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✏ FP2 Update Problems - troubleshooting

:information_source: This is a troubleshooting guide for updating the FP2. For the FP1(U) check this guide.


Even though the updates are tested before they’re released, sometimes they don’t install smoothly on some of the phones. If you’re unlucky enough to experience issues, then there’s quite some information on how to get going again; both official information on the Fairphone Support pages and unofficial tips and tricks by other users on the forum. This wiki aims to provide an overview. If anything is missing, please contribute by clicking the green pencil just above this wiki post on the right.

1. Before updating

  • Charge: Charge the battery to 80%+
  • Backup: As long as you don’t switch to a different OS branch (e.g. FP OS to FP Open OS) updating or even downgrading via the updater app shouldn’t erase your user- & app-data. Anyway it’s always recommended to perform a thorough backup first, just in case.
  • Update the updater: Check for updates (and install them if there are) of the updater app on the Play store. If you want to avoid using the play store, alternative methods exist (such as using the Yalp store to download the file instead).
  • Enable the Google App: If you are upgrading to Android 6 or update from an older version than 17.06.4 (where this bug was fixed), make sure that the Google App is not disabled in settings > apps, or risk get stuck in a situation where the phone fails to start properly. If you want to disable the app again, you will need to set Settings / Apps / :gear: / Default Apps / Assist & voice input / Assist app to ‘None’ before disabling the app again. Even if it already says None, open the menu and explicitly select it! More info here.
  • Is now the time?: Consider whether now is the right moment to update - whilst it is advisable to install updates as soon as possible if they contain security updates, waiting a couple of days until after that hiking trip you’re currently on is probably a good idea - just in case something does go wrong and that was the only communications device you had with you.
  • Keeping it alive: On the forum, it’s often mentioned that keeping the phone awake during the update seems to help in some cases where the updater becomes unresponsive (e.g. the update getting stuck on “Just a moment”, or “Rebooting”) If you’re lazy, there’s even a hidden setting to keep the phone awake: Go to developer options (you’ll have them as soon as you tapped the ‘build number’ 10 times - in settings > about phone) and tick “stay awake”. Then plug in your phone while updating. Remember to untick “stay awake” after the update (unless you like this behavior, of course).

2. Updating

For unmodified phones an official guide is available, which links to interactive tutorials and covers problems such as:

  • The update not showing up in the updater app
  • The update getting stuck on the reboot button
  • The screen staying black
  • The phone continuously rebooting

If you’ve installed a custom recovery (like TWRP), perhaps because you rooted the phone or installed GravityBox, the update procedure is different as the updater will not work properly. A convenient guide to get the update installed, the phone rooted again, and all services working again is provided :gb: here (or :de: here). There are also #updateguide’s for Open OS with modifications.

3. Problems that may occur

There are some common errors that occur on the first reboot. You can safely ignore the error below as it also occurs on successful updates, but look out for any errors that are reported above it:

E:Can't open /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/misc

The error above should be fixed in versions 1.5.1 and above.
Check whether just above it there’s this:

E:footer is wrong

and/or this:

E:signature verification failed
Installation aborted.

In this case the phone is complaining that it cannot verify that the update is genuine and intact. Sometimes something goes wrong during the download. Try downloading the update again. To get the phone to restart, use the volume buttons to navigate towards “reboot system now” and then press the power button to choose that option. As the update wasn’t performed, your phone should boot normally into the old version. If you want to be sure that the updater retries the download, go to All Apps > Downloads, and remove the update file.
In case you got here by searching for the error message above and didn’t read the first bit: You’ll also get this error if you’ve modified your recovery. See the comments in section 2 of this wiki.

Up to version 1.6.2. the updates contained all previous fixes. In version 1.7.0 and later the updates only contain the fixes since the previous version (meaning they are incremental updates). These updates will fail if the boot image was changed in any way (e.g. by rooting the phone). The error message you’d get on a reboot looks a bit like this:

Installing update... Verifying current system... EMMC:/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/boot: [bunch of numbers]has unexpected contents. E: Error in /cache/fp_update_.zip (Status 7)

In this case, you will need to install the update manually.

In rare occasions, you may also get other errors relating to the cache, the cache partition or a file that has a name that starts with /cache. These errors can also appear in the updater app. In those cases it helps to clear the cache partition from recovery. Note that this storage space is different form app cache that can be cleared from the settings menu. Recovery mode can be accessed by holding the volume up button when starting the phone. Navigate using volume up/down and use the power button to select an option.

If you’re still stuck, Fairphone Support provides instructions of installing the update manually

4. Hardware

Note that the installation process of the update can be quite demanding for the phone’s hardware. There may be significant battery drain during the installation of the update, which is why the updater app refuses to start an update if the battery isn’t charged to >80%. The phone may also become quite warm (it is working hard!). There have been rare reports of hardware issues appearing to be related to installing the update - in some regards the update is a bit of a stress test that may bring some hardware issues to light. In some cases the contacts between the modules may be affected (perhaps because of expansion of the phone if it warms up), in which case reassembling the phone can help (community tips & tricks are here). In other cases you’ll need to contact support.

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