Sunday 20 March 2016

[guide] Install Sailfish OS on Fairphone 2

Olivier Hebert, CTO at Fairphone.
Antti Saarnio, Chairman of the Board at Jolla. 
Updated on Marc 26, 2017 

Your Fairphone 2 can now run Sailfish OS, gesture based mobile operating system by Jolla, Finland. Unofficial version was made available by Sailfish OS porter Matti Lehtimäki. 

In the official side I had another interview with Fairphone. Below these news, there's a guide using fastboot method which is now outdated. Installing guide is up to date at merwiki.

Worth a read? Please share:

Meanwhile in the official side

Followup to our earlier news story

Fairphone and Jolla are currently evaluating possibilities to enter into commercial collaboration based on their common values. According to Daria Koreniushkina, Public Engagement at Fairphone:
"one possibility could be selling the Fairphone 2 with Sailfish OS officially, next to the option of Fairphone 2 with Android."
Daria shares that the common values include strong community involvement, dialogue and transparency, and continues that Fairphone and Jolla can definitely learn more from each other.

Android apps on Sailfish OS
on Fairphone 2. Pic by JollaES
Sailfish OS is currently being tested at Fairphone, and Sailfish OS including its Android support was already seen running on this phone during MWC16. Hope for a later official version stands strong in the communities:
Also Daria finds user feedback always as important. Now that the community version is released, let's start testing and sharing some feedback. Leave a comment for example below, or visit Fairphone forums for this.

For the end, Daria mentioned the power of the communities "not to be underestimated" in spreading the word out. Reading between the lines, this might be exactly what's needed right now to support the availability of the official version, so...Fairphone is a Dutch social enterprise focusing on healthy supply chains, customer enabled repairs and longer lifespan with their modular smartphone model Fairphone 2
Sailfish OS is a gesture based mobile operating system developed by Jolla Oy, Finland, a software company focusing on user experience and privacy.

This OS was first released on November 2013 running on Jolla Phone, and since then there have been 15 public upgrades, the latest being Sailfish OS Saimaa. Sailfish OS 2.0.2.x Aurajoki is expected to be released by the end of April for the Intex Aqua Fish launch, bringing in for example Dual SIM support also useful for Fairphone 2.

Guide to install (OUTDATED) See: Merwiki

Disclaimer: Testing with any unofficial images is in your own responsibility. If you brick the device following this guide, it's up to you to fix. This guide is written by information available on April 2016 after the first alpha version was released, please check any possible updates in this post and in the sources linked in the end of this post.

  • Fairphone 2 with standard or open source Android installed
  • Computer with fastboot (Part of Android SDK platform tools) installed. Use this minimal install guide on XDA, or install the full SDK via Android. Depending on your OS, you might also need additional drivers.
  • Any program to extract zip files, for example 7-zip
  • Download Sailfish OS alpha1, images for Fairphone 2
  • Optional, Recommended: Backup your data on the phone, as changing the OS will remove all user data

Step 1: Extract the images
  • Find fastboot.exe on your computer (...\Android-SDK\platform-tools)
  • Extract the downloaded Sailfish zip -file on your computer and save the images in it into the same directory where fastboot.exe is located
  • Open a command prompt as an administrator (cmd on Windows, or any terminal on Linux) and navigate to your fastboot.exe directory using cd command
Checking fastboot. Photo by André

Step 2: Boot your Fairphone 2 into fastboot mode
  • Your phone should be turned off. Press and hold Volume Down -button while connecting USB cable between your Fairphone and a computer.
  • Release your finger when you see light on the phone. Note: You don't need to touch the power button.

(Step 2B if running on the latest Android: Downgrade)
Note: Follow this step if your Android version is 1.2.8. or later, or if you've already installed Sailfish OS and you're experiencing problems with camera and playback. A downgrade to 1.1.7 is needed for the camera and mp3 decoder to work on the Sailfish OS alpha1 version. If your Android version is 1.1.7. already, you can jump to step 3 directly.
  • Download Android 1.1.7 zip, images for Fairphone 2
  • Save this zip -file into the same directory where fastboot.exe is located
  • On the command line/terminal of your computer, enter fastboot devices to check if your fastboot is working. This command should return something like "a1b2c3  fastboot"
    • If the result is an empty line, troubleshoot fastboot
    • If it seems to be working, go on with:
  • fastboot update
  • Wait for your phone to boot to Android, then follow step 2 and step 3

Step 3: Flashing Sailfish OS (commands to enter have yellow background)
  • On the command line/terminal of your computer, enter fastboot devices to check if your fastboot is working. This command should return something like "a1b2c3  fastboot"
    • If the result is an empty line, troubleshoot fastboot
    • If it seems to be working, go on with:
  • fastboot flash userdata userdata.img
  • fastboot flash boot boot.img
  • fastboot reboot
  • and wait for your Fairphone to show boot image
Using fastboot. Photo by André

Step 4: Go through the welcoming screens of your Sailfish OS
  • Optional: Add a Jolla Account to gain access to Sailfish OS apps in the Jolla Store
  • Optional: For nice assortment of unofficial apps, visit OpenRepos with the browser. You can download any armv7hl.rpm packages and install them via Settings > System > Transfers. Note the unofficial status of these, some of them are open source.
  • Optional: Add other accounts you might use via Settings > Accounts. For chatting, there's for example XMPP (Jabber) nicely integrated into the Messages and People app
Successful! Photo by André

Missing features and known issues:
  • Insert your SIM Card into the slot closer to the camera. Dual SIM is not yet supported by the OS, a later image should fix this
  • Commercial parts of Sailfish OS: Android support, Exchange Active Sync and Text Prediction are not included due to licensing reasons. Another open source solution for Android apps exists, but that is not yet available for Fairphone 2
  • Compass direction sensor not working
  • Possibly some issues with proximity sensor during calls
  • Phone app occasionally freezes the UI, requiring reboot. Fix under work.
  • Double tap to unlock (gesture of Sailfish OS) does not work on this port
  • FM Radio isn't supported yet, but there's an app under work already. This feature can probably be tested starting from the next release
One of the porters "Kimmoli"
is almost ready with FM
Radio app for Sailfish OS
  • Sailfish OS porters community, especially Matti Lehtimäki, Vasil Filipov and Simonas Leleiva
  • Jolla sailors joining the unofficial contributing, especially Slava Monich and Philippe de Swert
  • Fairphone developers, especially Kees Jongenburger
  • Community sailor André Koot for the photos for this guide, and for getting the step 2B well tested
  • Everybody in SailfishOS and WeAreFairphone communities for their support and testing

Share and Shout! Your friends might read it.

By: Review Jolla
Cover image: MWC16 Press Event, photo by Fairphone
Sources: Merproject, Jolla press release, Fairphone (email interview)
Published: 2016-03-20 08:16 UTC
Updated: 2017-03-26 03:35 UTC (merwiki link, intalling guide outdated)


  1. I would defenitely buy Fairphone 2 if they would sell it with Sailfish.

    So currently there is No point of buying Fairphone 2 as it is just another Android device.

    1. hey come on, I've got fairphone 1, and i love it. Im getting fairphone 2 and will try this install.

    2. I am supporting this "So currently there is No point of buying Fairphone 2 as it is just another Android device." and I dare to say that with Android this is not any "Fair"device for many reasons. I am also next one of many potential clients when only this will be with Sailfish OS. That is something I want, and Android OS is something I don't want, even when I respect it. That's it and that's all.



    1. and :D :D

  3. Shut up and take my noney! But only with official Android support!

  4. if fp2 would be smaller...

    1. Well it is quite ugly for me, to be honest.

      I really miss designers Nokia had previously...


  5. Thanks for everyone else for your comments as well. Hope to update you later - I'm sure Jolla does their best and more to handle the issue!

  6. I would definitely buy Fairphone with Sailfish OS.

  7. Just waiting for full Sailfish and i buy one

  8. My Fairphone 2 with Sailfish OS, mp3 audio not working, all apps crashes when try to play mp3 songs and Camera app is also inoperative. Is this normal behaviour at the moment?

    1. The main developer "mal" told me that the mp3 and camera issues are related, see the replies below

  9. Sailfish OS version is the latest 1.( files working well and Cutespot but for example Y-Radio or Nettiradio crashes when try to play streams. Both Camera apps, native and Cameraplus also crashes when i open it.

    1. I've never heard of cameras not working, you might first check that the hardware is ok and then ask about this from the porters (Freenode IRC, #sailfishos-porters). Could be for example a problem during installation.

    2. Pakko vastata suomeksi kun englannin taito hieman ruosteessa mutta joo käytin Fairphonea aluksi pari päivää Androidin kanssa kunnes päätin ottaa riskin ja kokeilla Sailfishiä kun oli hyvät ohjeet sivuillasi käyttiksen vaihtamisesta. Alkuperäisellä Androidilla varustettuna kamera toimi ja otin sillä muutamia kuvia mutta tosiaan Sailfishin asentamisen jälkeen kamera ei enää ole auennut. Eli uskoisin kyllä että kameralaitteisto on kunnossa. Myös Sailfishin asennus sujui ilman virheilmoituksia. Mulle noi IRC:t ym. vähän vieraita niin ainoa keino taitaa olla odottaa seuraavaa Sailfish porttausta jos se auttaisi tilanteeseen, tai jos joku osaa antaa selvät ohjeet esim. komentojen antamiseen terminaalista käsin. Muuten kyllä pelittää Fairphone Sailfishin kanssa jo yllättävän hyvin!

    3. Hi Pasik, you basically asked about the same in Finnish (so no need to translate that to our other readers). I contacted the main developer "mal" of this port to maybe get some help on your issue. He replied: There are some issues with camera when using the latest android (release 1.2.8) from Fairphone, using the previous version it works.

      And the fix in Finnish, just for you ;) Asenna ensin vanhempi Android Fairphone 2:een, asenna viimeisin Sailfish OS vasta sitten. Sailfish OS ( alpha1) on siis portattu tuon edellisen Androidin päälle. Vaihtoehtona voit odotella sauraavaa porttausta.

  10. Thanks, maybe i wait next porting... if someone make at that time clear instuctions how to update Fairphone 2 with Sailfish OS a newer version. (eli toivottavasti tuon uuden porttauksen saa sitten aikanaan asennettua suoraan vanhan porttauksen päälle noilla samoilla ohjeilla ettei pidä Androidia taas asentaa siihen ennen uuden porttauksen asennusta. Mulla ei meinaan mitään hajua miten Android asennetaan tuohon takaisin :))

    1. Update to the guide: Fix the camera/mp3 issues following the steps 2B and 3 again, happy testing!

  11. I intalled the community port on my Faiphone2 and it's running fine. There are only minor problems. The most missing part for me is the lack of the exchange support (and the restriction about the dual sim support at the moment). I will use the phone for privat and for bussiness. So i would need both. I also would pay the additional licence fee for that. About the android support i think the open source port would be the better way. There is no dependecy to a bug fix from a company with the open source solution.

    1. Thanks for joining into testing, I guess we all hope for an official version to be available on one sunny day. For Android support, there might be something nice to share also for the unofficial version later. Happy for any feedback from your testing too!

    2. Hi there,
      I just installed Sailfish on my FP2 as well and am willing to share my experience with it. Not sure if this is the best place for it.
      Jolla looks realy smooth, nice movements and design. I like it!
      For now I had a small error in the Jolla-store. When browsing through the apps it keeps reminding me that I'm in developer-mode. This way you can't use the button to go back. I just switched the developer-mode on for testing, not realy doing anything with it. Next to that it gave the massage "USB cable removed" when it is plugged in the computer. Switching to a charger stopped the massage.

    3. Hi Wouter, the developer gets feedback also via here, so thanks for sharing. Quoting him after your comment: "afaik there was a bug related to USB mode handling which got just fixed in upstream, not sure if related to that" ("upstream" means the future development of sailfish os, later versions will be used also for the future images for FP2 so this should get fixed in one of those)

  12. Thanks for update instructions! i downgraded back to Android 1.1.7 and then re-install Sailfish and now mp3 music plays and camera working. Only problem is that earphone volume is too quiet. I hardly hear phone conversations even if i am a quiet room.

    1. Thanks, and thanks for reporting too :) Quietness is a known issue on alpha1, I should maybe update the list a bit while waiting for the next release

  13. I think i get all the steps except for the end of part 1 concerning cd command. What's that? And does someone have any news about a new version with fixes for the known issues?


      New version still under work, let's give the porters some time and some free time :) Everything looking good regarding the progress for what I currently know.

    2. Of course they should get all the time they need, I just wondered. :) I managed to get my grips around the cd-thingy, and actually got Sailfish up and running! Great fun, first time I ever used the cmd tool.

      After the first day of use, i basically got the same issues as mentioned above. Oh, and for some reason the torch app doesn´t work, but I guess that's something for the creator of the app to dig into(?). Anyway, huge thanks to everyone who's involved in this! :)

    3. Just one more thing, for some reason I can't turn off developer mode. Doing that deletes ALL the apps and every pulley menu etc. Is this considered normal?

  14. Hello,

    I set up may Fairphone2 on Sailfish 2 weeks ago and I really enjoy it ! It works perfectly well, smooth, beautiful and Google Free !!! Well done, the Jolla Team !
    Nevertheless, I chose this OS, because I read it was android compatible and ran 'apk'.
    That's my only one problem with Sailfish, but It's quite a big one. I need to use Guidage GPS, and no one run through the Browser, so we need use an app, something like Here We Go would be perfect, that would make me remember about my Nokian experiences with E71 & E72, that were simple and reliable. I would like use Deezer too, that doesn't want to run through the browser on my device on Sailfish.
    Could you tell me how running apk on my Fairphone2 with Jolla Sailfish (that I really like) ?
    All the tutorials I found need to be updated.
    Thank you !
    Kind regards.