Why I switched away from Fairphone

I really like the concepts etc. behind Fairphone, but recently I bought a OnePlus 7 Pro instead. Here’s my line of thinking:
My almost 3 year Fairphone 2 got slower over time, as smartphones tend to do, and my demands also increased. When the lag got to a point where I couldn’t really use the phone anymore, I started looking for a new phone.
The Fairphone 3 has better specs, but I would have definitely preferred the specs of the Fairphone 4. Since production of multiple replacement parts of the Fairphone 2 has already stopped, despite the promises of repairability, I wouldn’t be comfortable buying a Fairphone 3 if spare parts would likely stop being produced right when I start needing them. This is already a disappointment and a betrayal of the fundamentals of this company, but the other advantages would make Fairphone still better than other smartphone companies.
So I looked into the Fairphone 4. There is an article that links to instructions for unlocking the bootloader which do not exist yet. There’s a link to the article, but the article isn’t there. Apparently the plan is to sell separate Fairphone 4s with root and no Google apps, so maybe I could then flash a custom ROM onto those and then install Google apps myself. But those phones also do not exist yet. So basically the only way to use a Fairphone 4 so far would be without root, LineageOS, Magisk, XPosed etc. for now and just blindly hope that all of this becomes possible one day. That would definitely be a downgrade from the laggy Fairphone 2 and there’s not even a guarantee that anyone will port LineageOS to it or how long this will take.
This all means that apparently a random Chinese phone is better than a Fairphone in terms of open source, customisability etc… The Fairphone 2 never got any upgraded modules (There was a second camera, but it seems to be equivalent to the first one.), I can’t buy some of the replacement parts anymore, the plan seems to be to keep making new phones that are incompatible with parts of the older models, so with this trend, I might as well buy a completely welded together phone if I have to throw it away at some point anyway. That is not what I expected Fairphone to be.


My understanding is that the fundamentals are based on Fair mineral extraction and fair wages.

What you want is a more ‘user’ customisable phone centred around software, that was not Fairphone’s prime objective, hence the Fairphone may not be up your street.

Having it all is a lot to ask.


I’ve been using a rooted Fairphone 4 for almost a month now, with Magisk, riru, LSPosed and microG. And so have others. I wouldn’t call that impossible :smirk:
Sure it’s not a one click process, but that also wasn’t the case for previous Fairphones and I’m pretty sure the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t ship prerooted with signature spoofing and all that good stuff enabled either…


“Fairphone’s high-level ambition for our phones’ software is to bring more fairness to software. To us, that means focusing on the following key principles: transparency, longevity and ownership. Transparency is about building trust with our community. Longevity means keeping the software up-to-date and secure long after the product was sold, and ownership is about putting the user in control over what happens on their phone.”
There were also other statements like this, but that’s the first one I found.
But OK, maybe “fundamentals” is a bit of a heavy wording. It’s still a no-go for me if I can’t root and modify the system.

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How did you do that? I didn’t find anything and at least the official post made it sound like it’s impossible on the regular Fairphone 4 and only possible on the “e-OS” devices.

Here you go :slightly_smiling_face:


The feedback I remember is that the upgraded cameras of the FP2 were a definite improvement.


Oh, so it was meant to be a quality update? I thought it was just supposed to fix some issues.
I actually had the opposite effect, my phone had issues with the new camera, so I traded it for my mother’s Fairphone 2’s camera and now both of them work fine in the other phone.

OK, an actual ordered tutorial seems to be here: Fairphone 4 – Root -December 2021 – Stijn D'haese
That still leaves the problem of no LineageOS support, but if I had known in advance that this was possible, I might have lived with that, I also did that on my Sony phone that I had before the Fairphone 2. But now I’m quite content with my existing phone, unless something major comes up. It was used, so at least better for the environment than a new one, and I basically overwrite everything, so no worries about Chinese spyware. And I know for sure that the entire procedure works, because I already did it.
But thanks for the link! That will surely be useful once my mother’s phone inevitably breaks.

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LOS is already on its way, but for sure needs some time and cannot be available from first day


The sentence about a random chinese phone is more open source than the FP4 is wrong. You chose one of the most followed trademark for Lineage OS. Moreover I wonder if it was possible to install Lineage OS on a OnePlus one 7 from day 1… which is what you would have liked here (answer : no).

As much as I can understand people don’t want to buy another phone from Fairphone to replace a previous FP, I don’t understand why you need to justify it in this forum.


The hope is that they would pay more attention to having such things ready at or close to release, if they see that it costs them customers. Since apparently a user was able to write a guide on how to unlock the bootloader, they could have at least written that already, it shouldn’t take months. And stopping to produce parts is just a bad move in general.
I could have just written a message to the support, but I thought that a public conversation about this would be more productive and indeed it was already.

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  • This forum is not a Fairphone communications channel so ‘they’ won’t be reading this.
  • If you wanted them to do something just ask, all the details in your post are a bit distracting from what you want Fairphone to do

That’s a pure capitalistic view. :slight_smile: I’m sure Fairphone are not going to make a myriad of OS’es available, nor a jack socket or an LED etc for those extra few customers. Can you imagine the cost.

To do a simple Android Fairphone have to have their software licensed which requires over 500,000 test to be verified by google. That’s a lot of work.

There’s the /e/ company Murena or something that sell one with a degoogled OS but you don’t, as yet, get a five year warranty with that.

If you want a five year warranty, which I think more people will find attractive that alternate OS’s, then focusing on one OS makes good business sense.

Basically your disappointments are understood but your expectations and out of reach, so sadly you won’t get the satisfaction you wanted.

Other phones are available but no other with the Fair trading credentials, which is why the phone was made.

Maybe ten years down the line more manufactures will follow Fairphone’s lead and there will be phones more to your liking and manufactured with improved ethics.

Keep in touch.

All the best.


Did you read the Fairphone blog explaining why it was necessary? And did you have a look at the very extensive forum discussions about that topic yet?
There’s imho no need in starting this discussion here again.


Honestly, people seem to forget/not know in the first place, who is responsible for the things they ask and how much time it takes to make them work and check they are working as intended.

Unlocking the bootloader has been possible from the day I got my fairphone and probably from the day they released it. Using my search engine of choice the instruction were the very first result. And once you’ve unlocked your bootloader you are on your own.

Rooting with magisk is simple and mostly the same for most somewhat current phones, there are tons of guides out there, even an official one by the magisk developer. You only have to know the buttons to get you into fastboot/adb and you are probably good to go. Again, working from the day I got my fairphone, also probably from day one.

LineageOS, /e/OS and any other custom android version you can think of:
Someone has to port it first and that takes time

I’m not trying to be too aggressive here (even if I may sound like it), but all the information you needed was out there. Buying a newly released phone from a different company will not change any of this. If you need more detailed instructions you should probably wait until more experienced people have figured out all the quirks of your phone before you try it yourself.

EDIT: The article you mention in your first post is probably the article that describes how to flash the factory image - which is unfortunately still not released - which is a shame, but the factory image is not needed to root your device

Have fun with you new phone, you hopefully learned something new today :slight_smile:


Oh, I didn’t know that.

I’m not saying they should develop OSes on their own, just write that article on unlocking the bootloader and then maybe some pointers to where to find further information. They clearly planned to do it, because they link to it from other places. And for the Fairphone 2, there was extensive documentation and even a rooted alternative OS without Google apps by default.

Not yet, right?

Maybe you mean something else than what I saw so far. Can you link it, please?

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You can preorder it. And delivery is said to be started in January still:

Yes, I can search it for you and send the links then…

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BTW, this is the what I found: https://support.fairphone.com/hc/en-us/articles/4405858189585-FP4-Android-without-Google-services-Open-OS-
It says that neither the support article, nor the Google-free phones exist yet. Also, I just noticed that the third party article for unlocking+rooting is from just 4 days ago, so I wouldn’t have been able to find it before I bought my phone anyway. The old one was deteriorating rapidly, so I ordered it on the 20th of December, despite originally wanting to wait until a while after Christmas, to help spread out the stress on package services, but the old phone just became almost unusable. I didn’t expect to get so many helpful replies so quickly (and this is not even the help forum), so I expected to not be able to find anything helpful before my order.

“This product is not available for your country”

Maybe you’re in France. In Germany for example it is. You may head over to the /e/ forum for more details: