Photo Recovery on Bricked Fairphone 2?


TLDR: Need help recovering photos from a bricked Fairphone 2. I have a working model too, is there a ‘module’ so to speak that would house the memory that could be moved from one phone to another?

I am hoping someone may be able to help me. A year or so ago my original Fairphone 2 stopped working (I think after potential water damage, I was caught in an awful snow storm). My friend was upgrading to a Fairphone 3 at the time so gave me their old Fairphone 2 and I tested every one of my modules in their phone (they all worked) and swapped their also working modules to mine. Unfortunately, my original Fairphone 2 still won’t turn on but when I plug it in to a charger the light at the top does flash red once.

I don’t mind so much about the phone itself, it had a good run. Unfortunately it does mean I will have lost some photos (I know, should have made backups). Does anyone know of a way to recover those photos? Perhaps there is a ‘module’ so to speak that would house the memory that could be moved from my original (broken) Fairphone 2 to my friend’s one?

Thank you in advance!

I assume the pictures were on internal flash storage? That is housed in the core module, so chances of getting them out by changing something are close to zero I’d say. :frowning:
The only thing that might help is getting it to turn on again for long enough to copy the data, but that sounds unlikely as well.


It’s a flash memory on the core module. I assume that the data is still there, just something around it hasn’t survived the water. So the only option I’d see would be to unsolder the memory chip and then read it out using an external controller. But of course this is nothing that average people could do at home, there are laboratories that take a good amount of money for the few cases where the otherwise lost data is worth that money. So I fear in your case that’s only a rather theoretical solution unfortunately…


I agree with mde, the best chance would be to get your old phone working again. If the files are important I suggest you might check out the forum for #waterdamage - typically this means completely disassembling the phone, carefully and thoroughly cleaning all internal contacts preferably with isopropyl alcohol, leaving several days to dry before reassembly. Absolutely no guarantee that this will work, especially after a year.
As Martin says in theory one could unsolder the chip, but it would be very expensive unless you can find a highly tech-savvy and well-equipped amateur who would take it as a challenge!

In the future, you might consider using a SD card formatted as external / removable memory for storing your photos. That could indeed be moved from one phone to another, but that doesn’t mean you needn’t do backups. :wink: