PinePhone FAQ

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A list of frequently asked question.

Contents

Hardware

Revisions

What are Community Editions?

Community Editions of the PinePhone are special versions which comes preinstalled with the operating system of the partner project and features the logo of this project on the back panel. The Community Edition is intended to help partner projects developing these systems: "Community editions are meant to bring exposure to partner-projects operating systems and communities, as well as help finance ongoing development.", source.

Is the Community Edition the latest revision?

Yes, it is! The Community Edition is the latest version of the PinePhone, featuring the mainboard numbers 1.2 and 1.2a. It's predecessor was the BraveHeart Edition intended for tinkerers and developers, which had the version number 1.1. For more details about the topic see PinePhone#Hardware Revisions.

Will there be other Community Editions?

Three Community Editions have been announced: UBports, PostmarketOS and Manjaro. Other Community Editions might follow, this however depends on multiple factors, including if the software is ready to be released on the consumer market.

In simple terms, what are the differences between BraveHeart and the new Community Edition?

The BraveHeart Edition was the revision intended for developers and tinkerers, while the Community Edition is the latest revision with an updated mainboard based on feedback for the BraveHeart Edition, see PinePhone#Hardware Revisions.

Will there be a newer revision after the Community Edition?

That's unlikely for the near future (unless major issues are found in the latest revision). The Community Edition got certificates such as CE, repeating the certification process due to changes in the hardware design is very expensive, so the Community Edition(s) are viewed as the final revision.

The Community Edition (and parts for it) will be produced and sold for at least 5 years.

There are plans for a newer revision with updated hardware, which is however multiple years away (3-5 years).

Will there be hardware differences between the Community Editions?

Ideally, only the logo on the back panel will differ. However there are minor differences between the Community Edition:

  • The UBPorts Community Edition has hardware USB-C issues that are fixed in later editions.
  • The PostmarketOS and Manjaro Community Editions have a 3GB/32GB version available in the Convergence Package.

Sound

Modem

The modem isn't working

In order to use the modem and WiFi/Bluetooth, you need to ensure the battery is inside the device and has a sufficient charge. Even when supplying the phone with enough power, the modem and WiFi chip will not work without a connected battery. Further, double check that you have no put the SD card into the sim card slot, or vice versa.

Battery

The battery is stuck inside the phone

The battery can be stuck in the phone if the screws of the frame are overtightened.

If your battery is stuck inside the PinePhone, grab a screw driver and completely unscrew all the screws of the midframe. Then pull out the battery (you may have to fully take off the midframe in some cases to get it out). And then rescrew the midframe, but only tighten the screws to the point where they are just barely tight to hold. This should allow you to remove the battery easily.

The battery is discharging while the phone is powered off (BraveHeart Edition)

The issue is not present on the Community Edition. Due to a hardware bug, after poweroff, the phone still consumes 20–30mA which drains the battery in 3-4 days. A manual procedure to fix the hardware bug is described here.

Kill Switches

What are the kill switches doing?

Number Name Explanation Description
1 Modem Pulls Q1501 gate up (FET killing modem power) "On" enables 2G/3G/4G communication and GNSS hardware, "off" disables it.
2 WiFi / Bluetooth Pulls up CHIP_EN "On" enables WiFi and Bluetooth communication hardware, "off" disables it.
3 Microphone Breaks microphone bias voltage from the SoC "On" enables audio input from on-board microphones (not 3.5mm jack), "off" disables it.
4 Rear camera Pulls up PWDN on OV5640 "On" enables the rear camera, "off" disables it.
5 Front camera Pulls up PWDN on GC2145 "On" enables the front camera, "off" disables it.
6 Headphone Pulls up IN2 on analog switch BCT4717ETB "On" enables audio input and output via the 3.5mm audio jack, "off" switches the jack to hardware UART mode.


Memory

What's the speed difference between the eMMC and SD cards?

Maximum transfer speed of the eMMC is around 85 MB/s, while SD cards are limited to approximately 23 MB/s (even with faster cards).

Software

Installation

How can I install an operating system on the SD card / eMMC?

See PinePhone Installation Instructions.

Updating

Read the PinePhone Updating Instructions.

Booting

What's the boot order for SD cards and eMMC?

The PinePhone will automatically boot from microSD if a bootable card is inserted. If no (bootable) microSD is found, it will boot from eMMC.

How can I select different OSes at boot?

There is a project by Danct12 which allows the user to select different OSes at boot, the software is currently work-in-progress: https://github.com/dreemurrs-embedded/Pineloader.

Ubuntu Touch

Can I install a different OS on the Ubports Community Edition?

Yes! While the Community Edition comes with an OS preinstalled, you are free to use any OS on the integrated storage (the eMMC) or the SD card, see PinePhone Installation Instructions and PinePhone Software Releases on how to install them.

How can I enable SSH?

Run "sudo start ssh" to get a one-time start or edit /etc/init/ssh.override and remove the manual line to make it auto-start.

What works, what doesn't?

See https://gitlab.com/ubports/community-ports/pinephone#what-works-what-doesnt.

I did not install an update and I'm stuck on the Pine64 logo after rebooting.

  1. Use a USB A-C cable to plug your phone into your PC
  2. Hold the PinePhone's power button for 4 seconds or more to power it off.
  3. Wait 5 seconds
  4. Hold the Volume Up and Power buttons on the PinePhone to boot into recovery. You should see the LED light red, then yellow, then green. The "Installing update" screen will appear, but a progress bar to indicate update progress will not. Ignore the "Installing update" part.
  5. Your PC may automatically mount the PinePhone's partitions. If it does, Safely Remove or Eject all of them.
  6. Open a terminal on your PC. Type telnet 172.16.42.1
  7. You should receive the text 'Welcome to Rescue SD Shell!'
  8. In the new Rescue SD shell, type umount /dev/mmcblk2p10; e2fsck -fy /dev/mmcblk2p10 && sync
  9. Once this command pipeline finishes, type sync && reboot -f

Your PinePhone should reboot into Ubuntu Touch. Now head to Settings -> Updates and install the new update!

If these steps did not solve your issue, please create a new thread here on the Pine64 forums, note what the problem looks like, then say that you've tried these steps already.

This is caused by corruption on the userdata partition. Normally this should be fixed by 'e2fsck' in the initramfs, however an error in image creation means that that version of e2fsck is unable to correct corruption. This has been fixed in all new PinePhone updates, so if you update from the factory image to any other image available to the PinePhone now, you will not experience this issue any longer.

I turned on my PinePhone. The red LED is lit and it will not boot.

  1. Hold the power button until the light turns off
  2. Hold the power button until the light turns on

You may need to repeat these steps more than once.

This is caused by u-boot apparently trying to use the eMMC before it is ready. We are not entirely sure why this occurs yet.

I can't connect to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network.

Reboot your device by holding the power button until the "Power" dialog appears, then pressing "Restart".

If that does not fix the issue, note that all the following conditions must be met to use WiFi on the PinePhone:

  1. The plastic tab between the battery and the device's battery contacts has been removed
  2. The battery is installed
  3. The WiFi killswitch, #2, on the rear of the device is switched "ON"

Wi-Fi in the PinePhone only seems stable after a warm reboot like this.

I can't update or install packages through apt

W: Problem unlinking the file /var/lib/apt/lists/partial/ports.ubuntu.com_ubuntu-ports_dists_xenial_InRelease - PrepareFiles (30: Read-only file system)

Remount the root filesystem as read-write:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ sudo mount -o remount,rw /

Now you should be able to run updates and install new packages

Android

What's the status of Android for the PinePhone?

Currently, there isn't any major push to get Android running well on the PinePhone. The developer Icenowy did get a Android image to run and partly work, it was however slow and buggy, with major functions not working. A solution for running some of your android apps may be found in Anbox as of now. Anbox is currently not included in Ubuntu Touch.

Why are my apps loading slower than on my Android phone?

Android has multiple techniques in place to speed up launching applications after the first launch, such as the "Dalvik cache".

Shipping

I did not receive an order confirmation

Check your "spam" folder. It was reported that some users did not receive an order confirmation. You will also still get a shipping notification when the device ships out, even if you didn't get a order confirmation email.

When does the phone ship?

For up-to-date information when the phone's shipping date is estimated, see the edits in this forum post: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=9942.

It is shipping day but I did not receive a shipping notification

For shipments with DHL the shipping notification is sent out as soon as the packet reached DHL's warehouse and scanned (it can take up to 24 hours after scanning after the shipment is added to DHL's database). For all other shipments (via Ascendia) the notification is sent out sometime after shipment.

When does my phone ship if I order now?

Orders made after Friday, 22nd May 2020 are shipped after the first bulk of pre-orders has been shipped. The exact date is not known yet due to various reasons, it may be a few weeks after the first bulk shipped. The forum will be edited with updated information and you will receive a shipping notification when the device was shipped.

What about import taxes?

Import taxes have to be payed by the buyer depending on the jurisdiction of the country of the buyer. Please check with your local laws if there are import taxes to pay and if so how to do the tax filing.

Accessories

Protection

Which screen protector should i use?

Protecting your screen is important, especially for devices like the PinePhone that doesn't have access to the newest glass technology. The Braveheart and Community Editions of the PinePhone comes with a plastic film screen protector installed, and Pine64 sells a tempered glass screen protector in their store.

You can also buy a third party screen protector, as the screen protectors for the iPhone 11 Pro Max/XS Max fit the PinePhone pretty well based on this forum post.

Batteries

I'm outside the US and want a replacement battery, which one should I buy?

Currently the PinePhone battery is known to be compatible with replacement batteries for the Samsung J700, specifically models "EB-BJ700BBC", "EB-BJ700BBE" and maybe "EB-BJ700CBE" are compatible. There is a report that model "EB-BJ700CBE" might be incompatible so it's probably safer to go with either the BBC or BBE models.

External hardware

Will Pine64 sell other addons made for the PinePhone?

Yes, currently there is a keyboard case, Qi wireless charging and a 5000mAh battery case planned, these are the products Pine64 will make and sell for sure. Pine is also exploring other possibilities like a keyboard case in the style of a Nokia N900, an external battery charger and a gamepad, but these aren't really decided on yet.

Which 3rd party hardware can connect to my PinePhone?

See PinePhone Hardware Accessory Compatibility.