FAIRPHONE 3 and 3+ A13 - Fingerprint sensor update

Okay, step by step, because I feel like we’re talking past each other.

They knew this could become a problem. They took the risk, most likely for cost reasons. They didn’t know when it was going to happen, but they knew it was going to happen, maybe in three years, maybe in 15 years (Google is constantly evolving the definition of safe). If you choose to take a risk, you are responsible for taking the fall or you choose not to set expectations of longevity. At the moment I don’t feel that they take responsibility for their decision. While this would be fine if the problem was unsolvable, I don’t think it would be fine if they didn’t solve it just because it would cost them money. You take the risk, you take the fall. Because of this, I dismiss economic reasons and I believe that if they didn’t solve the problem just for economic reasons, they would break their promise. If I didn’t make that clear enough before, I apologize.

Being wrong and lying are two completely different things. I have never called you a liar and I would never call you a liar and I would ask that you refrain from making such accusations.
As mentioned earlier, the definition of safe is constantly changing. There were better sensors and they decided against it. foreseeable now => no. foreseeable at all => yes. They had options and while I don’t blame them for their choices, right now I blame them for not taking responsibility (maybe that will change, who knows).

I can’t disagree. Some older and cheaper phones managed to still have security updates (A12+) and a strong fingerprint sensor. So it would have been possible, but it didn’t happen. When a company advertises longevity, I expect them to intentionally perform in a way that other companies “accidentally” perform. Nothing more, nothing less (okay more would be nice, but it’s not a must).

These are just an assumptions of you? Or do you have deeper insight?


You are confusing security updates and OS upgrades.

By the way, Fairphone offers exactly what you want : just stay on Android 11 or go back to it and then you get a working fingerprint reader and security updates every two months as you read in FAIRPHONE 3 and 3+ A13 - Fingerprint sensor update - #347 by mikiballester. Nobody knows how long it is going to last but you can do it.


I guess you know a company needs to earn money and sure they could ignore that, however than we will shortly have no updates for any FP for the sake of having a few new fingerprint sensors🤔

We never know everything so maybe we should be a bit more careful in jugding in my eyes.


I am totally fine with the upgrade. I am Austrian but I have a second phone where I activated Digitales Amt. Now I even have a real second factor authentication. This is an issue with the app, not with the OS on the phone.
I am grateful that Fairphone invested effort in developing a Android 13 upgrade path so that the phone can longer be supported. THANKS!!
And I finally got rid of the connection issues I experienced with A11 on my private wifi.
If now only I could reduce the volume of my WhatsApp notifications I would be completely happy
Thanks to fairphone again.


Like this?

Thank you for replying.
No, the issue is that it’s too loud, even if I moved the slider for the volume to the lowest level.

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Ah ok so that volume not amount🙃

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If your supplier is unwilling to commit to a long-term support contract that you’re trying to secure because it’s important to longevity, then you know this could become a liability or problem in the future. They literally only want this contract because it avoids that risk, beyond that there is no other benefit to such a contract.

Better sensors don’t necessarily mean physical improvement. In short, there are old phones that use A12 or A13 without the fingerprint sensor problem. Even if FP couldn’t get those sensors (or a similar contract) like this manufacturer, they could have been prepared for this problem (I’ve already listed a number of things they could have done above). That would definitely have cost money.

Was the decision not to prepare for this problem due to cost reasons wrong? Most likely not. (hard to tell without numbers) But the point that the decision was most likely the right one at the time doesn’t change the fact that everyone is accountable for their choices and must face the consequences.

No, I not do. These phones still get security updates and the only reason I care about OS updates is that Google releases new versions of Android fairly regularly and drops support for older versions. At some point I just need an OS update to get more security updates. If Google follows its cycle, A11 should be supported for about 6 more months.
While I appreciate that FP has decided to continue providing security updates for A11 for as long as possible, I will not be using the service as you need to unlock your bootloader. This will erase all user data from the device. If I’m already wiping all user data from the device, I’ll install Lineage OS or something similar since it supports security updates longer than A11. I know it’s probably the best they can offer, but of little use to me.

You’re right that companies aren’t charities, and I wouldn’t expect them to give out new sensors for free either. Either way, if they ship new sensors or find a way to update the firmware, they will lose money, but I doubt it will ruin the company (if it did, then the company is already in a critical situation ). On the other hand, if they offered a real solution (and not just a workaround), they would definitely win back some of the disappointed customers and be a good example of how to respect their customers’ wishes. This would lead to more sales later on.
Again, they made a reasonable business decision, but are still responsible for the consequences of their decisions.

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In my eyes this discussion is pointless

It was already explained in detail:

No they cant update the firmware as the supplier would have to do and they cant order hardware as no one will produce such a small amount and even if some one would, I’m pretty sure no one is willing to pay the price.


I’m not so sure about that, it might have been worth to find out, if possible.
Producing hardware customisations on relatively small scales is not unheard of, perhaps Fairphone could have asked e.g. companies still producing stuff for various Amiga computers (just an example to say the idea is not that outlandish).

And what a different position Fairphone could be in come Android 11 EOL if they could say “Look, the fingerprint sensor situation is what it is, we explored options, and we can offer a sensor swap for price X, Fairphone OS version Y will be necessary to support the part”.
Price X may be high, but for reasons, and users could freely decide.

(And what an even more different position Fairphone could be in without the rushed Android 13 release, figuring out all the difficulties internally until Android 11 EOL while starting now to prominently communicate the coming issue to users, but … oh well.)

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I know that Miquel pointed to the the manual installation page in his latest update and yes the packages provided up to now require a wipe.
But they might come up with a solution for sideloading a package without factory reset.

Don’t get me wrong, the info we currently have indicates a factory reset. But if speculations about new hardware are “allowed”, so are new software solutions.

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As an owner of FP3 for some years, i have been waiting to upgrade to android 13, since i always expect trouble with these kind of major updates.

First of all, i do appriciate the explenation of the company and the apology!

But what i am missing here is, that the company follows up on it!

If an upgrade to a newer Android version disables major functions of parts of the phone, that are very important/vital to many users to access their banks for example, then the whole rollout should be stopped immediately!
Write off the costs for Android 13 development and continue supporting Android 11 with security updates. Also give people a helping hand, to roll back their phones!

To continue with this upgrade only hurts the company in the long run, since its a relatively small company and it is living of very specific niche aspects, that customers value and what they are willing to pay a higher price for. The way the company handles problems, will make a huge difference, to keep people buying these phones.

A decision to keep on with such a bad upgrade, wich takes away either functionality or prevent people to upgrade and loose the security update support, will negate one of the most important aspects for buying a fairphone: sustainability

I only can question the people in the mangement, to make such a bad decision in the first place. Or those, who must have known of this issue, during development of this upgrade, and not stopping it earlier.
For my part, i will stick with Android 11, as long as i can and will watch, how the company handles this situation over the next months.

I love my FP3 and i hope, i can use it for some more years, since i just got a new batterie for it.

Welcome to the Fairphone community, and thank you for participating in the discussion here. But first you should read along a little bit. There are explanations. follow ups and guides on how to go on.

The roll out was stopped until a warning was integrated in the process, you can stay on Android 11 for a while and probably sideload updates, most apps that are not working with the fingerprint sensor anymore can use a different authorization method and so on.

So the FP3 is far from being unusable.


Hello Incanus,

i have read about these possibilities. But those does not change the fact, that to rollout and continue with the upgrade, is just a bad management decision.
It is short sighted and will anoy users, that expect a different handling of such a situation.

I am in the lucky position, to change my apps to a pin code login, because i have waited with the upgrade. A lot of people are not. I guess most just see a new Android version and are happy to upgrade instantly, just to be caught up in the mess after.

Also i have to question, if it is in the sense of purpose, to change the way to login, just because the company made such a decision to force this on their users?

For the second argument, of changing the information of the upgrade. Yes that is a good thing. I do read those, since i am into IT for several decades and do have some experience with upgrades going wrong. But does the majority of users does that too? I have my doubts about that.

Also i did not say, i could not use my FP3 anymore. But the promise of getting regular security updates for Android 11 is somehow limited now. Since i have read something, that FP3 could be limited to early 2024 for those. Not sure, if that is true though.
In the end, sustainability is at least in question. That fact is not a good way to go for a company, that advertises it.

After the apology, i would have expected a consequently action on it. Not just to fix the information on the upgrade screen and to tell people, you can log in with pin now. That is somehow odd, i have to say.

Dont get me wrong, i dont want to go mad about this.
My intention is to tell the company, that this is not the way to handle this. Since i, and i guess a lot of other users, expect more.

If the company stands for sustainability, it should also stand for talking responsability and hold those people, making bad decisions responseable.

To sell a fingerprint sensor that fixes this, could be a way, if it is not to expansive.
But the easiest and quickest way, so save reputation and to help users would be, to just stop that rollout and give users a helping hand for a rollback.

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What exactly is missing here from your point of view?

The latest update included a FAQ how to go back to Android 11.


What did you expect? Someone coming to you and bring you a new phone in a golden box?

Yes it is unlucky, that the fingerprint reader was degraded by Google, yes it wasn’t good, that Fairphone didn’t communicate that at all at the beginning. But now everything lies on the table, there are possibilities to work around that problem and still are people popping in the forum and think they have to tell Fairphone what they should/need/have to do.

For the long term, there is no other solution to keep the phone running than doing the update. So deal with it, period.


Quote from https://forum.fairphone.com/faq

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling.
  • Ad hominem attacks.
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content.
  • Knee-jerk contradiction.

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

This topic has been marked as closed yet there is more to say.

Fairphone have agreed to supplying updates for A11 until EOL, but you have to manually download them and lose all your data. Why not open up a Beta B channel so they can be delivered OTA to those that subscribe?

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Its not closed, else you could not proceed with this pointless discussion.

Its marked as solved pointing to the current solution.