CyanogenMod is a popular custom ROM for android devices, which has been around for years. With CyanogenMod 10, it brings Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, along with lots of tweaks. This guide is specifically targeted for Xperia owners who are willing to switch to CyanogenMod, and it is based on the CyanogenMod distribution by FreeXperia project (kudos to FreeXperia team!). I have personally followed these steps to successfully switch to CyanogenMod 10 on my Xperia S (LT26i – Code Name Nozomi). You can use the same steps if you are using a similar Xperia device (or even for any other compatible android device).
Note that steps explained below will void your warranty. Also, there is a chance that your phone might get bricked (that is, it will not be usable), although most of us have done this successfully. So please proceed at your own risk, and note that I am not responsible for any damage, loss or legal issues inflicted during the process. Also, note that at the time of writing, CyanogenMod 10 Nozomi (FreeXperia build) is in ‘nightly’ stage. What this means is that the team is actively developing this, and it is not at official release stage. So expect to see bugs / issues, although my personal experience is that the build is in a stable state now.
1. Download the ‘nightly’ for CyanogenMod 10 from FreeXperia Project, using the below link.
In this page, you will see the list of releases for CyanogenMod 10. At the time of writing, the latest nightly is FXP205. When you click on the download link for the build, you will see a list of packages available for download. From this list, you should select the package which is relevant for your phone. Xperia S is code named as ‘nozomi’, so you should select the package which is marked as ‘nozomi’ from the download page (FXP 205 Nozomi – 175MB). If your device is another, please select the corresponding version (ex. Xperia P is Nyphon) from this link (http://xperiadev.wordpress.com/hardware/codenames/).
2. Download the Google Apps for Jelly Bean bundle. Note that earlier releases of CyanogenMod contained this pre-packaged. But due to legal reasons, this is no longer available in that form. It has to be installed separately. You can download this from http://goo.im/gapps/gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip (83.1MB).
3. Download and install fastboot. This enables you to flash your Android device using your computer. For steps , please read this article http://techstricks.com/installing-adb-and-fastboot-on-windows-how-to-guide/.
4. Unlock your Xperia S bootloader, unless you have done so already. Note that while Sony officially allows unlocking bootloader, this will void your warranty. So proceed only if you are okay with that.Visit http://unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com/ for instructions on this.
5. Installing CyanogenMod requires a full data wipe, so backup anything that is important to you, including your Contacts, Calendar, SMS etc.
6. Fully Charge Your Android Phone.
1. Copy the downloaded Cyanogen ROM ZIP file (Ex. FXP205-cm-10-20130201-UNOFFICIAL-nozomi.zip) and the Google Apps ZIP file (ex. gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip) to your phone’s SD card by connecting the phone to your PC.
2. Open the Cyanogen ROM ZIP file in your PC, and extract the boot.img file to your hard disk.
3. Disconnect your phone from your PC, and power off the device.
4. Now, we need to get the device in to ‘fastboot’ mode. To do this, press and hold the Volume Up key, and connect the phone to your PC using USB cable. Keep the Volume Up key pressed until you see the LED notification light glow in blue color. Blue color indicates that the device is in fastboot mode. If this is the first time you are connecting your phone under this mode to your PC, Windows will install the necessary drivers.
5. Open up a command prompt, and go to the directory where you have saved the boot.img file. For me, it is saved in E:\CYNO directory, as shown in the below screenshot.
6. Now, enter the following commands. Note that this requires ‘fastboot’ application to be in the path (read the link mentioned earlier for steps).
fastboot flash boot boot.img
If it is not in the path, you will get a message saying “fastboot is not recognized as an internal or external command….’.
If it was successful, you will see the blow output.
7. Now, type the following command to restart the device.
The device will restart, and you will see the ‘FreeXperia’ logo when it boots up. One it dissapears, a black screen will come. When you see this, disconnect the USB cable, and press and hold the Power button and the Volume Up key (for approx 5 seconds) to force shutdown the device. Keep the buttons pressed until the device powers off.
8. Power up the device again by pressing the Power button, and when you see the FreeXperia logo, repetitively press the Volume Up button to enter recovery mode. When you are in recovery mode, you will see a menu with options such as ‘reboot system now, ‘install zip from sdcard’, etc.
9. First, we have to do a full wipe, and a factory reset. For this, select ‘Wipe user data / factory reset’ option. You can use the Volume Up / Down keys to navigate (or the Action key, which is the bottom right button in the three button cluster), and the Home button to select the option. When you select the option, you will be asked for confirmation. Select ‘Yes – Delete all user data’ to confirm. Once it is complete, you will see a message saying ‘Data wipe complete’.
10. Now, select ‘Wipe cache partition’ option.
11. Now, go to ‘Advanced’ -> ‘Wipe dalvik cache’.
12. Once the above steps are done, we can proceed to install CyanogenMod. In order to do that, go to the recovery main menu (you will have to select Go Back from the Advanced Menu), and select the following.
‘Install ZIP from SDCard’ -> ‘Choose ZIP from SDCard’ -> Navigate to the Cyanogen ZIP file and select it. You will be asked for the confirmation, and once you confirm, the installation will take place.
13. Once the installation of CyanogenMod is complete, follow the same approach and install the Google Apps for Jelly Bean package as well.
14. Now the installation is complete, and we can restart the phone. Go to the recovery home menu and select ‘Reboot System Now’.
15. You will see the FreeXperia logo, and then CyanogenMod splash screen will appear. First boot will take a while because of the initialization. Be patient and wait for a couple of minutes until you see the home screen. Don’t worry, it will boot up much faster later on!
16. Now the Welcome screen from CyanogenMod will appear, and follow the steps to complete setup.
17. Enjoy JellyBean on your Xperia S with CyanogenMod!