Remove & disable all camera modules

As far as i read, the modularity of the fairphone(2) focuses mainly on repairing and upgrading. But will it be possible to remove all camera modules/apps to simply get a smartphone without camera (and take it to security areas without probs) ? Will it run without errors/kernel panics/etc. ?

The front camera will probably be problematic as it is built into the receiver unit:

The receiver unit, which includes the receiver, headset connector, front-facing camera, noise-cancelling microphone, ambient light and proximity sensor and the notification LED.

I’m not sure about the removability of the back camera - I even don’t know whether, for instance, any other modules are connecting to the motherboard via other modules.

Hm … too bad. So for now I will go with another smartphone. The choice of non-camera smartphones is very poor.

6.The rear camera unit, which includes the rear camera and flash. So it is a separated module
modules in the Fairphone. and information about spare parts.
For more detailled information please ask at support.

Is this really still an issue? If there is an area where cellphones are forbidden, you are just asked to put your cell in a locker or give it to a person that locks them away. I haven’t heard that companies still separate between camera and non-camera phones these days. Brings way too much trouble for both sides.

According to ifixit it is possible to take the moduls apart and remove also the front camera (Step 8).

Just for a quicker reference … it’s also very interesting to look at this while looking at the listed bin blobs. :wink:

Since today the first Fairphone 2’s were shipped, I’d watch out for people posting here, that they received theirs. Then contact them and ask them to try their device without the camera module. :slight_smile:

Yes, there are still companies, where cameras are forbidden but cell phones are allowed. This happens in companies where products are developed, whose design should be secret until public presentation. If you work there every day, dropping your phone at the entry is not a solution. Company phones are protected by MDM (camera deactivation) and additional seal (to make it visible to the security service, that this phone is protected).

So for now I ordered one of the few smartphones that comes without a camera out-of-the-box. But for the future I keep an eye on this thread and published user experiences. Generally I like sustainable products and open source software. All together in a product whose hardware (maybe) can be adapted to my needs would be a win-win-win … but just for trying, 500 bucks are too much for now :smile:

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Getting a dummy rear camera module this week probably, will let you know if that fits. Otherwise you would have quite the hole in the back of your phone.

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Sorry, looks like a misunderstanding. I thought you were looking for a private phone. A “BYOD” with MDM sounds a bit too complicated for me. I would just by a second phone for that or use the one provided by the company. Most companies that will provide MDM will also provide the phones. No need to buy your own …

No, there is no misunderstanding, I’m looking for a private phone, no “BYOD” or anything similar. I mentioned the MDM and sealing procedure only to underline the actions, the company takes, to prevent anybody from taking pictures, while generally allowing smartphones in security areas.

Just out of curiosity, I just checked.

Good news first: the phone software has no problem at all with removed modules.
The camera app just switch to the front camera when it does not find the main camera.
And when both camera’s are removed, the app just closes with a warning.

However, since the front camera module also holds the earphones plug and ear speaker, you can only make a call in handsfree mode (the main speaker is appearantly in another module.

Oh, and the empty hole where the main camera is located isn’t very pretty…

So if you don’t mind to loose the earphone connector and calling in handsfree mode only, you can use the phone in your company.

BTW, please don’t take this as an invitation to suggest more experiments on my phone :wink:


Hey great, thanks for testing.
As Zebrafax mentioned (and linked to Step 8 of ifixit-manual) the front camera can also be removed from the complete module. In that case it would be interesting, if the module still works with some parts removed. But I don’t want to ask for more experiments … now :smiley:.

On software side, is it also possible to remove the camera app or is it somehow “solded” into the system ?

Calling in handsfree isn’t a good solution, because just for company secrets I don’t want to get naked.

The thing with the hole at camera position maybe can be fixed by a cheap 3d-print solution.

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At step 9, they also removed the back camera from the camera module, similar to the front camera.

So you can remove both cameras easily, label them (to distinguish front and back camera), put them into a small box, and reassemble the modules without cameras. No need for a “dummy part”. You only have to find the box with the cameras if you want to sell the phone or leave the company :grinning:.

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That all cameras can be removed is almost clear at this point, the smallest “surgery” without hard- and software-related problems is still a bit unknown. But the duimmy parts are required for a “nice look” and for keeping unnecessary dust and dirt away. Still missing the times of first phone cameras, that were detacheable (SonyEricsson T68, Siemens S55, …) … :disappointed_relieved:

Tuesday I will have news about dummy camera modules - if there is someone at fairphone-HQ to let me in


If you remove just the cameras from the modules, you still have the cover glass on the modules which you reassemble into the phone.

When you look closely on the ifixit photos, you will see that camera and cover glass are different parts. So the “nice look” and dust/dirt protection is ensured even without the cameras.

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Good news on the front camera, the glass obviously covers the hole (duh…), so that is not an issue when removing. But removing that entire module also removes the proximity and 3.5 jack, so that is not good. Not allowed to open this module further (not my phone), but looking at this picture the front camera can just be popped out without any major risks.

Regarding back camera:
The dummy module I designed does not fit yet. Stay tuned.

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