Will the phone operate without the front camera installed?

I am paranoid about security and see this modular design as an opportunity to rid myself of the vanity camera on the front of the device.

Will the phone still boot and work i.e. not crash if using the normal camera app (rear cameras) if I physically remove the front facing camera.


Which phone do you have, and you can open the camera and cover the lens with black tape or nail varnish


I don’t own a fairphone, in fact I’ve only just learnt of of it.

However, I presently cover up my camera and so it was one of the first things on my mind to physically remove it, seem as though this phone is designed with that in mind.

Don’t tell me that it must be affixed ?!

Well the FP4 front camera is a separate module so you can theoretically just remove it, not sure how the software will react to that though :man_shrugging:


I realise that it can be physically removed, but, as you say, will that inhibit normal operation of the device ?

If anybody has a Fairphone, and has the time to remove the front facing camera, please could they let me know…


Which Fairphone do you want to buy, the FP3 or the FP4?

Clearly some of the software will be screwed as they use the ‘selfie’ camera and you will risk apps that offer options being stunted and not responding as they are designed. You don’t need to remove a camera to know that.

Cameras may not work.

What’s the big deal about removing a camera when it’s easier to disable in physically.

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Tried it, at least CalyxOS boots fine on a FP4 without the front cam, I’m writing from it right now.
Camera app works as well, not sure about the stock FPcamera app though, haven’t got that one installed…

In all the apps with camera access I tested, the only difference was the missing :repeat: icon to change to the front camera :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks a lot !

It looks like CalyxOS handles the missing hardware gracefully, even so much as to remove the option to attempt to even access the hardware if missing.


I suppose that I could have inspected the code, it would have been there.

Thanks for the info !

Incidentally, why CalyxOS ?

I’ve always been an iOS user/developer (Swift), why choose that one ?

If I was to go with a non-stock OS it would be on security grounds, could you recommend one please ?

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Personally if I was privacy-oriented enough, I’d be much more interested in whether you can disable the microphone in some way on a hardware level. Cameras are easily disabled with low-tech solutions like pieces of tape while mics aren’t and they have at least as much or even more spying potential.


I don’t think that behaviour is specific to Calyx, that just happens to be what’s installed on my FP4 and I can’t test the FP4 with stock FPOS a family member has right now.

At the end of the day Android is just a Linux system with some weird bits sprinkled in for “fun” and I wouldn’t expect my PC to stop working when I unplug the webcam. Since a phone / tablet can have any number of cameras from 0 to ∞ apps should generally be prepared for that…
…except maybe for the FPcamera app made specifically by Fairphone for the Fairphone :thinking:

Normally I would have gone with LineageOS but official Lineage just became available yesterday (and I didn’t have time to build it myself before), I don’t like the proprietary apps shipped with iodé, /e/ is meant for a different type of user and I’m still not sure what to make of LeOS :man_shrugging:

That left Calyx, which has a firewall and microG included and lets me remove everything I don’t need.

If you are absolutely hardcore about security you’ll probably have to take a look at GrapheneOS, but the main dev has already said there won’t be a build for the FP4.
And I am personally not going to go anywhere near that community, there are nicer places out there (like this forum)…


FP2s I tested always reacted well under all OSes when removing any modules (even powering it without the display is possible, using it with adb). If you have no cameras at all, some apps will crash, some others will say there is a problem with the camera, apart from this it works fine. I see no reason why this should be different on the FP4 (and it seems it’s not).


Thanks guys, it seems software dependent then, which is how it should be.

I’ve never ventured out of the iOS ecosystem for a portable device (what we call iDevices) and so it is all new to me. However, GrapheneOS (like the name change!) seems like it’s doing well with a Snowden recommendation, and who cares about the community, they just have a high entry threshold, I can take the abuse.

@rieska : You’re right about the microphone matter, but I cannot do much as all three are soldered onto the motherboard, so it will be something I will recommend to the devs for their 5th release (which looking at the release schedule seems to be annually now).

@Alex.A : Interesting that you tested it with different hardware missing, why was that, just for fun ? If it’s workable on a second generation release, then the fourth should be fine.

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If you absolutely need a phone without microphones / camera(s) / sensors etc. Nitrokey sells those…

… for a heavy 300€ markup, complete with GrapheneOS preinstalled.

But those are modified Pixels, not exactly great when it comes to the fair part in Fairphone, which is why most people are here…


Fairphone could be modular like that, as they already are with cameras.

There is a market for this, I do hope that Fairphone recognise that.

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Indeed, just out of fun :slight_smile: And because I sometimes tested individual modules and was lazy to put all others back just to test one.

Or there is also the Librem 5 with hardware kill switches for microphone, camera and wireless.

Edit: typo


Both PinePhone and PinePhone Pro also have killswitches for microphones and cameras, although they are not as easily accessible as on the Librem 5. (You need to take the back cover off.)


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