Fairphone’s approach to root on the Fairphone 2

Exactly the same here…

I need to restore my data on my new phone and still use google play, gmail and google calendar.

I’ll give you an example: my daughter (8 years old) has been playing occasionnally with an apk called “Ineractive telling time” on my FP1 for 2 years now. When you tell time correctly several times you get a star and after you get several stars you can eventually pick a fish to put in a tank. The tank is now quite full and she’s very proud. Her progression is saved with titanium backup which I can not use to restore on te FP2.

My daughter knows everything about fairphone… I explained, she listened and she is as proud as I am to own a phone with that philosophy. How should I explain the loss of her data? what do you think she will think spontaneously? that the new phone is not OK.

She is the next generation, she is the one who will probably make this world better… but she is still a kid…

Maybe this is a stupid example… and how about my data? I can think of at least 10 apks I use that are useless because this data migration is not possible.

A fairphone has to be fair because people need a phone. If a fairphone as fair as it is does not meet buyers expectations (mine are that it’s like FP1 rooted with gapps) then who cares if it’s fare as nobody will care to buy it…

I know I wouldn’t have if I knew… and I strongly support fairphone.

Not rooted’ very frustrating but let’s go with it… just find a way for me to use titanium backup or equivalent to get my data back…

When I bought the FP1 it was because it was fair AND rooted… now I feel stupid about buying FP2.


Did I missed this point - is this written in this explicit words at any place in this thread?
I could only find the formulation:

If @adeu is right with this, the discussion should only be driven between [GAPPS preinstalled] and [without GAPPS+root], as @keesj wrote.

For me it was not clear, that it is not POSSIBLE (aka not allowed) to provide GAPPS and ROOT…I understood it just as a decission of FP…
From this point of view the decicion FP made, makes a little bit more sense for me, but only if in the next days e.g. a easy to apply GAPPS-free rooted OS via the FP-updater-app is available with optional GAPPS installation (or OpenGAPPS).


I rooted my samsung I used GAPPS, I used my FP1 I used GAPPS so ok let’s go for an non official way of rooting the phone and keeping GAPPS if we want… Programmers on the forum it’s up to you… PLEASE!


I would be surprised if this was the case. FP1 came with root and GApps. In the Google Play store, I bought apps like Titanium Backup Pro, that require root. So I would be very surprised if it would be legally impossible to provide GApps on a rooted phone. Maybe the FP team can provide more information on this?

I’m not an expert on Android, phone OSes and stuff like that. Still, I feel like I understand enough to make an informed decision on whether or not I want to root my FP2 when I get it. But I don’t feel confident enough to change the whole OS for it, throw away all GApps etc.

I just want to be able to transfer my data from my FP1 to my FP2 (whenever it arrives :slight_smile: ). And I’m willing to do this, even if this means I won’t be able to use some apps that don’t work on a rooted phone and I have to be aware of the vulnerability of a rooted phone. Asking a much higher price (needing a lot more knowledge about smartphone OS, loosing GApps) seems a bit over the top!


A significant part of my decision to buy FP2 (6 month ago !!!) was that it is rooted.

Now, I have it one week and I already found 4 reasons to have it rooted:

And I still want to use the phone as a phone.
Try to install standard apps such as Deutsche Bahn app without the Play Store
(I initially started without a Google account, but there was simply too much only there available).

So keesj, after your announcement, tell me please what shall I do?
It seems, you require me to root the phone using one of these “grey market approaches”.
Well, if your goal is to protect your customers, then it is an interesting approach to force them to use dubious software to root the phone (e.g. in the KingRoot thread rumour says that KingRoot might “install “Chinese Stuff” on your phone and it uploads your IMEI”).

In addition, IMO it is very very unfair to decide, not to give a rooting option without clearly announcing that in ahead. I bought the phone, because all I read was that it will be rooted (see e.g. here). You might have said otherwise somewhere in the forum, but there were no clear statements with the official specs of FP2, so why should people assume that it is different than with FP1?
All these sites will now write articles: FP2 turned out not to be rooted and therefore is not as usable as it seemed to be. That will be a publicity nightmare.

While almost everybody here understands, that the FP2 is not rooted by default,
the decision not to support an option to root the phone at all is poor, strange, offending, and a nightmare for Fairphone and me.
Please please please, change this decision before too much damage is there!


We surely need some lawyer power here to clarify :smile:
But some more information can be found here:

BTW, it is something completely different if the end user roots his/her phone. That is not illegal and it is even not clear if it voids the warranty in most cases. Some apps will refuse to run and that’s about it. But as a vendor, fairphone will get into legal trouble if it sells a rooted phone with gapps preinstalled. That has always been my understanding.

I would still appreciate an easy way to root my phone. But at least for me, as opposed to the many ppl waiting to restore their backups, I do not need to root it as urgently.

I would have even more appreciated a fairphone without gapps preinstalled and instead having an os with gapps as optional - so exactly the opposite as it is now. But I know that a decision had to be made at some point and I assume that the majority of ppl lives better with gapps preinstalled (see above thread).

I’m very sensible to the fair hardware production, but what decided me to spend so much money was when I was told by a Fairphone guy, on a presentation in paris, that there will be official instructions for rooting. OK it was marketing talk, not a written statement, but I was expecting to be in front of someone ‘fairer’ than usual phone sellers.
Seems I’ve been too naive.
Luckily I still didn’t receive my phone, so I’ll still be able to return it and ask for a refund if this “approach” is maintained.


I didn’t want to reply yesterday as I got pretty mad about that initial statement here, so I thought I would sleep over it. Nonetheless, I am still very frustrated with the statement here posted.

I have total understanding that the phone wouldn’t come rooted by default, and if there were legal reasons, I would also understand why you cannot provide a rooted version with GAPPS. Anyhow, it’s not difficult to install GAPPS later if someone wants (as we have seen on the FP1 also).

However, I am really frustrated about the current situation. Yes, indeed Fairphone announced before shipping that the phone would come unrooted. However, when I bought my phone, there was no word yet about it. In fact, it wasn’t even clear then what OS or what version of Android it would be shipped with. As a satisfied costumer of FP1 I trusted Fairphone to continue to understand fairness and openness of the phone to not only be a matter of hardware, but also of software. I got really disappointed already in autumn when I learned that FP2 would be unrooted. But OK, I was still believing that there will be an easy way of rooting the phone. Now I have to learn that this was naive, as at this time getting your phone rooted seems to be an endeavor for developers only.

However, I have to disagree with @keesj in some points, as for me the main reason why I want to root my phone is to increase safety! I would like to take up your metaphor of the safety belt (even though I think it’s a bad one, because you cannot compare safety of live with data safety or computer stability). If the safety belt is not tight enough, the seatbelt becomes useless or may increase vulnerability! And this is what, in my opinion, is the case with Android and many apps. I have been using the xposed framework particularly because of the x privacy, which is a great tool to get control over app permisions, i.e. what app gets access to what functions/data (compared to apparmor, which I like to use on my PC). Unfortunately, without root I am not able to use it anymore. The same goes for orWall, which allowed me to channel apps where I don’t log in anywhere to go through tor, to increase privacy. These are just some examples to show, that by having root access, unlike your statement, I can actually increase privacy and security (security not in IT terms, but in personal). The FP2 OS currently available does not satisfy my security need on a computer.

For me smartphones are quite hot potatoes and I don’t trust them (i.e. Android/Google) very much. I feel very unsafe if I have to use a computer device, where I cannot be in control over it, where I cannot set permissions to various apps/programs. This is why I hate my work computer as well, because I have no admin rights there. But OK, it’s not mine, it belongs to my employer. But damn it: The Fairphone is MY phone, and I want to have control over it!

Alright, I see I’m getting emotional again. I understand that you are working on a version than can (or may?) be rooted. But from all what I understand so far is, there is no timeline when this should become available. I have been waiting for the phone over 6 months since I paid for it. Now it is here, I can hold it in my hands and play around with it. But with the current state, I do not feel safe to take full use of it, i.e. going ahead to install different apps or using the browser, as I still does not have full access to it in order to set app permissions properly etc.

This is really frustrating, to wait so long for a phone to only learn after arrival (as said, likely due to my naivety in believing Fairphone would do it better, as they have shown they can with the FP1) that I cannot take use of it as intended.

It is true that Fairphone is not only about open and fair software, but rather bases on the hardware. And I absolutely appreciate that, I am behind that philosophy, and for this reason I have been much more patient than I would be with any other phone. However, this alone would not be argument enough for me to choose a Fairphone. I need a phone that meet my needs, with which I can and want to work with. It’s like I find it great that you can get fair trade bananas, but since I don’t like the taste of banans, I wouldn’t buy it.
At this point this is also true for me with FP2. It is a great project, I am glad about all the work that has been put into it. I also really really appreciate the concept of the fp-osos. But for the time being, I have no use for the phone.

As much as I am convinced it would be interesting to start learning how to compile a os for a phone myself, or even more, how to modify it to my individual needs, I unfortunately just not have the time for this, as I do have a job also. I already spend too much time with trying to figure out how to root the FP2 I paid for (and I am avoiding consciously here to say my phone), and I also already spent too much time with actually trying to built the OS myself, until realizing that my prerequisites are not working and I would need to start fiddling around with setting up an proper operating system on my computer, in order to be able to compile the OS myself, which I understood is also not that easy as even the files you provided are not working out of the box.

So basically, I find the status quo unacceptable. I can understand that the IT staff from Fairphone must have had a busy time lately and that there is lot’s of work to do at the moment.
However, I also would like the Fairphone team to understand how frustrating it is for users of the phone, to not being able to again control over their phones, and not even knowing when that could be! It actually makes me feel like for now I could easily sell the phone and maybe at some point, when the software is working to my needs, have a look again at FP. If I still need a phone then. Although, I don’t want to wait another 6 months to finally get to own a Fairphone. Probably it will be to hard for me to go for any other kind of phone, as I also would like to be an advocate of the hardware approach FP is standing for. Also, I do not always follow my emotions, otherwise I would have already got rid of the FP2.

That said, currently I am very disappointed and frustrated.


@freibadschwimmer I totally agree with your long post. I have the same feelings.
Just wanted to point out that European law allows us consumers to send back for refund any product we bought online, up to 14 days after we received it. That would make me sad, I was angry yesterday like you and now still unsure.
I’m really surprised that FP doesn’t care more about the user community. Are they targeting the mass market which is very concurential, or trying to build a faithful and tech-aware user base ? The growing of the latter could be really endangered by statements like this one.


Right. This is about the safety of your data and getting more privacy and control over what application are doing and I totally understand there is a huge need for this. Even better would be to use, preferably open source, application you can trust. We are following steps along that route with the open source release.

This does however not address urgent problems for application like Titanium Backup.


Whats the problem here?

The bootloader is obviously unlockable otherwise you wouldnt be able to install other operating systems, and so you can flash a new recovery and install su.zip and boom rooted FP2?


I assume there’s lots of pressure on the Software Development of FP2 right now after the start of delivery an the upcoming stage of mass-beta-testing.
So this may be an excuse for the “your phone, yours to break” thing. (Which is a really bad statement, as it’s definitely perverting Fairphone’s selling claim. I hope that’s not the final statement on FP2’s software support.)

I can understand two reasons for your decision to keep the OS closed:

  1. Security for banking apps (who uses them? Is this really important?)
  2. Google not allowing FP to use their version of Android together with the option of rooting. Why? They say it’s about security. I’d say, keeping user from having control over the data they provide, is also in Google’s interest.

Why would we users want to have root-access?
We want to use certain apps (x-privacy, hello Google!).
But furthermost: as experience with the FP1 has shown, especially for the crowdfunders who get an early phone, this thing coming out of the box is quite buggy.

On the FP1 there where big issues with the volume-buttons crashing my phone. GravityBox (via xposed, which uses root) was the only way to make that phone really usable. I think it took several month unless FP came out with a software update to adress the issue.

As I don’t use my FP2 yet, I haven’t ancountered any bugs myself. But as I read, there seems to be an issue with the LED. And the workaround provided requires (guess): root access.

So besides the discussion if an “open” phone would include the software (I want to shout YES on this), there’s the question if we, the users, shouldn’t have the opportunity to get a way to work around the “Kinderkrankheiten” (=childhood deseases) of your product.

All this discussion about root or not is giving me the impression that Fairphone is going to be just another hardware producer and doesn’t care about the OS. You want to outsource the developement to the community I assume.

This might be okay for some of your users. But users like me, who just thought, to have found a smartphone that gives me easy access to digital privacy, you will loose that way. FP2 is just another black box. For a price of over 500 Euros I can have much better and much more up-to-date black boxes (which may be easier to root, btw.).

Software needs to be “fair” too!


Apart from the annoyment about the consequences of the primary message of @keesj, the above strongly wonders me. When security-statements about root were true (including metaphors about seatbelts), the current 60.000 FP1-ownders are in great danger. I wonder why, until now, no FP-1 owners have been contributing to the discussions.

If I understand @keesj’s statement correctly, a rooted phone basically opens up the possibility for an app to (autonomously?) change its owns permissions or the persmissions of another app. I don’t know much about android-security and rooting and I will definatly look into it more deeply. My (and apparantly that of many others) understanding of root-access has always been equivalent to that of administrator rights in windows or the Sudo command in linux. Maybe there is more to it that I am not aware of?

Somehow, the statements of @keesj seem rather implausable: 60.000 FP-1 owners are not driving without a seatbelt, or FP would feel more responsible for them, since they sold them a car without seatbelts. Therefore I find it very hard to believe that rooting my phone is similar to breaking it.

Can anybody (both pro, contra or neutral) post a better source for information about rooting phones?


I am a Fp1 owner and very happy with it.


I don’t mind the decision that the FP2 should not be sold rooted - actually I think it is a wise decision. I knew it would not be and that rooting instructions would be supplied later. However I wasn’t aware that it would not allow to use the Google apps. Correct me if I am wrong: are they, instead of providing rooting instructions, going to provide a rooted ROM without the Gapps? If that is the case, it is a big blow to my expectations… At least I hope they will provide both.

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Wikipedia is your friend: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooting_(Android_OS)

@r0kk3rz, unfortunatly, it doesn’t work.

As I mentioned above, using a (smart)phone as a payment device really is a bad idea. Banks are pushing it, but I expect a backlash in the next couple of years.


@keesj: Correct me, if I’m wrong, but apps like KingRoot do show, that it’s very easy to get root acces by exploiting known (?) security bugs of Android.
So you talk about security, why does this work? These bugs shall be fixed asap! This means, for me as end-user it’s hard get root-acces easily, but the bad guy, who wants to steal my data can.

In addition to that, I woldn’t recommend using banking-Apps on the smartphone to anybody. See this talk at 32c3 (unfortunately in German), where Vincent Haupert explained how easy the manipulation of the banking-process is (because it’s super easy to bypass the security mechanisms)


@keesj, if you are under legal obligations to not allowing root when GAPPS are installed, please come out clearly about this. That’s something I might grumble about but understand.

Your current statements have me scratching my head. They seem to be written by big companies like Samsung and the likes spreading FUD around rooting while ignoring all the other, more urgent, security and privacy problems on Android.