💌 YOU should switch to Open OS now! (+Why & How)

EDIT (November 2018):

This post is quite old. I crossed out some sections that are no longer true, but some other info may still be outdated.
Also by now I’d rather recommend Lineage OS instead of Open OS. #lineageos

In case you never heard of it Fairphone Open OS is a second Operating System for FP2s officially supported and maintained by Fairphone. Your Fairphone came with Fairphone OS preinstalled, but you can easily make the switch.

Pros & Cons of Open OS

I tried to order them by their severity. Please argue in the thread below if you disagree with the order.

:heavy_plus_sign: With Open OS you can choose how much you want to depend on Google.
You can be totally Google-free (they can’t spy on you and get rich from your data), you can get all the Google Apps & Services or just a portion.

:heavy_plus_sign: You can very easily get root access.
What is root? If you are new to Android you may be more familiar with the term “jailbreak”, which is essentially the same but for Apple devices. It’s nothing illegal or dangerous, but a way to give you way more control over your device. Have you ever missed a function or wanted to tweak something a little? Chances are that with root there is a very easy way to do it!

:heavy_plus_sign: Your phone comes with less bloatware.
Fairphone OS comes with many apps preinstalled that you probably don’t need. Open OS has that too to some degree, but much less of it. Not only does that mean that your list of all apps is more tidy, but less bloatware also means a faster device with less issues. (no guarantee)

:heavy_minus_sign: You (currently) get OS updates slightly later.
Fairphone Open OS gets the same monthly updates with security updates and bug fixes as Fairphone OS, but they usually come a few weeks later.
This is no longer true.

:heavy_minus_sign: Sometimes bugs specific to Open OS arise and they may be handled with less priority.
Since for now Open OS only runs on a few percent of all Fairphones the Fairphone devs may sometimes prioritize on other bugs rather than those only relevant for Open OS users. See the “Bugs specific to FP Open” paragraph on the #bugslist::tag for up-to-date info.

:heavy_minus_sign: Some apps refuse (usually for no good reason) to work properly on “modified devices”.
These apps detect that you don’t have Google installed or that your phone is rooted. The more effort these apps make in keeping you from using them the more effort you have to put in in making them work. We have a guide to let you #installanyapp on Open OS. Start with a low level, and if the apps still don’t work go further to higher levels (more effort).

:heavy_plus_sign: You get the same support from Fairphone and arguably better support on the forum.
Many regular users on the forum made the switch, so - while they do of course also help people who run Fairphone OS - they are simply more familiar with Open OS and may have no experiences with some issues that are unique to Fairphone OS.
EDIT: By now many regular forum users switched to alternative OSes, but what is still true is at least that most regulars can better help you with issues not related to Google.

:heavy_plus_sign: Fairphone OS may never see an update to Android 7 while for Open OS it seems possible.
There is no official statement about this yet, but that is what seems to be the consent of people arguing in this thread.
Obviously this was not true, but the same speculation may be true for an Android 8 upgrade.

Additional benefits of switching

The more people switch to Open OS the more Fairphone will probably prioritize on it and that comes with great benefits.

  • Fairphone Open OS bugs will be fixed faster
  • Some featurerequests may be easier to implement in Open OS. Once Open OS is used by a lot of people and the Fairphone devs have some time they could work on some of those (with the community).
  • If Open OS ever is used by a majority Fairphone will be less dependent on Google.
  • Open OS may then be the preinstalled OS in the future which will make even more people go the google-free and open source way.

Why is Open OS not preinstalled already?

Fairphone decided to aim for official Google support after bad experiences with the FP1.

Argument 1:
Fairphone 1 came with an Operating system similar to Open OS, meaning it was rooted and had no Google stuff preinstalled. Instead it had a Google Apps installer, which caused lots of issues. People were often complaining about not being able to re-install Google after an OS update.

Counter Argument:
With the Fairphone 2 and Open OS + openGapps that’s a different story. Once you know how to reinstall Google Apps it’s quite easy and not error-prone.

Argument 2:
For Google to officially support the Fairphone 2 they demand that an unmodified Google-infested OS is preinstalled on the FP2. Loosing the official support would make monthly security updates a thing of the past and probably decrease the chances of Android updates.

Counter Argument:
None. :frowning:

Can I test Open OS without risk of loosing my data?

Yes! :smiley:

Option 1: EFIDroid
Here is the guide to install EFIDroid. (Please check that topic to see what currently works and what issues exist). With EFIDroid you can have both Fairphone OS and Open OS installed on your Fairphone and switch upon rebooting.

:bulb: You can also use EFIDroid to make sure you successfully restored all your backed up data on Open OS before cutting the cord to Fairphone OS.:thumbsup:
Just install Open OS along side FP Os and migrate all your data. Then - once you decide to go Open all the way - use TWRP (the recovery mode that comes with Open OS) to make a full backup of Open OS, wipe the whole system, install open OS and restore the backup.

EFIDroid no longer works on the FP2.

Option2: TWRP

  • Flash TWRP
    or use it without flashing
  • Make a full backup with TWRP (including system)
  • Switch to Open OS
  • Use it
  • Make a backup
  • Now you can switch OSes simply by restoring one of the two backups

As @snevas describes below it now works with encryption too.

How do I switch?

Switching is very easy. You’ll just have to download a file and open it with the updater app.

1. Prepare
To backup your personal data there are different ways. If you decide to use Google on Open OS you can simply backup everything to the Google Cloud.
If you rooted your FP2 you can use Titanum Backup, otherwise look at this list of options.
Anyways make sure your backup is not stored on the phone’s internal storage!
2. Install
Here is the official guide.
3. (Optional) Install Google Apps.
If you decided you want to keep using google check this guide on how to install them on Open OS.
4. Restore your data.
Now you can restore your backup with Google or whichever option you chose.
5. Getting Started with Open OS.
Here is a guide for getting started with Open OS, including tips for apps you should get and how to enable root and install XPosed.
6. Updating
Updating Open OS works the same as FP OS. But if you made “modifications” (ever installed anything via TWRP - that includes Google Apps) you’ll need to follow this guide. (It looks way more complicated than it is. Skip every step where you reinstall something you hadn’t installed before and don’t need now.)

Switching now works differently. Follow this guide.


My experience has been different, when I put a request to the Fairphone support. I have had a problem to use the Google Playstore at the open Fairphone OS. Meanwhile this is solved, because I am completely out of Google apps now. And I am very happy with that decision!
But the Fairphone support answer has been:
“For the rest I have to direct you to our forum, see below, as we don’t officially support open source!
Unless its a problem with the hardware!”

For me this sounds as if there is not the same support for the open OS than for the Google OS.


When was that?
I can imagine they can’t help you much with issues that arise from using openGapps, because of course they can’t officially support that, but “we don’t officially support Open OS.” sounds like a new support employee who doesn’t know any better or a very old answer from back when they hadn’t fully figured it out yet.


Seventeenth of November last year, not so long ago. And I don’t know, whether Martijn is an employee.

I don’t think so. I can remember having read this several times, even from the beginning of FP open OS. Already then, they said that they won’t officially support FP open OS - in the sense of the FP support team not being able (or willing) to help people out with FP open OS-specific problems.

To put it simply, we want to offer you the ability to choose between the Google experience and the freedom of open source. Both versions are officially supported by Fairphone


Although I admit not everything in that article can be taken as gospel truth:

The operating system has a special look and feel developed together with Kwamecorp, as well as a few custom apps and features for an improved user experience. All features can be disabled by the user.

Edge-swipe, Mood-Changer (discontinued) and the lockscreen widget could never be disabled.

But again:

###Is Fairphone supporting both the default and the open source version equally?

Yes, Fairphone fully supports both versions.
(Software updates may not be released at the same dates for the two versions.)

You’re right, that’s an official statement. However, I do remember a statement within the lines of what I said before (unfortunately, my search for it wasn’t successful, and it might be outdated now) and which matches the quote from above:

Oh so it’s only for FP2? Bummer… :confused:

Well on the FP1 you pretty much have “Open OS” preinstalled. It comes rooted and without GAPPS. :smiley:


Aren’t edge swipe etc. part of the launcher? I don’t have edge swipe here on my phone, so it surely can be “disabled” by installing an alternative launcher.

Well that’s not what I’d call disabling. Disabling sounds like you just have to switch a toggle somewhere in the settings or you have to disable an app that is solely responsible for that function (disabling it doesn’t disable other functions).

PS: But anyways once Android 6 is out all those functions will be gone anyway! :slight_smile: :frowning:

Oh OK. Seems like a going back to have a closer system, no? :confused:

Well as I explained in “Why is Open OS not preinstalled already?” it was a necessary step to get official google support, but everybody has the option to easily switch to Open OS to live a free live.


First: thanks to @paulakreuzer for this thread- I appreciate it!

I am happily using FP Open OS from the beginning! And I had a phone-contact with the support-team in last autumn concerning the call-not-send-bug which could get solved immediately by the help of the support-staff. To me there is no reason to doubt that FP would help me concerning FP Open OS in future. And I am thankful for that!


Nice to hear! I hope to get the same experience next time.


Hi, and thanks for this post!

One thing: you say that with EFIDroid it should be easy to install both OSs without losing any data and switch between them at reboot. But as long as I get it you need root access to install EFIDroid, so in any case this cannot be done with the builtin FO OS. Am I right? Being able to run Open OS and test it without (or before) giving up the standard OS, with its automated updates etc., would be a great thing and would probably let many of the not-so-techy do the switch.

You may be right. I am using EFIDroid the other way around: I started with FP Open OS and now have FP OS as a secondary OS. This way around it’s super easy.

One thing you could probably do is use TWRP (you don’t need to flash it) to do a backup, then switch to Open OS, then install EFIDroid and FP OS and then restore the backup for your FP OS installation.


This sound like a splendid idea. But (how) is it possible to select FPOS as “restore target” within TWRP when having the system in a multiboot configuration created with EFIDroid?

Whenever you boot you’ll start at EFIDroid, there you can select where to boot to. If you go to recovery you’ll get two options, for both OSes.

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You can easily root your FP-OS phone. So I guess it should be possible.