Fairphone 4 locked-down software = planned obsolescence?

Can you not use Settings > System > Developer options > Automatic system updates > OFF


I did get a full refund from Fairphone.


My factory fresh unused FF4 shall become lineage on microg. I am researching how to make that happen (hopefully without much google stuff). Now comes plenty of questions. By migrating to lineageos: will I evade or keep this weird problem of blowing efuses / bricking it when updating wrongly? I thought lineageos internally is running android under the hood. I am about to set it up myself and then I hope to re-lock the bootloader, if safely possible. But this thread is scaring me to even start using the FF4 (I wont use it with the original android, rather refund it before breaking things. ) That would mean I forget the idea of buying and preparing more fairphones for my other family members. For me fairfones “fair” promised to let us an option to leave google anti-privacy world and to do with it as we desire, esp. as means of protection for my kids 1st phone mainly using open source stuff and sandboxing the few google push service dependant apps they would still want to use (signal, telegram and few others)

Hi and welcome,
everything about LOS here, LOS does not support to relock the bootloader. However, Iode OS or Calyx OS do, have a look at the forum and do some search and reading

Thx! Sorry asking this newbee questions. Was reading a lot of information and I would like to have it all together before I actually start.
So as I understand now:

  • installing LOS would not blow those efuses, ever, because I won’t be able to relock bootloader? Yes/no?

  • when trying to revert to original android OS, I just need to do factory reset (this my ff4 would become as it is now: same android version and all) and then I could re-lock it, without risking eFuse blowing? Yes/no?

  • I could choose to install those LOS version, that fairfone officially supports. Using later version of LOS (based e.g. on android 13) would risk some incompatibilities, but I could still reinstall the lower version (e.g. LOS based on android 11) that would be officially supported by fairfone? (without risking to brick it because of android 13 ->11 change bootloader security upgrade stuff) Because the bootloader would NOT be changed? Yes/no?

  • I am confused now WHAT Lineage version fairfone officially supports: Fairphone 4 OS Manual Installation sais I need to upgrade it from 11 (currently) to 12 before I do a LOS install? I would not want this, just because I do want to leave it factory fresh as is, no simcard, no wifi connection setup etc. just some remote adb commands coming via PC and perform straignt LOS installation. Is that OK? or dumb? Now reading Official LineageOS 20 FF4 #157 “The security patch of FPOS need to be equal or higher of the security patch onf LineageOS to roll back and relock the bootloader.” which I understand as: I need to (MUST) upgrade my fresh Android11 “FPOS” to 12, thus pushing the security patch high enough, and THEN install LOS20, to be later able to factory reset (to FPOS12??? or 11?? ) and still be bale to re-lock boot loader without bricking? Oh dear, it is complex! please help!

  • Since my ff4 currently has android 11 installed, when installing any open OS and panic and perofrm factory reset: where would the original android 11 (or with upgrade: 12?) OS be coming from? I fear that with A/B thing, repeated update of my LOS would overwrite the original factory fresh android 11 (12?) OS. Would I later still be able to factory-reset to original OS when sticking some years to LOS ( probably LOS with microG)? yes / no?

There’s no “efuse”. There’s just the risk that if “OEM unlock” is disabled and you lock the bootloader after installing a system with an older security patch level than installed before you might hard brick your phone.

No. A factory reset just clears your data partition. So all your settings and data are gone. The OS persist a factory reset.

Fairphone supports no LOS version. LOS is supported by the community.

As written above factory reset does nothing to your OS. So if you want to go back to stock OS you’ve to flash it. Just take special care in case you want to relock your bootloader after going to stock OS. I’d expect OEM unlock be disabled then…


Lineage does not support locking the bootloader. If you want to lock the bootloader you need to install another OS.


Grandparent creator of this thread:

3, When I look at installing /e/os myself, I find that there is some evil thing called an “anti-rollback” PROM, consisting of electronic fuses (eFuses), which are irreversibly blown one-at-a-time by each update to Android, and will apparently BRICK the device if a non-Google-approved software is loaded, or if one tries to load an earlier version of Android than the latest that was installed on the phone. Again this is the very last thing I would expect from Fairphone!

What I now have understod : a mechanisms “efuse” exist that is “used up”, eventually, writeonly-storing information of highest patchlevel used somewhere in the bootup stuff. And to resort to the topic of this thread: if you lock bootloader, you better have os/boot stuff installed that has compatible security batchlevel? So for me it seems this two things are somewhat connected. Correct me if I am wrong.

But I am a greenhorn, and I am exactly looking how to install new OS so I NEVER risk permanently bricking my phone. My solutions found so faar:

  • Never re-lock bootloader and be safe. (e.g. use whatever LineageOS you feel cool)
  • Update original FF4 os and remember that patchlevel. Whenever I install alternative OS, stick to SAME (not higher) security patchlevel. Then I could flash original FF OS and re-lock safely.
  • I am not sure if there would be other possibilities. (Using higher patchlevel Lineage OS version, and then reverting to FF4 OS and lock bootloader would brick, yes?)

Correct me, please! I am still unsure about the procedure…
I am now preparing to upgrade FF4 oriniginal OS. I see I could do it without sim-card (or do I need to rip it out of my current phone? I rather not) and by connecting to WiFi. Could I also do it by using PC - usb - adb (and maybe fastboot) and not use any wifi?

Don’t believe everything written in the internet.

Well, the important thing is to check OEM unlock status. As long as OEM unlock is enabled you’re safe as you may unlock the bootloader again in case the phone refuses to boot with a locked bootloader.

…when installing LineageOS. Correct.



It might show to be difficult to always keep the exactly same patchlevel/-date. Possibly you have to wait until there’s a new patch out and installed before you relock the bootloader (which will factory reset all data on the phone).
Or if you’re lucky OEM unlock will remain enabled. Then you’ll be safe anyway.

Depending on OEM stanlock status it might.

Don’t understand the sense of that.


Anti-rollback efuses do exist: Android Verified Boot 2.0

However, as I understand it they are not blown on every update, only on major updates that fix things like bugs in the bootloader that would permit a verified boot bypass. These are not very common, and likely the phone will wear out from sheer old age about a century before you run out of fuses.