Opinions, while tremendously important, are subjective in nature. To each his own is how the saying goes. And without a doubt, subjective opinions apply to everything, including our beloved OEM skins. Yes, despite the myth, AOSP isn’t inline with every individuals preferences, and numerous people opt to stick with their OEM skin, be it TouchWiz, Sense or any other. While the former is oft marveled for its battery life and the latter for features like BlinkFeed, Sony’s Xperia UI boasts a skinnable operating system, allowing third party skins to complement the already fine samples that come inbuilt. The only predicament is that the theme is only evident while using Sony’s apps, since most third party apps use their own styles.
XDA Senior Member KuaQ recently released a mod for one of the most popular apps out there, Instagram, that uses the system theme within the app too. The mod is just an edited APK, identical to the official, save for the theme edits. Thus, it successfully manages to maintain the original experience while increasing the consistency with the rest of the OS. It works on all Sony devices running Jelly Bean or higher, and setting it up is as simple as uninstalling the original app and installing the modded one.
Head over to the Instagram Xperia mod thread to get started with your new Instagram experience, enriched with system accents.
September 24, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Ever since the release of the Sony Xperia Z1, one particularly vaunted feature of Sony devices has been the “Smart Social Camera” software. While the app was initially exclusive to the Z1, it made its way to numerous other Sony devices with the Android 4.3 update. With the launch of Sony’s Xperia Z3 at IFA 2014, the Smart Social Camera was revamped and given numerous new features to enhance the device’s photo and video capturing experience. But with the launch merely a fortnight ago, the app remains exclusive to the Z3 for now, with its fate uncertain regarding whether older Xperias will also partake in the update.
However, XDA Recognized Themer xperiaz2 has a fix for this quandary in the form of his port of the Smart Social Camera, which is compatible with a large number of Xperias running Jellybean or KitKat. Due to the common framework shared by the devices, the port doesn’t compromise on any of the features, packing all the original features such as Face In and AR Fun. The port is relatively simple to install and comes packaged as a flashable zip, allowing you to enjoy it without a time consuming process.
Head over to the Z3 Smart Social Camera Port Thread to get started with the Z3 camera experience and its unique AR features.
September 12, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Sony Xperia Z, ZL, ZR and Tablet Z receive their official Android 4.4.4 update! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement of MultiROM being ported to the Sony Xperia Z and the OnePlus One, and be sure the check out the article talking about removing the Band Restrictions from various Qualcomm devices. That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Xposed Macro Expand. Then, rirozizo showed you how to flash factory Images on your Nexus device. And later, TK gave us an Android App Review of Narrate. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
September 7, 2014 By: Samantha
If you’re one of those people who makes just an inordinately large number of phone calls (and kudos to you for using a phone for its defining function), you may have noticed that the call log on your Android device is limited to 500 calls. For the majority of people, this wouldn’t be an issue at all, but if you are one of the few people who actually wants to know the details beyond your past 500 calls, or if you’re simply up to try something new, there’s a tutorial that teaches you how to remove this limit.
Written by XDA Forum Member pollob666, the tutorial teaches you just exactly where in the code this restriction is found, and what you need to do to change or remove it. It’s a rather simple process requiring the decompilation of framework.jar and some smali editing. This has been tested to work on the Sony Xperia V and TX, running either the official ROM or OmniROM, although because of its simplicity, other ROMs and devices, both Xperia or non-Xperia may work as well. Be sure however, to make a backup in case things happen to go wrong.
This function can also be achieved via an Xposed Module, but it’s never a bad thing to take the manual way of modding, especially for those just learning the ropes. If you are interested in giving this a crack, head over to the call log limit removal tutorial thread for more information.
Nothing tastes better than the product of your own hard work. This applies everywhere, from cooking to Android, where you can modify almost every element of the UI either by editing smali code or by using an Xposed Framework modules. XDA is your source for a limitless supply of guides explaining what needs to be done in order to achieve the desired effect on your device.
One such guide was recently published by XDA Senior Member DanielFlorin who showed what could be done with the Sony Xperia phones to make their UI more beautiful. DanielFlorin’s guide contains instructions about how to make the status bar semi-transparent, how to move the toggles under the clock, and how to change the separator background in Settings. All these modifications can be done at the XML level, so you don’t have to dive into smali code, which is the result of old school APKTool decompilation.
The lack of smali edits make this guide easier than most to follow. Your device will instantly change its look after pushing the SystemUI.apk back to your device and rebooting it. And with some time and effort, the effect is sure to please.
If you want to learn about modifying your Android device’s look, this guide is a good place to get started. You can find it in the SystemUI, Settings small mods guide thread.
August 17, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Much of the joy of owning an Android device comes from being able to customize and modify the OS as we see fit. While the most impactful device modifications undoubtedly involve changing elements of the Android OS such as the kernel, ROM, and so on, a large part of the user experience can be improved by simply adding a theme. Because of this, Android theming has become quite common in the forums.
Although there are thousands of themes available for various devices in the XDA forums, there are many reasons why one would wish to create his or her own theme. After all, everyone’s own personal taste is different. If you’re a theming newbie with a Sony Xperia Device running either Android 4.1.x or 4.2.x and you’d like to easily create a Sony Xperia compatible theme for your device, XDA Senior Member abo hani has the perfect guide for you.
In order to follow the guide, you’ll need APKTool and Notepad++ (or equivalent). Luckily, links to both are provided in the thread. Abo hani’s guide covers every step, from start to finish, in great detail. There are pictures and a sample theme to build your own theme from. Unfortunately, this guide only works with Sony devices running Android 4.1 or 4.2, as the theming engine was changed in 4.3 and beyond.
If you own a Sony Xperia device that runs Android 4.1 or 4.2, simply head over to the Sony Xperia Jelly Bean theme creation guide to learn more.
August 7, 2014 By: Samantha
Being able to run an updated version of Android is probably one of the most important things that we look for when it comes to Android devices. This is exemplified in the countless updates we feature here on the XDA Portal every time there is an indication, a leak, and release of new firmware of the major devices in the Android world, making sure you get to enjoy the newest features, bug fixes, and more as early as possible.
There are also specific tools available to help keep your device on track. And since this is a development-oriented site, one of the members of our community created such a utility for Sony devices called Xperifirm. Developed by XDA Forum Member IaguCool, Xperifirm is a tool that allows you to check for and download the most current and up to date official Android firmwares for every single Sony and Sony Ericsson Xperia Device. Xperifirm pulls up every single regional variant of firmware available for your device, and displays each one in a logical and easy to navigate interface.
Xperifirm currently runs only on PCs running Windows XP SP2 and newer at the moment, and requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or newer. You also need to have either Flashtool or Java Runtime Environment installed. And for users of Windows 8 and 8.1, you’ll need to download an extra ZIP package in order to run Xperifirm.
If you would like to give Xperifirm a go, be sure to head over to the Xperifirm tool thread to get started.
July 28, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
In addition the obvious proficiency with graphics, creating a good Android theme requires certain knowledge about exactly one must do. Even the default theme engine used many ROMs requires theme files to have a compatible structure, otherwise your newly created themes will not work or will be incomplete.
Sony devices have a quite unique UI, which many people fancy. Unfortunately, like most of stock ROMs, it’s bloated and full of commercial content. Because of this, quite a few XDA folks decide to venture over to AOSP-derived ROMs in their many flavors. If you ever wondered how to make an AOSP ROM to look like an Xperia device, XDA Senior Member gamzekal has the answer to this question. Gamzekal wrote a guide about porting Xperia Themes to CyanogenMod 11. The whole trick is to use Ambor Theme Engine by XDA Senior Member Ambor and change a few files. The guide explains which files should be changed and what code should be replaced in order to get a theme working on CM.
You’ll need a few minutes of free time and the themer’s best friend, APKTool. To learn how to theme your CM ROM to look like an Xperia ROM, visit the Xperia to CM Theme guide thread to get started.
July 13, 2014 By: egzthunder1
Each device manufacturer normally adds their own “sauce” to flagship devices. However, these extra special features might or might not trickle down to lesser devices. Is this fair for people who may not be able to afford the extra premium for that added bit of functionality? Probably not, but that is how the world turns. This is where knowing a place by the name of XDA-Developers comes in handy. Some of our devs are committed to ensuring that any feature that would potentially work on a device is able to work.
With this in mind, we turn our heads towards the mods offered to the Sony Xperia line up. Sony tends to add tweaks to improve image and sound performance via various tweaked settings on the display and audio. This time around, we focus on a specific feature that comes from the Xperia Z1 known as X-Reality. Because it is one of those aforementioned premium settings present on flagship devices such as the Z1, Z1S, Z Ultra, and so on, this is not commonly available for lower end devices. XDA Forum Member taichiswag decided to change that.
This recovery-flashable mod will work, according to the dev, with both locked and unlocked bootloaders on most Sony devices running Android 4.3 and up. The installation does take some work, and it will require the device to be rooted due to the credentialmanagerservice.apk needing to be erased from /system/app. On top of that, you will need to make a few slight modifications to your build.prop.
According to the dev, the mod works flawlessly but since “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the one who will determine if the mod works on your device will be you, the user. Take it for a spin and report back if it works by letting everyone know which device you tried. You can find more information in the X-reality mod thread.
Being able to monitor the system information of your Android device is important when you’re looking find out just how well our devices run under different situations–when playing a game, multitasking, or testing a new app or ROM. Of course, there are a plethora of options available on the Google Play Store that easily allow you to do this. However, they generally come in the form of stand-alone apps with widgets and persistent notifications. But if you’re wielding an Xperia device with Small Apps functionality, a much more convenient way is available thanks to XDA Senior Member hansip87.
System Monitor is a Sony Xperia Small App that provides live updates for a range of system information parameters. And being a small app, you won’t have to exit whatever you’re doing on your device in order to view this data. Information being monitored includes:
In addition, System Monitor comes with some great customization options for each of the above, allowing you to toggle different types of information on and off, change the visual elements of the small app interface, adjust the update intervals, and more.
So if you own an Xperia device (or any device which has the Small Apps feature), and you’ve been looking for a way to monitor your device’s system info, be sure to check out the System Monitor Small App thread for more information.
Time and time again, Sony has proven itself to be one of the more developer-friendly OEMs available. That’s why it almost doesn’t matter which Sony Xperia device you’re looking at; there will generally be a healthy amount of aftermarket development, which translates to a cornucopia of source-built ROMs, kernels, and so on. Despite all this, many users find themselves relatively content with the stock Sony firmwares and their OEM-bundled apps. For these users, it’s often more convenient to modify the stock firmware (or how it behaves), rather than to start fresh with a source-built ROM.
Screen Tweaks by XDA Senior Member Pezo is an Xposed Framework module that’s aimed to bring quite a lot of screen-related customization to Sony Xperia devices. In its initial iteration, Screen Tweaks allowed users to hide the “swipe to unlock” text on the lock screen, enable the CRT screen-off animation, and prevent the screen from turning on every time you plug or unplug the charger. The last option unfortunately didn’t work at first, but was later fixed in the second release. Not too long after, Pezo also added a few more options that allow users to hide the camera icon, carrier label, and sparkle effect on the lock screen. However, the last two (carrier label and sparkle effect) only seem to work on certain devices at this time.
If you’re rocking a Sony Xperia device running a stock or stock-based firmware, Screen Tweaks will likely give you quite a bit of screen-related customization. You can get started by heading over to the module thread or the Xposed repo and downloading the latest version.
June 13, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
When you first came to XDA Developers, the world of Android modification was likely very new to you. Custom ROMs, kernels, recoveries were all more than likely previously unknown. Compounding matters, these things pieces of development work often have different installation procedures, depending on target device.
If you are just beginning your Android journey and happen to own a Sony Xperia device, you might be interested in a guide by XDA Senior Member cy56. This guide is very newbie friendly, and it explains the process of backing up, wiping, and flashing everything for the first time.
The guide is thoroughly detailed, and contains specific sections for Xperia devices since the kernel flashing on these devices is not done through fastboot. Keep in mind that every firmware version and device are a little bit different. However, the guide begins with CM10 and ends on KitKat-based ROMs.
If you are an Xperia user and want to start the journey towards custom ROM and other tweaks, make your way to the guide thread to get started.
June 10, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Sony Timescape UI, which is prominently featured on Xperia devices, has always had quite a few fans here on XDA. Xperia firmwares differ greatly from the AOSP look and feel, while bringing some interesting added applications like Track ID or a camera with many custom settings.
Since the Xperia Z2 is Sony’s flagship device, it features the richest set of apps available on Xperia devices. One such application, What’s New, has been successfully ported by XDA Recognized Themer Ben Ling to work with every Xperia with Android 4.1.2 or greater.
What’s New shows new movies, music, applications, and games created by Sony or other developers. With this application, you will always be informed about the latest music albums, top movies, or games for Android and Playstation. Everything is free to use and doesn’t require registration. When properly installed, What’s New integrates with SystemUI and can be activated similarly to Google Now. To use this application, your Xperia device must be rooted. However, a custom recovery is not required, as the application is installed like any normal APK.
If you wish to try one of the Z2’s apps on your Xperia device, head over to the application thread and give What’s New a shot.