Proximity sensor goes crazy in sunlight (WhatsApp, Signal, Facebook Messenger, Stock Dialer, WaveUp)

If I understand this problem correctly it’s mostly a WaveUp issue that’s also present on other phones? Sounds like this issue is then more related to WaveUp. There is an issue indeed with the sensor while calling, this issue is also included in the known issues wiki.

I suggest the following. Since this issue in this topic is about WaveUp, I would like to remove it from the known issues list and keep the topic on the wiki about the proximity sensor while calling.

That topic is more related to something Fairphone can fix. In case they improve the sensors and WaveUp works better as a result of that, then that’s a win.

But now there are 2 topics about the same issue(?), while this topic seems to be more of a 3rd party app issue. Dropping that one keeps the list more organized without duplicates or app isues beyond the scope of FP. Unless of course FP really acknowledged this is a FP issue with WaveUp. But when I read the support response it seems they are working on a general improvement of the sensors.

What do you think?

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I think its confirmed its not Wave Up (alone)


It’s a proximity sensor issue, not an app issue. On direct sunlight it occasionally (for a brief moment) thinks it’s covered even though that’s not the case. In other words, it sometimes falsely reports 0 cm distance.

I’m not sure how much these two issues are related. In fact, the opposite problem occurs when making a phone call. The proximity sensor reports 5 cm, even though it should report 0 cm.


Since a few people agree with you I’ll leave it as is. There is indeed a sensor issue which needs to be resolved. But I’m not sure if we need 2 of them in the list, of which one is classified as “Medium impact - I can only partially use the phone”, while it seems to be only an issue when using WaveUp. Since these classifications should reflect the impact on the average user, I don’t think a medium impact is really in proportion. Since most people probably don’t use WaveUp.

The sensor issue while calling doesn’t happen very often to me either. I have daily calls for work. So last suggestion would then to lower the impact from medium to low impact. To make sure these issues carry a proportional weight.

Not really. You are also basically unable to play WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger audio messages on direct sunlight, because the screen flickers and playback stops. (This is not caused by WaveUp. Those apps themselves use proximity sensor for cases when you hold the phone to your ear.) You could argue that it’s not a medium impact issue (I’m willing to change it to low impact), but it’s definitely not only WaveUp.


Got it, in that case I would suggest the following (final one) :nerd_face:

I’ll update this topic title to include a few most used apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Stock Dialer, along with WaveUp. And then I’ll remove the other topic which only mentions the dialer from the wiki list.

That way it has the weight to justify a medium impact and we keep the list free of redundant topics.


I encounter the issue now as well. Recording a voice message outdoors with Signal in the sun. The screen goes off and on. I’ll report it to support as well. Anyone that’s bothered by it should #contactsupport, they prioritize based on incoming tickets.


I just contacted Support and opened a request - i encounter this issue too


I’ve got an update from support:

Our latest update already included some improvements for the functionality of the proximity sensor - particularly when it comes to the performance in bright light! Further improvements will be included in coming updates, and these will be more general.

The last update supposedly already contains some improvements, but given that we’re still dealing with this issue, it’s probably not enough.


I got a reply from FP support as well. The suggestion is to verify if we can also reproduce the issue with the troubleshoot app. So if we encounter this again in our messenger apps, do the following and try to reproduce it there. And then forward that information into this thread.

  • Open the phone app.
  • Dial *#*#2886#*#* in the same way you enter a phone number to make a phone call. Once the last character is introduced, the Service Menu appears.
    Select Manu
  • Tap on Proximity Sensor. The Proximity sensor is located on the top of the display. The initial test state prompt is “Far”.
  • Put your hand over the top of the phone, close to it. The test will change to “Near” when detecting your hand.

Hi all,
I encounter an annoying behaviour (not really a bug, more a default setting issue): with the phone locked but the display on, the ambient light sensor sensibility turns off the screen when going from bright light to shadow.

Example to reproduce:

  1. Start navigation to somewhere in Google Maps*
  2. Lock screen (press the power button) and then show lock screen by pressing the power button
    → at this stage, the phone will be locked, but the screen will display the guiding in full screen. The ambiant sensor next to the camera will turn off the display when no light will be visible (exemple: phone flipped face down, or back into pocket). You can manually cover the sensor with the finger to test it. Now the issue:
  3. If the phone goes from bright light (example direct sunlight outside) to shadow (example on bike: a tree on the side of the road) the screen will briefly turn off → no guiding anymore.

The same behaviour can happen when receiving a call:

  1. The phone is locked, the screen is on with an incoming call
  2. I’m in bright light and can’t see the screen, so I move the phone in my shadow
  3. I want to pick up the call, the screen turns off because it’s in the shadow
  4. After blinking on and off two or three times, I’m finally able to tap the pick up the call with the green button, but the call is already missed…

Any solution to that, or adjustment in the sensibility, would be welcomed :slight_smile:

*yes I now, Google… still be most convenient day-to-day app for biking navigation in City. I’m open to any suggestion ^^

Hi Delan I moved your topic to this existing, because I feel from your descripion its more a proximity sensor issue than an ambient light issue (to test I assume you could just turn of automatic light adjustment). We can re-do the merge if needed.


Hi yvmuell. Good guess: I use “Pick to Wake Screen On” for the same purpose. If I deactivate it my issue seems to disappear.

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I just was able to reproduce the issue while recording a voice message in the sun. The screen goes off and on. In the FP hardware troubleshooting tool I could reproduce this. So it’s very likely a FP problem, as already suspected. I’m running the June update (latest one as of today).

I also could reproduce it in safe mode.


When I reported this back to support and confirmed with them I was running the latest FP OS release they suggested me to send my phone back.

I suggest we diagnose and repair your phone at our repair center based in France.

I find this a bit odd. Are there more people here that can still reproduce the issue? Because if more people can still reproduce it, then either their software solutions have run dry and it’s beyond their capacity to improve it. Or we have a bad batch of phones from the factory.

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That’s really odd. I have a feeling that some poeple on support have no idea about some reported issues and think that a replacement will fix it. This is definitely a software bug, I can still reproduce it. I got my phone (already replaced once) in January. If I remember correctly, you got your current one a bit later, right? So I doubt it’s a bad batch.


I did, I sent my old one back around January and re-ordered one in April when the camera software got improved. I didn’t encounter the proximity issue in the first FP4, because there was hardly any sun in NL around that time. But it possibly had the same issue.

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Just one more thing to double check. Do people here use a screen protector? Which one? And which protective case? I use the official ones, blue light screen protector to be precise. Just to rule out a reflective property of the screen protector and things like that. Or perhaps a badly applied screen protector.

Are there people with different screen protectors? Or no screen protector at all perhaps?

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I use a 3D-printed case and an unofficial screen protector. But I was careful not to cover the proximity sensor, the edge of the screen protector is below it.

Sure, it’s possible that some reflection from the edge of the protector may cause this behavior. But then again, I think it’s to be expected that people will want to use screen protectors.


I’m on /e/OS without a screen protector and I can reproduce the screen going off and on with direct sunlight during a phone call.
It just never affects me in daily use (probably because I don’t use WaveUp, have my phone at the ear with screen off during voice calls and don’t use voice calls in messengers…).