Unlock Bootloader Of Sony Devices: Official Method

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When trying to tweak your Sony smartphone / tablet you will surely run into the following problem: the locked bootloader. So, in order to pass through this “inconvenience” you will have to learn how to unlock the bootloader of your Android based device. The best is that this tutorial will be supported by Sony – this method has been developed by Sony, though this guide will be more detailed than Sony’s one – which means that the procedure has been officially tested and it’s working. Therefore, if you need to learn how to unlock the bootloader of your smartphone, don’t hesitate and use our step by step guide.

Now, first of all, you should know why you need to unlock the bootloader of your device. As mentioned before when trying to tweak – power up the performances, customize and optimize the internal system, and so on – your smartphone / tablet you will notice that the locked bootloader is in your way.

So, you need to complete this tutorial if you are looking forward in rooting, installing a custom recovery image or updating with a custom ROM firmware. All the mentioned operations will require an unlocked bootloader. Basically, you can’t do anything with your phone unless you first unchain its system and do note that I am not referring to the root access now.

The bootloader is a small program that comes pre-installed on your Android handset. It is your job to unlock the same for gaining more access over your phone’s internal system. Now, this small program is located in the ROM memory and basically it will load the Android OS and some in-built programs and settings into the RAM memory when you will reboot, or turn on your device. Of course the bootloader comes like a factory restriction and you can’t buy a phone with an unlocked bootloader – maybe only if you get the handset straight from Google.

As you can already tell, unlocking the bootloader is not for everyone as the procedure is complex and also risky. Now, there are tutorials available for each Sony device out there, but what we recommend is the official method that is offered by Sony on its official “unlock the bootloader” web page. Official is a little too much as the present operation is anything but official. That’s why by completing this guide you will void the warranty of your handset. Unfortunately this aspect can’t be avoided, so be careful in what you do and read twice before applying something on your phone.

In order to conclude, here is what you should know by now:

  • When you first buy an Android based device, it will be delivered with a locked bootloader.
  • The bootloader is a small program that loads the OS in the RAM memory of your device.
  • You need to unlock the bootloader if you want to root, install a custom recovery image or flash a custom ROM on your smartphone / tablet.
  • By completing this guide the warranty of your handset will get void.
  • You can restore the warranty only be relocking the bootloader – there are suitable guides available for the same.

At this point you are almost ready for the proper unlock guide. But before going any further here is how you can prepare your device and also here are the rest of the aspects related to the present operation:

  • It will be a good idea to backup your personal data from your phone. You should backup the data before each operation you are about to apply, as usually the complex and unofficial procedures are interfering with the same – mostly after performing unlocking methods, the data gets corrupted.
  • Then, a Windows running computer with internet connection enabled is required.
  • Install Android SDK and Fastboot drivers (get them from here) on your computer.
  • Uninstall the security programs from your computer and ensure that the USB debugging option from your phone is checked.
  • Also, charge your handset before starting the unlocking method.
  • This guide is compatible only with Sony Xperia devices, so don’t use the next steps for similar handsets.
  • Use this page and check if your smartphone is on the supported list of devices; if not, unfortunately, you cannot complete this tutorial.
  • Furthermore, on your phone’s dialer enter “*#*#7378423#*#*”; from there go to “Service info -> Configuration -> Rooting Status”. On the “Bootloader unlock allowed” section the answer should be “yes”, else you will not be able to perform this guide.

How to Unlock Bootloader Of Sony Devices: Official Method

  1. From the file downloaded before, unzip “downloadinf.zip”.
  2. Remember that the Android SDK must be installed on your computer.
  3. After unzipping the file you will obtain a new file dubbed as “android_winusb.inf”; you need to transfer this file to “c:\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver”.
  4. Agree if the “overwrite” message is displayed.
  5. Now, take your phone and dial “*#06#”; write down the IMEI.
  6. Up next, go to the page from here.
  7. Select “yes, I’m sure”.
  8. Also select “I accept”.
  9. On the page that will be displayed, enter your name, email and your device’s IMEI number -> submit.
  10. You will be provided with an unlock code; write it down.
  11. Turn off your Sony device.
  12. Connect it with your computer while pressing on the Menu key (in case you own the Xperia arc, Xperia arc S, Xperia neo, Xperia neo V, or the Xperia pro), Search button (in case you have the Xperia Play), or press the Volume Up key in case you own the Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia ray, Xperia active, Live with Walkman, or Xperia S.
  13. All the drivers should be installed on “c:\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver”.
  14. On your PC go to “start” and type “cmd”; the command prompt window will be displayed.
  15. On cmd you now need to enter (one command at a time): cd C:\android-sdk\platform-tools; fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce getvar version; fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0xKEY (replace key with the code obtained before).
  16. The bootloader will be unlocked.
  17. When the process ends, you need to disconnect the devices; also you should reboot your smartphone.

Well, what do you think, was this step by step guide helpful? Hopefully, now you know how to unlock the bootloader of your Sony device, so stay close as further tutorials will be developed by our team. Also, contact us and share your experience as a feedback is always welcomed.

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Andy Stevenson

Andy is a senior editor here on Android Flagship and you can surely rely on its experience as the Android subject is more than a hobby to him. Andy is currently focusing on developing dedicated and detailed tutorials, tips and tricks, so you will be able to find its work through the “how to” section of our website. Also, don’t hesitate and contact Andy if you have questions or if you want to hear a second opinion about anything that’s related to the Android OS.