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

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Oct 4, 2011
@M66B I concur with everything that has been said already about the quality of your products and your support, about Google's decisions and about your personal situation.

Having said that, from your messages I get the impression that you are a passionate developer with privacy in mind and also want to provide an excellent service around the software. I also think you'd be uneasy with passing on the development of the products to someone else (for money or to FOSS developers/communities).

Of course I respect those decisions.
What I think does not match and will never end nicely is to think a single person will have the capabilitiesand resources to cater for thousands of users (I don't use Google Play so I have no idea how many installs your products have) with a broad variety of IT background. You will eventually get flooded by negative reviews/comments/mails/whatever and it will get to you.

Assuming above is true, this leaves the following options in my view:
- You discontinue the development as announced, it's people's own responsibility what to do with FairEmail.
- You somehow leverage communities (e.g. XDA) to do the support, you just develop, as has been proposed already. BUT this requires a mindshift from you to ignore anything from the PlayStore etc. and focus on features, security issues and those being forwarded to you by the community AND you'd have contact with way fewer persons directly
- You keep FairEmail out of the PlayStore and focus on F-Droid/Github/other places in which you'd have to deal with rather IT-affine persons. Not saying that you'd come across the occasional unfriendly person, but I' suppose they are rarer
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Senior Member
Jun 24, 2012
Cary, NC
I have been away from xda for quite some time but this made me want to post. I have been a regular user and donor for the fairemail app and I am so sad to see Marcel go away. From our few email communications I can tell that Marcel is incredibly responsive and just comes across like a kind person. Please remember Marcel you have well-wishers here and we would love to see you come back and support this app. However, if you don't that is your choice and we respect it. I hope your girlfriend feels better too.

- Peace and Love from your fan


Senior Member
May 5, 2007
Amazon Fire TV
Google Pixel 4a
Keep hitting at my sensitive places and the chance for return will only be slimmer.

Link. (1 star German Play store review)
There is one thing that calms me when a troll tries to push my buttons...

A person who is happy with their life would not try to push another person down. So, people who do that are obviously not happy with their life, and I feel sorry for them.


Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
I received a new "answer" from Google:

When we detected that your app contains spyware code that transmits personal data off the device without adequate notice or consent which is :-
  • App is uploading users' Contact List information without posting a privacy policy in both the designated field in the Play Console and from within the Play distributed app itself, and
  • App is uploading users' Contact List information with inadequate prominent disclosure.
We mean, the application does not meet prominent disclosure requirements, since it does not state what data is being collected and why. Any data collection should be adequate. For example, your app does not validate the data being collected (contact list). Also your privacy policy disclosures are not adequate for prominent disclosure requirements.

I have responded with:

The app does not send contact list information, there is a privacy policy in the Play store developer console and there is a privacy policy available in the app.

You keep repeating the same thing without clarifying which contact info is being sent, when that is being sent and to where that is being sent. In other words, you are not transparent. This is unfair business practice according to EU regulation 2019/1150, which requires you to answer in an individualised manner and drafted in plain and intelligible language.


I am requesting you to detail:
  1. Which contact info is being sent
  2. When that is being sent
  3. To where that is being sent
If you can't give answers to these questions, you should escalate to someone who can. Legally, you are required to answer these questions.


Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
Another reminder while I stopped the project:

Link (1 star German review for app being removed from the Play store).


Senior Member
Dec 28, 2012
Hi there! I'm a happy user of FairEmail and as a dev myself, please allow me a few comments.

Many people simply don't appreciate good stuff. Don't mind that. Negative comments etc? I wouldn't care at all. If they have a problem with it, they can fork it and do their own thing. Dot. Maybe it's precisely because your apps are good. It's a thorn in their eyes and they need them to be removed in order to make Android more insecure.

By the way: I really love it that the real URLs are shown and inspectable upon clicking a link. I don't know any other app having this great security feature!

I also enjoy programming, just like you. I simply program for myself. Of course I won't ignore suggestions. Most questions have to be answered once, but after that anyone can few the answer. I wouldn't care too much about it, to be honest.

For FairEmail I see commits almost every day and I'm impressed that you held that speed for so long.
I would take it a little bit more relaxed. For example just a few hours on the weekends. Maybe not every weekend either.

Take a look at VLC and other stuff. They sometimes only update the version or libraries.
Once everything you expect to work is done, development speed will drop anyway. Good stuff doesn't necessarily need to be that actively developed.

I think that most people really appreciate your work. Don't loose your head because of a few stupid ***. I totally can't understand why someone would give one star for such a great project. Why do people give only one star anyway when they only have a complaint about a tiny part of whatsoever ignoring the big picture? - I think you put too much importance to such unimportant things. Even the best products get negative reviews and comments.

I hope your girlfriend gets well soon! I wish you a nice weekend!



PS: People who care gather rather in forums like here, f-droid etc. than on the play-store where anyone does like they please (incl. Google).
For many it might be a loss if you don't put your apps there, but privacy focused people are not very likely to be there. Devs and Privacy focused people will appreciate your work more than the average people out there. That's what I believe.
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Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
I was just thinking to maybe just release updates on GitHub, but that plan is going right into the trash can after this 1 star Play store review:

Schon gute App, aber der Dev...wer sich 1-Sterne-Bewertungen zu Herzen nimmt und deshalb persönlich gekränkt ist, also bitte. Außerdem in der Vergangenheit schon mit anderen Problemen negativ aufgefallen. Ich denke, der Open-Source-Community wird so ein Charakter nicht fehlen.


Edit: maybe the first of the review is right and I am not suitable for this project.
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New member
Nov 29, 2020
Hi Marcel (@M66B),

Just wanted to say thank you so much for all the amazing work you've done. I totally support you taking care of yourself and your relationship to this work. I sympathize with the sting of unkind and/or thoughtless reviews/comments. You and your contributions will surely be missed.

Here's to those that wish you well, everyone else can sit on a tack.

Hope you can be good to yourself in all of this; much respect and thanks,
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May 20, 2022
I was just thinking to maybe just release updates on GitHub, but that plan is going right into the trash can after this 1 star Play store review:


Edit: maybe the first of the review is right and I am not suitable for this project.
(y) Good idea to publish updates only on Github in the future. I think whoever is on there will appreciate your work much better. Why throw this idea in the trash because of a few people who blurt out unqualified remarks? And certainly no reason to doubt yourself.

Imho it's not even necessary to update FairEmail every few days --- because it's already really good right NOW!


Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
Google's answer:

Thanks again for contacting Google Play Developer Support.

As much as I'd like to help, I’m not able to provide any more details or a better answer to your question. In our previous email, I made sure to include all the information available to me.

You should be able to find more about your issue here:

Unfortunately I'm not able to comment on your planned implementation. If you think your app is in compliance, please submit your app for another review. You may want to review the Developer Program Policies for additional policy guidance.

Any perceived compliance or non-compliance of other developers’ apps does not have any bearing on the compliance of your own apps. If you want to report an app that you believe is a violation of our developer terms, please flag it as inappropriate on Google Play or submit a report through our contact form.

We recommend reviewing the details listed in this blog post and update your app accordingly to comply with the changes.

Thanks for your understanding and continued support.


Senior Member
Apr 30, 2022
I did, also those received by email, and this is most certainly being appreciated.

Still it hurts. Basically there is being asked to be a social and asocial person at the same time. I can't be that.
Honestly, I don't understand, why are you being asked to be an antisocial person?


Sep 25, 2020
Hi Marcel
Please stop with Google.
This is not going well.
When I look at the latest posts here it's again about 1 star and about Google's policies.
Google doesn't change and it doesn't make you happier.
I think quitting Google will bring you a lot more peace of mind.
Because now you're annoyed about it again.
With Github and F-Droid you have more serious users. Users who have made a conscious choice.
That leaves you with 2% of your users and probably a few more % who switch from Google to Github.
Fewer users, trolls, policies, stars, but more peace and fun.
Take more distance, you don't have to get 3 new updates every week.
Don't put so many hours into it.
The apps are fine.
Sit back and enjoy the many nice comments here on XDA, that is certainly something to be proud of.
Sincerely, 30jp


Senior Member
Apr 7, 2021
I was just thinking to maybe just release updates on GitHub, but that plan is going right into the trash can after this 1 star Play store review:


Edit: maybe the first of the review is right and I am not suitable for this project.
He sounds like Paradoxus in this blog. Chances are, perhaps even same person: https://stadt-bremerhaven.de/fairem...pp-aus-dem-google-play-store/#comment-1360543

He's an annoying nagger. Nothing more than that. Might even nag in multiple places under different names. He has got nothing better to do than talking ill about others, I suppose.
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Jan 31, 2017
I heard about the issue with Google today and came here to read more about it. It'd really break my heart if the development of the app stops. I tried soooo many clients in the past but whenever I found one I liked, it turned out to be fishy or those clients that (kinda) worked ok were either awful to use or the push notifications weren't working.

Today I went ahead and bought the pro features although the free version already offered everything I could ever ask for.

Some people are very sensitive to negative feedback and it's hard for those to ignore it, even if the positive feedback is overwhelming.
If you decide to continue the development you should seriously consider to slow it down a bit (or more) and reduce the interaction with the community. Your mental health will appreciate it and your quality of life will most likely improve.

Whatever path you chose, I wish all the best for the future.

Top Liked Posts

  • 6
    As predicted a new threat.

    At the threatener: if you don't like it, please uninstall the app and go elsewhere.
    Hmmm... I followed the instructions (reset questions and enabled confirming links) which let me select Firefox custom tabs. That now opens links in a Firefox custom tab as expected. I disabled confirming links again because I don't want to click through dialogues every time I open a link. But now every link I click opens in a Firefox custom tab - it's no longer asking me which browser I want to use (I don't set a default browser in Android because different sites have different preferred browsers). Is there a way to set it up so that I'll still get the Android browser selection dialogue, but have FairEmail use a custom tab with whichever browser I pick?

    Thanks :)
    You can set in Android as browser default the app 'BetterOpenWith' - so you cann select the browser you want in every case individual.

    Edit: You cannot have both: no asking but individual selecting.
    That works! When I use "select app" without the "open" icon, Android asks me what browser to use and then uses a custom tab from that browser. When I turn off confirming links, the behaviour sticks and I can now open links in any custom tab from whatever browser that I choose each time I click a link. Thank you!!!

    Do I now have to do anything because I installed a Github version over top of my Playstore version?

    You don't have to do anything, but you could support the project with a donation:

    If you want to switch back to the Play store version, you can disable checking for GitHub updates in the miscellaneous setting tab page, which will result in updating to the next Play store version.
    Hmmm... I followed the instructions (reset questions and enabled confirming links) which let me select Firefox custom tabs. That now opens links in a Firefox custom tab as expected. I disabled confirming links again because I don't want to click through dialogues every time I open a link. But now every link I click opens in a Firefox custom tab - it's no longer asking me which browser I want to use (I don't set a default browser in Android because different sites have different preferred browsers). Is there a way to set it up so that I'll still get the Android browser selection dialogue, but have FairEmail use a custom tab with whichever browser I pick?

    Thanks :)
    As far as I can see, the FAQ Marcel linked explains everything:

    If there is choice, Android will ask you how to open the link. You can select Always or Just Once. If you want to reset Always, please see here about how to.

    If you ticked Do not ask this again for [domain name], you can undo this by using the Reset questions button in the miscellaneous settings tab page of the app.
  • 20
    Assuming the starting point of no on-device Google Account...

    Q: Which of these Fair Email Google mail server options is "most" private?

    1. 2SV/2FA (using any of a half dozen secondary methods), or,
    2. What Fair Email terms "GMail (Android)", or,
    3. What Fair Email terms "GMail (OAuth)".

    Note Marcel knows the answer, so he can instantly nip this tangent in the bud by answering that question in a single word... (where I suspect the answer is undoubtably #3 but others strongly think it's #1 apparently, so I could be wrong - but it's NEVER gonna be #2.

    The desired single word answer is "none". Google scans all your messages and you can only hope that the gathered information isn't used in an un-private way. Option 1 (assumed to be app passwords) and option 3 do not send extra information to Google. Option 2 requires an on-device Google account. You can control the sync options of a Google account via the Android settings. If these options work as expected and are turned off, no information should be sent to Google. This applies to all other Google services and apps, like Maps and Drive, too. You'll need to go into the settings and turn things off and trust that Google honors this.

    I expect to see no more messages about this subject anymore, with no exceptions for anyone. If you want to continue discussing about this, you should create a new XDA thread for this.
    The next version will have optionally VirusTotal integration, so you can check attachments easily:

    Using a Gmail account in FairEmail will inevitably leak your IP address, and thus your rough location, but nothing else, except the obvious: the messages you receive and sent and their meta data (sender, receiver, subject, etc).

    Note that it is not a good idea to use a VPN to hide your IP address because you'll probably run into "Please log in via your web browser" at an inconvenient moment.

    For HOTP and TOTP I recommend FreeOTP+.

    I think enough has been said about the privacy aspects of a Google account now. Whether a Google account on your device is a privacy concern or not is off-topic here. If you want to keep discussing about this, please create another XDA thread for this. You can leave a link to the created thread here if you wish.
    Version 1.1941 is available on GitHub now.


    Besides a series of small improvements and minor bug fixes, VirusTotal Integration was added. Please see this FAQ for more information about configuring and using this new feature:

    (181) How do I use VirusTotal?

    Note that the app hasn't been restored in the Play store yet. For the latest status updates, please see here:

    That guy really needs his email. I wonder who he thinks will maintain the app after he killed you 🤔
    Given the messages I just received I am pretty sure this guy is reading here.

    To this guy: I am doing my best to hold this project together and what you are doing isn't helping, on the contrary. Instead, if the app is dear to you, you can better help and complain to the right people, mainly Google.
  • 241

    Open source, privacy friendly email app for Android


    See here for a description:

    See here for screenshots:


    Frequently asked questions:

    Please read this before requesting a new feature:

    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.
    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:


    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.
    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).


    My girlfriend is slowly recovering too :)
    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.
    I have just released alpha version 0.15


    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.