Fairphone won't turn on (clear eMMC)

Hi! I’m encountering some problems with my Fairphone recently. After having changed the SIM card for a few months, I came back to my old SIM card which used to work perfectly well on my Fairphone. When turning my Fairphone on after inserting this SIM card, I noticed my battery, which was on about 75% before inserting the SIM card, was now on 25% (I never had any problem with the battery before). Then, after turning on, chinese characters appeared on a blue screen and, before I could do anything, the screen said “Re-formatting phone” (or something similar, meaning my phone would be completely wiped). To try and avoid that, I stupidely quickly removed the battery to shut it down. Now, when I try to turn my phone on, I can only see a blue screen (sometimes the indication “loading”), and then it automatically turns off, and on, and off, and on again. The only way to shut it down is to remove the battery.
I already tried to reboot the phone by following the steps listed here, but it does not change anything: https://fairphone.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201453487-Fairphone-does-not-reboot-Frozen-State-
Moreover, it does not charge anymore when I try to charge it (it only keeps turning on, and off, and on, etc.)
HELP please!!!

What sad story!!
Until nobody can help you here (unfortunately I have no idea) try at least to call support and ask if they know anything helpful!

Have you checked whether the battery has any deformities? See the battery guide about spin tests to test for this. If your battery is deformed (bloated), please don’t use it and contact support first.

This is probably testing mode (or factory mode). It can be activated by holding the volume down button while starting the phone. There is a clear eMMC option which reformats the phone, though it should leave Fairphone OS intact (i.e. it is similar to a hard reset).

But you can still access the recovery menu? If you can reach that, performing a hard reset may help. This will erase any data you have on the phone that isn’t backed-up elsewhere. Also, if you can reach recovery, it should be possible to charge the phone when in the menu, though I’m not 100% sure about that. In any case, before starting a hard reset, it would be good to have a sufficiently charged battery.


Thank you so much Johannes! Your advice was really helpful! After trying everything, I eventually decided to do the “clear eMMC” option. I have re-installed everything on my phone but now my data connection does not work anymore. Any idea on how to fix that?

Which data connection? The Wifi or the cellular data?
I’m not particularly an expert on either, but for cellular data I would check:

  • Whether voice connections do work (or at least you can hear the phone ringing). May sound stupid, but it checks if the SIM is somehow not connecting (you mention switching SIMs).
  • The settings that your provider provides (e.g. APN). Some providers have an option to request an SMS that contains the information your phone requires to set up a data connection. I would expect this is saved on the SIM and therefore not to be the problem, but who knows.
  • On which SIM 3G is enabled. Settings > Sim Management > Data connection.

If it’s a problem with Wifi: is it not working at all, or is it just google services. Wifi settings were wiped with the reset, so double check you’ve provided the correct connection details. If google services are not working, try reinstalling the app store from the Fairphone updater.

Hope this helps, connection issues can be difficult to troubleshoot!

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Since your problems started when you changed back to you old sim, maybe they are caused by this sim. Maybe it got somehow defective (humidity, temperature…). I don’t know much about how sims work, but as far as I have read, if faulty, they can cause a lot of problems like batery draining, overheating etc. You could ask your provider for a new one. Maybe you get it for free. I had to pay 15€ but all my connection problems got solved with the new one :smile:


It’s good to hear your problems have finally been solved, @Irina_Spitznagel! I always wonder how the (quite well-capsuled) ICs in the SIM can be damaged, but since your problems seem to be SIM-related, they obviously can be.

BTW, I carry around several SIMs in my purse - together with coins. Which, of course, is a bad habit. But I never had any problems! Neither with African Telcos, nor my European ones. And I can tell you, the environment they were used in are way out of the limits they are tested for… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Thanks Irina_Spitznagel and Johannes! I’ve eventually been able to solve the problem by going to my network provider, where they put some code in my phone and now it works perfectly again (forgetting about the fact that all its memory was erased of course…)

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Thanks so much for your help everyone! I managed to reinstall my phone and everything seems to work all right… Except the battery!! I had absolutely no problem with it so far and it was actually what I liked most about my Fairphone (I could charge it every 3 days or so). Since I had this problem and had to re-format my phone to Factory Settings, the battery does not work anymore. First, it would just drop in about five minutes as soon as it would reach 30%. Now, it does not even charge more than 28%. That is, if I charge it a whole night, it will get to 28% maximum, and then if I unplug it, it will run out of battery in less dans five minutes. HELP!!!

@gc87 Thank you for opening a new topic about this other issue: :slight_smile: This makes it much easier to find solutions to various problems!