Android 6.0 Marshmallow might not be yet officially available for non-Nexus devices, but that doesn’t mean you can’t update your smartphone with compatible custom ROMs. In that respect, if you are used with these types of custom updates, you should know that those of xda-developers have already released Android 6.0 M firmwares for several smartphones including the Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact.

So, today, during the present step by step guide I will show you how to install this new AOSP based custom ROM on your own device – I am talking about the already mentioned Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact (Android M in form of a custom ROM is available for the Xperia Z Ultra too – you can check this guide if you want to update the Z Ultra with the latest Android built).

This Android 6.0 release is based on the stock Marshmallow platform and comes with all the new features, apps and capabilities that were introduced by Google along with its new Nexus device. Even though this is an early built of Android 6.0, the custom ROM works without major problems and can be used on a daily basis on both Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact. Moreover, according to the users who have already installed the firmware, there are only a few bugs related to the camera app and beside that everything is smoothly running, which means that you have nothing to worry about.

However, a custom ROM is slightly different from an official Android OTA. So, because of that not all the users will find this Android 6.0 AOSP firmware suitable with their own taste. Thus, due to same reasons, the best will be to make a Nandroid backup before completing the guidelines from below. In this way you can now save the current Android OS that powers your Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact. Afterwards, if the Marshmallow ROM will not run properly you will be able to downgrade back to stock by using the recently saved Nandroid backup.

The Nandroid backup can be applied only if you can use a custom recovery image, like TWRP or CWM recovery. Well, flashing such a software is not really an option for you. Through the same platform you will have to hard reset your Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact before flashing the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update (else the AOSP ROM will not run smoothly on your device). Moreover, the custom recovery image will also be used on the actual installation process, so it is essential to ensure such a software on your smartphone.

Of course, that’s not enough. Your smartphones should also run on an unlocked bootloader (learn how to unlock bootloader on Sony Xperia branded devices) and on a rooted Android system. Root access is required because the Marshmallow firmware will have to access, modify and optimize in built settings, features, apps and processes – so, rooting is the only way in which you can provide such an access on your Z1 / Z1 Compact.

Along with the Nandroid backup you should also make a general backup for saving your personal data, info and accounts. As mentioned, a hard reset will be implied and clearing app data cache will be a must too. Thus, without the backup you can lose something important such as contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, IMEI / NVRAM, internet settings and who knows what else. Don’t worry, completing the backup is easy as you can use compatible apps from Google Play, a SD card, a computer or cloud storage software.

Installing Android 6.0 Marshmallow will require a computer on which you have to install Android SDK – learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux. A good idea might be to temporarily turn off any security tools from your computer as you will have to download a few files from different locations (don’t worry, you won’t get viruses your PC). Then, on your Xperia Z1 / Z1 Compact gain Developer Options (from “menu – settings – about phone” tap several times on Built Number) and check USB debugging option (from “menu – settings – developer options).

You should charge your smartphone before applying the lines from below. In most situations, if the phone gets turned off during the update process, soft related problems might be issued – you can end up in bricking your Android device. So, plug in the charger if the power left is lower than 50%.

Keep in mind that this step by step guide is compatible only with the Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact. Try not to mess things up and follow all the steps from below in order to make things work.

How to Update Sony Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact with Stable Android 6.0 Marshmallow AOSP Custom ROM Firmware

  1. Go to this page and download the Android 6.0 firmware file for your Xperia Z1; if you own the Xperia Z1 Compact you need to go here. Note: make sure you get all the files from the update package and save them on a separate folder on your computer.
  2. Then, on your computer also download Google Apps package.
  3. Connect your smartphone with your PC via USB cable and transfer the Google Apps package on your device; then unplug the USB cord.
  4. Power off your phone; wait a few seconds and then enter bootloader mode on your Xperia Z1 / Xperia Z1 Compact.
  5. Once more, connect your device with your computer and then access the folder where you placed the Android M update package.
  6. From there open a command prompt window: press and hold Shift keyboard key while right clicking on any blank space.
  7. Then, in the cmd window enter the following commands (press enter after each line): “fastboot flash boot boot.img”, “fastboot flash cache cache.img”, “fastboot flash system system.img”, “fastboot flash userdata userdata.img”, “fastboot reboot”.
  8. When done, unplug the USB cord and reboot your phone.
  9. Access recovery mode on your Xperia Z1 / Z1 Compact and from recovery first select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvik cache”.
  10. Next, load the Google Apps package (select “install zip from SD card” and “choose zip from SD card”) and flash the same package on your phone.
  11. When done, go back to main menu of recovery and select “reboot system now”.

There you have it; that’s how you can install a stable version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow on your own Sony Xperia Z1 or Xperia Z1 Compact. Enjoy.

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