Since last Friday I learned a lot about Android. Got two very cheap Sony smartphones: Xperia Z (Yuga, 2013) and Xperia Z3 Compact (Aries, 2014, glass on the back completely busted). What now? Turn them on – what else? The Z has Android 5.1 and Z3C has 6.0.1. Pretty old, useless and man… what a load of crapware preinstalled. Not only the usual Google Play rubbish but also what feels like a hundred Sony applications, Facebook and whatnot.
Nope! Think again, LittleSinchen.
I will not go into all the details here. I tried flashing the official LineageOS package from within TWRP (which was an easy install) and was greeted with:
E3004: This package is for device: Z3C; this device is .
“Update TWRP to some unofficial version!” said the internet. And this gave:
E3004: This package is for device: Z3C; this device is Aries
How nice! So let’s try the recovery from LineageOS. Maybe this works better… Bad idea. I started LineageOS recovery and got a black screen. And from there on my poor phone would only show the splash animation of the starting stock ROM – wavy white lines on blue background – for all eternity. It looked like this:
(This is actually the other phone, the Xperia Z)
Geez. Why is this such a problem? I never had such problems when replacing the Windows version that came with a PC with a newer Windows or with Linux.
Feeling defeated. So ends my first step into the world of custom ROMs on Android phones: Fully bricked. I’m not that dumb. I did everything as told on guides and it just would not work. I can read and follow guides. I never software-bricked anything before by accident. Why won’t that stupid phones cooperate? This makes me angry!
But fret not: Sinchen does not give up easily. I summoned the mighty powers of the great FlashTool to restore the phone to the previous state wiping all traces of the ill-fated tries and learned a very important lesson for my “work” on GBAtemp: Now I know why so many people want to go “back to stock”, “start from scratch” and “uninstall CFW” – because it works on Android phones. Unlike the gaming consoles there actually is an intended way of reinstalling the stock operating system in case of software-brick. Going back to stock and trying again is actually a good idea on phones!
Now with confidence that Flashtool will undo my damage (if any) I removed that check in the install script and voila: TWRP installed LineageOS 17.1 and my 2014 phone is now running Android 10 without Google Apps, Sony Apps and other BS Apps. And it is super fast. If the back plate (about €20 – will not buy for now) wasn’t broken it would be next to perfect. This is why the above picture shows the other phone. The Z3C will hopefully never see the stock ROM again.
Pictures: (Homescreen screenshot, Settings screenshot showing Android version and phone model, broken back plate, but good screen)
(The pictures are compressed to about 650KB altogether, should be safe to click on them with slow internet connection)
Android phones/tablets, listen up! I don’t like you, but I will learn to control you.
You will not get away with treating me like I was a moron. You will obey my orders!
The other phone, Xperia Z, has no official LineageOS support anymore. I downloaded a package with the Wayback machine but failed to install it (“ZIP file corrupt” it said). The phone bricked as well because all the guides told me to install TWRP as boot (which makes no sense to me as the phone will always boot to TWRP and not the main OS). Hoping installation of LineageOS would restore boot to something sensible I tried it and got the ZIP corrupted message ending up with TWRP and nothing else.
Flashtool to the rescue… I will try again someday. Anybody got an idea on that?
The Xperia Z (Yuga) is now running LineageOS 16 (Android 9), patchlevel October 2019. The last official LineageOS 15 (Android 8) was from Februaray 2020 but I could not get it to install because of the "ZIP corrupt" message. I really would have preferred the official image over this one – but at least this one installed. The problem was the micro-SD. For some reason using another one allowed installing the unofficial version despite both µSDs are working fine and have been checked with F3. Seems the file I got from the Wayback Machine is really corrupted. Downloaded it multiple times → same md5sum, same problem.
Anyway, as the following picture shows: My experiment is finished. Another two perfectly working devices lying around for nobody to use.
In fact I do know somebody probably needing a 4G/LTE compatible smartphone in the near future… but due to stupid reasons I can't possibly explain in this blog entry (stubbornness, offended pride), I can't give it to them. No good deed goes unpunished… had to learn that lesson the hard way (once again).
If you made it through this text: Thanks for reading.
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