Software Update: 3.A.0129.20210805 (unknown caller and zero brightness bugs)

Hi everyone,

We realize that the situation for those affected by the Caller ID and Adaptive Brightness issues has been quite frustrating. So, we’d like to share some updates and a bit more information in this post.

We can now confirm that our next software update will be released early November. This update will include a fix for the Caller ID issue and we’ll reverse the recent changes made to Adaptive Brightness.

Some of you have asked why we could not release the fix earlier. We found the root cause, but it is modem related, so the release process is more complex. We needed to do more tests and do the full cycle certification process (not only the Google Certification, but also the Operators Approvals process). Rolling back to the last working version, including the security update(s) means that we would still have to do the full cycle of tests and approvals.

Testing a new release means proceeding with some internal tests, running internal CTS (Compatibility Test Suite), and doing field testing in some specific countries to run non-regressions test cases. We haven’t done external beta testing for the Fairphone 3 (other than network compliance), but taking into account our own research and feedback from the community, our plan is to implement a beta testing program when we roll out Android 11. We are also aiming to do a staged roll out for Android 11.

To shed some light on how to go about applying new security patches for a new release, these are the steps involved:

  1. We get the source from Qualcomm/Android Open Source Project
  2. When a new security patch comes, it is based on the original Qualcomm/Android Open Source Project source, so we cannot directly apply all the changes in a simple manner.
  3. After resolving the conflicts, we have to test that it should not have any regression compared to the previous version.

Splitting security updates from application updates is technically doable but the cost would be significantly more, so for now we are combining both.

Hopefully this clarifies the process up a bit more. Once again, thank you very much for your feedback and sincere apologies to all Vodafone Germany users who have been affected by these issues.


Thanks for the insight.
So an update is hard to roll out quickly.

If there’s a bit of time involved in the process anyway, could switching the A/B slot back to the OS state prior to the update be made a part of internal testing?

If this generic A/B device procedure could be ensured to work on the A/B devices Fairphone 3 and 3+, and a short notice that this has been successfully tested could be included in update announcements, a situation like the current one would be much more manageable for users. Details are here … Can update 3.A.0129.20210805 be rolled back by switching the OS slot?.


This is great! Can’t wait to receive my Fairphone 4. This gives me more confidence in the QA you’re doing. Also thanks for providing the background, with that it makes the long wait for users justified. And good to know you’re working on an improved method to manage these roll outs.


Thank you for clarifying, but can I ask why it took the company more than a month to take the time to give us these clarifications? You certainly lost me as a future customer, and I am probably not the only one… and I am more sad than mad about this, belive me.


Whereas I agree it would have been nice to know why there are delays, but that is often the case, so not really a surprise, but very upsetting for those with the caller ID issue especially.

However I’m not sure alternative companies will give you an explanation or provide as many updates or send out updates that do not require fixes.

My being a customer has more to do with the fairtrade aspect than software issues and I don’t see that addressed nor any public explanations as why not to be considered by other manufacturers.

I note you are an FP1 user, that’s pretty impressive, so not all bad then ??

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Flickering display and deffect touchfunction in lockscreen

Well, i am not that disappointed and do think that my fp3 is the best phone i had so far considering all aspects, but i would rather like to see a quick and easy solution to revert back to the last release next time.

@rae Could you maybe in future releases implement an easy way to switch back to the last version via another slot if the update is somehow broken? Something like “reset device” which is already there?

The way AnotherElk described it in Can update 3.A.0129.20210805 be rolled back by switching the OS slot?, is not that customerfriendly.

In addition to a fast and clear announce about what went wrong, this would even make me feel more save doing updates.


I suppose the worry in rolling back, although a good option for some, especially with the ‘unknown caller’ issue would roll back the security updates, and in the case back to June 2021.

And there are a number of other fixes that would be undone, so I image Fairphone would have to provide details on what else may go wrong, and are they covered for that?

There would be no problem if there was a detailed changelog.

But even lacking detailed info, I still imagine users would know what to expect with the OS version used before on their phones, as they used the former version for a while afterall.

Since it’s a user’s decision to update or not to update, it should be a possible user decision to roll back an update, too.
The procedure to roll back is there anyway, it just has to be made sure that it works for a start.


@rae Does reversing changes in adaptative brightness means that minimum brightness will be far too bright again? I just want to not burn my eyes when looking at my phone in the evening.

Thank for your work and answers

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I was wondering about that, but there were two issues.
a) the adaptive brightness and
b) the change in levels

I never had a problem with the lowest setting and the lowest setting now is unusable for me.

Let’s hope it was only the first.

Sorry if I have misunderstood, the lowest setting now is not something useful for you? On my side I use it only at night but it is such an improvement for me. :smiley: But I agree that adaptative brightness is broken. I disabled it.

Honestly if updating my FP3 means having the minimum brightness to be as it was before this update, I think I will simply not update my phone. And I am pretty obsessive about installing updates! It is that important for me :grin:

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@TrueCherry So you might need to skip the upcoming update


when will the Update happen? We have already initiated legal steps
against Vodafone here in Germany, as they say it’s a technical problem
on their side, but haven’t given any details on how fast they will
resolve the Caller ID issue. It’s more then a pain in the back - I use
the GMS for home office, so without the Caller ID the CTI software
doesn’t work!

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So it might hopefully be only a few more days

You understood me correctly I never had an issue with the lowest brightness setting.

So what happened for me was that the adaptive brightness came in too soon. i.e. the sensor read zero when there was enough ambient light to read and then set the screen to minimum brightness. Then the so called AI function didn’t learn. So I’ve just disabled adaptive and the phone is more usable in that sense.

Regarding yvmuell
Hopefully if it’s only the adaptive part Fairphone are rolling back and not level then all should be OK

I suppose all you have to do is to watch this forum before you decide. I will definitely be updating on the changes. :slight_smile:

Thanks for that as some people had been slagging off Fairphone as the culprit despite previous statements that support your post.

Well hopefully Fairphone will either be rolling that back or they have some new instructions from Vodafone

All the best.

This may be of some comfort to

@Martin_Mattausch-Wie @surfling @uodalricus

no it doesn’t. Because : if Vodafone has it as a technical problem on there side… then which bug did Fairphone find in the code weeks ago? Somebody talks big bullshit. VF or fp. Or both.

Your question would be better directed to Vodafone, not that they may answer.

  • Fairphone update the A10
  • Fairphone do over 500,000 test to get an updated Android certificate
  • The update is send to the major Networks (Vodafone, EE, O2 etc)
  • Once each network confirms it’s OK it is released via the networks push notification

What doesn’t happen, which is quite often is that the networks don’t check with each of their carriers. If there’s protocol updated to Vodafone that hasn’t been passed to a carrier, something may break ~ like the caller ID. For me it was the carrier name ~ no big deal.

  • Fairphoners tell Faiphone
  • Fairphone collate and confirm there is a ‘ladybird’ in the works
  • Fairphone tell Vodaphone, maybe six weeks ago
  • Vodafone look at it and do tests
  • Vodafone confirm and tell Fairphone they have found the problem
  • Fairphone get the new info maybe 5 weeks ago
  • Fairphone prepare a new update
  • Two months later maybe we get the update.

That’s just my pennies worth.

Where’s the bovine manure you keep stepping in. It seems all vegan, kosher and halal from here :slight_smile:

Thanks, as always, for the feedback and for proposing alternative solutions.

To answer @AnotherElk’s question about whether switching the A/B slot back to the OS state prior to the update could be made a part of internal testing. This is not a possible solution and is in fact, not recommended by Google because it might cause data loss. We also have Verified Boot installed which includes rollback protection. This is a protective measure that records the most recent version of the Android and refuses to boot Android if it’s lower than the recorded version.

Hope that clears it up a little! If there are further questions, of course feel free to give me a shout too. :slight_smile: