[APP][5.0+] FairEmail - Fully featured, open source, privacy oriented email app

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M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
Since my girlfriend is currently pretty sick, my first priority is taking care of her. So, don't expect much from me for the time being.

I will probably release a new version in the Play store by the end of the week though.
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
According to Google FairEmail is spyware because it uploads the contact list. My guess is this is because of the usage of favicons, which will use the domain name of email addresses to fetch info. This feature has been removed from the Play store version now.

Google has been violating EU regulation 2019/1150 on multiple occasions now by not being transparent about what exactly the problem is, but what can I do? Complain via the EU, wait five years for action while the app is being removed from the Play store?
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
I have submitted a new version to Google, with the favicons and domain block lists removed.

This might come as a shock, but if I can't resolve this with Google, it will be the end of the project. I have tried to communicate several times with Google, but they don't provide any details about what the app presumably is doing wrong.

The app most certainly doesn't upload any contact info, unless maybe your email address to login to the email server.

If the app can't be in the Play store anymore, there is no point in continuing supporting this app because about 99% of the users download the app from the Play store.
 

nadir husain

Senior Member
Aug 31, 2019
313
371
I have submitted a new version to Google, with the favicons and domain block lists removed.

This might come as a shock, but if I can't resolve this with Google, it will be the end of the project. I have tried to communicate several times with Google, but they don't provide any details about what the app presumably is doing wrong.

The app most certainly doesn't upload any contact info, unless maybe your email address to login to the email server.

If the app can't be in the Play store anymore, there is no point in continuing supporting this app because about 99% of the users download the app from the Play store.
Don't say that Marcel,!😭
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
Please keep us posted Marcel. I really don't want to start hunting for email apps again. And there is none as good as FE
I will, but this feel pretty hopelessly.

This happened before and there is just no discussion with Google possible. If they keep rejecting updates and I can't figure out why, it will be the end.
 
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M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
The balance

The few euros I receive in return for what's being offered and the fun of developing things are no compensation for the thousands of questions I answer every month, for unfair Play store reviews and for stress about unclear Google requirements.


The verdict

I have not reached a conclusion yet, but the question I am asking myself is why I would continue with the project. Maybe it is the moment, with a sick girlfriend, but I currently don't see it.


Alternatives

GitHub only version: 98% of the audience will be lost.

Strip down the app: more bad reviews

Paid support: more bad reviews

Stop answering questions: more bad reviews

Bad reviews will shift the balance only in the wrong direction.


Core problem

Google. There is no sensible way to appeal in case of bad reviews or alleged violations of Play store policies.

People. They are generally pretty demanding and on the other hand everything should be free.

Myself. An old and grumpy developer, who maybe should retired.


Input is welcome.
 

Oswald Boelcke

Senior Moderator / Moderator & RC-RT Committees
Staff member
According to Google FairEmail is spyware because it uploads the contact list. My guess is this is because of the usage of favicons, which will use the domain name of email addresses to fetch info. This feature has been removed from the Play store version now.

Google has been violating EU regulation 2019/1150 on multiple occasions now by not being transparent about what exactly the problem is, but what can I do? Complain via the EU, wait five years for action while the app is being removed from the Play store?
I have submitted a new version to Google, with the favicons and domain block lists removed.

This might come as a shock, but if I can't resolve this with Google, it will be the end of the project. I have tried to communicate several times with Google, but they don't provide any details about what the app presumably is doing wrong.

The app most certainly doesn't upload any contact info, unless maybe your email address to login to the email server.

If the app can't be in the Play store anymore, there is no point in continuing supporting this app because about 99% of the users download the app from the Play store.
I don't want to comment on Google and its business schemes; I've my own opinion and therefore I refrain from using anything by them. But I think you should complain with the EU. Google is already in their focus and I'm convinced they collect anything they can get.

By the way, the following link was posted by @Sid32 here in @HootanParsa's MiXplorer thread:
All apk install functions will soon be removed
Could this also affect the FE PlayStore version? I quite often update your FE, the very best email app on the market, when it notifies me. And then I obviously download it from Github, don't I. Looks like Google doesn't like that.

Androidpolice also reported that yesterday:
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
I don't want to comment on Google and its business schemes; I've my own opinion and therefore I refrain from using anything by them. But I think you should complain with the EU. Google is already in their focus and I'm convinced they collect anything they can get.

By the way, the following link was posted by @Sid32 here in @HootanParsa's MiXplorer thread:
All apk install functions will soon be removed
Could this also affect the FE PlayStore version? I quite often update your FE, the very best email app on the market, when it notifies me. And then I obviously download it from Github, don't I. Looks like Google doesn't like that.

Androidpolice also reported that yesterday:
It takes years until the EU does something, so complaining doesn't help me with practical problems today.

The app didn't update itself from the beginning because this Google policy was waiting to be enforced. So, this shouldn't (you'll never know with Google) a problem in the case of FairEmail.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 

mkasimd

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2021
185
366
Düsseldorf
It takes years until the EU does something, so complaining doesn't help me with practical problems today.

The app didn't update itself from the beginning because this Google policy was waiting to be enforced. So, this shouldn't (you'll never know with Google) a problem in the case of FairEmail.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Bureaucratic processes always take time. But if you want to escalate things, I recommend to get in touch with eff.org. Even if they mainly operate in the Americas, they might be interested in a legal action against Google's intransparent policies as well.

There are no ad-hoc solutions for this. But sometimes (though rarely), taking action helps quicker than one believes. It might be worth to give a shot.

Also, if personal support takes a huge toll on you link everyone to this thread and make this a user-forum where you occasionally put input while other users too can explain things. Ratings go down the drain? Let it be, Marcel. Ratings are not as important as your own (mental) health.
 

nadir husain

Senior Member
Aug 31, 2019
313
371
Bureaucratic processes always take time. But if you want to escalate things, I recommend to get in touch with eff.org. Even if they mainly operate in the Americas, they might be interested in a legal action against Google's intransparent policies as well.

There are no ad-hoc solutions for this. But sometimes (though rarely), taking action helps quicker than one believes. It might be worth to give a shot.

Also, if personal support takes a huge toll on you link everyone to this thread and make this a user-forum where you occasionally put input while other users too can explain things. Ratings go down the drain? Let it be, Marcel. Ratings are not as important as your own (mental) health.
I agree with the above response.
Also seriously seriously very seriously if you are not happy with what is happening with your app or how you are being treated you should consider selling this app to someone who can maintain it. There is nothing really that is more important than you or your family's health
 
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M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
I am pretty unhappy about the situation and I am considering to pull all my apps from the Play store, close all related XDA threads and going back to anonymity.

The apps won't be sold in any case because in almost all cases this will not beneficial for the users of the app. There are plenty of examples of this.
 
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30jp

Member
Sep 25, 2020
40
95
Hi Marcel,
If I were you I would stop using Google Playstore.
That is 98% of the buyers and I think most of the complainers.
Keep it with Github and F-Droid as it is now, a free and a paid version.
Only update important and necessary things once every 3 months.
So no other colours, fonts or handy buttons.
Also write that clearly here on XDA and Github and don't reply to every post here either.
Keep it to once every 3 months.
Let it go.
FairEmail is and will remain the best email app out there.
I think that gives you the most peace of mind and gives you more energy to support your girlfriend and possibly do other things later.
Give it a year and stick to those rules and then evaluate after 1 year how it went and what it brought you.
The same goes for Netguard.

Sincerely jp30
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,021
56,080
Hi Marcel,
If I were you I would stop using Google Playstore.
That is 98% of the buyers and I think most of the complainers.
Keep it with Github and F-Droid as it is now, a free and a paid version.
Only update important and necessary things once every 3 months.
So no other colours, fonts or handy buttons.
Also write that clearly here on XDA and Github and don't reply to every post here either.
Keep it to once every 3 months.
Let it go.
FairEmail is and will remain the best email app out there.
I think that gives you the most peace of mind and gives you more energy to support your girlfriend and possibly do other things later.
Give it a year and stick to those rules and then evaluate after 1 year how it went and what it brought you.
The same goes for Netguard.

Sincerely jp30
I won't be coming back, sorry.
 

Top Liked Posts

  • 11
    The tutorials as created by @mkasimd are live now:


    The tutorials are being referenced from the FAQ, the contact form and from the settings screen in the next version of the app.

    If you are a native English speaker, can you please check if the spelling/style is okay?
    4
    The dark original message view will stop working for Android before version 10, about which I complained about in this issue:

    https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/237785596

    (requires a Google login)

    The next version of the app will show a message about this.
    2
    So, not sure if a bug came up from an update recently but noticing weird behavior. When I try to sort by sender it no longer does so by display name but instead email addresses only making them hard to readily identify.

    Even worse, after setting this sort mode going back to unread retains this - display names don't come back.

    Version: 1.926a
    Updated 7/2/22 1:49AM
    Sort on sender was always on email address and this is because the sort order would be ambiguous if a name is missing, which is rather often the case.

    Sorting on time again, the default, shows the names again for me. Sort on read shows the names again too.

    In any case, there were no changes related to this in recent versions, in fact not for a very long time.
    2
    SQLite is used by FairEmail as the app's local database. A data loss within there should not result in any data loss within the server. If that was the case, it'd be a huge bug within the FairEmail on top of the bug in Redmi Note (as deleting in the server requires an IMAP command being sent to the email server), and we can trust that Marcel would have communicated and fixed it already if that was the case 😉

    With POP3, the messages are possibly deleted right after downloading the message. So if the data within the device is lost, the messages are lost for all eternity then. Because there are no messages stored in the server then.

    Advice: use IMAP whenever possible
    In addition: sqlite is the Android database system. FairEmail comes with a recent sqlite library because on older devices / Android versions there are often pretty old sqlite binaries with known and sometimes critical bugs. FairEmail links for this to the requery/sqlite-android project. You'll find some commit of me in this project as well.

    sqlite is a pretty amazing piece of software!
    2
    Does the mentioned possible data loss happen only on the device or also on the server?
    Only on the device, unless a POP3 account is being used with the option 'Leave messages on server' disabled.

    I have clarified this in the FAQ:

    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/blob/master/FAQ.md#redmi

    Thanks!
  • 23
    Version 1.1923 1.1924 is available on GitHub now and in the Play store test program after Google's approval.

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/releases

    The option to suppress notifications while on a call (recently added) has been replaced by delaying notifications until after having ended the call instead. This way there isn't a risk that important new messages will be missed or seen too late. This option is available on Android 12 and later only because earlier Android versions do not have the requires APIs.
    20
    Version 1.1906 is available on GitHub now and in the Play store test program after Google's approval.

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/releases

    Thanks @Rtxda for testing!
    20
    Quite some people asked my opinion about Thunderbird / K9 mail joining.

    I wish them good luck because we need privacy friendly apps. The author of K9 mail seems a nice guy to me, and even contributed a few lines of code and some constructive feedback to FairEmail. I hope he'll find a nice place in the Mozilla organization.

    That said, the concept of FairEmail is somewhat different than of Thunderbird / K9 mail. One of the things I read about is deep integration between the Thunderbird desktop / mobile app. The concept of FairEmail is to be standalone and not to depend on any service. Maybe in some way the apps are competitors, depending on the way you look at them, but in the end the goal is similar, offering a decent and privacy friendly app, at least I hope that this keeps being the goal of Mozilla. Of course a lot more can be said, but the apps just have a different character, which you might or might not like.
    19
    Version 1.1907 is available on GitHub now and in the Play store test program after Google's approval.

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/releases
    18
    Version 1.1914 1.1915 is available on GitHub now.

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/releases

    All changes required or desired for Android 13 have been done now.
    Now that this has been done and given my personal situation, there will be bug fix releases only for now.
  • 235
    ic_launcher.png

    FairEmail
    Open source, privacy friendly email app for Android

    banner7_long.png


    See here for a description:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email/

    See here for screenshots:
    https://email.faircode.eu/#screenshots

    Downloads:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email#user-content-downloads

    Frequently asked questions:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email/blob/master/FAQ.md

    Please read this before requesting a new feature:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/blob/master/FAQ.md#user-content-get-support

    This XDA thread is about using the latest version of FairEmail.

    For support on authorizing an account you should consult the documentation of your provider, see also here.

    Off topic comments are allowed as long they are related to FairEmail and are in the general interest of the followers of this thread.

    Discussion of purchases is not allowed here, please contact me via here instead.
    68
    How was the call with Google today, Marcel?

    Google was pretty friendly and cooperative and told me the favicons are indeed the problem, and it can/should be fixed by updating in the privacy policy to "disclose how your app accesses, collects, uses, and shares user data":

    Privacy Policy​

    All apps must post a privacy policy in both the designated field in Play Console and within the app itself. The privacy policy must, together with any in-app disclosures, comprehensively disclose how your app accesses, collects, uses, and shares user data, not limited by the data disclosed in the Data Safety section. This must include:
    • developer information and a privacy point of contact or a mechanism to submit inquiries
    • disclosing the types of personal and sensitive user data your app accesses, collects, uses, and shares; and any parties with which any personal or sensitive user data is shared
    • secure data handling procedures for personal and sensitive user data
    • the developer’s data retention and deletion policy
    • clear labeling as a privacy policy (e.g., listed as “privacy policy” in title)
    The entity (e.g., developer, company) named in the app’s Google Play listing must appear in the privacy policy or the app must be named in the privacy policy. Apps that do not access any personal and sensitive user data must still submit a privacy policy.

    Please make sure your privacy policy is available on an active URL (no PDFs) and is non-editable.

    So, I have updated the privacy policy and added this new table:

    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/blob/master/PRIVACY.md#summary-of-shared-data

    I am not sure if it covers everything, so feedback is more than welcome. @mkasimd maybe you can take a look?

    Note that I have also enabled BIMI, Gravatars, Libravatars and favicons for the Play store version again.

    The short term goal is to release a Play store test version (and associated GitHub version) and to get the update approved. I will think about the next steps after this has been accomplished. Given the huge number of supportive messages I received (much appreciated!) the project will be continued in some form in any case.
    49
    Version 1.1900 is available on GitHub now and in the Play store test program after Google's approval (which is the main goal of this release).

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/releases

    My girlfriend is slowly recovering too :)
    46
    It is time for a new, modern, open source, privacy friendly email client for Android.

    I have just released a first alpha version for feedback on the design and features.

    Not for production use yet!

    Most of the stuff basically works, but be prepared for crashes and error notifications.


    Safe email is a working name, but it is for several reasons not a convenient name, so suggestions for a name are welcome.
    37
    I have just released alpha version 0.15

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email/releases

    With a bit of luck the next version can be a beta version.

    I am putting a lot of effort into this project, so thanks are appreciated.