FAIRPHONE 3 and 3+ A13 - Fingerprint sensor update

I thought it was a user forum :wink:

Yeah you are right. My point is I’m dissapointed (not surprised) that there wasn’t any official follow up seeing as an employee started this thread.

You are usually spot on, we’ll let you off. Just go into the corner, stand on a chair and put your hands on your head :laughing: Thanks for the edit. :+1:

What is you guess with regard to Google? Could the FP3 be redeclared as “strong enough” as it is a legacy device?

I with you, however I’m not going to dump my FP3 just yet. I will stick with A11 (unsupported) until things stop working, then (or sooner) try another OS. As far as Fairphone support goes, my FP3 is now EOL.

There are a lot of interesting thoughts and sugestions on this thread, but Fairphone (the company) are silent. I know this is a user forum but what a way to run a business eh!

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I’m not sure what you mean with “legacy device” and how that would change anything.

I had this issue too. After the upgrade to Android 13, the fingerprint recognizability of the “old” fingerprints have worsened much so I tried to delete the old fingerprints. I could only delete one fingerprint, after that I had to restart to delete another fingerprint.

So there is a workaround: Restart the device after deletion of each fingerprint. If you have 5 fingerprints, 5 restarts are required. This is inconvenient, but I do not know another solution.

After saving the fingerprints anew, the fingerprint sensor works much better.


I fully agree with @Roli and @tjeb. This is over. Anyone on this thread saying that it’s not a dealbreaker, or that it’s someone else’s fault, are completely delusional. And I’m a complete Fairphone fanboy, just for info.

Solution was simple: go for the production of a new sensor as soon as they realised the problem during the beta testing, delay the update until the part is ready, and sell the part with really low profits.
They had a second chance last week when they noticed that it was pissing people off more than they thought, to just stop the update completely and wait until the release of this new part (and leave people on A11 until it’s ready). They chose not to take this second chance, so now people are stuck between two awful options, staying on an old version or losing functionality.

Fairphone is about keeping your phone for as long as possible. And it obviously has to be full fonctional. If this promise isn’t 100% achieved, you completely lose the trust of your customers and there’s no going back. I can’t recommend a Fairphone to my friends anymore, because my current friends all said that they expected to keep their FP3 for more years to come, and now they’re just disappointed.

I’m really sad, and it saddens me even more to see people on this thread supporting Fairphone in this situation. The customers of old Fairphones have to be the #1 priority to keep this company alive. As a community, we must challenge Fairphone to do better, because trying to find them excuses won’t help their case in the long run.


Fairphone: I’m pretty sure they are well aware and are doing what they can, but maybe they just didn’t get enough feedback to work on it before A13 release. I’m a beta tester and although it was mentioned it did not seem a priority over security updates.

I am not a fanboy and would not recommend Fairphone to anyone except a fair trade freak.

And I’m pretty sure they are reading this topic as they created it.

Still the fact that I have to use the PIN every to unlock, as the fingerprint reader is ‘disable’ for unlocking after a day is a little annoying.

But fair trade doesn’t relate to how I am treated by fairphone but how the production of the phone is more fair on others.

So I will wait this one out, for ten years if I have to.

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3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Communicating with the users

How do I make sure that I stay on version 11? My FP3 keeps prompting me to upgrade and I don’t want it to happen by accident - I’ve got too many apps that will be affected!


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I will stick to A11 even if frequently being notified to update and have to watch out for (hardware) alternatives. 15 months after having purchased my FP3+ this is not what I intended. I’d have no problem sticking to A11 or A12 but loss of fingerprint functionality is not an option.

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Check this post:

It seems that it works: 1 and 2.


I think you’ll find A12 has the same issue and wasn’t released by Fairphone

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It’s true some people on this forum are very protective of Fairphone and they can on occasion shout if you question decisions that FP make. Just think of them as cult members :exploding_head: I’ve been shouted at in the past, probably will be again :wink:

Back on topic : I was dead against this upgrade to start with, until the alternative of not offering an upgrade was pointed out. That would mean FP3 would be end of life for everyone early next year. I have no intention of upgrading to A13, so FP3 is effectively EOL for me (yes I am annoyed), but at least people have that choice. Upgrade or don’t. Major annoyance besides the lack of COMMs is FP didn’t wait until A11 was EOL before pushing A13.

I am with you regarding challenging Fairphone. They have alienated a fair proportion of their existing customer base on several occasions who may not ever come back. I hope for all our sakes FP explore all options regarding the sensor and eventually report back to us, either with a solution or full reasons why not.

That is now part of Android 13. I don’t think FP can do anything about that?

Do you think Fairphone will still be around in 10 years?
Eva Gouwens’ (CEO) has announced she is stepping down.

It was an idea mooted earlier that existing devices being upgraded did not need to comply with current Goodle legislation. Grandfather rights if you like.

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What is really annoying is that the backplate with the fingerprint sensor is the only non-replacable part of that phone. I.e. this is FP’s Achilles’ heel. Really, all other aspects I so far benefited from.
Yes I was totally pissed of when confronted with the A13 upgrade, FP is only part of that. I understand the need to “move on” and upgrade/improve the software which in this turn deprecates hardware in favour of increased security. However I’m not able to ascertain if deprecating that sensor firmware is a right choice. But then this was Google’s choice and NOT FP’s one.
And also again like others mentioned before: FP not mentioning this incompatibility is a major issue, definitely a no-go. Didn’t any of the testers complain? Except maybe for my parents in law generation: who does NOT rely on this fingerprint sensor nowadays?
So, FP, if you want to keep your promise, give us a new firmware which allows us upgrading to A13 or allow us to buy a new backplate with new fingerprint sensor.

Yes they did.

It isn’t the only non-replaceable part. Include the NFC sensor, SD and SIM slots. I’ve never taken the case off the motherboard to reveal the relationship between it and the sisterboard where I think? the fingerprint sensor is located (citation required). However, all those parts are fixable / able to be replaced by Cordon in France.

Yeah sorry I read about the complaints, thanks for pointing that out!
I disassembled the whole phone few times, exchanging the Mainboard which holds the SOC and flash (???) package / Disk (sorry, I’m not aware ATM what it actually is) with another FP3 to get a working fingerprint sensor, as the original one was broken, which is why I said it’s the only non-replacable part :innocent: Can’t disassemble it right now to check again :sweat_smile: my main point here was that the Fairphones to that regard are great in my experience. I hope there will be a solution to the fingerprint sensor such that we can keep the existing phones for sustainability and less waste.

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Just as one example, I do not use the fingerprint sensor at all because biometrics is too weak for my security model :grinning:

There is no doubt that many users rely on their fingerprints and smartphones for many aspects of life including finances. But I prefer to avoid such a single point of failure.


Ok thanks, never heard of that.

Great, thank you! Much appreciated

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I am also very surprised and disappointed that the fingerprint sensor is simply given up as part of the hardware sold. If the manufacturer no longer offers firmware, then you just have to buy it. I would also be willing to pay for it. If an OS update causes a part of the HW to no longer work, then the question arises as to what will fail next. And if that’s the case, then Fairphone’s concept of sustainability is actually in question. For me, my Fairphone has clearly lost a major part of its practical value and I will probably have to look for another phone much sooner than I thought.


The fingerprint reader of the FP3 uses the level 2 as defined in Level 1, 2 and 3 Details. Since Android 12, Google wants at least the level 3 (description at the same page) to get a higher level of trust that the fingerprint is a good one (don’t know how to say it in better terms).

I don’t think a firmware update of the fingerprint reader will change anything here since it is quite unlikely Fairphone used a level 3 fingerprint reader but decided to decrease its safety using it as a level 2 fingerprint reader.


The way I understood it, the fingerprint reader was level 3 (of that time) when the FP3 was designed and initially produced. Only later Google downgraded it to level 2. Maybe not explicitly by saying “fingerprint XY by manufacturer ABC is no longer level 3 but 2” but by changing their test procedures that the same fingerprint reader passed for level 3 in A11 test procedures but no longer passes in A12 test procedures or later.

Not sure if the analogy perfectly fits here, but I think of this as similar like encryption key lengths. If a device was sold using a 2048 bit encryption key that may have been up to the highest security standards of that time. But once 2048 bit is no longer seen as secure (maybe because new ways were found to break it or simply the hardware for brute force attacks got better or the storage to hold huge rainbow tables - maybe even salted ones - got cheaper, etc.) and 4096 is the new standard, that old key strength is no longer enough.