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.
Sony’s Timescape UI is one of the most eye-pleasing custom Android interfaces currently available. Many consider it to be elegant and minimal, which has lead to it amassing quite a following of fans. Not too long ago at MWC this past year, Sony announced the Xperia M2, a mid-range device with development that is just now starting to flourish. And now, you can enjoy some of the M2 goodies on other devices.
XDA Senior Member xperiaz2 ported the M2′s System UI to other Sony devices running Android 4.3, and added fonts from its bigger brother, the Sony Xperia Z2. And given that the majority of Sony devices are now running 4.3 thanks to recent update pushes, quite a few Xperias can get in on the action—even devices with dual-SIM support.
In addition to the visual changes, this update also offers some functional toggles. These toggles can potentially save you time searching for features like NFC or Stamina mode. You can enjoy the newest Xperia UI on your device in just few simple steps, but don’t forget to backup your current ROM in case anything goes wrong.
If you are an Xperia device owner running 4.3 and want to check out the latest Sony UI seen on the M2, head over to the original thread and give this a try.
June 4, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
If you own a Sony Xperia device, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the FreeXperia Project, or FXP. For the few who are unfamiliar, FXP is best known for its massive efforts to bring official CyanogenMod support to dozens of Sony Xperia devices ever since its start in 2010. Chances are that if you’ve heard of FXP, you’ve also heard of the project’s founder, XDA Senior Recognized Developer jerpelea (formerly username “FXP”). Something else that practically every Sony device owner is familiar with is the OEM’s cooperative attitude towards the development community. So what happens when you combine Sony’s positive attitude towards the development community and FXP’s talent at breathing new life into Xperia devices?
Two days ago, Sony officially announced that jerpelea had joined the Sony Developer Program. His role will be to help strengthen Sony’s work in open source, as well as its efforts to work with the development community. And in jerpelea’s own words, “I look forward to utilising my knowledge and experience to help Sony further drive open source initiatives.”
This obviously isn’t the first time a major manufacturer has picked up a high profile open source developer (remember Cyanogen’s brief stint with Samsung?). However, this is the first time we’re aware of where the developer’s role is so close to what they are known for. It’s great to see an OEM actively working with and hiring from the community. To get the whole story, head over to the Sony Developer World blog post.
[Many thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog, Recognized Developer Rizal Lovins, deveron3 and everyone else who sent this in!]
May 29, 2014 By: Samantha
Not too long ago, we featured a great tutorial written by XDA Themer, Developer, and Contributor Rizal Lovins that teaches Sony Xperia device owners how to tweak numerous settings of the camera app such as the audio and video bitrate, color format, and output resolution. It’s a nifty set of customization options for anyone looking for some more flexibility regarding their camera usage.
With this said, Rizal Lovins has come out with a new Xposed module to make customization of your camera app significantly easier. Known simply as the Cyber-Shot Camera Xposed Module, the module allows you to change the default resolution of the Superior Auto mode without having to decompile and recompile any APKs, as well as toggle a couple of other functions. These include:
This Xposed module is only compatible with Xperia devices running the official Android 4.2.2 firmware or newer. However, it is not only restricted to the default camera app on Xperia devices, as it is also compatible with Google Camera (although not all settings are customizable).
Paired with the tutorial, the Cyber-Shot Camera Xposed Module serves as a handy tool for customizing your Xperia device’s camera. If you would like to check it out, head over to the original thread for more information.
May 26, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Sony has released open source files for the Xperia M2! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is information on how to add Android Wear notifications to your App and a couple of updates to Google Now. That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Be sure to check out the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for the Xposed Framework 2.6 Update. Then, Adam reviewed the Samsung Galaxy NX. Lastly, TK gave us a an Android App Review of Dial’em All.