FP2. Android 10 FAQ

Since March 2022, we offer a Fairphone OS version for the Fairphone 2 based on Android 10.

With this Android 10 upgrade, we can continue to support the software of the Fairphone 2 for the foreseeable future. Via Android 10 we can continue to release updates and security fixes. This is to support the longevity of your device.

We recommend upgrading your Fairphone 2 to Android 10. Then, you will have the latest security patches and a smoother experience.

For an overview of Android 10 for Fairphone 2, please also consult the Android 10 Introduction.

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I upgrade?

A: You can find the instructions to upgrade in the Introduction to Android 10 for Fairphone 2 support article.

 

Q: Why should I upgrade?

A: Software updates are important! The software that runs your phone is never completely finished, it requires continuous maintenance. For example, discovered security vulnerabilities need to be addressed. Android 10 will allow us to continue doing so for the Fairphone 2. Software updates also allow us to fix any issues you might be having with your device. Last but not least, you will be able to enjoy the new features that Android 10 has to offer, like new privacy controls and a system-wide dark theme.

 

Q: Is doing my upgrade difficult? 

A: No, doing the upgrade is easy! 

  1. Make sure that you make a backup of your personal data first.

  2. Charge your battery.

  3. For better results, connect to a stable Wi-Fi network.

  4. Make sure you have an up-to-date SIM card.

  5. Keep your screen active during download and installation. 

Last but not least, the Updater app needs to be on the latest version (1.50.5) before you can receive the upgrade. 

You can find the instructions to upgrade in the Introduction to Android 10 for Fairphone 2 support article.

 

Q: Help, I haven’t received the push notification to update my Fairphone 2!

A: We are rolling out Android 10 in stages. We do this to reduce the impact of any potential bugs we may have missed during our testing. We only offer Android 10 to devices that run version 1.50.5 of the Fairphone Updater app. In the same way, we roll out this app version also in stages via Google Play. We increase the percentage of users that receive this Updater version in the days and weeks after release. Eventually this version will also become available to you, so you can install the Android 10 upgrade. We do not know which devices are in which batch to receive the update. We have requested Google to randomize the controlled roll-out, so we will have the greatest chance to discover bugs and issues.

 

Q: What do I do when I cannot upgrade? 

A: If you haven’t received the update to your Fairphone Updater app, or the Android 10 upgrade by May 2022, please check the following:

  1. If you are still on Android 5, 6 or 7, please do a manual upgrade to Android 10, or do the upgrading in steps (especially when you need to encrypt the phone):

    1. If you are still running Android 5, 6 or 7, we recommend to upgrade in steps. To find out which version you are running: find your build number (Settings > System > About phone > Build number) and check it in the release notes list.

    2. Make sure you are running Android 6 at least, and go to the Google Play store to install the Fairphone Updater app on your device. 

    3. Then update to the Fairphone OS 7.1.2 version. 

    4. Via the Fairphone Updater app, you can then update your device from Android 7 to Android 9. 

    5. Then, update the Updater app to the latest version (1.50.5) so you can upgrade to Android 10.

  2. Make sure you have enough storage space (Settings > Storage).

  3. Contact our Customer Support

 

Q: Will the Fairphone 2 get slower after updating to Android 10?

A: Android itself does not demand more processing power migrating between versions. The apps you use have changed significantly compared to their 2015 counterparts. This can cause some slowdown.

 

Q: What do I do when I have an issue after the upgrade? 

A: If you encounter an issue with your phone after the upgrade to Android 10, please flag it to our developers via the public issue tracker for Android 10 on Fairphone 2. If you can not use your phone at all after the upgrade, please contact our Customer Support.

 

Q: I like the software upgrade, but how about a hardware upgrade? 

A: If you are considering upgrading to a Fairphone 3+ or Fairphone 4, have a look in our online shop. In that case, you can send in your Fairphone 2 for Reuse or Recycling so you can still prolong the life of your device.

 

Q: What are the advantages of still upgrading to later versions of Android for a device from 2015?

A: Smartphone longevity is the main advantage for us. Fairphone focuses on creating long-lasting products to save valuable resources and emissions. This is better for people and the planet. By upgrading to later Android versions we can continue to provide software updates for the Fairphone 2. These are necessary to fix issues and provide security updates. This way you can continue to use your device for longer in a safe way. 

 

Q: Why are you still maintaining a 7-year-old phone?

A: Maybe the question should be: Why isn't everyone else doing the same? But seriously, we just want to show the entire industry that tech can be ethical and sustainable. One relevant example is the fact that the longer you keep your phone, the smaller its environmental footprint. Software plays a huge role in this aspect. We are raising the bar by providing software support for our phones for at least five years. To pull this off, we pushed the boundaries of the Android ecosystem and tackled many technical challenges. With the help of the open source community (especially LineageOS), accompanied by perseverance and commitment, we managed to get the job done.

 

Q: Android 10 is almost 3 years old. Why not upgrade to Android 11 or 12?

A: We started working on Android 10 in late 2020. Back then it was the obvious choice. Android 11 had just been released and the open source community was still working on making it available for a range of devices. Frankly, taking matters into our own hands when upgrading a 7 year old device, the odds of passing the hundreds of thousands of tests for GMS approval are already stacked against you. The further you get, the more difficult this process becomes. With Fairphone 2, we're really hitting limitations with regards to video decoding tests, for example. We will not develop Android 11 for Fairphone 2. Android 10 is the last software upgrade we will do for the device.

 

Q: For how long will Fairphone support Android 10 by providing security updates?

A: We will continue to provide software updates for as long as Android 10 is still actively supported by Google. We aim to release 3 Android 10 version updates in 2022, after the upgrade.

 

Q: Why aren't you doing another upgrade after Android 10 for the Fairphone 2? You are doing Android 11 for the Fairphone 3, so why not for Fairphone 2?

A: It has become increasingly difficult to bring newer Android versions to the outdated Fairphone 2. This is because the hardware in the Fairphone 2 doesn’t meet Google’s requirements for later Android versions. We would have loved to support Fairphone 2 beyond Android 10. We will continue our longevity efforts for our other devices.

 

Q: How could you complete the Android 10 upgrade faster than the Android 9 upgrade?

A: This time, we collaborated with the Fairphone community to help build the operating system. We took into account the challenges it experienced when upgrading to Android 9. As a result, the upgrade to Android 10 has been a faster, more streamlined process. We worked with a software developer in India, Bharath Ravi Prakash, who worked as a volunteer open source developer for the project. With his help, we were able to complete the update in 10 months, compared to 18 months for Android 9. We learned a lot from the Android 9 upgrade. Although still complex, Android 10 was more predictable than Android 9.

 

Q: Why did you skip Android 8?

A: We went straight to Android 9 to support our goals of longevity, provide our users with long-term software and security updates for the Fairphone 2.

 

Q: What was the most difficult obstacle to overcome when updating the Fairphone 2 to Android 10?

A: While developing an Android upgrade for your device, actually passing the countless test suites required to obtain GMS approval is by far the biggest and most important challenge. We're talking about 690,000 plus tests here that all need to be cleared. This becomes even more difficult when your device is as old as the Fairphone 2 and is no longer supported by the chipset vendor. Here's a specific example for you: the 3.4 Linux kernel provided by the chipset vendor is definitely too old to support Android, so we had to backport many changes from higher kernel versions. Some hurdles need working around certifications: the media performance of the 2015 Fairphone 2 is not up to par with modern day devices. This meant we had to request a waiver for a particular case. 

 

Q: Do projects like these help you for Fairphone 3 and Fairphone 4 software maintenance?

A: Yes, absolutely! Everything we have learned from Fairphone 2 software maintenance we already apply to Fairphone 3 and 4. This way, we can ensure 5 years of software updates for our phones.

 

Q: What is the difference between developing Android updates versus e.g. updates to my Windows computer?

A: The major difference is that phone manufacturers always need to adjust Android to run on their devices. The differences in requirements make Android releases always a tailor-made effort. Google has made some efforts to make parts of Android update-able through Google Play. In the end, manufacturers still play a major role in getting updates to your device.