Fairphone 3: physically disabling the microphones?

Right, I confused primary and secondary microphone. :+1:
I’m keeping that mistake in my text though to avoid too much need of change in your (Alex) reply etc.


Again thanks for the input.

Luckily ifixit lists the tools they used for the teardown and from what I gather the Mako driver kit is not even necessary.

I guess the best starting point is then to try to find the two modules in the giveaway section and order an appriopriate ESD nipper / pincers.

Sadly don’t have time for it right now, maybe late in the evening.

Off topic question: So this thread will stay open for 6 months correct?


Yes open for six months unless you ask to close it. Have fun :slight_smile:


Yes, but they don’t solder away the microphones, so…

Yes, but it can be reopened on demand, you just have to ask :slight_smile:


You can always use a Bluetooth headset to provide this functionality.

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So, I had a little time on my hands, a compatible Bluetooth as well as a wired headset, and all the required tools (see iFixit list & ESD gloves & the ESD variant of the suggested Knipex nipper BertG suggested (64 62 120 ESD, EAN: 4003773025085).

I disassembled the Fairphone 3, which was staggeringly easy even down to the bare circuitry of the top and bottom modules (except for a handful stubborn Phillips screws). I have not done anything further yet, because I was a bit surprised when inspecting the bare top module with the secondary microphone. If one flips the bare top module, one can see a silver box which looks a lot like the one on the bottom module. The silver box on the top module is “pretty much exactly” positioned on the other side of the golden chip, which Alex.A marked as secondary microphone.

What do you think:
• Are both these components part of the secondary microphone?
• Only one of them? And which one then? ^^

I assembled the FP3 again and await your feedback :wink: By the way: I intend to test the microphones after the “operation” with the integrated check up tool in the developer options, which I found via this thread:

For me the mic tests so far had no feedback, probably because it is improved as was suggested in that very thread.


If I remember correctly, the microphone hole on the top of the phone is slightly offset with regards to the audio jack, which should clarify on which side of the PCB the microphone is found.

Probably, yes, if the two silver boxes are very similar :slight_smile:

That would indicate it is the golden box, as I have shown in my previous post. But it doesn’t exclude both parts are connected and are both the microphone. I doubt the golden box only could be the microphone.

Update: The “operation” seems to have been successful. Both microphone checks via the integrated check up tool failed (as intended ^^). Only a single slight “pop” sound is played back at the beginning and nothing else. I opted for both silver boxes, which actually were covers, as you can see on these pictures. I was not able to put the covers back on.

I simply cut off the most protruding elements and then scratched off less prominent features, until I no longer dared for fear of damage to the whole board. I do not think it would have been possible to cut off the whole component without major risk of damage to the rest of the board. I was wearing protective gear and was inside a well ventilated space.

I am using the phone now for two weeks, mainly with a Bluetooth headset. When called, I simply take out my headset, activate it (/connect it if using the wired headset) and it automatically connects. Of course this takes a few seconds but I find it acceptable.

Thanks again for all the input.

Off topic question: There is not a thread like for the FP2 yet which lists compatible headsets, correct? (✏ List of compatible Headphones and Headsets for FP2) If not, I could start one in a form that not a single “maintainer” is needed, e. g.:

Confirmed to be compatible:

[manufacturer][product name][microphone: yes/no][bluetooth/wired][short info]

Confirmed to be partially compatible:

… see above…

Confirmed to be incompatible:

… see above…

Everyone could simply copy the list in the latest entry and add their own product in the alphabetically sorted list as a new post. Disadvantages would be the length of the thread, that one would always have to skip to the end for the newest list and of course human error / malice :wink: But there would be no need for a single person to do all the work. Do you think this is feasible and reasonable?


AFAIK there is indeed none, so please feel free to create it, and then tell me or another moderator when it’s done so that I/they can make it a wiki.

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But it only breaks the warranty for the modules one has opened, right?

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I think it breaks the warranty total end of.


OK, at any rate it’s a good reminder to read the warranty properly before I start tinkering too much with the phone.


Probably better to get an answer from Fairphone as they are the first arbitrators when it comes to interpretation. support[at] fair phone dotcom


Well… It’s hard to tell. As I understand the warranty, if the module was part of the smartphone when you bought it, it will void the warranty of the whole device. If you bought the module alone as a spare part, it can only break the warranty of the individual module anyway (except if the damage dealt to the single module induced damage to other modules).

But yes, contact Fairphone for an official answer.


I would greatly appreciate a hardware kill switch (single would be sufficient) to kill the microphone and camera’s on the Fairphone 4.
You wouldn’t have to compromise in the modular sense if you physically break the connections on lanes on the motherboard.

I like how for example framework did it on their laptop: Framework | Framework Laptop

I notice there is a hole above the golden chip in your second photo. Might that be part of the “entry channel” – combined with the squared black rubber or plastic box I circled in red – into the actual microphone (the silver box)? Both the silver box and the golden chip are a few milimetres away from the actual outside of the device, so I would think there needs to be some structure to channel sound to the microphone.

Or did you notice a hole at the top end (i.e. its end nearest to the outside of the FP3) of the silver box?

That would also be my layman’s opinion.

I do not know. If I had to guess, I would say that box (including the golden chip?) is for the proximity sensor, automatic brightness and / or camera relevant.

If I am not mistaken, this should show the top side of the top module.

Sadly you have already seen my good pictures. I have increased the brightness a bit to make the hole more visible. I do not remember whether this hole actually “goes all the way through”.

Interestingly, judging from this photo there is no hole on the other side for the primary microphone in the bottom module (but it may be just my finger in the way).

I am pretty sure that both silver covers were without any holes.

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Update: FYI everything seems to be still working as expected.

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