Fairphone 4 : The Freedom of OS Choice - What's Missing!

Hi everyone,

So I am happy to have joined the forums and I am following the development of FP with great interest. It is amazing to have a device that you are able to repair yourself.

Now I’m not complaining, I think this device is a superb start to a growing need in the marketplace. That being said I think there are areas that would certainly improve on the adoption of such a device.

The first obvious area is the OS supported on the device. We are in a time where privacy is being eroded, where data is profit, and where cybercrime is organised business. The only reason why I haven’t purchased a FP today is that I value privacy over sustainability. That comment will probably get the trolls rolling in but it is a simple truth.

If I could have sustainability and privacy together then it’s a no brainer, but alas that isn’t the case. A device like the FP should be about options, the option to repair, the option to use android, or the option to use an alternative OS like lineage and Sailfish.

I know there are community ports available for this, but these don’t really fulfill that privacy requirement, especially in the corporate sector. I could easily see Fairphone 4 and sailfish 4 going hand-in-hand within the corporate environment. A device that can be remotely managed, policies enabled, and security features turned on by default, while also having the ability to easily repair. It seem like a win win situation.

While most people will be happy using android or apple devices, I think we are moving into times where people will start to demand more privacy based solutions in both the corporate and personal markets. There are of course other linux based phones out there, but these are either in the flagship price range, or are just not stable enough as a daily driver.

Thought ideas, feedback, oh and what the hell, even the trolls can blast me if they like… :wink:


Hi @anon39506985 Welcome to the forum

There are de googled options of Android, for some privacy and a user can install any OS they like but getting it to work is another thing.

The phone OS is limited to the SoC and there aren’t many options on the table and once chosen the OSs are limited.

It’s fair to say that for a commercial business the Android base is defacto

As far as security goes there’s data protection on the phone, no problem.
Tracking, I’m not sure that’s a personal problem, I’m not straying too far off the beaten track as i wouldn’t get a signal.

Apart from securing my own data on a portable SD card I don’t see how the phone effects my privacy. Roughly my position is know, but my data is private.

While I can see your point, I think you simply demand too much. I’m quite certain that Fairphone has done some market research and executed a cost/benefit-analysis on this and concluded that it would most likely not be worth it at this point. As a small company they can’t focus on everything at once.

Personally I don’t really understand the love for Sailfish. Large parts of their operating system are still closed source. Some parts are open. The same holds true for Apple. I would not trust them more or less than Apple as both are companies who want to make money. Apple is doing a good job of being fairly secure, so your use-case is pretty much already covered.

As for privacy and alternative OS, Fairphone has already anounced their coorperation with /e/
and therefore they are doing their best to provide a Google free Android experience on the FP4.


Actually, for people who are interested in an alternative OS that’s still based on Android we already have a topic here: FP4: Google-free Android

But here in this topic I guess the scope is a bit broader and includes Sailfish (as already mentioned) and Ubuntu Touch.

1 Like

Let’s just start a new poll.
Let the users vote.

for example, my daily driver is a sailfish phone.

1 Like

I totally agree with you about privacy. This is a very difficult issue these days. Anyone who wants to put data protection first has a very hard time indeed. The CustomROM /e/ is already a start. I think the compromise between data protection and comfortable operation is in the foreground here. However, if data protection is to be the most important thing, iodé seems to me to be the better choice. For the FP3(+), they have already released iodéOS based on Android 11. Those who want to buy the FP ready preinstalled can do so:

I really hope they will release iodéOS for the FP4. Then I’ll be on board as well. :grinning:


I totally agree. I own a FP3; I do support the sustainability and reparability goals of the company. But there’s almost no option on supported OS alternative besides Google Android.

Even I am the geek type, the FP3 is on the high price range for me (I chose it with my heart and beliefs, not with my wallet), so I do not like to use it as the Guinea pig for OS selection.
Not having an AVD or emulator for FP3, makes this research impossible for me.
Maybe in future I’ll find the time and the will to wipe it out and try /e os/ or alternatives (I dream of a stable linux is with apk support)

Getting off topic and too personal… I endorse the fact that privacy and related need for privacy-fair OS alternatives support should also be a pillar of the ‘fair’ mission.

1 Like

Do you really think Fairphone has the resources to support a number of OSes, no way.

There the e foundation and other that do that work.

On the other hand what is so bad about a degoogled android that fills the world with such concern.

There are many more depressing mankind attributes more scary that nosing into my data.

So I understand it can be an issue for the anti government forces and the weak willed who may fall for adds, but what can an alternate OS do to make me feel safe in this crazy work, absolutely nothing.

I understand the resource thing. I am aware of the /e is/ collaboration. This does not change the fact OS alternatives is a concern for somebody. It’s good people express their thoughts openly.

Please don’t impose people your priorities. Do whatever you like with YOUR data, not my business. Please discuss the topic fruitfully.
There are plenty of issues mankind needs to resolve. Focusing on FP, in this thread I see somebody’s brought a topic up for attention.
It does not mean it is the most important or high prio.

1 Like

Yes I am aware that some people want an alternative OS.

I use Windows, Ubuntu and Raspberry pi Buster etc. and of course FOS A10 0129

What I don’t quite get is the tone
a) something is missing
b) Fairphone could do this and that
c) there are alternatives

and sure expressed thoughts are this forums ‘raison d’être’ but leaves all expressions open to debate and challenge.

It seems like
a) Someone is targetting Fairphone ~ what does that person really expect
b) What advantages of an alternate OS are envisioned

I don’t want to discuss what someone should or should not do, but will challenge a hint of that.

But what is there to discuss?

Welcome @anon39506985 :slight_smile:

IMO its pretty simple. You either pay with your privacy, or your wallet. FOSS or proprietary is secondary to that (FOSS should be more valuable).

So, privacy or wallet is your payment method. Most people can’t afford wallet (look at the Apple tax and Android popularity in non-USA). Microsoft spend a lot of effort into Windows Phone, and they failed to grab relevant market share. So it is iOS/iPadOS or Android/AOSP_derivatives (OSes without such need an emulator layer to ‘run Android apps’ if they want to be relevant for the masses). These are the two choices you got. The other ones are niche, not ready for the masses. Something like Sailfish is probably actually too cheap. Why? Lack of volume, means they cannot grow.

Speaking of Sailfish, Fairphone and Jolla (Sailfish) tried a partnership, but soon it becomes about money and then you got two small companies who don’t have the upfront money to invest in such a project. RIP.

Ubuntu Touch, Canonical canned it. Its a community project now.

So, what’s left? Niche community OSes. Quite a bunch of them. But don’t expect official support.


I just thought of something else:
You want to run the FP4 not only privately very privacy-friendly, but also in the company, right? I don’t know what country you’re from, but the German company Flashtec recently partnered with iodé and provides support for iodé. They write, among other things:

French software developer iodé delivers iodéOS, an alternative Android operating system for those who no longer want to be at the mercy of the big data octopuses. In addition, iodé sells refurbished devices alongside new smartphones like the Fairphone, reducing our ever-growing mountains of e-waste. These were reasons enough for us to take a closer look at the system.

After extensive testing, we are so enthusiastic about iodé that we are now using it ourselves at Flashtec and have been offering support for iodéOS as the first German partner since summer 2021. In addition, we support the developers with the German translation of the iodé APP.

We are happy to advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of iodéOS and support you in installing, setting up and using the system as well as in transferring data from old devices or cloud providers.


I started this topic to really get a feel, and insight to what others are thinking about, and what they see as priorities, and I feel like we are moving in the right direction, fairphone has certainly taken the right steps in creating a platform that is repairable by the owner.

Sustainable technology is a huge issue we have to think about, especially when we start to see geopolitical issue affecting the supply chain of components, and obviously the ethical issues that are also implied with this.

We are also seeing the manipulation of data, as mentioned by others in this forum, we do pay for services with our data. I think we are rapidly moving into a social culture where we are slowly nudged and coerced into buying yet more stuff we just don’t need. So although Fairphone may make us feel like we are doing our part, buying from responsible vendors, the same device is also used to manipulate us with advertising and targeted propaganda. (purely based on the OS and social media tracking that is implied with such technology).

At some point we (as a society) need alternative options when it comes to the underlying OS that we use. There are some options out there right now, but the problem is that we don’t have any real standardisation between the hardware and the OS, making it near impossible to have viable options.

sailfishOS and other alternatives are a great start, but I think we need more support and development in this area.


Thanks for this I will certainly check out iodeOS

1 Like

Hmmm, I would love Sailfish, but what with all the Apps like Certificate Apps you need nowadays? They are not available on the inofficial (!) Sailfish OS for FP2.

Optionally as community driven everything. Like sailfish or ubuntu. Or Los4mg, /e/OS, iode, etc…
But not as default OS.

Should always be Android nearly AOSP. Best for 99%

Rest can do if they want

1 Like

You are free to use alternative operating systems once they become available for the FP4. Just do not expect Fairphone to officially support those.

Best wishes,


Well after doing a lot of reviews I decided to opt for the Volla phone. I will keep an eye on the Fairphone 4, and if they ever start to support alternative OS’s i’ll certainly buy into it.

1 Like

Which app do you mean exactly?
With official support of a device by Sailfish, you get the possibility to use Android apps.

I hope I have understood you correctly :slight_smile: