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Fairphone 2 lessons learned?

So, now that FP3 is released… were lessons learned from the fairphone2 performance issues? Will the experience of using model 3 be better than model 2?
In my opinion a lot of the goals of the FP2 were not achieved and it was an overall dissapointment. Should I give it another go?
I don’t want much (not a phone enthusiast here), just that the phone doesn’t need a full minute to open google maps after a year or two of service. My FP2 is sluggish and unresponsive but held up better than my friends’ FP2s. They are all non-functioning by now (don’t boot anymore). Any encouragement on that front?

My FP3 works perfect. So did my FP2 also, by the way. For me the FP2 was not at all “an overall dissapointment”. It is the first of a kind.

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What would you do if it was a desktop computer behaving that way? The remedy is the same …


I hereby encourage anybody with “doesn’t boot anymore” to give details about the boot failure in this forum so that we might speculate on what’s the matter and whether this perhaps could be fixed.

Alternatively, #fairphoneangels in the vicinity, if there are any, could perhaps have a look in person.

And there’s still #contactsupport.

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Using OsmAnd on an FP2 here; it loads to completion in just under eight seconds.

With some luck, we can get your FP2 back up and running like normal. How many apps are installed on your phone? Do you use the Facebook app, the NYT app or other known memory hogs? Take a look at your battery usage and memory usage, which apps are the main culprits?

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I too had a lot of issues with my FP2: Random reboots, huge battery drain, dirty proximity sensor and so on. And - for my purposes - it was way too slow. I experienced those issues not only with my FP2 but also with a lot of other Fairphones. I have to say that I never met another FP2 user who hadn’t some issues!
But now, I’m using my FP3 for about a month now and I am very happy with it: Much more stable (no random reboots), much faster than FP2 and a huge battery runtime: I’m using my FP3 as a hotspot and in the same time listening to podcasts (sometimes a few hours a day) . After one day under those conditions I still have 20-40% remaining battery.

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What would you do if it was a desktop computer behaving that way? The remedy is the same

This has never happened to me on any desktop computer. Desktop computers and laptops don’t really quite have these issues. By sluggish I mean that I can type in my entire 6 digit unlock PIN before the display responds to the first digit typed. I can similarly often type entire words on the default virtual keyboard before the screen shows the characters in the text (say in a text message). I still have an old pentium-m laptop and its keyboard responds with the same non-existent input lag today as it did when I got it. I had to switch distributions since then because of 64bit/32bit release stuff and I use xfce on it because gnome2 stopped existing, but essentially it is a very similar experience (except that the web moved on since the 90ies, and now browsers are quite cpu heavy). With the phone I kept doing the security updates, hoping that one day a performance improving update would come, but it never did, it got worse every time.

So, what in your opinion is the phone equivalent of XFCE?

I literally am unable to believe you, or believe that your experience in any way transfers to normal people. Every single FP2 user I know told me (after a year or more) that it became noticea

Noted. Mine boots though.

Regarding factory reset and installation from scratch: That just sounds incredibly risky. I am certain that there will be at least one important thing deleted that I didn’t think of and I am using a few 2 factor authentication apps. So, I suspect that if I ever did a factory reset I would forget something like that and loose access to something. The procedure will cost a lot of time, more than you expect (you = “someone familiar with it”). Because I have never tried that and everything you do for the first time (sth. complex) will result in failure, unexpected consequences, and much more time spend on correcting things (just general life experience/intuition about costs and benefits).

I expect that resets/re-installs could cost me maybe even up to a month without a phone in the worst case. And then success is not even likely. It sounds like: how about you stab yourself in the foot and see if that helps with your health problems.

I bought a laptop in 2012, it has its original OS still on (ubuntu), regularly updated since then; it never wanted me to format all drives and reinstall, never (nor has anyone ever suggested it). And if I did, it would not open the browser faster than before with a difference of 10s or more. I don’t exaggerate, some Apps on my FP2 open with an uncertainty that is measured in the tens of seconds.

The screen is reported as by far the biggest drain on the battery:

  1. Screen, 20%
  2. WIFI, 15%
  3. Standby, 6%
  4. Youtube, 1%

Btw.: I replaced the bottom module, the cameras and the battery (twice) over the years.

I don’t use those Apps you mentioned, neither facebook nor NYT (any newspaper type app). Google Play tells me that I have 150 apps. But, I have never noticed an interaction between any open app and performance slow downs. It is a fairly flat (time invariant) sluggishness (keyboard, screen interaction, swipe gestures, all have a noticeable delay, in seconds).

Regarding memory: are apps loaded into memory before you unlock? Mine is slow immediately on the lock-screen.

That’s what I hoped to hear, thanks for the glimpse of hope. I’d really hate to buy another phone for environmental and humanitarian reasons; so I just tried to bear the FP2 pain until FP3 or (another redacted cool phone) is released.

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Desktop computers, especially running Windows, don’t get sluggish over time in any case? That one just made me laugh :slight_smile: .
I take it you know what you are doing, and I personally don’t have this problem either with any of my desktops, because I take care … but perhaps you might want to broaden your view a bit. Tech support globally has a steady and healthy income from people rendering their computers sluggish by installing seemingly half of any available programs and inviting any possible malware they can find into their machines.



That would be on you then. How about a backup strategy you feel confident in?

I just offered a possible and plausible solution to try. You can avoid it with any far-fetched reasoning and state of anxiety you like, I’m not forcing you to do anything.

Yes, they can run on boot, even before unlocking. What do memory usage stats show (Settings > Memory > Memory used by apps)?

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Not in any case, I did not mean to say that. But, you must admit that it would be uncommon that the mouse or the keyboard get sluggish, probably not even on windows (though I cannot know). Malware exists, I know, but that is not what we are talking about here, my phone doesn’t have malware on it, I’m quite certain of that. That’s why I said “laptops don’t really quite have these issues” (emphasis added).

Can you recommend one? I don’t have a backup strategy I am confident in. I’m a not very important but nevertheless busy kind of person and I don’t know these things. How do I backup in such a way that app-related performance issues are not transferred back onto the phone when I restore but all certificates and keys are? I honestly have trouble imagining the process.

You think that hesitation to wipe a device is far-fetched? Do you really just entirely reset your phone very often then? As an example of…worries…: I have an app called BankID on it, it authenticates a person on government web-services (such as for taxation). Screwing that up makes me unable to log-in to those pages, and I would need to take a half day off at work, go to the bank’s office and re-authenticate myself using a government ID.

I’d really prefer it if that never happened and I’m not even sure whether backups save BankID credentials or not as I have never dared to try.

However, I will almost certainly fiddle around with the FP2 once I have a replacement phone where all those authenticating things work.

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As a 12h average, it is this:

  1. Android OS with 532 MB
  2. Google Play services with 144 MB
  3. youtube with 124 MB

Same ranking as 6 h average and 1 day average.

Sorted by Maximum memory use over 1 day, it’s

  1. Chrome with 816 MB
  2. Firefox with 663 MB
  3. Android OS 530

Look alright to me… but maybe it’s time to get rid of chrome… not sure.

That is an astounding amount of memory being used by those two browsers! While it says something about what these apps get up to besides browsing, it’s also just part of the ‘using aging hardware’ experience: the latest versions of apps tend to use more memory as a baseline than the device can handle.

For reference, here are my top memory users (1 day):

Android OS: 594 MB
System UI: 114 MB
Android system: 88 MB
AIMP (music player): 68 MB
Signal: 62 MB
WhatsApp: 53 MB
Telegram: 38 MB

And after that it’s a bunch of apps that use barely any memory. The browser (Yuzu) is way down the list with 19 MB even though I used it a lot (gotta browse that FP forum).

The way to keep using older hardware is to look for low-memory alternatives for your top memory hogs. Use NewPipe for YouTube, any of a number of low-profile browser apps for web browsing (I recommend Yuzu, although FP Open comes with Firefox Klar which is decent), et cetera. Other memory savers are using push email rather than poll, changing weather update intervals to be farther apart, and setting certain apps to only run when using wifi.

Now, the above advice is usually met with a degree of irritation because we all like the apps we’re used to and no one likes learning to use a new browser/gallery/whatever, but it really can make a world of difference.

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Fair enough, I misunderstood then.

I always find that kind of puzzling, even if it is pretty common.

Computer devices such as smartphones can break at any time without you doing anything wrong. The hardware can simply fail you, as can the software.
How to tackle that is down to everyone’s own priorities.

Concerning hardware …

I concluded for me personally that I want to have a mobile phone around daily. So since I got my 2nd mobile phone ages ago, whenever I got a new phone I kept the respective predecessor around as a backup phone (as long as it still worked, of course, which until now it always did, call me lucky).
I use a Fairphone 3 now as my daily driver, with my Fairphone 2 as a backup.
That takes care of a hardware backup.

Concerning data …

I regularly sync my data (contacts, messages, call log, calendar, the whole Internal Storage) on the phones to my computer with MyPhoneExplorer.

That leaves out directories like Alarms and Ringtones, which are not part of the Internal Storage directory tree, so I sync them manually from time to time. I don’t change those files much over time anyway.

I regularly backup the stuff on my computer, of course.

Concerning Apps …

I don’t have 100% confidence in integrated App + data backup solutions like Titanium Backup, and additionally this would need root, which is currently not there yet on the Fairphone 3.

I don’t need myriads of Apps, so I can simply install them again if needed. From time to time I copy all their current version APKs to my computer with MyPhoneExplorer.
That makes going back to earlier App versions in case of regressions after App updates easier, and even while I would have to install them one by one again when restoring the phone, installing is faster with APKs than via the respective stores the Apps are from.

Concerning the OS …

On the Fairphone 2, I regularly backup the state of the OS with the TWRP recovery. But I could just make sure I have install files of the OS ready, too. The TWRP backup is more of a habit from the past, and it restores settings.

On the Fairphone 3, currently there’s only factory resetting the phone, until Fairphone release the announced complete image of the OS to install with the recovery. Settings are a chore, admittedly, but I could document my changes if I cared to speed up restoring.


So … In case of need, I just get the OS running again, browse through the Settings tree briefly, install all the Apps again, and then just push all the data back from the computer to the phone.

Everything practically not covered by this OS -> Apps -> data backup approach would be a single point of failure on the phone and seriously in need to be addressed (i.e. done differently, perhaps omitting the phone out of the use case).
Same would go for login credentials for Apps and accounts which could not be simply re-entered after a phone reset, but I didn’t encounter something like this until now.

Not anymore, but I could.
I did reset the Fairphone 3 once to start over from scratch with less Google.
For some time, I did reset the Fairphone 2 pretty often for testing purposes (back in happier days, when TWRP still could handle phone encryption well and restoring everything was comparably a breeze).

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Like others in this thread already I don’t agree with this conclusion. My FP2 has just passed the 3 years mark and although I updated from Android 5 to the latest Android 7 version without ever resetting or new installation my phone works pretty well. Just like with computers you can influence the aging process to some extent by not putting too much mess on the device. I only have the apps on the phone that I need more or less often and I pick them with some care. Random reboots are there - once within a few months which I think is fair.

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Somewhat, probably. I would say that you can accelerate ageing like that.

But, I didn’t put any mess on the device. I really only have apps on it that serve some purpose important enough to justify installation. I don’t use most of social media, so I don’t have things like instagram, twitter, snapchat, facebook, etc. no newspaper apps, no games, no automated task managers, also very few media things (no spotify). I really have just… browsers, readers (i.e. ebook readers), one podcast app, messengers (like telegram), file browsing utilities, some of the google apps (like google sheets for example). Somewhat sensible things. I don’t even use widgets other than the clock. So, also no weather widget.

It just is not my fault that my phone aged badly. It just did and I’m disappointed by that (bevause laptops age much better than phones and are also electronic computers, so it is possible).

You can of course feel differently (it’s good that yours works well), but I’m not wrong to be disappointed, it’s just a true statement about my assessment (although in my head I use more offensive words).

Btw. I asked my wife, hers doesn’t boot anymore, she isn’t disappointed either, she said “most phones fail much sooner than that”. She thinks: 3-4 years, that’s the best you can get out of a phone. That makes me really sad.

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Yes, that sounds reasonable.
Could still be the OS acting up.

That it’s not your fault wouldn’t change that it probably could be fixed.
But ok, just complain then :slight_smile:

Concerning Fairphone 2s not booting, there will always be a reason, examples …

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My FP2 had a lot of stability issues that I could never fix. My FP3 runs perfectly. I love it.

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It is not needed that you believe me. It is a fact, that my phone is working well. It runs on the latest LineageOS build. I had some reboots when it was new, what was fixed with updates when I was on FPOS. Since then it is a very reliable device.
My mother also have a FP2 and it worked out of the box on FPOS. She did not complain anything when I ask her.
So it is not only my device with pimped OS whats working reliable.

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Just an idea: As I described here, I suffered a similar delay but especially a delay of every alarm tone. I found the stock messenger app blocking the memory by gigabytes of its cache. Maybe you’ll find a similar memory blocker, maybe even the messenger. So simply emptying the cache solved the problem.

Nevertheless I can confirm, that my FP2 works still quite well (still Android 6), (it’s not the fastest device on the planet, but fast enough for me). My problems were hardware related (battery, display), and I had to learn, that a defective display is able to reset the phone, because it managed to type in the wrong unlock PIN five times, confirm the warning about the only three trials left and type it wrong again three times. So I switched it on and was asked: “Please choose a language…”
So I would never never never use any device like that for important information without a backup. MyPhoneExplorer is pretty good for that, but it needs patience if the phone is quite full. For banking I tried to get two different identification methods for every account, so that I can unlock one by the other. And the most two factor authentications only based on the phone number (just put the SIM in another phone), or based on apps, which only need a passphrase after reinstallation.
Yes, I don’t like to build up my phone from scratch, but the above mentioned crash forced to do it, and I only lost some minor important data.

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