Refurbished Iphone vs Fairphone

Hello, as my FP2 is getting less and less usable every day, I’m currently looking for a new phone as my daily driver. Over the lifetime of my FP2 I’ve also used an Iphone 8 which my employer provided me. I love what Fairphone are doing and I know they cannot compete with Apple in SW/HW fields.
However, seeing how badly it my FP2 aged made me think, would buying a second hand or refurbished IPhone instead of a Fairphone be less sustainable and less fair? I’d like to hear your opinion on this.

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Well, I was asking myself the exact same question a month ago… (FP5 or refurbished pixel7).

I ended up going with a new FP5, here are my thoughts:

Refurbished is much better for the environment.
However, refurbished doesn’t do anything for the prosocial aspect (Fair working condition).
Buying refurbished also doesn’t give any extra incentive to manufacturer to do better.
Buying refurbished also means you won’t get many years of security updates, if any. (IPhone are not the worst reguarding that thought). Security updates are important and shouldn’t be neglected, this isn’t fear mongering.
Apple is most eco-prosocial company except for fairphone of course, (and except for the glued batery, :frowning: ) so good choice there.

Do take into account that fairphones user experience is definitly worst than iphones. They are good enough for all use, but not as enjoyable to use. So when your iPhone dies in (optimistically) 10 years, it will be harder to downgrade back to a fairphone.

I went with a new FP5 because I can afford it, and really like the effort they made for long software support. Hopefully it will allow FP to thrive and also send a strong message to the industry that there is money to be made in eco-prosocial produits.
I’d say a refurbished iPhone is greener in the short term, but a new FP is fairer and might incentivise the industry to be greener and fairer in the long term.

You could get the best of both world with those refurbished FP4! They get longer software support than most new phones from other compagnies.

You have allready eliminated the worst choice (new phone from unsustainable company) so go with what you think will satisfy you enough to keep it a long time. Your satisfaction is also important! Seing lots of miserable FP user around would be very bad advertising.

Whatever you decide will be good enough. Good on you to think about your impact, you’re allready miles ahead of most everyone just for that.


Thank you for your kind words! You’ve basically summarized it exactly how I see the whole picture. And it is exactly the source of my dilemma, on one side I want to support Fairphone because they are leading the industry into the right direction, but at the same time user experience with IPhone for my use case was simply flawless which made my life just simpler. You are also right about the importance of security updates. Apple is really not bad when it comes to long term SW support but a refurbished device will surely have less time left…
Regarding SW support, there is also another important aspect which many users seem not that aware of. Although an Android device gets SW Updates, a part of the SW (Firmware Blobs) don’t get updated (thanks to Qualcomm). So my FP2 has Android 11 with Security update from 2023 but Vendor Security Patch level is the same since 2018 which might leave the Phone partially vulnerable to some attacks. I hope it will be different with the new IOT SOC Fairphone have chosen for the FP5.

Just to let you know… you can also buy a refurbished Fairphone 4 from the FP website. They provide 5 years of software support and warranty, and you still support Fairphone as a company :slight_smile:
At the moment, you will also receive a case and a screen protector for free with it.


I did ask the FP for the exact length of software updates as there are at the monent different dates all over the website. The warranty is clear - five years if purchased before the end of this year. Will update the post as soon as I hear from them.
The offer on free accessories seems to be valid till the end of November or (till the last unit) though.

I have not received the precise information I asked for, just the acknowledgment of the confusion. Yet, the website has been updated and cleared up. Now, the official framework of FP4 software updates is till August 2026 with the suggestion that FP will aim to provide support till 2028.

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Thanks for the update. With my FP2 I eventually switched to LineageOS as I’ve realised that the Fairphone were lagging behind the Android Security Updates quite frequently. Especially when FP3 came out, there was a long period (couple of months) without any update. It was so long I even thought they stopped supporting FP2 without official announcement. I know they are a small company so surely supporting multiple models over long term is a challenging task. But I simply wonder why they don’t just focus on building fair and long lasting HW and cooperate with /e/ OS and/or LineageOS for Software Development?

They do cooperate with Murena (/e/OS) for SW development. But that’s still a niche market compared to devices running with FPOS.

I think it’s a coincidence. Fairphone had to developed software for the FP2 without the help of Qualcomm for the processor.

I don’t get how /e/ OS can be niche market. If you mean it marketing wise, I think Fairphone using it as the main OS would bring enough attention to it. Functionality-wise, as far as I can see, it is not missing anything compared to “standard” Android experience. If anybody needs, they can even use their Google Login for the PlayStore to install purchased Apps. It seems to check all the boxes, or am I missing a detail?

It uses microG instead of the G play services. This mimicks a lot of functions but by far not all. Some apps don’t work, especially lots of payed apps don’t. Most people want G apps preinstalled on the phone they buy a.s.o.

Interesting, probably I’m not a typical Android user so I haven’t had any issues for my use-case. But regardless of whether it is /e/ OS or not, I really think it would be beneficial for Fairphone (and for the users) to offload SW Development and Support to a company which can cope with the ever changing Android Ecosystem, and only focus on HW development and support. Fighting on both HW and SW fronts is just a huge challenge for such a small company. And as a result, overall user experience suffers due to late support replies and infrequent Android security updates etc.

Well SW development is outsourced. And Murena isnt at all faster in fixing, updating, upgrading as far as I can see…