This guide explains how you can easily unlock bootloader of Sony Xperia phones. Sony ships its Android-powered devices with a locked bootloader to ensure security and reliability however, users have the option to unlock the bootloader and proceed with installing third-party software. This third-party software includes any compatible custom ROMs, recoveries, kernels and even root packages. A number modified apps can only be installed on a phone with an unlocked bootloader.
Unlocking the bootloader does void your warranty but for aging phones or phones that have been left out of official support, this is the only method to keep them up to date one way or the other. To unlock your Sony bootloader just follow the steps given below. We recommend going through the guide at least once before you actually implement. And just like with every other Android OEM, unlocking the bootloader will completely wipe your phone; so backup everything before you proceed.
Bootloader Unlock on Sony Xperia Phones
If you want to run experimental Android builds by Sony which are official, you are required to unlock your bootloader. The process itself is a little bit lengthy but easy to execute. Here at Team Android, we cover multiple custom ROMs on a daily basis along with other guides that revolve around third-party software — all of which have an unlocked bootloader as the primary prerequisite.
In case you change your mind, you can always factory reset the phone with the Sony Xperia Companion.
Voiding the warranty
Similar to every other Android OEM, if you unlock the bootloader of your Sony Xperia device, that means you may void the official warranty. All these details have been attached with your phone user manuals as part of the official warranty statement.
If something happens to your device and you need to send in the phone to Sony support, they won’t be able to properly diagnose the problem due to modified software. They will replace different components and reset software before checking the device. And most importantly, you may be charged extra for the replaced components.
There are several risks involved when modifying the phone software. At worst, your Sony device may malfunction, cause physical injuries or material damage due to the phone overheating.
Another thing to note here is that certain DRM protected content on your phone will become inaccessible due to the removal of DRM security keys. This could also stop most banking apps from working properly. There is a fix to this with Magisk and Magisk Hide, but you will need to root your phone first.
Now, let’s proceed with the tutorial below and unlock bootloader of your Sony phone.
How to Unlock Bootloader of Sony Xperia Devices
We have put together a detailed step-by-step instructions guide on how to unlock bootloader of Sony phones. Please read every line carefully. We suggest, read the tutorial once before actually performing it on your phone.
IMPORTANT: Unlocking your device may void all or parts of your warranty by Sony.
Step 1 – Go to the official Unlock Bootloader page.
Step 2 – Scroll down and select the device you want to unlock — we will use the Xperia XZ3 as an example. Before you submit the IMEI, you need to make sure your device is unlockable. To find out how just follow the listed steps on the official website or as shown in the screenshot below. This part isn’t device specific and the code displayed is universal for Sony devices.
Step 3 – Enter the IMEI ID of your device and agree to the conditions — for tablets you can utilize the IDID or MEID.
Step 4 – At this point make sure you have USB drivers along with Fastboot installed and configured. If not, reference our easy guides for both:
Step 5 – Enter the About Device menu on your Xperia device. Click the build number multiple times until you get a notification indicating developer options have been enabled.
Step 6 – From the developer options, enable USB debugging and connect your phone to your computer.
Step 7 – Turn off your device.
Step 8 – Now while holding the volume up button of your Xperia device, connect it to the USB port on your PC.
Step 9 – If you have set up fastboot in your System32 folder than you can do this in any command window otherwise browse to the your Android SDK installation then Platform Tools. While holding Shift, right click on your mouse and select “Open Command window here”.
Step 10 – On the Sony website, you will be shown all the steps we have explained previously. Scroll down to the last procedure. Here you will see a command written which starts something like the following one
fastboot oem unlock 0x<insert your unlock code>
Step 11 – Copy the following command and paste in the command window you opened in Step 9. Keep in mind, when you press Enter after this, your warranty will be void and all data will be wiped off the phone.
That’s it. Your Sony device now has an unlocked bootloader. This means, you can install custom ROMs, flash a custom recovery and perform other system tweaks on your Sony phone now.