Basic Setup and How-tos for your Fairphone

Because no two phones are exactly the same, here you can find information about the basics when it comes to setting up and using your Fairphone.


Topics (click on a section name to skip to it):

Set up your e-mail

Language settings

Sound modes

Answer calls

Forward calls

Manage apps

Quick settings

Adjust your display brightness

Add & set ringtone

Take a screenshot


Set up your e-mail


When you set up an account with Google, you automatically get a Gmail address. During the setup of your Fairphone, you log in to your Google account. Once the account is enabled on your phone, you also have access to your Gmail account. To access Gmail:

  1. On the Home page, tap on the Google app group.
  2. Tap the Gmail icon.
  3. Follow the setup guidelines.
  4. You can add other email addresses now or at a later time. Tap on the Settings (three lines in the top left) once the app is open. Scroll all the way down, tap on Settings, then Add account.


Different app

If you prefer a different app, you will have to download it from the Play Store first (the only e-mail app pre-loaded on the Fairphone is Gmail). Once done, follow the instruction of the app to complete the setup.
Generally, it will be something like:

  1. Tap the app icon.
  2. Log in with your mail account.
  3. Adjust the settings to your preference.



You can also set up your e-mail account via the System Settings.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Accounts (alternatively Passwords & accounts) and tap on it.
  3. Tap on + Add account.
  4. Select which account you want to add: Personal (IMAP)or Personal (POP3), depending on the email account.
  5. Follow the setup instructions. You'll need to enter your Username and Password.
  6. Then, fill in the rest of the requested information according to your provider.
    Depending on your provider settings, Android might be able to automatically pull the information for you once you enter your full email address. In case this doesn't happen, or the e-mail doesn't work with the automatic configuration, you will have to get the correct parameters from your e-mail provider and enter them manually.
    Contact your email provider if you have any doubts about the settings.


Language settings

Video instructions

You can find the written instructions under the videos.


Change language

To change the language for the whole device:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on System.
  3. Tap Languages & input.
  4. Tap Languages.
  5. Tap Add a language.
  6. Scroll to find your preferred language.
  7. Tap your preference to select that language. For some languages, after your selection, another selection of regional languages appear, such as Français> Canada.


Switch preferred languages

If you already set two or more preferred languages, you can simply switch between them.

To change between preferred languages:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on System.
  3. Tap Languages & input.
  4. Tap Languages.
  5. In this section Language preferences, drag the target language to the top by pressing and holding the 4 horizontal lines on the right.


Change the language of the keyboard

The Android-based operating system of the Fairphone 3/Fairphone 3+ is compatible with many different screen keyboards. This means you can also download different keyboards for different needs. One with extra language features for example.

To change the language of the keyboards you use:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on System.
  3. Tap Languages & input.
  4. Tap On-screen keyboard.
  5. Select the keyboard you want to edit (Gboard by default).
  6. In Gboard, select Languages (settings for other keyboards might differ).
  7. Push the blue button at the bottom Add keyboard.
  8. Select the keyboard layout of your choice.

Now you can choose all the languages, characters, and keyboard layouts you normally use for communicating with the rest of the world!


Sound modes

As all other Android devices, the Fairphones come with 3 sound modes. Here's how to switch between them.

  1. Press either the Volume-up or the Volume-down button. The volume slider will briefly appear on the right part of your screen.
  2. On top of the Volume slider, there will be a separate box.
  3. Press it to quickly change between the three different settings:
    1. sound.png Ring
    2. sound_vibration.png Vibrate
    3. sound_no.png Silent

If you want to see additional sound settings:

  1. After pressing one of the volume buttons, you can press the cogwheel on the bottom of the Volume slider → See more to quickly access all the sound settings.
    • Alternatively, going to Settings → Sound shows the same menu.
  2. Here you will also be able to enable and disable the Do not disturb (DND) mode. Make sure to examine all the settings to decide in which cases you wish to still receive notifications.
    • Another way to enable Do not disturb mode is to swipe down twice with one finger from the top of the display. This will open the Quick settings menu. There, you will find the Do not disturb icon. Tap on it to enable or disable DND.


Answer calls

Inactive screen

When you receive a phone call, and your screen is inactive, the screen will light up and show you the call screen, where you'll see who's calling you.

To answer an incoming call:

  1. Drag the green phone icon towards the top of the screen.

To reject an incoming call:

  1. Drag the green phone icon towards the bottom of the screen. The icon will turn red.
  2. The caller will be forwarded to your voicemail if you enabled this.

To reject an incoming call by sending a Reply message to the caller:

  1. Tap on the blue text balloon icon with the text Reply.
  2. Choose one of the options that appear to send as a text message (SMS) to the caller.


Active screen

When you get an incoming call when your screen is active:

  1. Tap on the right green box to ANSWER.
  2. Tap on the left red box with to DECLINE.


No call notification

Someone is calling you but you do not see any information on the screen?

This is usually fixed with a simple change of settings:

  1. Go to Settings → Apps (alternatively Apps & Notifications).
  2. Tap on See all apps or App info.
  3. Find the Phone app (or any other custom dialer you installed from the Play store).
  4. Tap on Notifications and swipe the toggle to On.
  5. Ask someone to call you to see if this fixed your issue.

Additionally, make sure you enabled the incoming calls option by following the next steps:

  1. Go the Phone app.
  2. Click on the three dots.
  3. Tap on Settings → Calling account.
  4. Enable the option "Receive incoming calls".

If this does not work, perform the following:

  • Long press the icon of the Phone app → tap on Storage → tap on CLEAR STORAGE.


Forward calls

Often, it is possible to forward calls on your phone. Whether or not this is available to you, depends on your provider and call plan.

These settings are sometimes also available through your provider's app.

When your provider and plan enable forwarding calls, follow these steps:

  1. Open the (pre-installed) Phone app.
  2. Tap the More options icon (3 vertical dots) in the top right corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Select Calling accounts.
  5. Tap the intended SIM card icon or the name of the provider.
  6. Select Call forwarding.
    Depending on your Phone app version and SIM card, you might also need to select GSM call settings.
  7. Select the setting you wish to change.
  8. Input the number to which you wish to forward the call (including the country code).
  9. Tap on UPDATE.



Manage apps

Video instructions

You can find the written instructions under the videos.


Install an app on Fairphone OS

To download and install a new app on Fairphone OS:

  1. From the home screen, slide up with one finger to open the All apps menu.
  2. Locate the Play Store app and tap on it (you can also search for it by typing the name in the search bar).
  3. If you used the Play Store before, you are probably already logged in to your Google account. Otherwise, you will have to provide a username and password when requested or create your Google account.
  4. Type the name of the app in the search bar at the top.
  5. Tap on the app you want to download.
    • If it is a free app, you can tap the green Install button. The app will start installing.
    • If you have to pay for the app, you will need to add a payment option to your account. Instead of the Install button, you will see the price of the app. If you are ready to pay, tap on the price button. You will now see an overview of the payment method. Tap on the green Buy button to purchase the app.
    • If you need more help, tap on the following link to open the Google support page: Find & download apps.
  6. Once installed, if you haven't changed the default settings, the app will show on your Home screen. You can move it to a place or group of your choice.


Uninstall an app

To uninstall an app from your phone:

  1. Tap and hold the app you want to remove, and drag it with one finger on the top of the screen. On the right side, a small picture of a Rubbish Bin with the writing Uninstall will appear.
  2. Drag the app over the Uninstall text and lift your finger.
  3. Tap on OK to delete the app.

You will remove the application permanently. You will have to look for it again in the Play Store to install it, as mentioned before.

If you do not see the writing Uninstall on the right, you cannot remove the app. You cannot remove system apps (e.g. Google Play Store).


Clear cache

Each app has a cache that hosts temporary data files for quick access. Sometimes those data become corrupted causing issues in your phone. To solve this, you can clear the cache of these apps
This will not erase user data (e.g. settings, pictures).

For the specific app:

  1. Go to SettingsApps (alternatively Apps & Notifications).
  2. Tap on See all apps or App info.
  3. Find the app and tap on it.
  4. Tap on Storage & cache.
  5. Tap on CLEAR CACHE.


Clear storage

Each app stores also the settings and preferences on your phone. If an app that use to work suddenly stops it might be useful to reset it to its default settings.

Before proceeding, you might want to make a backup because by resetting the app, you will lose your personal data contained within the app. Depending on the app those might just be your preferences (like login and/or a password), but also some files or photos (think of your WhatsApp pictures).

For the specific app:

  1. Go to SettingsApps (alternatively Apps & Notifications).
  2. Tap on See all apps or App info.
  3. Find the app and tap on it.
  4. Tap on Storage & cache.
  5. Tap on CLEAR STORAGE.


Issues with an app

If you have issues with a specific app, we have a guide on how to Troubleshoot issues with apps.


Quick Settings

You can use the Quick settings menu to enable or disable some features quickly. The Quick settings menu might have several pages, swipe to the side to see more icons.

You can edit the Quick settings menu to add, remove, or rearrange icons. To do so:

  1. Swipe down twice, with one finger, from the top of the screen. You will open the pull-down Quick settings menu.
  2. Tap the Pencil icon Edit_icon.png in the central left corner.
  3. Hold and drag the tiles. Bottom to the top to add them to the menu, and top to bottom to remove them. You can additionally drag them to the order you want them to appear.


Adjust your display brightness

The Fairphones have an Adaptive brightness feature, and it will optimize the brightness of the screen according to your activities and your environment.


Enable adaptive brightness

  1. Go to SettingsDisplay.
  2. Scroll and tap on Adaptive brightness turn it on.


Adjust the brightness manually

  1. Swipe down, twice, with a finger from the top of the screen. You will open the pull-down Quick settings menu.
  2. To dim your display, slide the little Sun icon to the left. To increase the display brightness, slide to the right.
    The A icon next to it is a shortcut to enable or disable the Adaptive brightness.


Add & set ringtone

Change your ringtone

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Sound and tap it.
  3. Tap Phone ringtone.
  4. Select a ringtone of your liking. Tap on it to listen to it, it will play once.
  5. Press OK at the bottom to confirm your selection.


Add new ringtone

Your Fairphone comes with some factory ringtones, but you can add more. If you want to add a new ringtone you need to have a file of the song/sound you want to use. You can download it, record it with a sound recorder app, or receive it via Bluetooth, if someone else is sharing it with you.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Sound and tap it.
  3. Tap Phone ringtone.
  4. Scroll all the way down to find + Add ringtone and tap it.
  5. The file manager will open. On the top left, tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal bars).
  6. Navigate through the folders to where your file is.
    Depending on how you got the audio file, this can be Downloads, Bluetooth, Audio, or the internal storage of your phone (usually named FP and the number of the model you have).
    • If the file manager does not show the internal storage, in the menu on the top right, again tap on the three vertically aligned dots to Show internal storage. Now try again.
  7. When you find it, tap the file.
  8. You are now back in the Ringtone menu. Select the audio file that should now show up in the list. It will play once.
  9. Press OK at the bottom to confirm your selection.


Take a screenshot

Hardware method

This method works all the time, but you must turn on the screen. To make a screenshot:

  1. Hold your phone with both hands.
  2. Press and hold the Volume down button and Power button at the same time. The screen will flash (if your sound is enabled, you'll hear a sound notification).


Software method (via your touch screen)

This method might be more straightforward, but it does not work for all situations. You can take screenshots of functionalities, apps, or settings, but you cannot take screenshots of notifications, nor the lock screen.

The steps to use this method differ depending on whether you use navigation buttons (default) or gesture navigation.


  1. With button navigation, access the App switcher screen by tapping on the square 🔲 App switcher button at the bottom right of your screen.
    • With gesture navigation, swipe up from the bottom, hold until your open app or functionality reduces in size or becomes visible, then release.
  2. Tap on the Screenshot icon Screenshot_icon.png and text at the bottom of your screen to take the screenshot (if your sound is enabled, you'll hear a sound notification).

    Alternatively, tap on the app's icon, then tap on the Screenshot icon Screenshot_icon.png

Access your screenshot(s)

You can access your screenshots in different ways.


After you make the screenshot, you will see a temporary pop-up appear in the bottom left corner of your screen.

  1. To share the screenshot, you can tap on Share Share_icon.pngto access the Share options and select which app you wish to use.
  2. You can also tap on Edit Edit_icon.png or the pop-up itself, if you need to change or add something. After editing, make sure to save your changes.



File manager

You can always access your screenshots via your Files app, even when the notification disappears from the bottom left corner. To find your screenshot with the file manager:

  1. Access All apps menu swiping on your screen from bottom to top.
  2. Look for the Files app, then tap on it.
  3. Tap Images.
  4. Tap Screenshots.


Photos app

You can always access your screenshots via the Google Photos app photos_icon.png.

To access the Google Photos app:

  1. Access All apps menu swiping on your screen from bottom to top.
  2. Look for the Photos app photos_icon.png, then tap on it.
  3. Tap on the Library button in the bottom right corner.
  4. Under Photos on device, tap Screenshots.


If after reading the article you need more help, contact our Customer Support.