User FAQ


For development topics, please see the Developer frequently asked questions.


Principles of FAQ

  • No more than 2 page lengths per, well, page. (Okay, the front page breaks this rule in this structure. Sorry!)
  • No more than 3 clicks from this page to get an answer
  • Use links to content where possible (including
    • Especially if the answer is more than a couple of sentences (one paragraph max) - in this case, make a page if necessary and point to it.
  • Continually update (needs a FAQ editor)

Open to suggestions...

Tips for finding answers

Please note, you can also use the search facilities:

Note that there is a separate FAQ for those interested in Development.

New to Maemo? There's a New Users page, Maemo basics -article and a Greeters Organization.

I can't read through this! I'm in big trouble... Need big help...

Are you sure? You might want to check below in the Troubleshooting section.

But... If all else fails, and you just can't see a way out, updating the tablet firmware is the last straw. It deletes all user data and reverts all settings to default.


Note: device links will direct you to spesific hardware pages


The N900 is a pocketable computer with plenty of power (speed and memory) for running many demanding applications. Take a look at N900 Accessories if you are in a need of screen protector, carrying case or similar.

(Older) Internet Tablets


Do I have to charge it fully before first use?

No. It will come with some battery charge so you can play. It is still suggested that you do couple of full discharge - recharge cycles with new battery to calibrate battery for optimal performance

Do I have to discharge it fully each time?

No, n900 has a LIon battery, which doesn't need this. Older NiCad batteries did.

Can I use the device while it’s charging?


Is it safe to leave it charging overnight? Will it stop charging itself when it’s full?


Software and Usage

Operating System

The Nokia devices run on the Maemo Operating System, but there are alternatives (see alternatives below).


The N900 runs Maemo 5 out of the box. See the Maemo 5 Introductory pages for details, movies, and advice.

Fremantle is the codename of Maemo 5, which is the current version of Maemo.

Maemo 4, also known as OS2008, was the operating system used on the Nokia N800, N810, and N810 WiMAX Edition. The original, version 4.0, release was codenamed "Chinook". A later, version 4.1, upgrade was codenamed "Diablo".

Will Maemo 5 run on the Previous Internet Tablets?

Not officially but perhaps through the Mer community project. Maemo 5 is optimized for the OMAP3 architecture, the N810 and N800 are based in OMAP2 and the 770 in OMAP1 (discussion).

Earlier tablets ran earlier versions of Maemo. Links to details will be provided as time progresses.

What are the 'Alternatives' to Maemo

General Usage

How do I lock and unlock the touchscreen?

A nice overview of locking and unlocking is available on this MaemoUI Team video.

Can I do email?

If you're using an N900, the N900 Email Options page can help.

What can I do with GPS?

Ovi Maps comes preinstalled to N900 and there are ways to go Geocaching with Maemo devices too.

How can I sync personal data?

Article Sync will tell you more.

Which music files can be played in Maemo?

mp3, m4a(without copy protection, OGG, etc...

How can I find files from my home directory with terminal?

Article MyDocs folder describes the locations.

How do I take a screenshot?

  • Open the keyboard.
  • Make sure the screen you wish to capture is the screen showing.
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + P
  • Open the Photos Application.
  • The screen shot is the last picture taken.

How do I get to the dashboard using the the keyboard?

Press Ctrl + backspace.

How do I use the Video Camera?

See the article on basic use of the Video camera.

TV Out

Make sure that you check Settings/TV Out and change the video format to PAL or NTSC for your local TV system, prior to connecting it to the TV.


Go to the N900 Games Page to find more about gaming with N900.

Other Applications

Where do I get Software (apps) from?

Open application manager and start searching for useful software. You can learn more about downloading applications and installing applications.

You can browse Extras and Ovi applications online with Maemo Select

Apps fall into one of several categories.

  • Extras - stable and tested applications suitable for anyone to install
  • Extras-testing - possibly unstable apps, which are undergoing a quality assurance process before being moved to extras. Generally should be installed by the more experienced user as they can cause issues with your N900.
  • Extras-devel - beta or even alpha level software. Should only be installed by very experienced or suicidal users, who know what to do if software breaks their device

Can I edit Office files?

N900 comes with datavz's Office 'Office to Go' reader, so you can read office files.

Editing them is a slightly more interesting prospect, but has become a much more exciting one with KOffice.

Easy Debian has OpenOffice installed and on the N810 (at least for this author) has been used very successfully to edit Office files.

Does n900 view pdf files?

There's a built in application for that.

Does Maemo 5 have a book reader? Will it run Kindle?

FBReader will be available soon, although it is cannot read DRM-encrypted ebooks (like Kindle), it can read nearly any un-encrypted ebook format.


What is the difference between Maemo and

Maemo refers to the Open source software platform for mobile devices developed by Nokia in collaboration with the Maemo community and some of the best open source upstream projects. is the home of the Maemo community, and is a gathering place for people interested in this platform and related software and devices (more).

Where should I report problems?

Software problems are reported as bugs - please be gentle with the Bugsquad team. Contact Nokia Support for serious problems with your device during the warranty period. In case of doubt use the Talk forum.

What is the Community Council?

The Community Council is a team of volunteers representing the community and interfacing with Nokia.

How can I help with software development

Read instructions from page Help testing software. Please read the disclaimer first.

Troubleshooting and Optimization

Note: all short answers to tables!

The most important part: read an article General precautions to stay out of troubles. Hope you read this before all hope is gone!


Trouble Solution
My system is unstable and applications crash a lot. What's wrong? See Troubleshooting
My tablet is slow and unresponsive. What can I do?
I installed something and now my n900 isn’t working right.
I installed something and now my n900 isn’t working at all.
I have run out of disk space. How can I add more? See Booting from a flash card
I have trouble connecting to the internet over wifi See Network settings


Trouble Solution
There’s a light flashing on my n900 See Maemo5 101
How can I encode video files for playback on the device? See video encoding
How can I improve battery life? See How To Make Your Battery Last Longer
How do I get root access? See root access
I have run out of disk space. How can I add more? See Booting from a flash card
I have trouble connecting to the internet over wifi See Network settings

How can I monitor my disk usage and how much space I have left?

Via control panel. Or in terminal do df -h for all in fstab or do du -hs <dir> for a certain folder. More thorough info coming!

How often do I need to update? And why?

N900 is 'updatable software', so it will go on getting better. Your device will check for updates once a day, and tell you when it needs to update by putting a little yellow icon on the screen. Then it will walk you through the update process. You can wait to update when you are somewhere where it's beter to download - for example your using your home netwrk rather than your data plan.


What is Maemo 6 / Harmattan?

To be answered