Finalising the setup wizard without consenting to Google's TOS

Every normal Android phone you buy (with the exceptions @Ingo mentioned) will come with Google Play Services preinstalled. You cannot access that system without agreeing to Google’s TOS, because Play Services are directly integrated into the OS. There is no “Start the phone without Google mode”.
That isn’t an oversight, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

If you don’t like that, there are the mentioned alternatives sold by /e/ and iode.

Or you can boot the phone up without a SIM or wifi → accept the TOS → purge all the Google apps from your device → connect to wifi → unlock the bootloader → flash any OS you want to your device…
No data transferred to Google and you can still do what you want.

Just because you paid for something doesn’t mean it follows your rules.
If I pay for a Nintendo Switch I can’t run PC games on that either (at least not by default).

I get your problem, I’d rather not have Google on my phone too, but that’s the reality now and you’ll have to adapt (or choose one of the alternatives).


This is mentioned above.

‘Most’ people want an Android or Apple OS

Fairphone use Android and Google have terms and conditions, that Fairphone to adhere to. Over 500,000 tests to confirm too.

This OS is provided ‘free’ and a person who buys the phone doesn’t have to use Fairphone’s OS, but then can expect the warranty to cover any issue that may be down to the user’s choice of OS. So the user will have to install the default up to date version of Android to convince fairphone to look at any problem under warranty.

You do not have to communicate with Google, but you may want to with Fairphone if there is an issue. They make that easy by providing an OS which if used will enable the warranty.

Fairphone can hardly be expected to support multiple OSes and it is a business and most people are happy with Android (Google gaggled)

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Nintendo’s website doesn’t claim that I can install alternative software. Fairphone has a whole landing page dedicated to this.

Actually, that same page says:

We believe that offering an alternative Operating System like Fairphone Open supports the growing demand of consumers who are concerned about their personal data and surveillance capitalism.

How does making me sign up with an advertising company well-known for spying on people align with this statement?

Then why does Fairphone’s website say:

Fairphone’s ambition is to bring more fairness to software. We want to build trust with our community, support the software long after the phone is launched and put the users in control of their phone. One of the best tools for us to reach these goals is to embrace open source software. Alternative software routes are the answer to keep your Fairphone running securely for longer.

I’m not saying you’re wrong; I’m saying that if you’re right, then Fairphone’s website is full of lies.

There are huge forces at play here, but we hope to influence them by increasing awareness and availability of open-source software (like /e/OS, LineageOS).

That’s on that same landing page

Could they do more, sure. Am I annoyed by how many of the development Fairphone does isn’t really open (the camera app for example), yes. Would I want flashable full system images and a working firehose file, of course.
There will always be tradeoffs, I chose my FP4 for the repairability and fair(er) materials. From a software perspective even my Nexus 4 has been more open and yes, that was built by Google…

But as we all keep repeating here, there are /e/ and iode to choose from, why not buy one of those and be happy? :thinking:


I’m really puzzled by your persistent use of this term “sign up”. Even if it has been discussed above, I’d like to point out (again) that this is not so much “signing up” as it is “if you use this device with the software provided, you’ll have to agree to the following TOS”. It is not tied to any individual user account - which is a separate sign-up(!) process.
I’m far from wanting to protect Google, there is not much I can say I like about that company.

But what you seem to want to do here is argue about the fundamental principle instead of going with the pragmatic solutions that will do you no harm that I can see. You are of course free to bring up your suggestion with Fairphone, but a community forum cannot help you with that. :person_shrugging:


There is only on button during setup: “I agree to Google’s terms”. It is not posssible to replace the OS without this.

I’ve already purchased one from Fairphone. Maybe it was just naive in my part to believe their marketing material. The fact is that it’s kinda late to go back.

I’m also not a fan of going through these third parties – I’ve answered this above. There’s also no guarantee that they won’t pull of the same trick and I’ll be on the same situation, but having bought from a third party.

I’ve answered this before: I said “sign up” but meant “enter into a contractual agreement”. It’s just shorter to type. Sorry if using the wrong wording bothers you so much.

The pragmatic solution being to accept Google’s terms, their spyware, send them my IMEI and other highly identifiable information and accept whatever other conditions might be included there?

If we were all pragmatic to an extreme and discarded any principles we might also get rid of things like GDPR and other ““hard to implement”” rules too, right?

I’ve tried, but I’m getting no reply. Hopefully this’ll at least serve as a warning to other out there who are gullible like me and thought that Fairphone would deliver what its website promises.

No, this is the pragmatic solution right here:


Oh, using alternative software requires:

  • Entering into agreement with Google.
  • Get a couple of numbers that are ONLY reachable if you’ve accepted the terms.
  • Send those numbers to Fairphone.
  • Put the unlock code into another UI only reachable after accepting the terms.

It seems they’ve taken pretty solid steps to force all users to accept Google’s TOS and make sure there’s no workaround.

Even if the phone never goes online, one is forced to send proof that one has accepted the terms before being able to unlock the phone.

Let me ask something else: What exactly do you actually want from this forum now? Is there anything we can actually do to help you - apart from agreeing with you about how messed up this might be? (I do not think you got strong opposition in that regard…)

All arguments have been exchanged back and forth at this point. So shall we just call it a day and close this discussion (until someone maybe finds a way to do what you ask on your exact terms)?

PS: Apparently you really didn’t know what you got into when you bought this device. The best course of action for you is then to simply make use of the free return if that still applies in your case and get something that fulfills your requirements.


Here in Germany, any terms and conditions must be presented before the purchase to have any validity. Any EULA or TOS presented after purchase for the first time does not become valid at all even if the user clicks “I agree”.

Another hindrance for enforcement would be that it cannot be tracked down if the user actually saw the terms and conditons at all. It is not so uncommon that a software is installed or a device is set up by a third party.

Not using an Internet connection on the phone won’t work as the unlock process requires one.

If you are still uncomfortable, feel free to return the device. I don’t think that a “Disagree” option will come unless someone (e. g. Max Schrems) successfully sues Google to do so. You have the choice to purchase a FP4 with a pre-installed alternate OS.


Does this not only refer to the TOS of the shop where you buy? E.g. an electronic shop selling a Samsung TV has no influence on the TOS of Samsung that might be presented during initial setup, so how would this be presented before purchase? I know its a bit different and tricky with Fairphone and their phones sold through FP shop, as they produce the phones and have to integrate the Google TOS, but still how would this be presented before purchase? And what if you buy through a reseller? So in this case would it be before use instead of before purchase?

But yes, to write valid AGBs/TOS is really difficult as its indeed not a contractual agreement between 2 parties, as 1 party has no influence on it and even if you sign a contract referring to TOS when they are not properly written, you will have good chances in court.

Per law you must have a data protection policy in place when you use personal data for your business, this must be a standalone document and must be accesible from each single page of your website or must be handed out to the customer, prior to collecting personal data. However, I’m not aware you must have a TOS, this is normally more to protect yourself as a business company and to avoit to have to negotiate a single contract with each single customer.

I’m not a laywer, but in my eyes the OP is mixing up terms. You can disagree/Opt-out to the use of some specific cookies and tracker, however disagreeing to TOS or a companies data protcetion policy in general, means you will not be able to use the product at all. So even if FP would/could add the disagree button, this would not help, because it would mean the setup process would just be disabled as I doubt that you can set-up the phone to automatically deinstall GApps when disagreeing to Googles TOS. So with the disagree button the state of the phone would be the same as it is now, useless.

A hopefully positive off topic note: just recently Austria and France forbit Google Analytics Tracker and it seems a new privacy shield is almost written, what is hopefully good news in terms of use of EU personal data transferred to and used in US (at least its something everyone has to adhere to and I as a consumer can better understand what US is allowed to do with my data).

Overall I’m really interested in FP response so would appreciate if you could share @WhyNotHugo

What I actually find a bit odd: on the FP2 when I skip Wifi/mobile data set-up and then click on the TOS link with the intention to read it, a pop-up tells me I have no connection to internet and tells me to use another device and provides the website address. However, when I connect WiFi first and then click on the TOS link, the setup wizard just brings me back to the “data copy from previous device” window, so neither to the TOS or the data protection policy itself nor a hint where I can find it, so I cannot read before agreeing and that is not in line with EU law in my eyes.

Edit some statement from the Netherlands reg Google Analytics


you can install /e/OS - e Foundation - deGoogled unGoogled smartphone operating systems and online services - your data is your data and there is no google included

Looks like they did think of that. The flow is designed so that it can be proved: in order to get the unlock code, one has to provide a few details which can only be obtained after accepting the ToS.

Interesting point: Fairphone doesn’t actually include the ToS and privacy policy to which one must agree: they just provide a link to find it online.

It’s an unusual scenario though, because I’m a client with one company, but the agreement into which I must enter is a third party.

I don’t want to use Google’s product at all. But I still need to agree even if my intent is to remove it (note: Fairphone advertises the fact that users can remove it, so this isn’t just me making whimsical demands).

I got no sort of reply from Fairphone after reaching out through the official support channels a three of times. I’m not 100% sure if the data protection authorities would respond about something like this or consider it in their scope but I’ll try reaching out explaining the situation. If I get a negative response, I don’t think I have the patience for this, so it’s most likely just gonna sit in a shelf for months and end up in the [electronics] trash bin :recycle: . It seems nobody else cares at all about being shipped this kind of crap anyway.

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I for one and lots of others may be going through your trash bin one day, give us a heads up :slight_smile:


Sorry, but then you bought the wrong product. It is no secret that “Android” means “Google” by default. I don’t want to defend them or say that I like that, but it’s reality.
Also: You can still remove it. The only thing preventing you seems to be that one click that nobody else cares about and that I don’t see having enforceable consequences for you (or anyone) - especially not after you removed their software from your device.

Do you actually think that? Why don’t you send it back or sell it if you don’t like it? I also think that a lot of people here disagree with your assessment that seems solely based on your fundamental attitude towards that TOS button.


I’m not sure that you can blame FP here, as its Googles TOS and I doubt FP has much influence on how to preent this, (but I have no experience with other Android Smartphones). And I dont know if the same would apply in such a case as it applies on a homepage

yes sure you must, because by setting up your phone you use it. There is no way to deinstall Google when you disagree, and this must happen when you disagree, else you can disagree and still use it, what I would also refuse as a company.

I doubt that support is the correct contact here, as you are having data protection doubts, I would contact the data protection officer named in the data protection policy.

Overall, if you dont want to agree to Google TOS you must buy a phone without official Android installed.

And I need to say, without being a lawyer specialist in data protection laws you or I will never ever understand the whole picture in detail. After GDPR was out, I have seen people shouting at their physicians as they thought with the new law they had the right to tell the physisicn to just destroy the whole patient file. However, there so many other laws in addition and partially overruling GDPR that such is just impossible, so overall there is a big misunderstanding out there around GDPR and my rights.


I am mostly just here being sad there is so much yelling at Fairphone while Fairphone seems to be the only manufacturer to care enough to give alternative options in the first place. I am pretty sure that Fairphone doesn’t deserve this flack, they’re doing more than any other manufacturer. I can’t name a single other manufacturer that works together with people to deliver a Google-free OS for their devices. You should be angry at Google, cut Fairphone some slack.

Just return it and buy from /e/ if you hate having to press this button so much. Or buy a Pinephone. You’re honestly stirring up drama for nothing and I am not quick to say that.


I think I’ll stick around and have another beer and popcorn :wink:


There is. Fairphone advertises this feature. Here’s the guide (note: non of thisis possible without accepting to enter into agreement with Google): Bootloader Unlocking Code for Fairphone - Fairphone

The physician case seems a bit extreme and silly. Wanting to leaving privacy-invasive advertising companies out of my phone sounds a lot more reasonable, IMHO.

I don’t see this as an alternative really: I’m fairly certain I’d have the EXACT same experience if I went to OnePlus. The big difference is that FairPhone pretends to be an alternative, but the produce I received is the exact opposite of how they present themselves.

@formerFP.Com.Manager: I think we could use some official input here.

Apparently a user has to initially accept Google TOS before being able to take steps to remove the Google certified Fairphone OS.

Is this a procedure which could theoretically be changed by Fairphone?
Or would Fairphone be unable to do anything about this because the procedure is in place like this due to the Google certification or other binding factors?