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Questions about /e/ on Fairphone 3

I am very close to deciding to get a Fairphone 3. I would like to install /e/ OS but will probably manually install it after buying directly from the Fairphone store because that’s cheaper (and right now comes with the free headphones!).

Before I make my final decision, I hope people with experience/knowledge/wisdom can help answer a few questions:

  1. If I buy the default Fairphone 3 directly from Fairphone (which comes of the default Fairphone OS) and manually install /e/, it is the same as buying a Fairphone 3 from /e/ with /e/ pre-installed, right?

  2. What is the most up-to-date information on how to enable root after installing /e/? Are there up-to-date instructions (if so, where?) and are there major blocker bugs or problems with rooted /e/ on Fairphone 3?

  3. As updates to /e/ are released, what is the procedure for applying those OS updates?

  4. Will APKs I have for the Fairphone 2 also work directly on the Fairphone 3?

  5. Any issues with F-droid and the Aurora Store on /e/ on the Fairphone 3?

  6. Are there any other problems or even reduced functionality (I consider the lack of Google to be a plus) with /e/ on Fairphone 3 that I should be aware of?

Thank you!

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In answer to:

  1. You would need to revert back from /e/ to Fairphone OS in case of warranty claim if purchased from Fairphone.
  2. Applied update via UI yesterday although almost 1GB and took in excess of 1 hour to complete.
  3. No problem applying .apk although up to you to check whether latest version compatible with device.
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Did the screen go blank during that time?

A lot of people reported that /e/ updates take extremely long when the device “goes to sleep”.
A workaround would be to set the screen off timer to 30min for the time of the update. For me that always worked to install in roughly 20min.

Other than that: I didn’t notice general problems with Aurora and F-Droid. Sometimes Aurora is not able to connect to the Play Store, but from what I understood this also happens on the other devices supported by /e/. To cure that, delete the app data of the Aurora store and you’re fine again.

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Thank you @aspergerguy and @Ingo for your quick, and super informative responses! :grin:

Really good-to-know regarding warranty claims. So if I buy direct from Fairphone and experience a problem that requires invoking the warranty, I “just” need to take the extra step of wiping /e/ and re-installing the stock Fairphone OS, right? Is that process straightforward as in simply installing a new ROM?

If someone can speak to if there are clear, up-to-date instructions for enabling root after installing /e/ and if that comes with major problems, that’d be great!

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I don’t want to root my FP3, but I’ve seen one person report their success here: /e/ for FP3 (Google free OS)

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Hello,
I installed /e/ 2weeks ago and pretty pleased with it.

  1. In my opinion it is the same to install it manually or to buy it from /e/
  2. I also did the update by clicking on the update button in the settings. I confirm that it takes longer if your screen turns off so I set it to never turn off and it applied it about 40min
  3. No issues on my side concerning f-droid and the few apps I installed using Aurora are working fine
  4. Not sure if this what you meant but there are some banking apps that do not work well
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Out of pure curiousity: The long update time … is that actual installation time or does downloading take so long? Frankly the times reported here remind me more of what I would expect a major OS upgrade to require rather than a regular update.

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Technically it is, but legally there is a difference, as already posted by @aspergerguy .

Buying from /e/, they are your partner and need to be addressed with any warranty claims.
Buying from Fairphone, they are servicing your phone.
And the need to restore Fairphone OS is to make clear, that the cause for your warranty case is not changing the OS.
Therefore 2 scenarios come to my mind:

  1. Something is broken (mechanically); it might even prevent to change back to FP OS
    This defect can not be caused by the switching to /e/, so it’s irrelevant for your warranty and you should be serviced as if you still have the FP OS installed.
  2. The phone is bricked (softwarewise) and you can not change back to FP OS.
    In that case you will be in trouble, if bricking the phone could have been caused by switching to /e/ (even if an app is the cause, it might have been the interaction between /e/ and the app and bricking would not have occured with FP OS).

That said, I have installed /e/ on my wifes FP3.
So, I am not really afraid of loosing warranty. :wink:
But on the other hand, we are not really heavy users, my wife and I. So the risk of software-troubles is not very high. :grin:

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/e/ Updates seem to be full updates, not differential ones like on the standard OS. Download size was something between 800MB and 900MB.

For me it was somewhere between 15min and 20min with screen on between tapping on “install” (after download had finished) and “reboot” (once the installation had finished), i.e. not including the download time (didn’t pay attention how long that took).

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I can confirm 100% what @ingo wrote.

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Thank you @BertG! That’s a very extensive explanation, and it sounds OK with me.

My last concern is whether it will be difficult to re-flash the stock Fairphone OS if I install /e/ and enable root. I see that rooting is possible in @Ingo’s comment, but don’t know if that comes with problems and if re-flashing stock Fairphone OS is straightforward…?

I guess, “straightforward” is not the correct term for the explanation by @AnotherElk in another thread:

As I am no technician, I was just hoping, that I needn’t return to Fairphone OS, when I switched to /e/. Call me a hopeless optimist.
(And for the time being, I am sure, there will come a more easy way.)

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i can confirm the behaivior with the update, it took for ages with screen off.
Also, Aurora store says there is an update for microg services core that i can not install.

The connect to playstore issue happens some times. It happens way less if you use a nightly build of aurora.

Some apps cant be updated until i delete them completely and then install them again.

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I think that is because Aurora mistakes microG for Google Play Services. That’s at least what I see when tapping that entry in the update list.

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Hi there

I dont start a new Topic for my question. I think it fits well to this one.
I am thinking about buying an Fairphone 3. If I install /e/ os and I am not satisfied with it, can I easy go back to “google android”?

Thank you!

Yes, Fairphone only just made such instructions available a few days ago. See more here:

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thank you! Helped me a lot!

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Perfect, thanks! I see that the downloaded file mentioned in the Linux instructions seems to be an automated script that uses the Google adb tools, hopefully it is not too complicated so I can manually run adb myself if needed.