LED notifications do not work

Hi Fairphones,
I just got my FP3 and am also a bit disappointed by the missing LED notification - I rely on it very much! Hope that Fairphone engineers will add the feature pretty soon…
Some say the LED is intrusive, avoiding “digital detox” by nagging the user. The contrary is true for me: If I cannot rely on the phone signalling new messages (which I receive not very often), I need to pick up the phone whenever I did not watch it closely to check if something important arrived. Which is much more distracting and intrusive. So either the phone forces me to always keep an eye on it, or to regularly activate it. Where’s your digital detox here? :slight_smile:


The missing LED notification is a deal braker for me too :worried:. Please add this feature, because the other work, that you do is great!


While I still strongly agree this should be implemented as soon as possible, I still don’t get what’s the big deal breaker in this, as there are alternatives out there.

How do users of smartphones without such an LED even survive? Well …



Hi @AnotherElk,
thanks for pointing out the alternatives. Most have disadvantages:

  • Screen notifications
    Screen eats battery, since the FP3 has an LCD display. With OLED I guess this would be no problem, but LCD needs backlight, backlight eats battery fast. Still, I am really happy that FP3 has LCD! OLED displays get a color tint over time, LCDs not - better for longevity! Also, OLED usually uses pentile matrix - I don’t like that.
  • Vibration alarm
    Makes noise, more difficult to ignore if necessary
  • Flash LED
    Thats an option! Will try that - may be to bright? Will see…

I’d rather that they make the LED working - but on this point we both agree :slight_smile: The notification LED is just perfect - low battery usage, noticable, but also ignorable…


Until Oct 2019, I assumed that this is a standard feature on every smartphone (maybe OLED as an alternative). Well, I learned something since then, another common anti-feature like built in battery or no headphone connector, and “that you have to read the small print very carefully”.

What is most frustrating is that it is there and only “crippled” (now you could play around with root and third party apps). For some time there were smartphones without LED light, but this is a standard feature now I guess?

I used repeated audio alarms for some time (on another smartphone). But this can be super annoying when you’re busy with something else and don’t want to check the phone right now. But I would see a blinking LED without touching the phone.


For those who need a working solution now, here is my Tasker profile.


What’s needed:

What it does:

  • enables red led when either Conversations, K9, Signal, Threema, Riot or QKSMS show a notification
  • disables the led if these notifications go away

Feel free to tune it to your own needs. See it in action in this comment: LED notifications do not work


I also get people would like to have this feature, but I still have trouble understanding it’s a deal breaker. Of course it depends on your personal reasons for buying the phone, but I could never allow myself to buy an unfair alternative just to have a flashing LED light. ‘Oh, it doesn’t have that? I suppose I’ll have to make do with a brand that exploits its factory workers and encourages consumers to buy a newer model on a yearly basis.’

Do you really have to keep checking your phone for new messages or do you feel like you have to? What will happen if you notice the message half an hour after you received it? It begs the question whether you control your phone or whether it controls you.

On screen notifications: my FP3 does that for a few seconds when a message comes in. It’s easy to miss but it looks very nice. Based on the FP’s battery life, I feel keeping that on won’t affect the batter life all that much, since it’s already so great, I can easily use my phone for 2 full days, so 1 should be possible with screen notifications.


Maybe not a dealbreaker, but definitely close to a must-have for some. Again, if you’re not able to hear your phone, the LED is incredibly useful and close to indispensable. And if you’re accustomed to using the LED, I can understand that it’s frustrating to no longer have that functionality when the LED’s right there unable to be enabled. Not something to get worked up over, I agree, but a somewhat clueless oversight by FP.

But aside from that, I think people talk about getting an unfair phone over this issue because the back-and forth format of forum discussions tends to get people worked up over their opinions and it’s something of a last ditch threat, like the many threads that start like “I thought this was a FAIRphone but issue X isn’t FAIR to customers so I’m leaving this movement and getting an UNFAIR phone unless I get helped right now”.


I used a Galaxy S5 for four years. It had LED notifications. I had even assigned different colours to different apps, groupchats, and people. Then I got my Fairphone and I didn’t have LED notifications anymore. I shrugged and moved on with my life. :sweat_smile:


Hm, it is not that easy. I am not a Smartphone junkie, neither using WhatsApp nor Facebook or the like, so I usually only get mails and SMS (yeah, old fashioned SMS…) - and I only get them if something is rather important, like while renovating my home, the carfters needed some urgent decision, hit a problem or so, or more recent, an ill familiy member might need something relatively urgent. LED notification is something of nice-to-have, I agree, but for me it’s really-nice-to-have :wink:


But if it’s so important it requires your immediate attention, then why aren’t vibrate or sound signals good options? Apparently you’re already in a situation in which you are able to use your phone (I cannot use my phone at work), so I guess it can vibrate or ring too?

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Maybe you cannot understand that there are people with other priorities. A small LED is the most energy saving method to signal something without disturbing other people.


You don’t have to buy an unfair phone to get missing features back (good luck finding one with removeable battery). There is also Shiftphone, but I haven’t heard from them when I ordered the Fairphone 3.

2 features are missing that I expected to be there, and people tell you “you don’t need that garbage anyway”. Before I buy a Fairphone 4, I can look what the competitor offers.

Keeping an LCD screen on for longer would consume too much power I guess, even if most parts of it are black (that only works on OLED).


Saving energy? Are you having problems with your battery? Mine was charged 12 hours ago and is currently at 75%. It is predicted to last for another 31 hours. Am I missing something?

Also, I get the need not to disturb others, however, when you’re saying something might require an immediate response, you’re already taking your phone out and using it, so I guess you’re in a situation where that is okay anyway.

Especially vibration seems neither energy consuming nor disturbing to others, why is it not a good alternative?

I’m still going to stick to sound and vibration off and people having to accept that I am not available to them 24/7. When at home I might switch the sound on when I expect an important call.


the little, but important difference is: the LED light-notification is flashing until you see the notifications. Imagine the same behavior with vibration :wink:
I totally understand the need of LED-notifications: while working in loud areas - e.g as a carpenter - or even at home while listening to music: I don’t want to check my FP all the time for new notifications.


Haha I think a problem I might be having is responding to one person’s needs, and then having a reply from someone with other reasons for wanting LED.

So someone said they wanted to know immediately whether they had a message because it would be important to respond immediately, and I was responding to that. That would exclude the option of the phone vibrating for a long time since the person was already primed to receive something and respond immediately.

So summarising my opinion, I would say notifications are quite useful, but I think it’s pushing it to say one couldn’t live without them and there are alternatives, which may have to be different according to your personal needs.

Now, feel free to carry on bewailing the absence of the LED notifications, I’ll leave you to it as this is quite clearly not my support group :smile:

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I lived the major part of my life without a mobile phone. Even more without a smartphone. And even more than that without a LED notification. I could still live with a mobile phone, without “smart”, without a notification LED. The point is that I don’t want to. I’ve become used to that state of the art.

Ah, forgot this: “Waily-Waily!”

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If i understood correctly:
a) the FP3 hat only a LED “notification” just to inform about the charging state of the battery:
red color low 0-x% charge and before y% will be reached and
green one y-100% is reached
No LED light or no color the battery charge is normal.
b) It could be good to have another type of LED “notifications”, right?
c) Is there a place where the “suggested or requested” features can be registered
and follow up?

Thank you.

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Very good, thanks a lot!