Operating systems (OS) for the Fairphone 2
Since April 2021, an upgrade to Android 9 is available. The latest release is available for you via our Updater App. You can download the Fairphone Updater App in the Google Play Store or download it manually.
There are two different versions of the operating system by Fairphone:
- Fairphone OS, a Google Mobile Services release. Details are in the release notes. You can contact Customer support when you have questions about the default Fairphone OS
- Fairphone Open, an open source code release. The latest version of Fairphone Open is available at code.fairphone.com. This option is recommended for advanced users only. For Fairphone Open questions, code.fairphone.com is available. (Only Android 7).
With these two versions, you can choose between the Google experience and the freedom of open source. Both versions are officially supported by Fairphone and we will provide continuous software updates.
Because the code is openly available, everybody is free to make other operating systems work on the Fairphone 2. The community already offers alternative operating systems like Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch, LineageOS and /e/. Any questions about these systems or help that you need if you use these systems, you can post or find on these forums. You can read more about this on our page dedicated to Open source software.
The default operating system shipped with your Fairphone 2 is Android™ 7.0 with the Google Mobile Services.
For this software build we do not provide the tools to enable root access. If you are interested in rooting you may want to switch to Fairphone Open - this alternative is explained below.
Why does my Fairphone 2 not come rooted by default? Do you provide a separate rooting solution for Fairphone OS?
We always try to find the best compromise for different users. Enabling root access by default poses a security risk for less advanced users. So we decided against it. It is also a requirement of third parties whose software we ship with the phone.
Why does my Fairphone 2 come pre-installed with the Google Mobile Services?
The Fairphone 2 has the Google Mobile Services pre-installed. Because we know that our community believes in the possibilities of other software, we opened the source code of our operating system. Apart from that, we are working with the communities of alternative operating systems so you can run the software you want on your hardware. Read more on Open source software on our dedicated landing page.
The Fairphone Open OS is an official alternative with root access available
This operating system is built from the open source code released by Fairphone via code.fairphone.com. It only contains open source software with the exception of the proprietary drivers you will need to properly run the hardware. The operating system is based on the Android Open Source Project (often referred to as AOSP) so it does not include the Google Mobile Services.
This operating system enables you to activate root access through the Developer options.
Some apps will not work with this build because the root access might be considered harmful (e.g. by some banking apps).
Is Fairphone supporting both the default and the open source version equally?
Yes, Fairphone fully supports both versions. With questions about the default Fairphone OS, you can contact customer support. For Fairphone Open questions, code.fairphone.com is available.
Is it hard to switch between the two versions? Can I go back to the default operating system easily?
We provide installable update files (i.e. ZIP files) for both versions. You can find the files for the default version with the Google Mobile Services on the related support page. The files for our official open source release are on code.fairphone.com.
The four-step procedure to switch to another OS:
- Make a backup of all your data as they will be erased
- Download the update file on your device
- Browse to the update file with a file manager (e.g. Amaze) and open the file with the Fairphone Updater
- Apply the update to install the new version.