Fairphone Open OS app installation

I’m looking closely to the Fairphone 2 and its freshly Open OS, and as I have read the dedicated webpage of this new OS and some of the topics in the Forum.
I get confused about one point : is a user able to install apps (I think of the F-droid ones) on the FP Open OS ?

If yes, how does it work ? Do you have to download the *.APK file and then use an installation app ?

I haven’t be able to find a video of this OS, so it could be a good idea that Fairphone produces a demonstrative video to see how it works and what could be done with this OS.


You only need to “allow unknown sources” in Settings > Security so you can install apps that are not from the play store. Then simply tap on the .apk file in the phone’s preinstalled file-browser Amaze. No need for an installation app.

Great ! This is quite simple !

Can any type of apps be installed :
1/ Can I install an app normally available from the play store ?
2/ Is there restrictions or incompatibilities ?

Thanks again.

Yes, If you get the apk file somehow.

Some ways to get apps from the play store without installing google apps & services are described here:

Sure, there are always some apps that won’t work on some devices.
Some won’t work for software reasons (e.g. need Android 6+), some for hardware reasons (e.g. need NFC) and some for no apparent reason.

Oh, and don’t disable privacy impact, or many apps that do work will misbehave.

So there is no reason for an app not to work except in the specific cases you mentionned.

On point came to me when you mentionned Android 6+ : to me FairAndroid OS has been “developped” to avoid material and software obsolescence, therefore I thought it was a “universal” OS that will be updated years after years without beeing replaced by a new version (meaning you won’t have to loose or make a backup of your data before to switch to a new OS version).

As an AOSP, current FairAndroid OS is based on the 5th version of Android. It means that with apps updated to higher versions of Android, one day the current OS version will become obsolete.

So my understanding is that Fairphone is providing a LTS version (as Ubuntu) of the FairAndroid OS that will “live” as long as the Fairphone 2 will be used and repairable, and maybe depending on apps compatibility in time.
I guess it will be the case for many years.

So my question is to know if one day Fairphone will stop the current 5th Android Fairphone Open OS to replaced it by a higher version on the Fairphone 2 ?
Or will Fairphone issue a dedicated FairAndroid OS for each smartphone version ?
E.g the Fairphone 3 will come with a Android N based OS while Fairphone 2 will still be running the 5th version ?

Is Fairphone has the answer today, or is it too early ?

You’d find answers to all these questions if you searched the forum and website but i’ll answer anyway:

Fairphone is planning to update the FP2 (Open) OS to higher Android versions. FP1 OS will be stuck on Android 4.x due to hardware and legal restrictions. For FP2 there will probably be restrictions one day as well, but it’s too early to tell.

Definitively this Fairphone is a must-have !
Thank you for your answers and your time.


One thing I don’t understand is when I download an APK, I get the notification that the file has been downloaded, but I can’t find it in the download folder.
Is there another folder where the files can be downloaded ?

And I’d like to know if .xapk files can be installed ?


Every app stores .apk files somewhere else, you’ll usually be able to install the app by tapping the notification or by going to the “downloads” view within the app (e.g. fireox). With F-Droid for example you should wait in the app until the download is finished and you’ll get the install prompt automatically.

Got it !

The first time I have downloaded F-droid, it was from the Fairphone browser, and the apk file went in the dowload folder from where I could launch the installation.
Then in F-droid I found the Duckduckgo application. So I was downloading files from this application, and with it, the files are temporarily stored somewhere but don’t know where. When download is finished instaaltion is directle launched and if you cancell it you have to donwnload the file again and accept the installation. There is also a notification indicating that the download if finished but it is useless as the installation is automatic.

So I tried back the Fairphone browser and finally all files are downloaded in the Download folder and you can launch the installation from this folder, from the notification or Downloads app which shows the files available in the Download folder so usoncluing Amaze for installation is not the only option. Also is you delete a file from the Downloads app, the file is deleted in the Dowload folder.

In conclusion, in the Browser setting I have configured Duckduckgo as my Homepage, while I can’t select it for the search engine.


Me again !

I have downloaded an xapk file and the system doesn’t recognize it.
Is there a reason for that ?

After selecting the Package Installer I got the following error message :
Quote : Parse eror - There was a problem parsing the package Unquote

I have never had an xapk file but a quick websearch indicates you may need an xapk installer app.

It’s what I was thinking about, but, by doing that, I don’t know if there is a risk to modify/damage the Fairphone OS. I don’t think so, but I prefer to ask first.

As long as you get the app from a source you can trust (not to include malware) you should be good.