Fairphone’s approach to root on the Fairphone 2

It’s one thing trying to reach more people and sell more phones BUT the best publicity is from people that are already IN the community… I know I’ll still want to advertize fairphone but somewhat I’ll find words stuck in my throat from disappointement.

I bought the FP1 without hesitating when I found out it existence and bought the FP2 because I needed a higher from Android 4.2 to work… So in summary I spent around 800 euros for a cause I believe in and now have 2 phones I can’t fully use.

What’s fair about that for the user I am? it kind of has to be fair to the buyer too doesn’t it? because as noble as the philosophy may be, I still need my phone… and that’s why I bought it…


Okay, now i’m pissed !
First of all, i perfectly understand why you didn’t want to make the FP2 rooted by default, as this feature is only useful for “advanced users”, also, this was stated long before , BUT :

“If you can’t open it, you don’t own it” , a always thought it was your credo for both hardware AND software !
If i can’t root my phone, i don’t own it AT ALL.
It’s like “my” work computer, i can use it, but as a i’m not an administrator, i can’t install programs or modify advanced settings, as it’s the propriety of the company, i can fully understand that
BUT, if someone like asus/msi/anyone would try to SELL me a computer without administrator right, i would spit at their face and shove their computer down their throat !
Why would it be different on phones ?

Yes like administrator rights, the root is very useful security layer, but what if i don’t want that security layer ?
I want to be able to do wathever the F**** i want with MY phone, because it’s MINE, and i OWN it, just like the administrator rights on my computer i always thought this was you line of thinking…
But no, YOU UNILATERALLY decided that for “our own good” the FP2 won’t be easily rootable (just like any other phone companies).
Was it too hard to just provide a tutorial (hard ? i don’t care) on the FP forum, with a lengthy warning message ? no, we have to completely reinstall the OS, give away the gapps (wich can be greatly controlled by oh irony some root apps than can limit the privacy impact).

the seatbelt metaphor is perfect : the seatbelt is a standard on every car, and the fact that we have been conditioned ( in a good way i mean) to always wear it makes wearing it a standard, but not wearing it involves only me (no security issues for the other if i crash, i just die…), it’s just a risk I can take for any stupid reason, because it’s only involving me.

So, in conclusion, On the software side, Fairphone is not different from any other mobile phone company, you don’t give a **** about the user’s free will.

And seriously, that sucks.



I’m also disappointed - but maybe we can take a deep breath and try to explain our views and hope for more support from the community and to make the FP team think again about their decision. I’m convinced the FP team is listening to our suggestions, as long as they are constructive. Not saying that a change will necessarily happen - but it will only be possible if we keep good communication style (I know I’m the one in the glasshouse here, just thinking of my first post here a few days ago, but well …).

It’s hard to support/like too angry postings. Let’s collect our good arguments and gather those of similar view around us, then maybe we can have a good discussion also with the makers of the phone.



We could also start a poll who wants to give back his FP2 because "We can’t open FP2, so we don’t own it"
E.g. I don’t need such a closed phone, so I will try to cancel my order…


I can understand the frustration, at least from my point I can say:

  • I will support the FP regardless whether it is rooted or not, as it is due the way it is produced and due to its modularity an important and great statement, which I do not want to weaken/negate due to the phone missing a (in my eyes essential) feature

  • community and crowd play an important role for the FP, at least I really hope that and it looks very much like that. So let’s try to use that to make the phone better rather than forgetting about it and giving it up due to being disappointed

  • if the FP team listens, then we have the chance to make the FP even better than it is already - isn’t that “the spirit”? Let’s try that and if we achieve, then put it in our CVs ;).

Just my own, overly optimistic rant.



I guess that’s the right attitude. I know that for many a rooted phone is necessary (was for me, but I’m rooted now). Also, I hope someone with the right experience will do a cm or omnirom or the likes, as this goes over my head, timewise at least, or maybe also twrp or cwm, so the question of routing would be moot anyway. That said, I hope my rooting survives the next ota.


Hi, that is finally the time I signed up to reply, I’m soooooooo disappointed about that decision. Its OK, to not have root out oft the box. But its NOT FAIR to the user/buyer to not even Being able to root it. For me this is a big step to Sending my phone back. I can not use my data stored in the SD, I can not use gravitybox and I can not decide which data Google gets for what I get back :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: and no, I dont want to use some cobbled together second OS. For 500€ and this rights I could habe bought an Iphone.


Okay… yesterday I was defending FP, because I was confident they would never announce something like that. I was wrong. Especially the given reason is exceptionally irritating!

Why ship the ready-flashed FP2 with an unlocked bootloader then? I thought this was part of the “easy-to-root”-phrase. If I have to compile the OS and transfer it to the phone by myself, I won’t be complaining about unlocking the bootloader by myself! Actually, it is way more complicated to root FP2 compared to the Google Nexus Series. This is why I have much difficulties in following your GAPPS-argumentation. You are demonizing root, but it is instead the only way to really act self-responsible! Now I have to accept if any app is asking for exhaustive rights it doesn’t need to work fine for me.

This is quite a big deal and I think FP-Team is underestimating the impact. Right now, the FP2 is the most-locked phone I ever had (regarding software). Please reconsider this software-strategy for your own sake.


There is code for a OnePlusOne (based on a 801) will something like that work? I don’t know anything about this, but maybe someone can have a look at this?

A bootloader that would allow booting two OSes – the safe ‘locked’ FP-OS and an ‘experimental’ rooted one would be nice. But I’m not sure if such a thing exists under the current Google security model.


I’m also one of the guys that followed this discussion quietly so far. I agree with the majority in this thread that I am happy to support Fairphone with both money and patience, since I absolutely support the idea of “Yours to open, yours to keep.”.

I have used my old phone almost 5 years (yes, it was a smartphone) and I would have continued using it if it didn’t suffer from a more and more dying touch sensitivity. When I read about FP1 at the time, I decdided that my next phone (when the time comes) would be an FP.

Hence, I ordered the FP2 (bit more expensive, but okay), because the arguments of sustainability, responsibility and the interpretation of ownership met my perception. And this clearly includes the option of having root access, if it is desired by the user. The safety arguments may have their point, but this is exactly what this was supposed to be about: It should be the user’s individual decision to take over the responsibility - and live with the consequences, or to decide to stay with the device as is.

I would like to deeply underline the statements of the majority of contributors in this thread that FP should honestly consider to revise this decision. It’s not only a question of what may be adviseable or not. It’s a question of what has been promoted and thus also of honesty.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly support the mentality of the FP team and I certainly appreciate all the work you did, particularly in the last and the coming weeks. I just would be really disappointed if this would really be it - either I have to spend a lot of time and take risks to root my “your’s to open” phone or I have to wait an indistict time to get an OS that may or may not suite my perception. The solution is easier.

Have a nice evening!


Let’s do a little poll: Do you agree with Fairphone’s decision quoted above?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • I don’t care.

0 voters


There already is a poll to the topic of rooting the FP2:


Of course I vote no…

I would like to have an official android 4.4 for my FP1 so I can use it with sumup (I really need this application) so I can send my FP2 back…




Hi BauAC,
Thanks for linking to the other poll (“I urgently need to root my FP2”). I also regard this an important poll. I just think that both questions are different and so I support to have both polls here.
I personally don’t “urgently need to root my FP2”, I just want to have the choice in the future for my “your’s to open” phone. And I want to have the choice to root it without losing the possibility for GAPPS.

I also read the post of keesj several times but I couldn’t find an explanation understandable to me why it’s not possible for FP to offer an option for the user to decide himself.

This is why I disagree with Fairphone’s decision quoted by tofra.



We provide the source code for Fairphone OS and a way to build the system (but this does require blobs). The result of such a build is a fully working system (without gapps). This is a quite unique offering! And at this stage we are not limiting in any way (other than legally obliged)

What we currently are working on is a way for user (non developers) to be able to install this system(e.g. make it easy to switch). We also will provide easy install of SuperUser (or similar) on that operating system. (your phone, yours to break)

So the main complain I see in the thread is that the default operating system does not offer a way to be rooted (We certainly already announced that the operating system would not be rooted by default). This need to be put in the perspective that we are giving user choice and even the possibility to replace his FULL operating system and take real control over his/her phone, no “rooting” needed. We hope for the community to join and help here.

We are also looking forward to discussions on alternative operating systems and apps.

Still we would like to iterate that we will not offer the combination of the google services (and all good that comes with it) and the the option to install SuperUser (the phone does not need rooting and has a unlocked boot loader).

About keeping apps up to date: is ApkTrack any good?



Hello @keesj and thanks for your answer.

For this I’m OK, but as I understood it, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that the OS would not be rootable by default … Thus our sadness on this matter.

This is good news. Still, will the fp-osos get updates with this ? Do you know if they will need a full wipe or not ?

I don’t know about ApkTrack, sorry.

Thanks again for the answer !


Thank you for your answer @keesj

However, it seems that you have serious concerns about rooting and SU in general. Your post sounds like rooting is a security risk by definition (“yours to break”). Could you, as a developer, please share detailed in-depth information, where these concerns are coming from?
My point of view was, that rooting in addition with SU works safely unless the user knows what he does. You don’t seem to share this opinion. If so, why? I really would like to hear the opinion from an experienced OEM-developer.

In other words: Do you see a difference between providing root-access onto the default OS and re-installing GAPPS on reflashed Fairphone OS?


Updates will be like normal updates (e.g. it will not be required you to wipe data) however when doing the switching to fp2-osos wiping data will be required to ensure correct functioning and full removal of system apks (and updates to those).


The only reason I want root is to be able to use Titanium Backup Pro.
Is there an alternative similar to Titanium Backup Pro that doesn’t require root?


I need Titanium Backup Pro and AdAway.
I also need Google Apps.
So what do I do?