How to root the Fairphone 3?

Great news and thanks to everybody involved - from dev to test and docu! :+1::slightly_smiling_face:

Questions though: How can we install upcoming system updates? And will rooting the phone prevent the automatic OTA updates?

If OTA did not work anymore on a rooted system, I’d guess one has to install the full system images (that Fairphone has not started to provide yet, have they?). Or otherwise make a backup the system partition before the initial rooting, restore it lateron, run the OTA update, create a backup of the updated system for future use and then root it again.

Or is there an easier way? :innocent:


It seems there is no clear instructions for Android noobs that explain how to root a phone without deleting data.

I use Linux daily but still don’t mess around with my android phones, mostly due to the lack of a resource like the arch wiki.

If someone knows of one I’d love to hear.

You will still see system updates, however they will fail to install due to modified boot and potentially system partitions (if you decided to modify system using root access).

In order to update, you have to restore all modified partitions to their unmodified state. I usually do this by flashing the boot and system partitions I backed up before. Then you can simply boot up your phone, install the update as usual and then use/install TWRP and Magisk(=root) again.

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You can root the phone without loosing data. However you must have unlocked the phone before doing so. Unlocking is always triggering a data wipe to prevent attackers from accessing your data. E.g. if someone stole your phone, then rooting could potentially give the thief access to all your data. Long story short: as long as you unlocked your phone before using it, there is no need to wipe your phone. If you did not unlock it before, there is no way around it other than to root using an actual exploit in the running OS.


Thanks for the comment, but it assumes a lot of knowledge I don’t have about android. Still, thanks :+1:

Hmmm. I only know the mechanisms about rooted FP2.
Yet, FP3 seems to have a different partitions-setup (A/B system partitions for a different update process) - still have to take a closer look at this :wink:

In the thread about TWRP, I understand two different messages about the process of OTA updates:

  • OTA updates would install on rooted phones as well (with phone being unrooted afterwards):
  • k4y0z on the other hand says that the update would be refused:

k4y0z’ post matches with your approach:

  • restore original partitions
  • get the OTA update
  • then re-install root again

(post edited to include posts from TWRP-thread)

As I understand k4y0z both is possible if checksums don’t match: full update or no update (but no differential updates).

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Afterall and as always: it’s probably a good idea to make a backup of the phone and its partitions before modifying anything :wink:


I don’t want to sound pedantic but unlocking/rooting is not meant for “Android noobs” (how you described yourself). A lot can go wrong with such great power.

You may regard the difficulty to open up software/hardware as beneficial as the higher barrier means less collateral damage.

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The instructions are clear, apart from them not clearly mentioning the smartphone needs to be unlocked and that doing so clears all data. Some have unlocked their FP3 right away, some not.

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Yes, I had unlocked my Fairphone 3 from the factory so I forgot to include this step.
Its basically as simple as booting into fastboot and running:
‘fastboot oem unlock’



Well I do not want to start a discussion based on opinions only.
So to the facts:
“how to root android” on google ==> loads of competing instructions
“how to install arch linux” on google ==> super clear step-by-step instructions on

So all I was asking was wether there was an equivalent high quality tutorial for rooting an android phone.

So if you think instructions are clear, I’m happy for you, but perhaps next time just share a direct link to those instructions you mention.

Arch Linux (A Linux distribution) wiki is not at all clear for me as non-Arch Linux user, and it forces to do a lot of redundant things which could be automated.

The instructions as mentioned were crystal clear, except for the addendum regarding unlocked bootloader. If you feel it can be written better, feel free to improve it. The forum here allows for such (even allows wiki posts). Keep in mind that the findings on how to root have been recent. On any wiki, a new entry is often an incomplete stub as well.

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Please keep in mind that different Android phones run different flavours of Android, sometimes highly costumized by the vendors. Rooting procedures can and will be different between phones, as will be risks and consequences going along with it. (Even between Fairphone 2 and Fairphone 3 there are differences.)

You may think of it as different Linux distributions: Debian, Fedora, Slackware, Gentoo, Arch Linux all have their own way of managing details, configurations, etc. There’s lots of distribution-specific documentation.
If you wanna master one of those distributions on a system administrator’s level (which is what root is all about), you need to dive into the specific flavour accordingly.


This comparison in my opinion makes no sense - for two reasons.

  1. The first question is very general, the second with highly limited scope . “how to install linux” would be closer and would result in “loads of competing instructions” too. But still there is a difference because there are not only many flavors of android (like Linux distros) but also much more relevant differences on the side of the devices (fewer open standards like BIOS).

  2. Google delivers highly personalized results - so the fact, that you are getting these results does not mean anything. Maybe Google knows what kind of information you prefer about arch linux, but does not know this yet concerning Android. Its a sort of oxymoron to offer personalized search results as “facts” and as a counterexample for a “discussion based on opinions”.


Thank you so much!!!

Perfectly working so far.

We may be turn your message into a guide? It might be too soon, as it is still a bit experimental…

Hi everybody,

i’ve got a problem. In your line 4, it says me “failed: unlock device to use this command”
i’ve tried “fastboot oem unlock” but it says “oem unlock is not allowed”.

Could you help me ?

thanks :slight_smile:

As far as I know it must be enabled in the developer settings first.

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Just in case enabling it at developer settings isn’t the reason.
Have you seen this thread:

There is a FP-page with a tool to create the verification code. And on this page (in the source code, there is an error-message: "data-error-disabled=“Unlocking the bootloader is disabled for this device. Sorry about that.” So maybe your phone is one of the devices, where unlocking is disabled? Is it a company phone?

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@sm01man thanks for the guide! @k4y0z thanks for the root!

Can we flash this TWRP image onto recovery? Or will it work only with fastboot boot? Thanks!