Multiple Users on the Fairphone 2

Does anyone have experience with having multiple users on his phone?
In particular, are these 100% separate, so that user A has no access at all, and also the apps installed there have no access at all, to any information of user B.

I am using my old phone for spying apps (like WhatsApp), but that phone is dying no definitely. So the idea is to generate a 2nd user on my FP2 for just these spying apps. But of course it shall not have access to my good data, such as the contacts. I aware that they will have access to my movements based on the mobile network used, etc.

On my phone I don’t make use of multiple users.
But I have installed the app Shelter from the Paper Airplane Dev Team.
In this shelter I use WhatsApp.


I’ll second that. Shelter oust the way to go for WhatsApp and similar. You can e.g. have your own contacts, which are only WhatsApp contracts. And it’s quasi seamless


I have shortly tried once (clarification: using a different user, not the Shelter app). Contacts and SMSs are shared, though not apps and settings. But you can forbid the sms and contact apps to access to them.
I think using a second user for e.g WA will be equivalent to using WA without any permission (not sure though, there might be a slight difference). Again, Shelter is indeed better for your needs.
And it is also much easier than changing each time users.

Contacts don’t have to be shared in Shelter if you use in the shelter a contact app. Same for the sms.
Just make sure that you are in work profile before you sms.

As I’m not sure you understood what I meant, I was talking about a different user, not the Shelter app. With a different user, the sms and contacts database is the same as the main user.
Though last time I tried a second user, it was under Nougat, may have changed since.

Thanks for the suggestions. I am a bit scared by the notice that shelter could brick my phone.
Anyway, the old phone miraculously works again (recognizes SIM card and battery can be loaded), probably it just felt the heat we have here, so that I will keep using it.
I added another user on my FP2 and apps as well as contact data are completely separated. So the only drawback of using a separate user for spyware is that they have access to my location profile. And of course, you never know what they are able to without letting you know.
So for the moment, I stay with using a second phone for spyware.

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I’ve been using shelter (and island) both on fp2 and now fp3. It didn’t brick the phone (i guess, that’s mainly for Samsung phones, as there’s still knox, which is incompatible). If you’re using a work profile (i.e. use shelter), you can disable location for that profile in settings and still have it active for your normal profile


So here is the solution I have taken.

First, the problem:

My intention was to have WhatsApp (WA) on my phone, but due to privacy concerns, I did not want it to have access to my usual data. To me the phone is a computer in my pocket, so there are a lot of information about myself on the device.
My Fairphone 2 is running Fairphone Open, so the Guhgel free version.
I used to use an old Smartphone with a separate SIM-card. Unfortunately, this device finally was about to die and to become unreliable. So it’s now waiting to be recycled some day.

One solution is mentioned above, I did not try that one.

My solution

I created a separate user just for use with WA.
As on every Linux device, this user is completely separate from any other user on the phone. So no access to data, not even the apps are available.
Additionally, I inserted the SIM-card of my old WA-phone (thanks Fairphone for realizing a dual-SIM phone).
The contacts of the old phone were copied to this user. Unfortunately, I forgot to save the WA history, so that’s gone now.
I registered this “sub-phone” with WA and everything works fine.
WA has no access to my data but still will send my locations from WLAN and mobile phone cell coverage to Facebook. I cannot help with that. I just disallowed the usage of mobile data in background, maybe this reduces the amount of tracking, but I do not believe so.

Additionally, I did not give this user the permission to do phone calls nor SMS (text) messages. The phone says that if I did the other user (and thus WA) would see my communication history which I did not want to.

Now the trouble started. I wanted to share a photo taken as normal user with WA. How could I get a file from one user to the other. Here I realized how close the fence was. Amaze did not allow access, not even showed there was another user’s directory; nor did Ghost Commander. So everything working as it should.
My first trial was to use the FTP server from Amaze. You can start an FTP server on your phone and access it through WLAN from any other computer. I am using this to transfer data to and from my computer when I have no cable at hand. It also works from one user to the other on the same phone but in my case, it only worked in one direction. As the process was too cumbersome I did not work on resolving this problem but rather tried a different approach.

I am also using a self-hosted cloud server (freedombox project) which runs synchthing. So I created a separate folder only for WA files which are synchronized to the WA-user and to the rest of my network. The WA user has no access to the other syncthing network. I think it’s funny to having to resort to a cloud solution to exchange data on the same hardware, but it works.

I’d rather had converted my contacts to using a Matrix implementation which is also hosted on my single-board server, but that was helpless.

Probably there are not many people with the same use case, but I thought I’d share it anyway. Anyway it is interesting to know you can create multiple users on your phone and thus share it with your family and friends without sharing the data. Even though this use case is probably also extremely rare.


I read somewhere on the forum that the ~/android/obb folder was a shared folder between the users, you might want to test.

Edit: Hmmm… wait, I’m not really sure actually, it may only be the shared folder between work profiles. You might want to test nevertheless.

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I use the app Shelter to keep Whatsapp seperate.

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I checked android/obb, they have completely different content.

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