Sony Xperia ZL users can now enjoy the latest Android 4.4 KitKat features on their phones, thanks to the release of CyanogenMod 11 (CM11) unofficial ROM by XDA Recognised Developer FXP. The ROM brings a host of new features, apps and capabilities such as faster multitasking, enhanced Google Now, immersive mode and smarter Caller ID.
Sony is unlikely to release any Over-The-Air (OTA) Android 4.4 KitKat update in the near future. Hence the release of Android 4.4 based CyanogenMod 11 ROM for Xperia ZL gains precedence.
Though CM11 ROM is based on original Android Open Source Project (AOSP), it is far diffferent from the stock Android versions of Google. In other words, CM11 ROM brings the best custom features of Android 4.4 to non-Nexus and older Android devices with powerful hardware configuration.
Though the stable versions of CyanogenMod 11 ROM are still under development, the latest unofficial build of CM11 ROM is reportedly tested and confirmed to be working fine for daily use.
IBTimes UK reminds its readers that it will not be held liable for any device damage during or after the ROM installation. Users are advised to proceed at their own risk.
- The unofficial CyanogenMod 11 ROM and the instructions given in this guide are meant for the Sony Xperia ZL model only. Verify device model number by navigating to Settings > About Phone.
- Back up data and settings using a recommended custom recovery tool, like ClockworkMod (CWM) or TWRP, as it creates a complete image of the existing phone setup. In Recovery, choose Backup and Restore and tap Backup.
- Ensure USB debugging mode is enabled on the phone, by navigating to Settings > Developer Options (NOTE:Tap the phone's Build Number seven times to unlock or reveal the hidden Developer Options under Settings.) Then select the checkbox to enable USB debugging mode under Settings > Developer Options.
- Make sure the phone has at least 80% battery charge to prevent unexpected device shutdown (due to battery drain) while installing the ROM.
- Ensure the device is unlocked (not locked to a specific carrier) and rooted with the latest ClockworkMod (CWM) Recovery (v188.8.131.52) or install CyanogenMod 10.2 Nightly which includes CWM recovery v184.108.40.206.
- If the device is stuck at booting or experiencing boot loop issues, perform Wipe Cache Partition and Wipe Dalvik Cache a few more times before rebooting.
- Allow newly installed ROM to stabilise for five minutes before you start working on it.
How to Update Xperia ZL to Android 4.4 KitKat via CyanogenMod 11 ROM
Step 1: Extract the Fastboot and ADB files.zip to a separate folder on your phone's SD card and name it as "Fastboot" folder.
Step 2: Extract the contents of the ROM zip file to a new folder on the phone's SD card and then copy boot.img from it to the Fastboot folder (check step 1). The boot.img contains the CWM recovery for Xperia ZL.
Step 3: Open fastboot folder and then launch command prompt by pressing Shift key and right-clicking on the empty space inside the folder. Now choose "Open command window here" option from the context menu.
Step 4: Switch off the phone. Press and hold the Volume Up key on the phone and connect it to the computer with USB cable
Step 5: Wait until the LED notification on your phone turns blue. If it fails, repeat the previous step again until the blue LED light turns on.
Step 6: Now install CWM recovery by flashing the boot.img file, using the following command at command prompt: fastboot flash boot boot.img
Step 7: A finished message appears in command prompt, once the boot.img is successfully flashed on the device.
Step 8: Enter the command to reboot the phone from fastboot mode: fastboot reboot
Step 9: Once the reboot sequence starts and the violet LED appears (lit only for 3 seconds), quickly tap Volume Up button multiple times to boot the Xperia ZL into recovery mode.
Step 10: In CWM recovery, select Install zip and then click Choose zip from sdcard. Browse and select the ROM file which you copied earlier to your phone.
Step 11: Repeat the previous step to install Google Apps as well.
Step 12: Once Google Apps is also installed, perform Factory Reset (deletes all apps, settings and game progress). To do so, choose Wipe data/Factory reset and click Yes on next screen to confirm.
Step 13: Return to the CWM Recovery main menu and tap reboot system now. Your phone will now reboot automatically and it may take some time for the first boot to complete. So, leave it alone and do not interrupt the process.
Your Sony Xperia ZL is now successfully updated to Android 4.4 KitKat using CyanogenMod 11 ROM. Go to Settings > About phone to verify the firmware version installed.