If I stay on Android 11, what can I expect?

I didn’t find an opening to a new fresh entry, so I too reply in this list of update issues: as my wife had to take a new phone from her work (support etc.) I take over her 3year old Fp3 (I once owned a Fp1 so I am a crowd- and forum-member for years).
Yesterday I started preparations with a factory reset. Google offered an easy way to copy all my apps from old to Fp3, which went unexpectedly well. Inbetween I got several OS-updates until today the upgrade to A13 was offered. Upgrades often mean problems so I checked the Forum. Reading a lot of malfunctions my hesitations to upgrade are even stronger then before.
Does anyone know if the experiences shared here are incidents or represent a great number of users? I just want to assess my chances on problems like these, as I have neither the time nor the knowledge to do much about repairs. And can anybody explain how dangerous it would be to stay with the (working) A11? As upgrade OS is combined with safety updates in 1 pack I find it difficult to decide what would be the most comfortable road. Thanks in advance for advise!

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Good question. I like to know as well

Look at the solution in the post marked as solution in FAIRPHONE 3 and 3+ A13 - Fingerprint sensor update.

In the FAQ it includes, it is written there will be safety updates until Google delivers them for Android 11 but every two months and manually.


@Alain_Guillet thanks for your reply! I checked the other post but it seems to support NOT updating to A13 (sensor seem a serious problem and not the only). Apart from the Fp3-upgrade I was not happy with “on Android 13, it is now required to unlock the device using a PIN or password at least once a day”, as it doesn’t allow ‘mobile free days’ or even being seriously ill and not online for a longer period. IMHO Google can’t be serious about this demand.
And do I understand you right that Google delivers seperate safety updates for A11 but they have to be downloaded manually? Where can I find them? And will they be consistent with the Fp-OS-version?
Thanks for your attention!

Fairphone will provide some more Android 11 Fairphone OS updates based on security updates provided by Google to the Android base (no change in procedure there), to be installed manually (change in procedure here), but as far as we can assume Google will stop providing security updates for Android 11 early next year, and this is when Fairphone will stop providing updates for Android 11 Fairphone OS, too.

For more info, download links etc. …

I just stumbled about the “daily unlocking required” bit. This does not seem to be enforced.

On my FP3+, I use an automatism that changes the locl_screen_lock_after_timeout system setting depending on the current environment. When out and about, it sets locking to immediate, prolonged times apply for the car, w/in reach of certaiin WLANs, etc., and in my personal office, it goes to effectively “never”.

Had the phone in the office for more than 5 days in succession now, and did not have to unlock since.

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Why? What’s the problem about unlocking the phone by PIN once a day?


I think this is just a misunderstanding.

Before Android 13 the situation was like this: when the phone was completely off and then switched on or after a restart (e.g. after installing an update), you were not able to unlock the phone via fingerprint but had to enter your password or PIN first. After that, as long as you didn’t shut down or restart the phone, you could always unlock via fingerprint. Probably for days, weeks, months, years…

Now with Android 13 there is a small change: the first unlock after boot/restart is still via password and PIN. Then you can use your fingerprint to unlock. But once every day when you try to use your fingerprint to unlock, you get prompted for your password or PIN instead. After that it’s back to fingerprint again until the next day.

If you don’t have to unlock your phone daily, then just don’t unlock your phone. You’re not forced to unlock daily. But if you unlock your phone and the last time you presented your password or PIN was more than one day ago, you can’t start with the fingerprint reader right away.


I switched to Android 13 and had no problems. For one or two apps I had to delete the data on the phone. And there are some differences that took a day or two to get used to, like a pin code once a day.


While my installed apps still support Android 11, I’ll stick with it. I would like the security patches, but as manually unlocking the bootloader causes the device to be wiped, I don’t considder this an acceptable option. When the day comes A11 is not trusted by my security critical apps, I may as well try out a custom ROM instead.

Does anyone know why Fairphone won’t push the A11 updates OTA? Is it because it would cost them extra to set up another OTA channel? Perhaps there is another reason.

If you stay with A11 and manually update, another thing to considder is that the Beta testers are now testing A13 releases. I assume nobody except developers will be testing the A11 patches?

PIN unlock once a day on A13 :
When I turn on my A11 FP3 (as I do every day) it does require a PIN. Some phone services and apps won’t start until I enter it. For example, contacts. If someone calls before I enter the PIN (following startup), I won’t see the callers name. I would hope that these service and apps will continue to stay alive on A13 between the time you are required to re-enter your PIN and the time you actually enter it?

Does anyone know if the requirement to re-enter your PIN daily is over a rolling 24 hour period, or at a set time, or random?

Looking at the FP3+: Issues with Android 13 update thread, there are plenty of issues with A13. If I were going for A13, I’d wait a while.

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To be fair, there was no official answer yet that confirms whatever way Fairphone will provide for the manual A11 security patches needs an unlocked bootloader like the current manual install method does (which is geared towards fresh installs, not updates, and has to work with any previously installed system incl. custom ROMs).

I’ve been on the A13 beta right from the start and in my opinion: the answer doesn’t matter (to me) because I don’t see where it would change anything in the user’s behavior (I mean, what would you do differently if you knew that it happens for the first unlock attempt after lets say 14:00?). Having to enter the PIN once a day due to the new requirement probably happens less often than having to enter the PIN because of too many failed fingerprint attempts.


This seems clear to me what FP plan :

Cheapskates! To install a manual update from file, as far as I’m aware you need to unlock the bootloader. Sure you can leave it unlocked for the following update to prevent further data loss, but that leaves your personal data vulnerable. Should you lose your phone with your bootloader unlocked, your data is accessible. In reality if your phone is stolen, the theives would more likely do a wipe and sell it on but that vulnerability needs to be considdered if the owner holds confidential data. Probably a worse option for some people than not having the update to start with.

The question of the PIN interval was just out of interest on my part. Like you I enter my PIN multiple times a day on A11. Putting the phone into my pocket is sometimes enough to trigger 3 incorrect fingerprint inputs and a fingerprint lockout.

The other question I asked regarding whether apps are put to sleep if you haven’t entered your PIN within a day also doesn’t matter to me, but the answer matters to others here. Are we a community -or- are we selfish individuals who ignore issues that don’t effect us personally? If you fail to use your PIN within a day, the question remains as to whether your apps are put to sleep or not. For example : Will you get a Wotsap notification of a new message? I assume you will still receive a notification, but I’d like to know for sure.

Locked bootloader allows flashing files via recovery sideload, but they must have the same signature as the current system.

So yes, you can flash a stock OTA update via recovery manually even when locked.

Only if Fairphone changed signing keys would this mechanism not work, which is unlikely for a production/released device.


Why would anything else change while the phone is locked? To me it almost seems you want to generate problems where there simply are none.

Edit: I haven’t noticed anything like the effect you fear during the beta testing. I can’t remember anyone else mentioning this during beta test. I’m not aware that this has been reported by the people who already got the A13 update. And if that really was the case, I bet this would be all over the internet with the hundred of million phones worldwide that already are on A13.

Edit 2: Your example is after booting a phone that has been off (or a reboot for that matter). That’s just something else entirely than unlocking the phone while it is simply running as usual.


Thats not really true


Unfortunately, with the current OTA system we use, we cannot know if you have downgraded willingly to Android 11 and would like to remain on that branch or if you have not upgraded yet but still want to do it, at some point.
In order to provide OTA updates for Android 11 we would need to completely remove the possibility of upgrading to Android 13 to all the devices that run Android 11, making it impossible for them to jump on Android 13 later on (at least via OTA).

I hope the explanation is clear enough, the OTA mechanics are a bit “tricky” to describe sometimes.


Could you add this to the FAQ in the main article on the upgrade ?


That is great news. Thanks for sharing your expertise. :+1:

I asked a valid question out of interest, what’s wrong with that? Herm56 raised concerns on what happens during mobile free days which lead me to the question “will certain apps be put to sleep”. Does anyone know the answer? I’m still interested.

I writen a lot of code in various programming languages over 30+ years and still do in some of my spare time (not Android which I really don’t understand at all). As a result, my brain is hot wired to search for problems. Please don’t confuse searching for problems with wanting to generate them. In any case, a problem is either there or it is not. I have no power to generate them.

Thanks for replying.

How many Beta channels do you have at your disposal? You can currently differentiate between Beta users and general releases. So if you have spare channels, what’s to stop you signing people up who want to stay on A11 in the same way you do in order to deliver updates to Beta users? Can your OTA system really not handle this?

Regardless of what I said above, I will be more than happy to try and install updates manually so long as I don’t have to unlock the bootloader to do so.

Can you confirm if there will be any Beta testing for A11 updates? Will FP be taking the FP3 A11 updates in-house as they have with A13? When updates were contracted out and something broke, it would take 8 weeks for a fix. I’m hoping that should something break with a future A11 patch, the solution will be quicker with your own developers working on it? Perhaps a regression upgrade (previous version with higher increment than latest patch) could be made available? Is that even possible? :man_shrugging:


As Ingo already indicated the phone is not shut down just because its not unlocked for a day or more, so I dont get why the way of how you unlock should have any influence on any apps? using the PIN is just another method to unlock the phone, not more not less. however if you really want to have a broder explanation of the Google mechanism behind that, you might ask your search engine of trust as this is not Fairphone related.


hi all, thanks for your wisdom and experience in all the answers to my question. I report my experience here, because further down the answers are too specialised for me. And anything about A11 is not relevant anymore. Some days after my question I had a message about an update, with specifics of updates in parts of A11 that didn’t seem harmful to me (in another thread I saw a screenprint from someone else of this screen, but can’t find it anymore). So I updated. The next hour my phone was busy with a 1.3 Gb update… to A13. I was quite furious about this, without warning or message. So I hoped for the best. And now, after a month or so on A13, it showed to work quite flawless. And I’m not sure the occurring flaws are A13. Photo’s take a second or 3 to be taken and saved (no chance to picture a moving object like people or birds or bees), and battery seems to be draining faster than before. Can as well be caused by old phone/hardware, or old - 3 year - battery. So I ordered a new battery and hope this will solve anything. Thanks for all, keep you posted!