Unlock the bootloader of your Fairphone 3

To have more freedom in your choices on how to use your Fairphone 3, you have the option to unlock the bootloader. This allows you to install alternative custom operating systems (ROMs) on your device when they become available.

ImportantWhen you unlock the bootloader, you also disable important security features. Only unlock the bootloader if you know what you are doing. Do realize that unlocking the bootloader disables some security features of the device. It makes it possible for anyone to install other operating systems that might be used by other people to compromise the security of your Fairphone 3.
So if you are the rightful owner and you want to proceed with this, read on.


Unlock your bootloader

To unlock the bootloader, you need a code. To get the code, you have to enter your IMEI 1 and serial number. You also have to enable developer options on your device. Then you can use the unlock code to unlock your device. Follow the instructions below to guide you.


1. Get your unique unlock code

To get the code, follow these instructions:

  1. Find the IMEI 1 of your device:
    1. Via the software: go to SettingsAbout phone → scroll down to IMEI (SIM slot 1)
    2. Printed inside the phone:
      1. Take off the battery cover
      2. Take out the battery module
      3. The white sticker with the IMEI 1 printed on it in black - accompanied by a barcode - is located on the side of the battery housing of the Core Module.
    3. Printed on the underside of the original box of delivery
    4. Printed on the delivery note.

  2. Find the serial number of your device via the software: go to SettingsAbout phoneModel & HardwareSerial number: xxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Go to the dedicated page for the bootloader code:
    1. Enter the IMEI 1 and serial number in the text fields of the form
    2. Click the blue button Get your unlock code
    3. Your unique unlock code with further details is shown on the page
    4. Register the code somewhere if you can not enter it in your phone immediately.

If you encounter an error, try:

  • again at a later time
  • with another browser
  • on another device
  • to type the correct identifiers again, you could have entered a typo.


2. Enable Developer mode

To prevent other people to unlock the bootloader without your consent, you can only allow the bootloader to be unlocked via the Settings of your Fairphone 3. Since this unlocking is an advanced action, it requires advanced settings - usually only reserved for developers. Again, only do this when you know what you are doing.

  1. Make a backup of all the personal data on your device that you want to keep
  2. Return the device to its factory settings to prevent software errors

To Enable Developer Mode in your Fairphone 3:

  1. Go to SettingsAbout phone
  2. Press Build number seven times until you see a small message telling you that Developer mode is enabled.
  3. Go to SettingsSystemAdvancedDeveloper options: set the main toggle to On at the top menu. Make sure you followed step 4.1 if Developer options is not visible.
  4. Enable OEM unlocking: set the toggle to On at OEM unlocking
  5. The device then can ask you to re-enter your chosen PIN, password or pattern for unlocking the lock screen of your FP3
  6. Enter the unlock code (see step 1.3.3) you received from us and press Enable
    1. If it is not possible to enter the code in your device, please update your software to the latest version

Now unlocking is enabled and you can unlock your device.


3. Unlock your Fairphone 3

To unlock the bootloader of your Fairphone 3 follow the instructions. Beware that this will erase all the data on the device.

  1. If you did not do this yet: make a backup of all the personal data on your device that you want to keep
  2. Install the commandline tool fastboot on your computer.
  3. Reboot your Fairphone 3 into fastboot mode using one of the following ways:
    1. If you have the commandline tool adb, then run adb reboot-bootloader with your Fairphone 3 connected over USB.
    2. Turn off your Fairphone 3 and press the power button and volume down button at the same time until the device vibrates and you see the fastboot mode.
  4. Connect your Fairphone 3 to your computer in fastboot mode using USB.
  5. In a terminal, run the following command (replace ‘code’ with the unlocking code you received in step 1. Get your unlock code):
    fastboot oem unlock ‘code’
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen. This will wipe all the personal data on your phone! 

Now the bootloader is unlocked. You can install your preferred custom operating system when it is made available by the custom ROM manufacturer.