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Root and Install TWRP Recovery on Sony Xperia Z and ZL (for Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS)

Are you used with rooted devices and with the advantages that comes along with an unlocked Android system? Well, if that’s so, then after flashing the new Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update on your Sony Xperia Z, or Xperia ZL, you might be noticing that the root access has been revoked. Of course, you have nothing to worry about as that’s what happens by default when you apply a new official Android OS; but, how long to wait until a new root exploit is being made available for the new Lollipop system?

Well, actually, you don’t have to wait for anything as the root exploit mentioned above is already available. Yes, thanks to those of xda-developers (shoey63 in particular) you can now use a modified TWRP recovery boot image through which you can then easily flash the latest version of SuperSU. So, bottom line, by using this dedicated tutorial you can now learn how to install TWRP recovery and root your Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL after updating to stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop firmware.

Therefore, if you want to ensure root access you have to complete two separate operations – that’s the only way in which you can unlock the Lollipop system so far. Anyway, as you will see, installing the new TWRP recovery software is easy and then, using the custom recovery for gaining root access is more than intuitive – don’t worry, you have it all explained and detailed during the steps from this tutorial.

Do remember that installing a custom recovery image and gaining root access represents unofficial operations. So, if you are on your first unlock experience, note that after completing this step by step guide you won’t be able to use your Xperia Z or ZL warranty – the warranty will now get void, so be careful when dealing with the guidelines from this tutorial. In a few words, that means the following thing: if you somehow brick your Xperia Z or Xperia ZL, you won’t be able to reclaim the warranty and you will have to pay for the technical assistance; or you can choose to manually troubleshoot Android related problems.

Now, by default your Sony Xperia Z / ZL is coming pre installed with the stock recovery environment. Also by default, after updating with a new official Android OS, this stock recovery software will be reinstalled on your phone. So, if you want to tweak your Android device, you first have to replace this default app with a custom one – in our case with TWRP recovery. The best is that through the new custom recovery image you will be able to access, modify, optimize and customize the internal Lollipop system that powers your Sony Xperia Z or Xperia ZL; thus you will be able to gain root access.

In addition to that, you can also use TWRP recovery for completing other custom operations such as: removing bloatware, adding a custom kernel, updating with a custom ROM like CyanogenMod, AOKP, ParanoidAndroid and so on, making a Nandroid backup for saving the firmware that runs on your device, overclocking or undervolting the CPU frequencies, install unofficial and third party apps and lot more. Bottom line, you will be able to power up and speed up your Xperia Z / ZL.

Good; now you know why to install TWRP recovery and why to gain root access on your Android device. So, you can decide whether to complete this tutorial or not. However, if you choose to resume this guide, before doing anything else backup your Sony Xperia Z or Xperia ZL in order to place your personal data, info and accounts in safe hands – your data might get corrupted or even wiped out during the procedures from below.

In order to safely make it through the backup process and for saving all of your data, you should use a cloud storage software, a computer, a SD card, or various other backup and restore apps which can be downloaded for free from Google Play – through these tools you can then save contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, internet settings, calendar info, saved passwords, IMEI / NVRAM and so on.

Ensuring root on your Xperia Z or Xperia ZL on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS will imply in using a computer and your phone’s USB cable. You will have to download some files on your PC, so the best will be to temporarily turn off security programs from your device – antivirus and similar tools might interfere with these download processes. Then, on your smartphone you have to gain Developer Options (just tap several times on Built Number – from “menu – settings – about phone) and you need to enable USB debugging Option (check this option from “menu – settings – developer options”).

It is important to charge your phone before installing TWRP recovery or gaining root access – usually you should plug in the charger only if the battery power left is lower than 50%. This process is not optional as if your Xperia Z or Xperia ZL gets turned off while you perform the steps from below, you will risk in bricking your device.

The TWRP recovery file which is provided below and the SuperSU package are compatible only with the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop system that is running on the Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperial ZL; try not to mess things up. Moreover, the bootloader must be unlocked on your Sony Xperia branded device.

How to Root and Install TWRP Recovery on Sony Xperia Z and ZL (for Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS)

Install TWRP recovery

  1. On your computer install Android SDK: learn how to add Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
  2. Also, install the Sony USB drivers.
  3. Now, download the TWRP recovery file on your computer – for Xperia Z go here and for Xperia ZL go here.
  4. Unzip the TWRP recovery package on desktop if possible and then access the resulted folder.
  5. From there open a command prompt window: press and hold Shift keyboard key while right clicking on any blank space.
  6. Turn off your Android device; wait a few seconds and enter it into fastboot mode; finally, connect your Xperia device with your PC with the help of the USB cable.
  7. Now, in the cmd window type: “fastboot devices” – in this way you can check if your phone has been recognized by the computer; if not, reinstall its USB drivers before repeating the steps from above.
  8. Next, in the same cmd window type “fastboot flash boot boot.img”.
  9. Wait while TWRP recovery will be automatically flashed on your Sony Xperia Z or Xperia ZL.
  10. Unplug the USB cable when done and also reboot your smartphone.

Gain Root Access

  1. On your computer download the SuperSU package from here.
  2. Don’t unzip this file, just place it on desktop.
  3. Then, connect your smartphone with your PC by plugging in the USB cord.
  4. Transfer the downloaded file on your phone and then unplug the USB cable.
  5. Power off your device and then enter recovery mode on your Xperia Z / Xperia ZL.
  6. From recovery, first of all make a hard reset and clear cache partition: basically, select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  7. Up next, from main menu of recovery select “install zip from SD card” and then “choose zip from SD card”.
  8. Pick the root exploit and resume the flashing process.
  9. When done, from main menu of recovery select “reboot system now”.

That’s it; your Sony Xperia Z or Sony Xperia ZL that runs on official Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS should be rooted now and installed with the latest version of TWRP recovery. Enjoy.

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