The Xperia S is one of the most interesting smartphones released this year as we can say that Sony really managed to impress its fans, which is something unusual especially if we take a look over the company’s recent accomplishes on the gadget market. Anyway, the phone is looking good and has high end specs on board so you have all the reasons for buying such a device for yourselves. But, once you do that, maybe you will want to spice things up by powering up its performances. The easiest way for succeeding with this is by learning how to update your Xperia S with a custom ROM firmware, this being the topic of today’s step by step guide.
We will be checking in how to install the CM9 ROM on your handset, so for the suitable tutorial read the next lines. As you might know, CM9 has been made available for your Xperia S since April this year, but until now you were able to flash only the beta version of the software. Fortunately for us, now you can get the stable CM9, which is the latest variant of the update released by the CyanogenMod team. Furthermore, this software is coming with extra features, Jelly Bean based ones, though the ROM is actually based on the Pure ICS Android 4.0.4 platform. For the full Android 4.1 experience you should install the CM10 OS (we will bring a suitable guide soon).
So, what is with the CyanogenMod platform? Well, this is one of the most popular custom ROMs available for the Android based devices worldwide, the update being designed to work only on Google’s operating system. Anyway, by installing this firmware on your phone you will actually update it with an OS that is different from the default variant of the Android system. More, you will be able to power up the performances of your smartphone or tablet with several features and capabilities that cannot be found in the classic OS which is running on your device. You can easily obtain more power, gain speed, improve the battery life, customize and optimize the internal system, enjoy an improved web browsing experience and more, thanks’ to those of CyanogenMod who are working hardly to develop updates suitable for almost all the Android powered smartphones and tablets available on the market nowadays.
But for being able to flash the CM9 ROM on your Xperia S you will have to root your phone first. As you can tell, a custom ROM can be installed only on an unchained system and the only way for doing that is by performing a root procedure. So, first of all go and remove the factory restrictions from your smartphone. Then, install a custom recovery image on it as you will have to use this tool later (more details during the steps). Be aware as gaining root access is a complex operation so you must follow a suitable how to guide for completing the same. Also, you should know that by rooting, the warranty will get void. Therefore be careful in what you do and try not to mess things up.
Then, as you are about to make some changes on the phone internal system, it will be a good idea to save your personal info first. You can do this by performing a backup operation. I have mentioned some tips in the list from below. Also, after completing the backup you must take a look over other tasks which will prepare your handset for the update process that will follow. These preparation tasks are also mentioned during the list from below, so before starting the proper steps, check the next lines.
- I recommend you to install a custom recovery image (you need to install it anyway as without it you cannot update your Xperia S to CM9) for backing up the current ROM.
- Then, save the text messages by downloading SMS backup and restore tools for Android.
- Similar as above, download Call log backup and restore apps for Android.
- And sync with Google for saving the contacts.
- Also, you can use a computer or a SD card for saving files from your phone.
- Then, make sure you can use a Windows running computer and your phone’s USB cord.
- On the PC and on your handset enable the security tools as it can interfere with the installation process.
- On your Xperia S enable the USB debugging option by going here: “Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging”.
- And finally, if the battery status shows less than 60% power left, go and charge the battery first.
- Remember to root your device.
You can start the proper tutorial now as your smartphone is prepared. Don’t apply this guide for similar devices with the Sony Xperia S as you can brick them. The steps from below were first developed by those of xda-developers and are suitable only for the already mentioned phone.
How to Update Xperia S to Stable CM9 Custom ROM Firmware
- Download the ROM from here.
- Then, download the Google Apps from here as it is not included in the update.
- Store the files on your computer.
- Up next, by using the USB cord connect the Xperia S with the PC.
- Select the downloaded files and copy them to the phone (to its SD card if possible).
- Remove the USB cable.
- Turn the handset off.
- Enter it in recovery mode.
- To reach recovery, while pressing the power button hold on the Volume Up key.
- Then, once in recovery select “wipe data factory restriction” and “wipe cache partition” (this is why you need to do a backup).
- Next, return to recovery by selecting “+++go back+++”.
- Form the recovery menu select “install zip from sd card” followed by “choose zip from sd card”.
- Now, just pick the update file, flash it and then do the same for installing the Google Apps.
- Wait several minutes while the update is being flashed and don’t press anything else.
- When it is done, go to recovery mode menu (“+++go back+++”).
- Select “reboot system now”.
Even though there are a lot of steps to take care of, now you can relax as the CM9 custom ROM firmware has been successfully installed on your Sony Xperia S device. Remember that this is the stable variant of the update so the software should be bugs-free. Test it and see how it performs. Now your handset should run better as there were added numerous features and capabilities. Feel free and share your impressions by using the comments area from below.