Remove & disable all camera modules

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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Sorry, I’m not sure if that will void my warranty, so I’m not going to try that…

If it’s possible to remove both cams, while keeping the functionality of the remaining parts (thus not removing the whole module with the front cam), I think I’ll get me one and might suggest it to my colleagues and company if it works as expected. But I’d guess, for the full support of my company, it’ll need a proper cover for the rear camera hole.
If this works, this will be the ONLY ‘cam-free’ Android phone on the EU market.

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For the sake of saving money and resources I’ll just have to suggest to anyone who doesn’t want/need the cameras AT ALL to buy the modules he needs individually and - if available by then - get a used receiver unit with a broken front camera.

But I guess most people who need a camera-free phone at work can still find use for the cameras at home or on holiday.

I rather have the modules stored somewhere. So I can reattach them in case the policy changes.

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Dummy camera module available here. * beta *

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Does the FairPhone 2 work without camera module? My Idea is that I buy the spare parts without the camera module and assemble it myself in a cool laser cut case. Anyone brave enough to test this?

cheers romeo

Romeo, did you see the affirmative reply you just got 25 minutes ago on your same-themed request over at Fairphone-Freunde? :wink: