Few months ago Google unveiled new Android OS version KitKat and along with that they launched their new flagship device Nexus 5. Initially, Nexus 5 was the only device to run Android 4.4 KitKat but subsequently some more devices got this update from their OEMs. According to reports, till today (24th Dec 2013), only 1 % of total Android devices are enjoying the KitKat treat. This report was calculated on the basis of devices running Android 4.4 officially but if we do the same calculations by considering both official and unofficial builds, this figure may rise up to 50 – 60%. Now you might wondering how is that possible? How come 1% changed to 50 – 60% so quickly? And the answer to these questions is ‘Custom ROMs‘. As soon as Google releases the source code of any Android update, developers quickly start development on it. Because of vast number of Android developers, themers and testers across the globe, it becomes easy for developers to release their Custom ROMs swiftly. Since Custom ROMs can be compiled for devices whose update support has been dropped by their manufacturers, these devices continue to get unofficial updates of latest Android version from Custom ROM makers.
One of the most popular Custom ROM out there is Cyanogenmod. Cyanogenmod compiles Custom ROMs and provides support for many Android devices that are / are not getting official update of latest Android version. Now, lets talk something about Sony Xperia S. Sony launched this smartphone back in January 2012 with Android 2.3.7 on board. Later they upgraded it to ICS and then recently to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. As per the Sony’s update policy, they provide 2 major Android upgrades for their flagship devices. And Xperia S has been given the 2 major updates already. Therefore, Sony won’t be providing any further updates to this device. And as a result, Xperia S users have to rely on Custom ROMs.
As the title says, Cyanogenmod 11 is now available for Sony Xperia S. CM 11 is based on Android 4.4 KitKat. As of now, development of this ROM is in beta phase therefore expect to have certain bugs. But as the development will go on, those bugs will be fixed eventually. Now, without wasting a minute, we’ll go through the rest of the article where steps to upgrade Sony Xperia S to Android 4.4 KitKat via Cyanogenmod 11 ROM have been mentioned. So, let’s get started!
ROM Info (as on 24th December 2013)
ROM OS Version: Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
ROM Kernel: Linux 3.4.x
Based On: Cyanogenmod.
Here at AndroidLegend.com, we have written this article at our level best. If by any means, if you brick your device after following this guide, the whole responsibility will be yours. Before attempting this procedure, we suggest you to go through each and every section of this article as most of the problems occur because of not reading them thoroughly.
Note: Unlocking bootloader / flashing custom recovery, kernel or ROM etc. will void your device’s warranty (which can be retained by flashing an official firmware though). So, think before you proceed.
(Source: OP at XDA Community)
This article is limited for Sony Xperia S LT26i. Flashing it on any other Xperia or Android device may stop it’s functioning and lead to boot loops. In certain cases, it can also hard brick your phone and may damage the internal hardware.
If you are unsure of your device’s model number then check it here on your phone: Settings –> About phone (last option in the Settings menu)
- In some cases, while flashing the ROM, device gets turned off due to low battery power. To avoid the unexpected shutdown, make sure to charge your device at least up to 60% battery level.
- You might be interested in – Improving Battery Life of your Android Device.
- This procedure involves data wiping. Therefore, we highly recommend you to make a backup of your important data such as Contacts, SMS / MMS, Apps, APNs, Call Logs etc. We’ve mentioned few guides below that will help you to backup your personal data stored on the phone memory.
- For Backing up Contacts & Messages, follow this guide:
- How to Backup Android Contacts and Text Messages (SMS / MMS).
- For Backing up Call logs & APNs use this guide:
- How to Backup Call logs and APNs from your Android Device.
Note: You don’t need to backup efs partition. It’s meant for Samsung devices and thus won’t work on your phone. You can backup call logs and APNs though.
- Device specific drivers must be installed in your PC. This is required to flash kernel before installing the ROM. You can download drivers from the link given below:
- Drivers for Xperia S.
- In order to flash Cyanogenmod 11 ROM, device bootloader must be unlocked. If you’ve not unlocked it already then follow this guide.
- Custom Recovery like Clockworkmod is also required to flash CM11. If you’ve not installed it yet then use RecoverX tool mentioned in this guide for installing the same.
Note: Above two steps shouldn’t be skipped as they are very essential to flash CM 11 Custom ROM. You can’t proceed further unless you complete them.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ve split the procedure part in 3 sections namely downloads, kernel flashing & ROM flashing.
- Download latest Android 4.4 KitKat CM11 ROM – Link #1
- Download kernel associated with the ROM (file with .img extension) – Link #1
- Download Google Apps for Android 4.4 CM11(includes Gmail, Play Store, Play Music..) – Link #1
After downloading ROM & GApps package, copy them to your phone’s internal storage using a USB cable. Don’t rename or extract them.
Steps for Flashing Kernel:
- Download Fastboot files (on PC):
- Fastboot Files for Sony Xperia S.
- Extract ‘ADB_Fastboot.zip’ (using 7 zip / WinRAR or any similar software) to any convenient location on a computer. You will find five files inside the extracted folder.
- Switch off the phone and boot into fastboot mode. To do so, Connect your phone to PC. While connecting, press & hold Volume up button to trigger fastboot mode (this won’t work unless you’ve installed drivers in PC).
- Open the folder that you got after extracting ‘ADB_Fastboot.zip’ and open runme file.
- Now, type the following command to flash the kernel (while keeping the phone in fastboot mode). Note, if you get any sort of error while flashing the kernel then it’s most likely because of not installing drivers properly.
fastboot flash boot OpenSEMC-kk-beta2-oldmapping-boot.img
Note: If you’ve downloaded latest kernel image then replace OpenSEMC-kk-beta2-oldmapping-boot.img with the name of new kernel image.
- After flashing the kernel, disconnect phone from computer. Now, it’s time to flash the ROM.
Steps to Flash ROM:
- For flashing the CM11 ROM, boot your device in recovery mode. To do so, switch off the phone, switch it on again, when it restarts (during boot logo & LED turns blue), repeatedly press Volume up button. Your phone will land in recovery mode.
Note: Phone won’t boot in recovery mode unless you install a custom recovery like CWM (refer the link given in Pre-requisites for the same).
- As soon as recovery mode shows up, make a Nandroid backup. Nandroid is nothing but a complete backup of your current ROM. To backup your current ROM, select Backup and Restore option from the main menu of recovery & on next screen, select backup. Now It will make a nandroid backup of your whole system. Wait for the backup process to get finished.
- After making a nandroid backup, you can safely wipe the data. For that, select wipe data/factory reset & subsequently wipe cache partition to wipe the data & caches respectively from the storage memory.
- After wiping data, select Mount and Storage option from the recovery menu. In Mounts and Storage, select these options: ‘format /system’ and ‘format /cache”.
- Now, the actual ROM flashing process begins.
- Select ‘install zip from sdcard’ & then on next screen ‘choose zip from sdcard’. It will display the list files & folders located on internal storage of your device. Navigate to the 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 OpenSEMC-kk-beta2.zip’. This would start the installation process.
Note: Name of ROM package may change. At the time of writing this tutorial, beta 2 build was the latest one.
- 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.
- (Optional) For installing GApps, follow the same procedure that you performed for ROM installation.
- Now, select ‘reboot system now‘ to restart the phone. First start-up will take more time than usual, so be patient.
And you made it. Congratulations! Cyanogenmod 11 based on Android 4.4 KitKat is now up and running on your Xperia S LT26i. Do lets us know your opinions about this ROM. And if you need any help then don’t hesitate to drop a comment below, we’ll be there to help you. Enjoy!
Source & Credits – XDA Community