I had this problem come about yesterday. My phone just got stuck at the ‘Fairphone’ screen and would not boot. My phone was not rooted and I did not have any special back up or restore software on my phone. I wanted to save my data (photos and videos in particular), but I was stuck with the standard recovery options and ran into the problems described here and elsewhere that the SD card must be FAT32 and the backup fails when it tries to write a file larger than 4 GB to the SD card. I tried the options described here of reloading updates via the SD card and ADB, but the phone still wouldn’t boot. I also contacted Fairphone support who told me that it was not possible to recover the data on the phone’s memory, that I would have to perform a hard reset and that I would loose all the data on the phone. Luckily, I didn’t take that advice and with the help of this page and many others, I have managed to save the photos and videos that were on my phone. Here is what I did, in case it can help anyone else. Note this was done on a Mac and using a 32 GB SD card formatted FAT32 and already in the phone:
- Downloaded and install the Android SDK Platform Tools following the advice on here.
- Opened the terminal and navigate to the folder containing the platform tools using the cd command. On Mac something like: cd Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/
- Started the phone in fast boot mode by holding the 'volume down’ and power key at the same time for about 10 seconds. Note, the screen went blue first, then into the fastboot menu.
- Connected the phone to the computer with a USB cable.
- Check the connection to the phone on the terminal using ‘./adb devices’ (in this menu (but not in the recovery mode, I was able to use all the adb commands, not just sideload)
- Use the ‘./adb shell’ command to open a shell to the phone and see the file list on the phone in the terminal.
- Type the ‘su’ command to get superuser access (the $ changes to a # in the terminal). This allowed me into the files below data/data/ in the tree, even though not rooted.
- Navigate on the phone to the media files using cd /data/media/0/DCIM/Camera/
- Used the ‘ls’ command in this folder to see the structure of the filenames.
- Used the ‘cp’ and the * wild card commands to copy the data to the SD card in the phone:
i.e. cp /data/media/0/DCIM/Camera/VID_2016*.3gp /storage/sdcard1/
I could then simply disconnect everything, remove the SD and access the files on the computer.
I did this year by year, changing 2016 to 2015 etc. I was able to recover all the photos and videos on the phone this way.
I will now try a hard reset and hope I can recover the functionality!