What operating system (OS) does the Fairphone 2 run on?
This article aims to provide a clear summary on what Fairphone intends for the Fairphone 2 operating system (OS). We detail the different versions of the operating system envisioned by Fairphone, namely
- Fairphone OS, released with the Google Mobile Services. Details are in the release notes.
- Fairphone Open, released from the open source code. As of the 28 April 2016, the latest version of Fairphone Open is available at code.fairphone.com.
We offer the ability to 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.
In addition, and because the code is openly available, everybody is free to work on making other operating systems work on the Fairphone 2. The community already offers alternative operating systems like Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch and LineageOS.
The default operating system shipped with your Fairphone 2 is Android™ 6.0 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?
At Fairphone, we always try to find the best compromise for different users. We believe enabling root access by default poses a security risk for less advanced users and is therefore not allowed. This is also a requirement mandated by 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. We also know that our community believes in the possibilities that other software provides, and this is why we have opened the source code of our operating system. Furthermore we are working with the communities of alternative operating systems so that eventually you can run the software you want on your hardware.
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 through code.fairphone.com. It only contains open source software with the exception of the proprietary drivers needed to properly run the hardware. The operating system is based on the Android Open Source Project (often referred as AOSP) and thus does not include the Google Mobile Services.
This operating system enables you to activate root access through the Developer options. Please note that 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 version? Can I go back to the default operating system easily?
We provide installable update files (i.e. ZIP files) for both versions, through our related support page for the default version with the Google Mobile Services and through code.fairphone.com for our official open source release.
Please keep in mind; switching between one version to another will entirely erase the personal data of your Fairphone. Please make a backup beforehand.
The procedure boils down to three steps:
1. Download the update file
2. Browse to the update file with a file manager (e.g. Amaze) and open the file with the Fairphone Updater
3. Apply the update to install the new version.