Impossible to use Fairphone to make a decent phone call

Almost every time when I’m calling, after a few seconds the call gets interrupted, the Fairphone starts behaving like a bunch of monkeys are tampering with the touchscreen and it ends with my Fairphone being put in airplane mode. This is happening since I have my phone (first batch) and throughout the different OS updates. This is very annoying and ruins the otherwise fine experience the Fairphone gives. But not being able to do a decent phone call is quite stupid for a smartphone. Please don’t ask me to do updates or factory resets. I’ve done all this, including losing lots of information (standard backup doesn’t backup everything, keep this in mind, but that’s another topic).

I take it that it happens under any circumstances?

Did you contact service about that? What did they say?

Since you said you have a 1st batch Fairphone, you probably have it for more that 10 months now. I would have sent it back after a week or such, if the problem was persistent, reproducible, and irrespective of other circumstances. Seriously, you seem to be quite capable to tolerate suffering!

This forum is where people can help each other. So I’m glad I could help enlighten the sad and boring life of humorkritik (definitely lacking both humor and kritik), by giving him the possibility to “answer” me with a complete irrelevant post.

Please, humorkritik is honestly trying to help out here.
Obviously, since you didn’t get any other answer for two days, there’s no well known cookie-cutter solution for your problem. Easy to fix problems usually get a response with a fix within a couple of hours. It’s not strange to refer to Fairphone tech support if a problem is not easily fixable with the knowledge present in the Fairphone community.

Besides, it is a valid question. Did you already contact support about this problem? They have a lot more knowledge about technical issues with the phone and may be able to help you out in a better way than this community can.

As for this community, I find it consists of a group of very helpful and friendly people. No one here harbors any ill will, so lets keep it that way.


backup all your data and send in your phone for repair / replacement - seems to be the best way to solve this, considering you have already tried factory reset.

Erik, sorry if I gave you the impression I was taking your problem lightly. No offence meant.

Let me rephrase the first question: can you reproduce the behaviour? For example, can you provoke dropping the call and strange touchscreen action, e.g. by calling yourself from another phone?

If not, we could try to narrow down the cause.
But if it’s reproducible, I would advise you to contact support. (If you did so, as asked above: what did they say, besides “factory reset”? )

My excuses to everybody I may have upset by replying a bit harsh/sarcastic.
Support said to ask the question here.
The problem is probably related to the Near Field Sensor behaving erratically.
For the moment I used the hint to install a screen lock app when making calls.
Seems to work for now.
Just to end with a lighter note: some people narrowed this problem down to one’s haircut.
Thanks all for replying.

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Erik, no harm done. You just need to be patient with us. :blush:

Ooookay… I’m not sure if we should find that flattering or, erm… refusal to work. ;).

Ah, glad that’s working for the moment. So, I take it that you can reproduce the error without the screen lock?

If your NF proximity sensor is behaving THAT eratically, and it’s since the beginning, you should ask Fairphone to replace it on warranty. Be sure to make a full backup to an SD card first, using a 3rd party app. (I usually recommend TitaniumBackup for that.) The pre-installed backup app will not back up everything you might want to restore.

BTW, it’s interesting that the sensor should cause that behaviour. I would have thought it’s only function would be to de-activate the touchscreen, and not to operate any functions - like setting the phone into airplane mode, and definetly not to abort a call! Is there probably somone with an electronics engineering background around who could comment on that? If not: @Chris_R, you are sometimes highlighting questions for the tech team, aren’t you? Would you consider passing this question on, so we could get a statement from the technicians? Or is this not a good idea to to so?

Just one wild and quite strange idea which Erik actually caused by saying:

Could this be a “beard issue”? This would be totally mindboggling. o_O

The NFS cannot play around with the phone, as you said it can only activate or deactivate the touchscreen.

I suggest that the issue is caused by unconscious touching of the screen, by hair or beard, or cheeks. What if you keep the FP two cdntimetres away from your face?

I am having similar problems, but intermittent. I posted it in another thread, let me try to find it…
PS no beard here, but my ear and cheek seem to be doing it.

This thread: Near field (proximity) sensor reacts slowly/hangs up calls

Since I am the one who brought up the hair thing, I would like to clarify what I meant.

The “fuzziness” that certain types of hair have might, when the ear is covered, make it difficult for the proximity sensor to be as responsive as a bare ear.
If this is true, which may be where Fairphone’s proximity sensor is weak in respect to other sensors (not that I have tested any other though), then it is possible that the screen keeps going on and off during a call and while in the “on” state, pressure against the cheek or ear or whatever is what hangs up or does other funny stuff on the phone.

I doubt that a beard may mess with the sensor, although '70s style sideburns might. :smiley:

In my tests I noticed that when I take my hair out of the equation, the sensor responds as it should, 100% of the times.
But of course that is my phone with my hair/ear, other phones with different hair or ears may behave differently and the “hair thing” may even just be something that happens to me and to me alone.


Small nitpick: it’s a proximity sensor. “Near Field” suggests it’s related to NFC (near field communication), which is something the FairPhone does not do.

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Thanks, I corrected my post. :wink:

I would suggest on this one it might be worth going directly to support if the phone is doing other things on its own :smiley:

To add my 2 cts: Having read this topic, I’ve been playing around a bit, testing the proximity sensor.
My findings: When holding the top of FP more or less tightly against my ear, all goes well; no interrupted phone-calls, even if another part of the screen touches my face or vice versa.
BUT… As soon as I let the top of my FP wander away from my ear for more then approx. two cm’s, touching any part of the screen will -sometimes- terminate the call… Narrowing this down, I would say that either Erik’s proximity sensor is the culprit, or he is not holding the top of his phone close enough to his ear… (FYI: I proudly do wear a beard and my (equally grey) hair is slightly over my ears… :smile: )

Just a quick sidenote: someone suggested in this thread that covering the proximity sensor with a screen protector might be causing trouble like the stuff describe by various contributors here.


Actually, it was the other way around: I was enquiring whether getting a screenprotector without proximity sensor cutout would be an issue. So far, I don’t have any strange behaviour yet.

My previous phone’s foil had one, as do some of the ones offered for the Fairphone (eg. this one ). I settled on taking the Vikuiti DCT130 ones, and if I start having problems after applying it, I’ll let it know. I might sacrifice one and try poking a hole through it where the sensor is.

As for other diagnostics, there’s an app letting you read out any available sensor called Sensor Readout. in my phone it seems a pretty binary thing, switching from 0 to 1 when I come closer than ± 1.5 cm.