With our open device program, we aim to provide a developer environment close to that of Nexus devices. In line with this, we now provide recovery mode for selected unlocked Xperia™ devices. We hope this will help push innovation and kernel development, since it is now easier to perform software debugging. Read on to find out what devices are supported and how to enable recovery mode.
Recovery mode is a runtime environment that’s included on a hardware partition separate from the main Android OS. You can boot directly into recovery mode, and since you enter recovery mode using hardware keys, it’s often used for troubleshooting, especially if the screen is unresponsive.
“Our overall goal with the open device program is to offer a development environment similar to the one for Nexus devices. Now, by making it much easier to debug, we hope this will further encourage innovation and kernel development on Xperia devices”, says Karl-Johan Dahlström, Head of Developer Relations.
After flashing a recovery image to your device, you can use recovery mode to flash custom ROMs, perform over-the-air maintenance, and restore back-up data. In addition, with a stable recovery kernel, you developers can try out innovative and potentially unstable kernel versions and then have the option to recover your device in case you need to.
With the latest software provided through our Flash tool for Xperia devices, recovery mode is available for Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia E3, Xperia M2, Xperia T2 Ultra, and Xperia T3 devices with unlocked boot loader. We are working to make recovery mode available for more devices in coming software releases.
How to enable and enter recovery mode
To enable recovery mode on your unlocked Xperia device, all you have to do is to update your software as described in the following two steps.
- Use the Flash tool for Xperia devices to install the latest generic software on your unlocked device.
- Use the Flash tool for Xperia devices to install <device name> (Open devices) TA update.
Note 1: <device name> should be the name of your device, for instance Xperia T2 Ultra.
Note 2: For Xperia E3, Xperia M2, Xperia T2 Ultra, and Xperia T3, this update also includes a new boot loader.
Now recovery mode is enabled and you can flash a custom recovery image to your device. After doing so, you can enter recovery mode using the following steps:
- Turn your device off.
- At the same time, press the Power button and Volume down until your device vibrates.
- Quickly release the Power button, but keep pressing Volume down.
- When you see the screen shown in the image below, release Volume down. You have now successfully entered recovery mode.
To navigate through the recovery mode options, you typically use the Volume up and Volume down keys, and then the Power key to make a selection.
Custom Android recovery images
With recovery mode enabled on your unlocked Xperia device, you can build or download a custom Android recovery image and flash it to your device. The open source community has produced a number of custom recoveries that offer features such as backup and restore, the ability to apply software updates, and the ability to selectively delete data.
The options you are presented with may vary depending on your device, and the specific custom recovery you have installed. In addition to easier software debugging, the following standard options are usually available:
- Extract Android and kernel logs (after a crash)
- Wipe all data and factory reset the device
- Flash custom ROMs
- Restore data from back-ups
- Apply updates
- Try different operating systems (multiboot)
We know that an AOSP recovery mode for Xperia devices is something the open source community has wanted for a long time, and we hope that you are as excited as we are, now that this is available for a first range of unlocked Xperia devices. If you have any comments or questions, drop us a line below and let us know.
- Learn How to overcome mainline kernel obstacles.
- Find out how to Test and verify your app for free on real Xperia devices.
- Read about the Forum for Xperia open devices.
- Learn how to Create themes for Xperia devices with the new Theme Creator BETA tool.