After more than seven years and 43 software updates, Fairphone’s second generation Android smartphone is finally approaching the end of its software support period. The company says today’s software update for Android 10 will be the phone’s last, ending a remarkably long support period for a phone that originally ran Android 5 when it launched in 2015. Not bad considering Fairphone says it originally hoped to support the phone with “three to five years” of updates.
Long support periods like this are important to Fairphone, given the company’s emphasis on the durability of its devices. Not only does the company try to ethically source the materials that go into each of its phones, it also designs them to be easy to repair (with spare parts available for years after release), and it also promises long software support periods . The point is that the devices remain usable for longer and do not end up in landfills.
“We recommend not using apps that access sensitive data after May 2023”
Fairphone outlined what the end of this support period means for the approximately 15,000 Fairphone 2 phones still in use in a blog post earlier this year. Basically, the end of software support doesn’t mean the remaining phones will break immediately, but any bugs or security issues that are discovered won’t be fixed in the future.
“We recommend that you do not use apps that access sensitive data after May 2023; if there’s a serious vulnerability that the Fairphone 2 is susceptible to, we can’t fix it,” wrote Agnes Crepet, Fairphone’s head of software lifespan. “Some security-critical apps, such as banking apps, will over time consider the device obsolete and stop working altogether.”
The last major Android release of the Fairphone 2 was version 10, which has a stable release on the handset last year. Spare parts for the handset are available while stocks last.
“The Fairphone 2’s end of life is bittersweet because in an ideal world we would support our devices indefinitely, but due to industry and financial constraints, that’s just not feasible,” Crepet said in a statement. “But we’re happy to say we’ve supported Fairphone 2 for an unprecedented seven years.”