How to Unlock Bootloader of Sony Xperia Devices (official and universal tutorial)

If you have a relatively new Sony Xperia handset and want to free its system from the factory restrictions now you can start the unchaining procedure by learning how to unlock the bootloader of your phone. This method can be applied on almost all the Sony Xperia devices (not only on the Android based smartphones), so you have nothing to worry about; furthermore the present tutorial will show you which is the official and universal operation that can be used for unlocking the bootloader of your Sony branded gadget, all the info needed being explained and detailed during the lines from below.

Anyway, even though this is the official method used for unlocking the Sony Xperia devices bootloader, you still have to be careful as by completing the same you will void the warranty of your smartphone. So, as you can see it is really improper to say that we are dealing with an official operation since the warranty will be lost. Anyway, surprisingly or not, Sony had decided to create a dedicated webpage that can be used by those who are looking forward in unlocking the bootloader of their Android based (or not) Xperia devices.

Therefore, today I will teach you how to easily use the Sony “unlock bootloader” web page and also how to prepare your handset for the complex and also risky operation that will follow. You see, even though there is an official way made available by Sony for unchaining the internal system of your Xperia device, the actual procedure is quite hard to complete there being a lot of stuffs to take care of. That’s why most of the users are still having troubles (and often they are ending up in bricking their smartphones) in unlocking the bootloader, but the unpleasant situations can be avoided if a dedicated and suitable step by step guide, just like the present one, is being followed.

But, first let’s talk a little bit about the general aspects related to the bootloader term. Well, the bootloader is a small program that runs each time you power up your Sony Xperia device. The bootloader is located in the ROM memory and basically when it runs the OS and its programs are loaded into the RAM memory. So, you can associate your phone’s bootloader with the program that runs each time you power up your computer or notebook. Now, when you first buy a device it will be delivered with a locked bootloader, so unlocking it it’s your job.

A locked bootloader is actually a factory restriction, which means that while your handset is having a locked system you can’t perform operations like: root, install custom apps from outside the Google Play coverage, or update with custom ROMs firmware. As you can see, if you want to take full advantage of your Sony Xperia device you must first learn how to unlock its bootloader. By setting free your phone, you will be able to make customization and optimization procedures in order to power up the performances of your gadgets. On an unchained system you will be able to remove inbuilt programs for gaining speed, deactivate processes for improving the battery life and a lot more.

But, because you will be making changes into the internal system of your device, by unlocking the bootloader you will void the Sony warranty. Unfortunately, this aspect can’t be avoided, so try not to mess things up as if something wrong happens and you somehow damage your phone, there will be nobody to help you out. Anyway, the warranty can be restored as soon as you update your device with an official or stock firmware, or if you reset the flash counter. Now, as mentioned before, you do have to prepare your smartphone or else you will not be able to safely complete this tutorial. So, apply the next list where I have detailed the pre requisites:

  • Backup the data which is being saved on your handset, because you can lose all of your personal info and saves.
  • You can use our backup and restore guides for learning on how to easily save the contacts, messages, call logs, market apps, internet settings, calendar info and even the current ROM.
  • Then, a Windows running computer with internet connection enabled must be near you.
  • Also, the Sony Xperia smartphone and its USB cable should be there.
  • On the computer first deactivate the security programs like antivirus and Firewall protection.
  • Then, get and install the Android SDK on your computer; also install the fastboot drivers from here.
  • If you notice that your handset has less than 60% power left, before heading to the next steps, charge its battery; else the phone might get turned off in the middle of the unlocking procedure.
  • Enable the USB debugging option on your device.
  • Take note as if you unlock the bootloader you will no longer receive OTA updates.
  • Apply this method only for the Sony Xperia devices.

How to Unlock Bootloader of Sony Xperia Devices (official and universal tutorial)

  1. Go here and check whether your smartphone is on the “unlock bootloader” list or not. If your phone is not listed there it means that you cannot use this guide for unlocking the system.
  2. Also, on your handset type and dial: *#*#7378423#*#*; then go to “Service info -> Configuration -> Rooting Status” and check if the “Bootloader unlock allowed” says yes. If the “no” answer will be displayed then you will not be able to unlock the bootloader of your device.
  3. Now, extract the file named “downloadinf.zip” (which has been downloaded before) on your computer.
  4. Then, copy the obtained file (“android_winusb.inf”) to path c:\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver.
  5. Click yes if asked to overwrite something.
  6. Type *#06# on your phone and get the IMEI number; write it down as you will need it a little bit later.
  7. Now, go here.
  8. On the first page click on “Yes, I’m sure”.
  9. Agree to Sony’s legal terms and then hit “I accept”.
  10. On the next page enter your name, email and your device’s IMEI number and click on “Submit”.
  11. An unlock code will now be offered; note it down.
  12. Turn off your device and connect the same with the computer by pressing on the Menu button (for the Xperia arc, Xperia arc S, Xperia neo, Xperia neo V, Xperia pro handsets), or on the Search button (for the Xperia Play device) or on the Volume Up button (for the Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia ray, Xperia active, Live with Walkman, Xperia S smartphones).
  13. Install the drivers on the path mentioned above (c:\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver).
  14. Now, on your computer open command prompt: “start -> run -> type cmd”.
  15. On the cmd window enter the following commands (one 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. That’s all, now the bootloader will be unlocked.
  17. In the end, remove the USB cable and reboot your smartphone.

So, what do you say, was it an easy to follow procedure? If there were issues while trying to unlock the bootloader of your Sony Xperia device, use the comments area from below and share the problems with us, so that we can help you out.

Now, your Sony smartphone can be rooted, installed with custom apps (like a custom recovery image) and updated with a custom ROM firmware. Search through our how to section for suitable tutorials that can be applied on your phone and do share your experience, questions and thoughts with us and with other users too. Also, stay close as we are bringing new step by step guides daily; also check our latest posts for reading all the fresh info about the Android concept, starting with the latest news, rumors, tutorials and ending with useful tricks and tips.

  • Abhi

    hello

    in cmd after “fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce getvar version” says waiting for device

    can u help me out with this

    • negi

      dude faced the same problem.. finally found a solution.. while it is waitng(do not close command prompt late it w8)unplug the phone ..turn it off.. again press fastboot(volumeup) and plug it it will detect ur device..

      • negi

        let* :p

      • sako

        hello Negi,
        well i got a doubt here, in the above comment u have mentioned– unplug–> “turn it off”.
        as from the step by step process, in the step 12. the device is already in turn off and it is in fastboot mode. so what is the exact meaning of turn it off(u mean restart the device and turn off again). !!!!!!!

    • crizzie

      same problem please help

  • Martyn

    Hi,

    I’m having trouble installing the fastboot drivers for my arc s.
    I have downloaded the zip file from the sony website, and extracted the file.
    I have placed that file in the USB Driver folder in the android SDK replacing the original file.
    I have then connected my phone and the blue usb light comes on.
    When I try to specify the folder containing the driver it says windows ‘could not find software for your device’ Any ideas?

    Thanks

    • gauravdsb

      Same problem here!!

      • Ramon

        Same thing, any ideias?

  • imed

    new phone sony xperia A so-04e docomo, I can not find the unlock code can you help?

    • mathews joseph

      dude i guess it is due to operator restriction….btw is bl unlock allowed?

    • dinesh

      first unlock it from network.

  • Notarmaso

    When im trying to install the android_winusb it says that the “The hash for the file is not present in the specidied catalogue file. The file is probaly corrupt or has been tampered with” any solutions to fix that. And second, it keep saying and i have tried to unplug it again and agian. ANd last is it normal when i “fastboot” it making the “charcing logo” ?

    Thanks!
    -Notarmaso

  • Samuel Sempala

    I am finding a series challenges with this set of instructions:

    1)
    My installer placed the tools in a very different folder (so the
    path”c:android-sdkextrasgoogleusb_driver” does not apply). In my
    situation, the equivalent is ‘C:Program Files
    (x86)Androidandroid-sdkextrasgoogleusb_driver’. Hope that has no
    effect.

    2) With regard to instruction number 13 “Install the
    drivers on the path mentioned above
    (c:android-sdkextrasgoogleusb_driver).”i am a bit vague on which
    drivers to install as well as the path which as explained in my first
    point is different.”

    3) Any attempts at executing the two
    command-line instructions in step number 15 have been largely futile as
    the the thing just gives that ”” message
    that never shows signs of progress however much i wait.

    • Manas

      I have same ques .. Plzz clarify …

  • jens

    Hi,
    The guideline is wonderfull. When I turn my device off and plug the cable back in. I get the blue light ( I have an xperia u) the computer won’t ask for drivers (I have done the necessary steps). How can I solve this problem?

    • gauravdsb

      I have the same problem ! need help plz…

  • al

    Hey,the battery in my sony xperia x10 ran down and the phone won’t start the red light just blink three times. I tried charging the battery and it is still not working. I even used an external battery charger. Someone told me the bootloader needs to be reinstalled as this is where the problem is. The bootloader was unlocked since I bought the phone. So I don’t know what to do now.

  • Romulo Santos

    thanks, works like a charm.
    A warning for windows 8 users: you need to restart with driver signature enforcement disabled, otherwise you won´t be able to install the fastboot drivers.

  • Arun

    Hi,
    Thank you I have successfully unlocked the bootloader in my Xpreia Ray

  • Nida

    cant find google usb driver in the pakage…????

  • insan

    good that’s work.. very simple.. I’m From indonesia….
    Thanks For All…

  • seyha

    my IMEI 358517042770041 . page sony can put only 14 digit?

  • Jerome

    Hi my phone is not working, it stocked in sony logo when i power it up, please help. Are these steps could help me? please help i really appreciate much… thanks alot, i have no other device than sony xperia arc s i have no budget yet to buy new one. a BIG THANKS in advance Sir

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