As Sony has dropped out an official update support for Xperia U, the device won’t be getting any further updates. But no matter what, developers always come up with a custom development for devices like Xperia U. And thus probability of getting latest version of Android becomes more. It seems something similar is happened recently as XDA Senior Member Gava97 has compiled and brought a latest version of Android i.e. KitKat for this device. He has released the update in the form of well known custom ROM called Cyanogenmod. Therefore, you will not only get Android 4.4 but also several customizations that Cyanogenmod offers.
Talking about Android 4.4, it has significant changes from previous Android version (Jelly Bean). Some of those are- total refurnished home screen, Google Now, transparency in App drawer, new widget interface, wallpapers resizing, white status bar icons (signal strength, battery, time etc.), new keyboard, settings, clock, gallery and dialer app, low memory management support and much more.
So, what do you think about this new flavor of Android? Are you excited to see all those features on your Xperia U? I hope, you are. If you want to have taste of KitKat then just go through rest of the article and follow all steps correctly and in the end, you’ll be rocking your phone with all new Android 4.4. Good luck!
We don’t take any responsibility in case if you brick your device by following this guide. This procedure may trigger boot loops on your phone, so be careful before try to attempt the same. Please follow this guide at your own risk. Make sure to implement each and every step correctly. I guess that’s enough to start with the procedure. You are good to proceed now.
Download links to ROM package provided in this article are intended for Sony Xperia U ST25i only. Don’t try to flash it on any other Android device. Doing the same can harm your device and may make it dead (bricked state).
If you are not sure of your device’s model number then check the same before you attempt this guide. You can check your device’s model number here: Menu –> Settings –> About device.
- If your device is running on low battery level then ensure to charge it at least up to 60%. Low battery may interrupt the installation process, so be vigilant before flashing the ROM.
- You may be interested in Improving Battery Life of your Android Device.
- This procedure requires you to wipe the data after flashing the ROM. It is highly recommended that you make a backup of your important data such as Contacts, SMS / MMS, Apps, APNs, Call Logs etc.
- For Backing up Contacts & Messages, follow this guide:
- How to Backup Android Contacts and Text Messages (SMS / MMS).
- For Backing up Call logs, APNs & EFS folder, use this guide:
- How to Backup Call logs, APNs and EFS folder from your Android Device.
- Device specific drivers (Sony Drivers) are needed to get your phone detected by PC (to copy the file from PC to your device and trigger fastboot mode) and hence must be installed in your computer. You can install them by using PC Companion tool. Download Sony PC Companion Tool from the link given below:
- Sony Drivers for Xperia U
- Before you proceed further, make sure that you have unlocked the bootloader of your device. If you’ve not done it already, follow this guide.
- Custom Recovery like Clockworkmod must be installed in order flash Cyanogenmod Custom ROM. If you’ve not installed it yet, follow this guide (RecoverX tool Method).
- Please note that, above two steps shouldn’t be skipped as they are very essential to install Cyanogenmod 11 on Xperia U. Without them you can’t proceed further.
- Download latest Cyanogenmod 11 package from the official development page on XDA:
- Android 4.4 KitKat CM11 for Xperia U
- Since Cyanogenmod doesn’t include Google apps, you also need to download & flash them separately. This package contains apps like Gmail, Hangout, Play store, Google+, Google Settings, Google Now, Play books / Movies etc. You can download GApps package from the link given ahead:
- GApps for Android 4.4 (Cyanogenmod 11) (File name: pa_gapps-full-4.4-20131119-signed.zip)
- After downloading CM11 ROM & GApps package, connect your device to PC. Enable MTP mode (only if you’ve changed it to Camera PTP mode). Now transfer these two files to your device’s internal storage. Don’t extract any of the zip file else you won’t be able to flash them.
- Now switch off the phone and enter into the fastboot mode. To do so, Connect your phone to PC. While connecting, press & hold Volume up button to trigger fastboot mode (this will work only if drivers are installed in PC).
- Now, you’ll need to flash a kernel which is required to boot CM11 ROM. Therefore, download Fastboot files (on PC):
- Fastboot Files for Sony Xperia U.
- Extract ‘ADB_Fastboot.zip’ to any convenient location on a computer. You will find five files inside your extracted folder.
- Open Cyanogenmod 11 package using WinRAR or 7-zip, extract boot.img file (which is nothing but a kernel) on the desktop (or on any other convenient location). You can find boot.img in the root directory of ROM package.
- Move that kernel file (boot.img) in the extracted folder.
- Now double click on runme.lnk file (located in extracted folder) and type the following command. This would flash the kernel on your device.
fastboot flash boot boot.img
- After flashing the kernel, disconnect phone from computer. Now, put your phone in recovery mode. To do so, switch off the phone, switch it on again, when phone is restarting (during boot logo & LED turns blue), repeatedly press Volume up button. Your phone will land in recovery mode. Note that, your phone won’t boot in recovery mode unless you’ve installed a custom recovery like CWM (refer the link given in Pre-requisites for the same).
- As soon as you boot into recovery, make a nandroid backup of your current ROM so that it can be restored back in case if anything goes wrong. Nandroid is nothing but a complete backup of your installed ROM. To backup your current ROM, select Backup and Restore option from the main menu & on next screen, select backup. Now It will make a nandroid backup of your whole system. Wait for the backup process to get finished.
- Select wipe data/factory reset & subsequently wipe cache partition to wipe the data & caches respectively from the phone memory. Wiping cache partition is not required though, since Wiping data / factory resetting phone itself wipes many partitions but still it’s recommended. (Caution! performing this step will erase all the data from phone, therefore ensure that you’ve taken backup of all these things before. Please refer Pre-requisites section for the same).
- After wiping data, select Mount and Storage option and then in that select these options: ‘format /data’, ‘format /cache”.
- Finally it’s time to flash the ROM.
- Select install zip from sdcard & then on next screen select choose zip from sdcard. It will dispaly all the files & folders located on internal storage of your device. Navigate to the CM11 ROM file that you’ve copied earlier , select it using power button (unless you’re using touch recovery) & confirm the installation by pressing on ‘Yes – Install ____’. This would start the installation process.
- Wait for the ROM to get installed (this will take around 2-3 Minutes). After ROM gets installed successfully, your phone will land in the recovery mode again.
- Now, to flash Google Apps, select install zip from sdcard followed by choose zip from sdcard & this time browse for Google apps package file (pa_gapps-full-4.4-20131119-signed.zip). Press on ‘Yes – pa_gapps-full-4.4-20131119-signed.zip‘ to confirm Google Apps installation.
- After you finish flashing both files, select “reboot system now” to restart the phone.
That’s it! You’ve successfully installed Cyanogenmod 11 ROM on your Sony Xperia U. If you’ve any query or require help regarding the procedure that we’ve mentioned, feel free to ask us in comments below & we’ll come up with a solution as soon as possible. Enjoy!
Tip: If you don’t want this ROM anymore or want to restore back your previous ROM then this can be done by using CMW’s backup & restore feature. To restore the previous ROM, boot into the recovery mode, select Backup and Restore option & on next screen, select restore. Now choose the backup you’d like to restore (or restore the backup you’ve made before flashing this ROM). Else you can directly flash an Official firmware.
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Viraj was a former chief editor at Android Legend. He no longer works here. But no worries you can still get in touch with him via his Google+