right click). Then select “Open command window here” which will fire up a command prompt window with the platform-tools directory selected.

On Mac OS X, open the Terminal program. You can find this inside the utilities folder. If you are in the terminal, you need to change the directory to the platform-tools folder inside the sdk folder. To do that, type ‘cd’ followed by a space and then drag and drop the ‘platform-tools’ folder into the Terminal window. That will enter the exact path to the folder. Now, execute the command by hitting enter.

With that setup, you should be able to access your Android device using Fastboot. To check if fastboot with your Android device works fine, execute the following line after enabling fastboot mode (as described above) of your device:

  • Windows:
    fastboot devices
  • Mac:
    ./fastboot devices
  • Linux:
    fastboot devices
    (depending on your user permissions it may be necessary to run it as root and the command sudo fastboot devices)

This should display your device’s ID.