Fairphone 3 operating system + warranty

Thanks for your answer, Urs !
The statement comes from here:

I bought it without any contracts…

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It is on the Fairphone homepage:
Ups, @anon26506580 was faster with the link.

Most likely this is due to the fact, that switching the OS has caused lots of trouble and manpower at FP headquarters. Plus the fact, that they want to bring it to the mass market and sell it via lots of resellers. The list is quite impressive already.
And as there are more resellers, that are not part of a “fair-community”, sharing the same ideals, they might have refrained from selling Fairphone, should they have had to deal with customers that have trouble after switching the OS.

That is really a drawback, but most likely neccessary to get a stronger foothold in the market. My hope would be, that FP offers an open phone again later on for the ones willing to do so.

Just keep in mind, this were no more than 5% of the actual FP-community, that tend to be leaning way more in such a direction. On the mass market the percentage will be even lower.

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Just to clarify: Rooting and installing an alternative OS are not the same thing.

True, you can root your phone without changing the OS.
But can you change the OS without root access? And if you tamper with the root in ways of installing a new OS, I guess, this will be equally bad for your warranty:

4.2 The Fairphone Warranty does not cover damage resulting from:

i. The Product has been rooted or unlocked.

j. Improper testing, operation, maintenance, installation, or any alteration or modification of the Product;

I guess you could a change of OS call improper installation or a modification of the product maybe?

I was using Fairphone Open happily on my Fairphone 2. I chose this phone also because it had Android open.
Now I would like to repeat the purchase but this news leaves me surprised…

I believe that having the option of having control over the software is the completion of that respect that begins with respect for the workers who build the phone.

In short, I would really like to have an open phone:
wasn’t “yours to open, yours to keep”?


I don’t think, that this has changed.
If my memory serves me right, there was already a link to an instruction on how to root the phone.
The one thing that has changed is, that they no longer offer service and warranty for errors and faults caused by changing the OS.

And I really understand that, as there are so many things that con go wrong this way; installing another OS and apps even might brick your phone (please correct me, if I am wrong here). Fairphone naturally does not want to get into arguments what was caused by changing the OS and what is an error of the phone, as that most likely will be hard to tell or not to clarify at all. Therefore it’s a simple and clear rule.

My guess would be, that the “Fairphone Open” thing was something they developed and tested like the modularity.
With modularity they changed the design and concept (screws instead of clipping) to achieve the desired result.
With “Fairphone Open” - my pure speculation - they realized, that they invested heavily in this OS, needing lots of personnel, while a mere 5% of the users used this OS. And that is - with FP1 and FP2 to a great extent a special privacy and tech-oriented community and not the mass market. Since the FP3 is aimed at the mass market, they surely need all their personnel for service, support and maybe starting to develop future devices (e.g. a phone for the US-market). Developing an open OS for just max. 2% of all customers therefore would have been pure luxury, they can not afford, not yet at least. (Just 2% as I guess, that on the mass market the interest for an open OS is less than it is in the Fairphone community right now.
Well, that’s at least what I would expect to be the case, but it is of course nothing but speculation.

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Fairphone are working on an AOSP, open, Google-less version. Keep in mind that the FP2 came out in December 2015, and FPOOS didn’t come out until April 2016.

Source: FP employees as well as the following quote from this article

Out of the box the phone comes with Android 9 preloaded. A post-launch update will make it easy for buyers to wipe Google services off their slate and install the Android Open Source Project instead.


Are you sure, that this means, the open OS will be done by Fairphone and supported by them?
I am a bit sceptic on that behalf, though I hope you are right.
And I am not so sure what that citation really means. “An update, that is making it easier to install a project”, does not sound like another FPOOS.
As the AOSP is no Fairphone stuff, but the basis for every Android, as I learned in another thread,

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Tbh I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to speculate about this yet.
The way I remember it from the #efct19 Fairphone is not “working on it” yet, but only have it on the timeline. I don’t think they know yet themselves whether there will be another Open OS for the FP3 or just a way to install AOSP and whether the latter would impact the warranty.

Though I’d guess, that as long as you re-install the original FP OS, unroot your phone and undo any other modifications before sending it in to support your warranty should be intact anyway.


That’s not correct. The warranty’s gone, no matter if the errors are caused by changing the OS or not.

For me, this is a killer. I wanted to buy it this week, now I won’t. I never would have expected such an un-open change in policy.

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If you change the OS back, and the problem persists, then the warranty is back. That’s how it works on a jailbroken iPhone and on a rooted/reflashed Android device as well.


2 remarks …

  1. The Fairphone 2 warranty is at version 3 apparently (see the bottom of the page for references to V1 and V2). The warranty was changed over time. It’s not set in stone.
    Example: The first version didn’t deal with refurbished phones (not only modules). Those were introduced later, and the warranty got an Addendum to reflect this.
    Current situation: There is no OS you can install on a Fairphone 3 other than the one it comes with. (You can’t even simply install it yourself currently, as there are no install files given online yet, you can only factory reset it.)
    What is there to cover for the warranty right here and now?

  2. Citing the Fairphone 2 warranty (current version):
    “This Warranty is not applicable for: […] (g) damage caused by breaking or circumventing access limitation protection or by the improper usage of a root access;”

But the thing is: The people who play around with Software probably don’t expect to be covered by warranty if they screw up while playing, that’s common sense for me. And on the other hand, if the display is broken it doesn’t matter if I used FPOS or Shady-InstalledFromAUSBStickIGotFromASuspiciousGuyInADarkAlley-OS, same with any other module defect, so it shouldn’t matter for warranty as well, or did I understand something wrong?

Well, we of course we use root access properly!



And then what? I bought a FP2 because installing an new OS and thereby rooting it (AFWall+…) gave me some opportunities other devices didn’t give me. For me: No phone without root. I don’t give a damn about the feelings of the support devision. Honestly, I think, my phone, my choice of software.


I for one will not be buying a phone where the warranty on the hardware is voided by me installing software. “Yours to open, yours to keep” must include software, or it’s really not my phone at all. (I use a Fairphone 2 for its fairtrade hardware and so that I have complete control over the software and my privacy.)


But You have to prove, that the error or defect is not caused by your tampering with the software. Given that, your warranty is still valid.
Keep in mind, that not everyone is acting properly when going along with installing another OS. And as the FP3 is meant for the mass market, that is expected to happen more often, when they make it a feature of the phone.


There is a big misinformation about rooting a device. According to this FSFE answer, rooting your device (e.g. an Android phone) and replacing its operating system with something else does NOT void your statutory warranty at least in EU.


That’s correct. Still, the article you have linked seems to have got a most important point wrong. Who has to prove what?
There it seems to me to be wrong; at least, I have learnt different.
Within the first six months the seller/manufacturer has to prove, that any defect has been caused by the consumer. After that 6 month period the consumer has to prove that he did nothing wrong and cause the defect himself.
Of course the article is right again regarding the examples. E.g. reflashing the original OS will prove, that something is not on the OS.

Who has to prove what?
There it seems to me to be wrong; at least, I have learnt different.
Within the first six months the seller/manufacturer has to prove, that any defect has been caused by the consumer. After that 6 month period the consumer has to prove that he did nothing wrong and cause the defect himself.

The article states: *if your device becomes defective in the first 6 months, it is presumed that the defect was there all along, so you should not need to prove anything.

The directive states: Article 5.3. Unless proved otherwise, any lack of conformity which becomes apparent within six months of delivery of the goods shall be presumed to have existed at the time of delivery unless this presumption is incompatible with the nature of the goods or the nature of the lack of conformity.

The article stats: If your device becomes defective after the first 6 months, but before 2 years run out, you are still covered. The difference is only that if the defect arises now, the seller can claim that the defect was caused by some action that was triggered by non-normal use of the device. But in order to avoid needing to repair or replace your device, the seller has to prove that your action caused the defect

The directive states: Article 5.1. The seller shall be held liable under Article 3 where the lack of conformity becomes apparent within two years as from delivery of the goods. If, under national legislation, the rights laid down in Article 3(2) are subject to a limitation period, that period shall not expire within a period of two years from the time of delivery.

The directive states: Article 3.1-6
Rights of the consumer

  1. The seller shall be liable to the consumer for any lack of conformity which exists at the time the goods were delivered.
  2. In the case of a lack of conformity, the consumer shall be entitled to have the goods brought into conformity free of charge by repair or replacement, in accordance with paragraph 3, or to have an appropriate reduction made in the price or the contract rescinded with regard to those goods, in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 6.
  3. In the first place, the consumer may require the seller to repair the goods or he may require the seller to replace them, in either case free of charge, unless this is impossible or disproportionate.
    A remedy shall be deemed to be disproportionate if it imposes costs on the seller which, in comparison with the alternative remedy, are unreasonable, taking into account:
  • the value the goods would have if there were no lack of conformity,
  • the significance of the lack of conformity, and
  • whether the alternative remedy could be completed without significant inconvenience to the consumer.
    Any repair or replacement shall be completed within a reasonable time and without any significant inconvenience to the consumer, taking account of the nature of the goods and the purpose for which the consumer required the goods.
  1. The terms “free of charge” in paragraphs 2 and 3 refer to the necessary costs incurred to bring the goods into conformity, particularly the cost of postage, labour and materials.
  2. The consumer may require an appropriate reduction of the price or have the contract rescinded:
  • if the consumer is entitled to neither repair nor replacement, or
  • if the seller has not completed the remedy within a reasonable time, or
  • if the seller has not completed the remedy without significant inconvenience to the consumer.
  1. The consumer is not entitled to have the contract rescinded if the lack of conformity is minor.

So in EU we are protected and above all root does not void warranty.