Reboot loop after update 1.2.8 - userdata access still possible?

Hello guys!

Two weeks ago I did the update and for 2 days everything worked fine. Then, on the second day when I tried to call somebody my phone said “no service”. LTE didn’t work but WLAN did. On the third day I uploaded some data onto the mircoSD card and after that switched it off because of the missing mobile service.
Since then my phone is trapped in a reboot loop. After the “fairphone” logo and the start up screen in white and blue, the app optimization screen appears for a milli sec and then reboots again…the app counter counts up to about 21 and then suddenly the total number of apps changes. No difference if I let it do this for a day!

Still I can access the phone via fastboot and adb (but only for sideload). Tried to flash the update via sideload and sdcard but both failed. Wiping cache partition had no result anyway. In system recovery it is written "E:Can’t open /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/misc (Permission denied)
I am worried that I can’t get my data off the phone (because there are some nice pictures of my 1-year old son on it).
Does anyone have an idea how I can get the pictures off the phone? Or at least access adb?

If there is no other solution I would be ready to do a factory reset. But before I would like to try everything to get my data.


You can download FPOS 1.2.8 flashable images (from Flashable images (advanced users only) section here) and try to flash them with fastboot. But don’t flash userdata.img or your data will be overwritten!

Download the ZIP file, unzip it, boot your Fairphone in fastboot mode and run:

fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
fastboot flash cache cache.img
fastboot flash system system.img
fastboot reboot # to reset the phone without taking apart battery

If your FP2 is able to boot after that, I recommend you backup your data, do a factory reset and finally flash (fastboot flash userdata userdata.img)

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Thank you very much, Roboe!

The flashing worked fine but rebooting the device was the same like before. Still optimizing apps for half a second and than reboot.
Tried also Manually install Fairphone OS for the Fairphone 2 with ADB flashing. Same result!

Than I tried to flash the 1.1.7 Fairphone OS via fastboot in the way you recommended it for 1.2.8 but the system image didn’t work. So I quickly flashed boot, recovery and cache of the 1.2.8 version again.

Are there any further ideas? Is there no way to access the internal memory as MTP device or just like an USB data device?


I suppose you’ve tried MTP while the phone is booting, am I wrong? It can be harsh, but maybe you can copy some files before phone reboots and repeat the proccess until you’re done. Or maybe you can’t access MTP while booting, I didn’t really try…

I just have a crazy idea. Well, it’s not that crazy. TWRP recovery has a file manager (to check if your data is still there and it’s not corrupted) and it can connect by MTP to your computer. You can flash official FPOS-OS recovery partition and try that! I’m sure it’ll work on some way, at least!

Download image ZIP from here, unzip and run fastboot flash recovery recovery.img. I’m not sure if you need to flash boot, I guess it’s not really necessary, but you can flash it for being sure, fastboot flash boot boot.img. Once flashed, enter recovery mode (press Vol- and Power for ±10s).

My fingers are crossed for your son’s pictures. Hope this works. Good luck, @haikai! :smiley:

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Oh, thank you soooo much, @Roboe!!! :smiley:

I was able to recover all data. Not just the pictures, even contacts (stored in the internal memory) and SMS as well as Threema and WhatsApp data.
Your idea with the Fairphone Open Source and the TWRP recovery worked. I flashed boot and recovery of the Fairphone Open Source OS and was able to access the internal user data via MTP and copied all the important user data on my PC. Afterwards I looked for the location of the contacts and SMS (and Threema, because there is some data hidden in \data\data\ ) in the Android internal data structure and since it isn’t possible to access it via MTP copied them via the TWRP file manager onto a microSD card.
Then I did a factory reset with the TWRP recovery and booted the phone’s system. This time it worked and surprisingly all my user data was still there. So I installed Threema and copied via TWRP file manager the content of \data\data\ to the new system. Then Threema was able to access the old data and make a backup. The WhatsApp data was even easier to get, because of the daily auto backup. Contacts and SMS were saved with MyPhoneExplorer.
What’s curious is that even after a factory reset via the now working system, all my user data incl. pictures, Threema and WhatsApp are still accessible via the Fairphone file manager amaze. Guess I will do a complete flashing with fastboot of the whole stock Fairphone OS, but afterwards I’d like to switch to the TWRP recovery. :sunglasses:

I am unbelievable glad that all the pictures could be saved. It’s sooo great!!!
And from now on, all pictures will be saved by default on the newly bought 64 GB microSD. :wink:


Hi @haikai, I’m EXACTLY in the same situation as you were, with precious photos and videos of my nieces I would like to save too (I did a factory reset too, I hope they are still there!).
I’m not familiarized with TWRP and android recovery systems. I don’t know if you could somehow simplify a bit the process (for dummies) that solved your problem? Do I have to simply install TWRP in the PC and connect via USB? Should this give me access? I would be so so so grateful!
Thank you in advance! (Thanks to @Roboe too for bringing in some light :wink:)

Sorry, @Mixn, I’ve been busy these days. Hope I’m not late.

I think you have some misconception about TWRP. It is a little recovery system that should be installed on the device. The Fairphone Team has adapted this software to the FP2 and ships it in FP Open OS by default. For installing TWRP, you should put your phone into a passive mode called “fastboot mode”, and commmunicate with it from your computer through a little command line program called, fastboot.

Here’s a step-by-step guide. I assume you have little-to-nothing knowledge of computers and I’m writing this as clear and easy as I can. If you are not sure about some step/s, ask before taking the risk. Better safe than sorry.


  • Latest fastboot command installed on your computer.
    • If you are using any version of Windows, I suggest this minimal ADB and fastboot installation. Jump to the Downloads section, download and execute the exe file and follow instructions.
  • Get fastboot images of FP Open OS from here. Jump to the Method 2: Using fastboot section and download the zip file.

Installation of TWRP without erasing userdata partition

Installing the complete FP Open OS erases all your data, so we’ll install only the part we want, the TWRP recovery.

  1. Boot your phone into fastboot mode: hold the Volume Down button while you power on the phone until you see a black screen with the Fairphone logo on the middle.
  2. Connect the phone to a computer using a USB cable.
  3. Extract the contents of the zip file (right-click on the file and select the Extract here option).
  4. Open a command-line shell inside that folder.
  • A quick way to get to the command prompt in Windows is to hold down the
    Shift key and right-click inside a folder (when no
    files are selected) and select the Open command window here.
  1. Run fastboot devices to check if your phone is listed.
  2. Then run fastboot flash recovery recovery.img and wait until it finish.

Recovering the data through TWRP and MTP

Last section left your Fairphone in “fastboot mode”. We’ll reboot the phone to the “recovery mode” (where TWRP system resides) and copy the data to a computer through cable (via MTP).

  1. Hold the Volume Up and Power buttons until the phone reboots and you see a black screen with the Fairphone logo on the middle. Afterwards, the phone will boot into TWRP.
  • TWRP has a lock screen feature. The screen will switch off after some seconds. Don’t worry, just unlock it normally: press the Power button and swipe to unlock.
  1. With the phone connected to a PC, open your file manager on the latter. Your phone should be listed somewhere as a removable device, like a camera or a USB drive.
  2. Search for your files or photos: copy them to your computer normally. Photos should be on the path DCIM/Camera/. WhatsApp pictures and videos are stored on the WhatsApp/Media/ folder.
  3. Power off the phone: tap on the “Reboot” option and tap again on “Power Off”.

Good luck recovering your photos! If you need further instructions restoring your system, just tell me, :wink:

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Hi Roboe,
Thank you so much for your detailed answer! In fact just at the same time you replied the phone crashed completely and I couldn’t even boot it in recovery mode. So I went on holidays for a couple of weeks and I couldn’t take one picture or video with the phone’s beautiful cam, it was just useless in a bag :frowning: Now I’m back I saw that Fairphone support didn’t answer to the requests I sent them a month ago, so I called them and they told me they will simply replace it. DHL should come home in a couple of days to take the defective phone and send me a new one.
Anyway, the day I’ll have the new phone in my hands I will install TWRP following your instructions so I won’t loose all my data again.

I’m sure your advice will be useful to other people too.
Thanks again!

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