FP3 : Fairphone Open OS?

I have often wondered about this remark. I run FPOOS, but I also run a few (really, few a few) official apps whose services cost money. I downloaded them with the Google account on my old phone (or, since Google doesn’t offer them considering my old phone too old, I ask somebody with a new phone to download on my behalf), extracted the APK, copied to my FP2 and installed there. Voila, I can buy train tickets with the German DB Navigator. Sometimes, I get a nervous pop-up saying “Hey, there’s no Google on this phone”, but these pop-ups have an “Ok” button, and the process continues.

As I said, I use only few such apps, but can somebody explain which apps or which features I would potentially loose by unGoogling in this way?

Danke & Grüße von


Would be nice if you can publish the list - for others (not so tech-savy like me) to avoid these apps; or at least be warned.

Danke & Grüße von

Yes. No worries. :v:

@JeroenH, @madbilly Thanks for the detailed explanations, very much appreciated :+1:

Unfortunately, I still have a lot of :question: in my mind :wink:

  1. “Sideloading” - is that downloading and installing manually? Like what a Windows user does, who, for example, downloads and installs Irfanview? As opposed to a Linux distribution where (almost) everything comes from the repository? If so - why not doable? Sure, I prefer repos too, but downloading, installing and updating a few apps from time to time should be doable?

Anyhow - F-Droid seems to be an solution for that problem, if I understand correctly?

  1. microG - from what @JeroenH says I got the impression that microG still access Google services, @madbilly writes about versions which don’t communicate at all with Google. This leaves me with the question: does MicroG only replace local components on the smartphone, or does it also provide its own servers? (If the latter - how do they finance that?)

  2. The really bad news is what @madbilly writes about /e/ - “much less communication with Google”. So even if I use a “Google-free” system like FP Open OS, and even if I omit MicroG, there is still communication with Google?

Together with what @lklaus says, this probably means that I should stay with my refusal of smartphones … :thinking:

Waiting for Librem 5 is an option, but there I miss the approach to fair and sustainable hardware; and if I still have no access to (Android) apps, why would I need a smartphone?

Depends on your needs. If you got away without it up to now, this might work longer, sure. But as I can see you’re using the internet anyway… If you’re not throwing away cookies at the end of every session, use a hardened browser ("canvas identification ") and use tor, your moves are tracked anyway. You can only minimize exposure (disable every Google " feature "), use ad blockers, firewalls, (netguard comes to my mind, no root required) and on the desktop noscript, EFF tools and canvas blocker. You’ll be surprised how much faster it can go, and more so how much breaks, as tracking often is built in in the functionality (web sites or app modules the like)


About a few remaining Google traces in open OSes, see here: Living without Google 2.0 - A Google free FP2

It’s about the wifi connectivity check and DNS.


Hi @mgfp,

  1. Yes that’s side loading. Unfortunately Android APKs don’t normally check for their own updates, they expect an app store to do it.
  2. Yes @jeroenh is right there is still some communication with Google, but you can’t be tracked as easily, if I understand it correctly. MicroG does not provide it’s own servers. More details here: https://microg.org/
  3. If you really want no Google at all and still use Android then I think the “best” option is a Kindle fire tablet… But then you’re being tracked by Amazon instead! Or an Android smartphone from China (not just made in China, but bought in China) as they don’t have Google tracking in them as far as I know… But then you’re being tracked by China! Therefore maybe lineageOS is a better option, but I actually think they are much closer aligned to Google than they tell us.

The Librem 5 will have plenty of apps and services, but it won’t run Android ones. It’s possible someone could port PureOS for the Librem 5 to the FP3. But I think a better bet would be Ubuntu Touch or Sailfish OS for a non Android OS. UT definitely doesn’t have Google tracking but is community run, so no guarantees about stability. Sailfish OS should be much more stable but support needs an agreement between it’s maker Jolla and Fairphone. The latter can also run Android apps if you want.

Cheers :slight_smile:


I’ll have to read all the posts carefully later on. Right now I got to add the following that a comparison of the pros and cons of FP3 and Librem 5 is an interesting one to make. Both have a different primary goal, however both also have to make different sacrifices. For the record (and FWIW), I :heart: both projects, and I believe many here on this forum :heart: both projects.


  • Fair for nature via sustainability (recycle program, modularity).
  • Fair for mankind via fair wages and work circumstances for workers.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 is a good mid-range processor however its firmware isn’t FOSS.
  • Comes standard with Android. Good for backwards compatibility; bad for privacy due to Google.
  • Android is partly FOSS, but the firmware isn’t.
  • The benefits come with a price tag (450 EUR without charger).

Librem 5

  • Fair for mankind via FOSS (including in the firmware).
  • i.MX processor series is relatively slow though compared to Qualcomm.
  • Fair for mankind via hardware kill switches.
  • Does not come with Android. Therefore good for privacy; however no Android emulation lacks backwards compatiblity.
  • The benefits come with a price tag (700 USD with charger).

If your primary interest is avoiding FAANG (not sure why we aren’t adding M[icrosoft] here, too) yet you’re fine with some proprietary software, then SailfishOS could be a contender. If you are currently not using a smartphone, it is likely that Android emulation is less important for you. Only official versions of SailfishOS have Android emulation; unofficial (such as the FP2 port) don’t.

Another option could be Ubuntu Touch (which isn’t an official Ubuntu project anymore). AFAIK they also suffer from the issue of lack of Android emulation. Perhaps Anbox can be installed on these?


Oh, it might be feasible for you.

Let me rephrase: it isn’t user-friendly enough having to side-load such. I’ve lived the mess of Symbian and S60 without repositories. It might be acceptable for some technical users but for the vast majority of people it isn’t user-friendly enough, isn’t worth the hassle of manual tracking, and it is waste of their time.

(FWIW, I hate it on Windows, too. I find it actually a joke! Microsoft Store was years too little too late. I’ve been using Chocolatey for ages. On *nix, I use topgrade. I’m one of the few who’s allowed to BYOD at work, and I maintain my MBP and VMs with that software.)

MicroG is a FOSS implementation of Google services. You can enable some of these, or not. You can use the Play Store with MicroG, but you do not have to. You can use GCM with MicroG, but you don’t have to. You can use an anonymous account, but then you can’t access the stuff you bought from Play Store. It also allows you to use different databases for GPS which can actually yield to better results. Who pays for the servers? Well, Google? :wink:


Coming back to the topic of tracers…
You might check apps with ClassyShakr3xodus (https://f-droid.org/de/packages/com.oF2pks.classyshark3xodus) which is a bit cryptic IMHO, or AppBrain AdDetector (Play Store, from a group that promote further apps by them, but this App has good ratings on android magazines). This helped my isolate a few apps using the FB Plugin, which resulted in a few mails to Privacy officers from companies, which were quite surprised by this …
Also, I’m using Adaway, with the following personal additions (blocked)

For the more adventurous there’s https://mitmproxy.org/, some background https://medium.com/testvagrant/intercept-ios-android-network-calls-using-mitmproxy-4d3c94831f62 (english) and https://www.kuketz-blog.de/mitmproxy-app-verkehr-mitschneiden/ (german). Best you do a search on your favorite search engine for “mitmproxy android” or variations.


Thanks again @All for the answers and additional information!

Avoiding FAANG is a strong motivation, but of course there are contrary interests. One of my intentions in having a smartphone is my job as an IT administrator. I am managing server services that include smartphone apps. In general accessing services from mobile devices is most important nowadays - and me, the admin of the services, I have no idea what this “feels” like. Therefore, even if for my personal needs I don’t need the apps, a system without Android apps makes no sense. (Most probably I could get a company smartphone if I told my boss that I need one, but then “fair” and “Google-free” would be beyond my decision; and there are more reasons for not having a company phone.)

When FP2 was released I had the hope, that there will be an official release of SailfishOS. If there was SailfishOS with Android support for FP3 I would be happy to pay for it. (Google-free, in my opinion, does not need to be free of cost - if I am not willing to pay with my data, I am willing to pay money instead)

Well, the topic is complicated. I guess, the best way for me to gain better understanding is to make my own experiences. Most probably I will order a FP3 - but not before FP Open OS, LineageOS or something comparable is available.


It’s quite more complex ben. Many have been rising the issue that the business models of GAFAs and the way users accepted to engage in totally submissive relationships have massive negative effects on many social and economic dimensions, on a scale never seen before. Evidence has been accumulating very fast, I’ll just cite a few press articles, academic studies have also been popping out everywhere around the globe:

Book by Thomas Phillipon, Stern Business School:


Clearly change will have to be imposed by those who are aware of this calamitous situation, societies and economies can’t be left at the merci of the few ultra-powerful, ultra-influential and ultra-rich operating under an extremist ideological agenda.

The European Union is the only one that can create a new socially beneficial ecosystem for the Internet. It should start by treating the Internet again as the public infrastructure it is, by obliging all governments and businesses operating in the region to offer at least one European framework alternative, preferably open sourced and under European control. In particular, we need a non-corporation app depository and a non-corporation instant messaging framework. It’s really a question of European security and privacy, it’s absurd how we now utterly depend on G##gle, A##le or Faceb##k for banking, traffic info, government services, or public alerts.

This can’t go on, change will happen, if not in an organized and rational way, haphazardly during a terrible military, political or economic crisis.


I’ve meant to post something like this for a very long time again and again but then didn’t find it worth the effort to pick up that fight. But now that you wrote it: amen to all!

If I remember correctly it started with terms like “windoze” or “nutscrape” (Netscape Navigator for those not old enough to remember) or “internet exploder”. I’m really sick of those derogative terms. Yet, still after over 20 years people don’t find anything better to do than keep on screaming “don’t take me serious!”. It’s NOT helping free software or projects focussing on privacy. It’s creating a toxic environment.


Yes, paying for a product (including software) is fine although we should take into account not everyone can afford. Different people in the world have different amounts of money to save and spend.

Mer is FOSS, but SailfishOS is not (only partly). I’d happily pay 50 EUR for a SailfishOS license provided I like the OS (haven’t tried Maemo since 5.x). I’d rather have a (partly) proprietary OS than one which does tracking. And besides that, I believe a gesture-based OS [although it has a learning curve] is the right way forward. However, having experienced the dark '90s with Microsoft I also want to avoid vendor lock-in, and I want backwards compatibility (which we pay for via the license).

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Anbox on UT is very alpha and very limited (no hardware access at all for now, i.e. no camera, microphone, etc.; >50% of app don’t start or crash immediately).

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  • and, if they really must, offer the ‘old’ and ethically totally wrong option as a secondary choice for customers who are just too stubborn (or worse :roll_eyes:).

Or maybe you are stubborn. Can we please stop insulting people or suggesting they are stupid just because they make different choices in their life? Thank you!

On the one hand, you are right, calling somebody stupid does not enhance the discussion. But on the other hand its not that clear as you possibly think that you are on the morally correct side.

First he said “stubborn” not “stupid”. While not exactly an expression of high esteem “stubborn” is not an insult either. Its an somewhat emotional statement, that someone sticks to a behavior or opinion that I can’t understand. In addition to that he did not call anybody personally stubborn.

If, in somebodies opinion, there are serious negative and dangerous changes in the society as a whole, then this of course includes the opinion that many people are not doing the right things. And the more these severe adverse effects are visible, the more the people that still don’t change their behavior must seem “stubborn”… or “stupid”.

Yes, its still an opinion. And of course you can reject that opinion. But it’s everybodies right to take that view - even if this includes thinking of other people as stubborn or even stupid.

The same is true for “Goolag”. I really don’t like such malapropisms! And I don’t think @gcrl did help his concerns by using this. Only people who already share the same opinion will understand this in the right way. People who don’t share the opinion will not be convinced by such a word; it does not explain anything. But on the other hand using such a word might not be a joke, nor unthoughtfulness. It might be a genuine expression of the sincere and serious urgency of ones concerns. Gulag represents the worst outcome of communism. There are good reasons to warn against the outcome of what happens today.

PS: Something went wrong - this shouldn’t be a reply to @lklaus but to @ben, sorry.

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I agree to most you say.
Especially, that this kind of argument does not help one’s point, as it ultimately puts the “counterpart” usually in “defense-mode”, closing down the doors for exchanging arguments.

And the postings of gcrl really are a special kind; take this for example:

I don’t know about you, but I really can understand, that ben felt insulted and that he took it personally, as it sounds rather sarcastic than serious.

I’m not sure where to post this. I tried to contact the support team via email, but the captcha thingy won’t let me submit the form. I came here after watching VPRO documentaries about Doughnut Economic and your own documentaries on that YT channel as well. I’m concerned about the progress of Fairphone 3 Open Source version. I want to buy the FP3, but I don’t trust Google, I’ve seen there is LOS build for FP2, is it possible for you to release the source code for the FP3 so that there will be LOS build for the FP3 too? I understand that you’re currently looking at the possibility, but do you have an ETA for this? I always love to support open source projects, however these Android OSes are cancer that always made me think twice. If you have open phone, easily self-repairable & sustainable business chain, I think you are the best in the market today and I believe you’ll be always grow because no one is doing this kind of business, maybe you can compete with Librem 5 by Purism but I don’t know about their business model/chain.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Will there be an FP4?