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Problems with Threema, Jelbi and Familink on Fairphone 2 (newest OS)

Hello,

I am trying to use Threema on a Fairphone 2. The app never starts properly. It always crashes right away and sometimes the entire phone crashes, too. (The same also happens with the Familink app and the Jelbi app.)

I have contacted Threema on the issue and they gave me the following information in German:

Laut Fehlerbericht kann Ihr OS nicht mit einer neueren Komponente des Android OS für
Hintergrundprozesse umgehen.

Wir benutzen diese API um diverse Prozesse im Hintergrund zu handhaben (Backups,
Kontaktsyc etc.).

Haben Sie eine Möglichkeit Ihr OS zu aktualisieren? Melden Sie sich sonst bei Fairphone
und weisen Sie auf folgenden Fehler im Log. Wie erwähnt ist die problematische Komponente,
Teil der Android API und wir können da selbst keine Änderungen vornehmen.

ANR in ch.threema.app
07-22 15:08:14.302 1000 925 1754 E ActivityManager: PID: 6311
07-22 15:08:14.302 1000 925 1754 E ActivityManager: Reason: executing service
ch.threema.app/androidx.work.impl.background.systemjob.SystemJobService

(As I do not understand the technological background, I will not translate this in order not to provide false information, but it seems to boil down to Fairphone OS not having updated certain Android components - apparently called API - that are necessary for background processes to work properly.)

I then contacted Fairphone customer service who seemed unable or unwilling to help and advised me to use the public issue tracker, which I did. If I understood correctly this was supposed to be a way to contact the Fairphone development team. No solution was provided. In case it was just other customers replying that is perfectly understandable, but I was lead to believe this was a way to receive professional help from the company, and under that assumption the response was, let’s say, underwhelming.
Here’s a link to the discussion:

I am completely at loss what else to do and must say that my so far very positive assessment of Fairphone has been somewhat modified if this is all the response I get from the company to a severe software error that affects several apps.

So now I hope someone from the community has a good idea (many thanks in advance) or someone from Fairphone will reply afterall.

While I sympathise with you in needing a solution, I don’t see much wrong with the discussion. Debugging a software issue isn’t magic, it can be quite complicated, especially when there could be trouble to reproduce the issue … you did notice Threema works perfectly fine for another user using the same OS?

The bugtracker is the right place, though, and Fairphone staff did react, including a developer, now they’ll have to see what they can do. Professional help doesn’t automatically mean it’s blazingly fast, which can be frustrating for sure, but this is not a perfect world we’re living in.

Some brainstorming then, perhaps others will pitch in with more ideas …

  • Apparently the other user is running Threema Version 4.53 Build 675 successfully.
    Which version are you trying to run?

  • Since background activity seems relevant and you encounter the issue with other Apps, too …
    Is the battery saver on? (Settings - Battery - Battery Saver)
    Can you remember whether perhaps Battery Manager asked whether it should restrict the Apps in question because it detected them as draining battery?
    Are the Apps in question battery optimised? If so, it might be worth to change this to “Not optimised”. (Settings - Apps & notifications - See all […] apps - (select the App in question) - Advanced - Battery - Battery optimisation)

  • Do you use an Antivirus solution on your phone? If so, it might be worth a try without it.

  • I see you deactivated some things? Can you list them exactly and say how exactly you deactivated them (as there are several ways)?

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And additionally with the problems you’ve always had with Threema and Familink and the ones you have now, and with your idea to avoid Google, did you ever consider this idea in the same topic?

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I have Fairphone OS 21.08.1-rel.0 running with Threema 4.56 (where can you find the build?) and it is running fine. The other apps I have never heard of so i don’t know if they running on my phone. I have Threema running for years already so I don’t know if there is a link with new installation on the current OS as suggested in the issue tracker.

Did you try to enable the google services, restart phone and running Threema? It is possible Threema uses some google services in Android.

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Thank you for your quick reply. You have asked quite a few helpful questions and I will try to answer them:

  • Apparently the other user is running Threema Version 4.53 Build 675 successfully.
    Which version are you trying to run?
    Version 4.53. There is no information on the build in the “App-Info”.

  • Since background activity seems relevant and you encounter the issue with other Apps, too …
    Is the battery saver on? (Settings - Battery - Battery Saver)
    I suppose this would be “Energiesparmodus” in German. It is not switched on.

Can you remember whether perhaps Battery Manager asked whether it should restrict the Apps in question because it detected them as draining battery?
I do not remember this and I think I would if it had popped up.

Are the Apps in question battery optimised? If so, it might be worth to change this to “Not optimised”. (Settings - Apps & notifications - See all […] apps - (select the App in question) - Advanced - Battery - Battery optimisation)
All three were optimised. Changing this to “Not optimised” did not make any of them run.

  • Do you use an Antivirus solution on your phone? If so, it might be worth a try without it.
    No. At least none I am aware of.

  • I see you deactivated some things? Can you list them exactly and say how exactly you deactivated them (as there are several ways)?
    [/quote]
    List of apps completely deactivated with the “deactivate” funktion in “settings”:
    App Center
    Chrome
    Digital Wellbeing
    Drive
    Duo
    E-Mail
    Gmail
    Google
    Google Play Filme & Serien
    Google Play Musik
    Google Play Store (I temporarily activate it for system updates, but I do not have a Google account and I usually keep Play Store deactivated)
    Kalender
    Maps
    Youtube
    Youtube Music
    As for settings: I can not remember every setting I have ever made. With some apps I have restricted access, especially Google Play Services. Here a list of what Google Play Services may not access:
    Anruflisten
    Kamera
    Kontakte
    Körpersensoren
    Mikrofon
    Standort

Finally, I would like to recall that Threema already looked into the problem and stated there must be a software bug with Fairphone OS, so I suppose it might be something more fundamental and not a problem with certain settings. On the other hand then Threema should not run on other phones with the same OS either. Quite confusing. But then I must admit I have little understanding of what exactly a software bug is and how to get rid of it. I would have thought the information provided by Threema should lead to the solution, but apparently it is much more complicated, and I acknowledge that.

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I did read that advice, I do appreciate it and I have considered it. However, installing a different operating system that I am not accustomed to (and having to redo all my custom settings and reinstall all my apps, which will take hours), and without knowing whether all my apps will even run on it, just for the vague hope that the other operating system might run more smoothly than Android does not seem a good tradeoff for me. Somehow this reminds me of people asking “I have got problem X with windows” and getting the reply “Use Linux” (or Mac or whatever the other person prefers) - this is not the kind of solution they are asking for. I am aware that e/ is probably closer to Android than let’s say Windows to Mac, but still it is a similar structure of argument.

Have you activated all Google services by default? I have provided a list of things deactivated on my phone, might help to narrow it down.

I have only adjust the settings on the google playstore regarding to the access rules.

I can understand your point.
On the other side /e/OS is designed to work without Google stuff and FPOS is not.
If you deactivate services of FPOS this can create surprising problems. This is imho not a “software bug” but “as designed”. I think you’re warned by the system itself when disabling services that this might lead to problems.

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As Threema is an app using the Google play services, did you try at least temporarily reactivating the play store and giving back all permissions back to the play services?
Seeing everything you deactivated I’m not quite surprised some apps are malfunctioning. The play services are involved in background operations, e.g through the google cloud messaging, and in a lot of system operations.

Well, if you didn’t tell them everything you deactivated, of course they might think it is a bug.

You could think about the time you are losing trying to solve your problems with these apps, and compare it to the time you know you will spend changing OSes (a day at most), and think by yourself what you prefer :slight_smile:
Also an important thing: /e/OS is Android, so it is very similar to FPOS. And if you want a degoogled OS that you are accustomed to, you could think about installing Fairphone Open OS (see code.fairphone.com), it is exactly the same OS as FPOS but without the google apps and services, and moreover it’s officially supported by Fairphone, and the switch is easy. You would just need to reinstall and set up everything again, but I think it’s worth the trade-off.

Edit: typos

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I tried what you recommended, activated Google Play Store and gave all permissions to Google Play Services. But unfortunately still none of the three apps is working, and the phone crashed completely again when I started Threema. So if the problems is in some of my settings at least it is not in those.
Even though I do not use all the standard Google apps and Google settings there might still be a problem unrelated to those settings.
I see your point about /e/OS, but how am I to know whether all my apps will work on it, at least those that are working now? If I invest all that time only to find out that all in all it works no better than my Fairphone O - or possibly worse -, I would have to return to Android and have twice the trouble. It would be a different story if I could just import all my apps and settings and data without having to do it manually.
So far with other problems I have had there finally always was a solution within Fairphone OS.
By the way, though I may be critical or “stubborn” in sticking to my point and to my expectations, I still very much appreciate the time and effort you invest in trying to help.

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You might at least have a look at this list:

You might do a full backup using TWRP backup of your current system (keep in mind that /data/media has to be copied as it’s not part of a standard TWRP backup) and try out /e/ (or FPOS without deactivating apps and services) then.
Using the backup of your system you can always go back.

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Just for information: I am running Threema (and Threema Work) both on FP2 and FP3+ without problems. Standard FPOS.

Before, I used Threema on other devices with LineageOS and OpenGapps; no problem.

Sorry, no idea specific for your situation, but wanted to point out that in standard configurations there seems to be no problem (at least not a problem I know about).

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Did you restart after enabling Google again? If this does not help, did you re-install the Apps? Did you install anything blocking / controlling internet access/ background activities? The problem I see is, when you do a lot “manipulation” on system, it will be quite difficult to redo really everything. Also finding he root cause is quite difficult or finding someone with exact same setting. So probably the only way will be to reset to factory settings and install from scratch doing one step after another, testing inbetween what is too much and will cause issues with the apps.

Edit: my opinion is, when one wants to live without google, one should know that its likely that there might be issues occurring in some way. So one should not expect to have full Android Google experience without Google.

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