Phone dropped → touchscreen broken?

Hey everyone, unfortunately I dropped my Fairphone 1. Since then the touchscreen doesn’t react at the first 3 cm from the botton of the phone (which means also the three navigation buttons don’t work which makes using the phone particularly difficult :grin: ). So I have basically two questions:

1.) How do I find out if the problem is really the broken touchscreen? Will ordering the spare part “Fairphone 1/FP1U Display Assembly” ( and replacing it do the job? Is it the spare part for the display including touch sensors underneath?

2.) I activated the on-screen-buttons (by adding the line qemu.hw.mainkeys=0 in /System/build.prop). This already helps alot. Does anyone know if it’s possible to place the navigation buttons always on the top of the screen (if they show up on the bottom on my phone they will be shown within the 3 cm range that doesn’t react, which requires me to always turn my phone in order to get access to the navigation buttons)

Thanks already!

Unfortunately, the FP1 display assembly is sold out for quite a while now, and so far Fairphone is struggling to find a new supplier for it :frowning: So it is uncertain if it will ever be back in the shop – but Fairphone is still working to find a new supplier.

(As to your other questions, I cannot provide answers.)

Oh, you are right, this is bad news :frowning: I didn’t see the buttons saying “sold out”.

In this case: can anyone think of a possibility to resize the size of my screen via software. If I could just deactivate the broken 3 cm at the bottom there would still be enough space for me on the screen in order to work with my phone.

You can play with the ro.sf.hwrotation=180 in the build.prop to turn your screen down, thus getting the controls on the top (but the notification bar on the bottom)

I recommend to backup your system partition beforedoing that, for prudence.

That doesn’t really help me. A way to “disable” the bottom of the screen is what would make my phone usable again.

I’m looking for a way to cut off the bottom pixels. I don’t know where the screen dimensions of the device are specified on the system (quick search on my build.prop returned nothing).

I only have a FP2, can you paste your build.prop contents here?

Here’s my modified build.prop (last line appended by me):

# begin build properties
# autogenerated by
persist.sys.timezone=Europe/Amsterdam Aug 14 14:17:41 UTC 2015
# is obsolete; use ro.product.device
# Do not try to parse or .fingerprint 4.2.2 JDQ39 2015081400 test-keys
# Fairphone OTA updater
fairphone.ota.version.number=2015081400 Nut
fairphone.ota.time=Fri Aug 14 14:17:41 UTC 2015
# end build properties

# begin mediatek build properties
# end mediatek build properties
# system.prop for generic sdk

rild.libargs=-d /dev/ttyC0

# MTK, Infinity, 20090720 {
# MTK, Infinity, 20090720 }

# MTK, mtk03034, 20101210 {
# MTK, mtk03034 20101210}
# MTK, mtk03034, 20110318 {
# MTK, mtk03034 20110318}

# MTK, mtk03034, 20101213 {
# MTK, mtk03034 20101213}




# Power off opt in IPO

# USB BICR function

# USB Charge only function

# audio


# ro.operator.optr=CUST


Hi Joh.

I have this same problem. When you say you ‘added the line’ what do you mean? How can I do this?

As it sounds like I won’t be able to repair my phone for a while, I’d like to get onto it to put the contacts onto the SIM and the data onto the SD or back it up some other way.


You need to install a root explorer (like Amaze File Explorer) and give it root access in Amaze’s settings. Then navigate to /system/build.prop and open it. Append the line at the end of the file. Save and reboot.

I’m sorry for my complete lack of knowledge but how do I install a root explorer? Is it an app? I can’t unlock my phone at the moment because my touchpad is not responding as far as the bottom row of numbers so I dont see how I can do this. Thank you for your help.

You hadn’t said that you can’t unlock your phone (that is a huge difference to the original poster). In this case the soft navigation bar won’t help you because they will be in the unreachable area as well.

A solution for you could be to get a USB OTG cable (like @Lewistrick here) and dial in the PIN with a USB mouse.

Hi Ellen,
so that means that about 4,5 cm (from the very bottom of the screen, including the navigation buttons) are broken?
When you turn the phone, the screen will also turn, so I could install the App (I installed Root Browser and I was still able to change the file (by always turning the phone so I could access all the keys on the keyboard - because by turning the keys switch to another position on the screen). If it works, this will make navigating much easier, but it will not totally solve your problem.

I actually found a way to resize my screen via Android Debug Bridge (ADB), but this might not an option for you, because too much of your screen is broken(?).
As soon as I find the time I will write a short How-To, describing how I did that.

If you really just want to safe the data from your phone ADB might also be an option for you, but then better open a new threat (here or in another Android forum), since it wouldn’t really be related to this topic anymore.

I solved

1 Like

Thank you that is great suggestion but the ‘enter’ and ‘0’ buttons of the numerical lockscreen are unavailable and this lockscreen doesnt rotate so I am stuck!

Then you have to look for a possibility to get your data/updates via micro USB cable, for exaple via ADB. But I think therefore you would have to enable Android debugging on your phone, what you probably can’t because you are not able to unlock the screen. If already enabled you could make a backup of your complete phone with
adb backup -apk -shared -all -f backupname.ab
But as I said, that is something for another thread

There is apparently a possibility to enable USB debugging via recovery:

I haven’t tried it though (they use adb pull before enabling USB debugging :thinking: ).

Seriously, in your case the mouse solution would be much easier.

1 Like

As I mentioned above, I found a way to resize my display. I wrote a guide on how to do so which can be found in the DroidWiki (in German).
See a brief step-by-step guide below. This works with the Fairphone 1, because it runs on Android 4.2. For the Fairphone 2 the commands are a little different - see either this post on StackExchange (English) or the [HowTo in the DroidWiki]((ösung_verringern_bzw._defekten_Bereich_des_Touchscreens_deaktivieren) (German).)
In summary, the steps are:

  1. Activate on-screen buttons (by adding the line qemu.hw.mainkeys=0 to the file /system/build.prop (requires root permission)
  2. Install ADB-Tools on your Computer
  3. Enable USB-Debugging on your phone
  4. Connect the phone via USB to your computer
  5. Resize the display resolution from 540x900 to eg. 540x700 (depends on how much of your touchscreen is broken)
    adb shell am display-size 540x700
    can be reset with:
    adb shell am display-size reset
  6. It might be useful to adjust the display density from 240 to e.g. 230-200:
  7. adb shell am display-density 220
    can be reset with:
    adb shell am display-density reset

The problem with this method is that under Android 4.2 (the currently available version for the Fairphone 1) you can only resize the screen at the top and the bottom concurrently. Thus you loose space on one side of the screen.
The possibilities of resizing the screen are much more flexible for Android 4.3 and above (i.e. Fairphone 2). An upgrade to Android KitKat 4.4 had been announced on the Fairphone blog already last year in June, but since then there was neither an update on this news nor any response on the various questions from the community.

1 Like

since then there was neither an update on this news nor any response on the various questions from the community.


Not long ago, the #software:fp1-beta-testing category was even made readable for the public.

1 Like

I would just like to offer an alternative solution for a non touch responsive screen.
Use the external mouse method to install "EVA Facial Mouse"
This is an app for people with limited mobility and uses the front camera to track your face and move a mouse type pointer around the screen to click on apps, buttons etc…
It provides on screen “back”, “home” keys etc., therefore rendering the need for touch redundant.
Good Luck.

This topic was automatically closed 182 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.