FP3(+). Manage the bootloader

 

Fairphone 3/Fairphone 3+ (FP3/FP3+) gives you the freedom to unlock your bootloader. This allows you to install an alternative custom operating system (ROM)

- IMPORTANT -

Be aware that unlocking the bootloader also disables important security features. Only unlock the bootloader if you know what you are doing. We strongly advise you to lock it again once done.
An unlocked bootloader makes it possible for another user to perform operations that might compromise the security of your Fairphone. If you are the rightful owner and you want to proceed with this, read on.

 

PART 1 - On your Fairphone

 

To unlock the bootloader, you need a code. To get the code, you will have to provide the IMEI 1 and the serial number of your Fairphone.
After, you will 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.

 

 

0. Update your device

 

Before starting, you will have to follow the next article and update FP3/FP3+ to the latest software.

- IMPORTANT -

If you skip this step, the procedure will not work.

 


 

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)
      IMEIFP3.png
    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 your device's serial number via the software: go to SettingsAbout phoneModel & HardwareSerial number: Ie. 357801234567890
    serialFP3.png
  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

- IMPORTANT -

If you need to unlock your phone again later, you will have to repeat the procedure as the code changes each time. If for any reason it doesn't work, you will have to contact our customer support. We will handle this like a regular support request, so you might have to wait several days.

 


 

2. Enable OEM unlocking

 

To prevent other people from unlocking the bootloader without your consent, you can only allow the bootloader to be unlocked via the Settings of your FP3/FP3+. 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 FP3/FP3+:

  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 are not visible.
    DevOpFP3.png
  4. Enable OEM unlocking: set the toggle to On at OEM unlocking
    _a_FP3_developer-options_oem-unlocking.png
  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 into your device, please update your software to the latest version
      _a_FP3_developer-options_input-verify-code.png

Now unlocking is enabled, and you can unlock your device.

 


 

PART 2 - Connect to a computer

 

Before you begin

 

- IMPORTANT -


Prerequisite(s) for Microsoft Windows systems:

  1. Windows 10
  2. Your computer needs to have a working internet connection
  3. Your system drivers need to be up to date.
    To make sure of this, in your Windows 10

    1. Click the Start menu, type Device Manager, then type the Enter key on your keyboard. A new window will open.
    2. Scroll down the list and select Other Devices. If you see an item named simply Android, preceded by an escalation dot, please follow the step.
    3. Click the Start menu, type Check for updates, then type the Enter key on your keyboard. A new window will open.
    4. Click on the button Check for updates located in the top right part of this window and wait for a couple of minutes. Below the button, you will now see View optional updates.
    5. Click on View optional updates.
    6. Click on Driver and updates.
    7. Scroll down the list if needed and select all the drivers starting with Google, Inc -...
    8. Click on the button Download and install.
    9. Once done, reboot your computer.

  4. The connection should now work.

Please, check the animation below for additional help.

driver_installation_v3.gif

 


 

Unlock your bootloader 

 

  1. Install the command-line tool fastboot on your computer
  2. Connect your FP3/FP3+ to your computer using a USB data cable
  3. Put your FP3/FP3+ in fastboot mode. You can do so in one of the following ways:
    1. If you have installed the command-line tool ADB
      1. Start a Command Prompt (Windows) or a terminal (macOS)
      2. Use a USB data cable to connect your FP3/FP3+ to a computer
      3. Type ADB reboot bootloader and press the "Enter ↩" key
    2. Alternatively, you can turn off your FP3/FP3+, then press the power button and volume down button at the same time until the device vibrates. After some seconds, you'll see the fastboot mode
  4. In a Command Prompt (Windows) or a terminal (macOS), type: fastboot OEM unlock and press the "Enter ↩" key
    1. - IMPORTANT -
      If this doesn't work on your macOS, try typing: ./fastboot OEM unlock and press the "Enter ↩" key.
  5. Follow the instructions on the Fairphone screen. This command 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.

 


 

OPTIONAL - Lock your bootloader

 

- IMPORTANT -

Please, be aware that:

  • If you installed a 3rd-party OS, locking your bootloader might prevent your device from booting properly
  • To prevent unauthorized access to your personal data, locking the bootloader will delete all personal data on your phone.

For the safety and protection of your data in case of theft or loss of your device, we advise you to keep the bootloader of your Fairphone locked when not needed otherwise.

To lock the bootloader of your FP3/FP3+ again, follow the instructions below:

  1. If not done yet, install the command-line tool fastboot on your computer
  2. Connect your FP3/FP3+ to your computer using a USB data cable
  3. Put your FP3/FP3+ in fastboot mode. You can do so in one of the following ways:
    1. If you have installed the command-line tool ADB
      1. Start a Command Prompt (Windows) or a terminal (macOS) 
      2. Use a USB data cable to connect your FP3/FP3+ to a computer
      3. Type ADB reboot bootloader and press the "Enter ↩" key
    2. Alternatively, you can turn off your FP3/FP3+, then press the power button and volume down button at the same time until the device vibrates. After some seconds, you'll see the fastboot mode
  4. In a Command Prompt (Windows) or a terminal (macOS), type: fastboot OEM lock and press the "Enter ↩" key
    1. - IMPORTANT -
      If this doesn't work on your macOS, try typing: ./fastboot OEM lock and press the "Enter ↩" key.
  5. Follow the instructions on the Fairphone screen.

Now the bootloader is locked, and your Fairphone is safe again!

 


 

Known Issues

 

- IMPORTANT -

  • Fairphone does not support the use of the TWRP (Team Win Recovery Project), as it might cause malfunctioning.
    If you need our assistance after installing such software, you will have to restore your device to its original state. If not, we will consider it as out of warranty. For more information, you can check our Fairphone 3 Warranty (also applies to Fairphone 3+)