Installing Sailfish X on XA2 using Windows

Please make sure you read the whole page of instructions before starting.

IMPORTANT – Do not skip this step

Use your Xperia XA2 for some time with Android OS. Check that phone calls can be made and received, that you can browse the Internet with a mobile data connection (turn WLAN off) and that the camera works. You might also want to check the touch display, loudspeaker, microphone and, GPS.  Use the same SIM card as will be used with Sailfish X.

What you need to begin

  1. A. Sony Xperia XA2 Single SIM (H3113 & H3123 & H3133) or Sony Xperia XA2 Dual SIM (H4113 & H4133) Sony Xperia XA2 Plus Single-SIM (H3413) or Sony Xperia XA2 Plus Dual-SIM (H4413 & H4493) Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Single-SIM (H3213 & H3223) or Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Dual-SIM (H4213 & H4233), verified to have an unlockable bootloader.
    B. USB-C data cable
    C. Internet connection
    D. Windows computer, preferably running Windows 10 or Windows 11
    E. Sailfish X from the Jolla shop.

What you need to do

1. Skip the Android update

  • It is not necessary to update your device to the latest version of Android. Please skip the update if prompted.
  • Both Android 9 and Android 8.1 are now okay as the starting point for installing Sailfish OS releases. Do not update to Android 10 in case it is offered. You can see the Android version in “Settings app > System > About Phone”.

2. Install the fastboot driver

Note: The procedure below does NOT work on Windows 10 with version 2004. Please upgrade your computer to version 20H2 (or any later version) and also install the cumulative updates after that. Check your Windows 10 version at Settings > System > About > Windows specifications (or at Settings > Update & Security > View update history).

2.0 While the device is off: Hold down the Volume Up button gently and connect your device to your computer via USB. The LED next to the speaker on the device should light up blue. If it turns green then disconnect the cable and try again.
2.1 Download the Xperia™ X fastboot drivers from Sony’s website. (NOTE: You will find a driver for Sony Xperia X – not the XA2 – and that is the correct driver)
2.2 Right-click the file, and click “Extract” it to a directory.
2.3 Open the “Device Manager”
2.3.1 On Windows 7, right-click the “Computer” icon on the desktop and choose “Manage”. When the Computer Management application appears, choose the “Device Manager” in the tree.
2.3.2 On Windows 8 & 10, Device Manager can be found by right-clicking the Start button, or by pressing Windows+X on the keyboard.
2.4  If you have the device ‘Sony sa0114‘ with ‘Sony sa0114 ADB Interface Driver’ under it in the device tree, then your computer already has the correct fastboot driver (installed previously). Go to step 2.17.  However, if you have the item “Android” with a warning triangle under ‘Other devices’, then the fastboot driver is not correctly installed and you will need to do it now.
2.5 Right-click ‘Android’ and choose “Update driver”
2.6 Then “Browse my computer for driver software”
2.7 Select “Let me pick from a list of available drives on my computer”
2.8 Select “Show All Devices” and click next
2.9 Select “Have disk…”
2.10 Select “Browse …” and go to the directory where you extracted the driver package at step 2.2
2.11 Select the driver information file called sa0114adb.inf in that directory and click “Open”
2.12 Click “OK”
2.13 Then you should see “Sony sa0114 ADB Interface Driver” in the “Model” list.
2.14 Click “Next”
2.15 Then you might see “Update Driver Warning” for this you need to select “Yes”
2.16 After this you should see “Windows has successfully updated your drivers” and you can click “Close”.
2.17 Windows Device Manager has now the item “Sony sa0114” in the tree.
Now your device will be ready for unlocking.

3. Extract the Sailfish OS .zip file

3.1  You have purchased the Sailfish X license and are hence entitled to download the latest Sailfish OS .zip file from .  You can download newer versions later, too. Please make sure that you download the correct file that matches your phone model. You can check the phone model by pulling out a white label and listing the info from the SIM card slot.

The zip files are like this:

The zip files are like this:

Examples: (this image can be used for H3113, H3123 & H3133) (this image can be used for H4113 & H4133) (this image can be used for H3213 & H3223) (this image can be used for H4213 & H233) (this image can be used for H3413) (this image can be used for H4413 & H4493)

3.2 Extract this file to a directory, resulting in a dozen of files. In that directory, you can also find the fastboot binary file fastboot.exe that will be needed in section 4.

4. Unlock the bootloader

4.0 To unlock the phone you need to get the unlock key (unlock code) that can be requested from the Sony Open Devices website.

  • scroll down the page
  • select your device  Xperia™ XA2
  • scroll down the updated page
  • enter the IMEI code (from the Settings menu) of your device to the line near the bottom of the page
  • read and accept the first two tickboxes
  • click “Submit” and the unlock code will appear
  • copy the code to the text buffer of your computer.

After getting the key please follow the below actions to do the actual unlocking.

4.1  Enable “Developer options” by going to “Settings > System > About Phone” and tap the “Build Number” multiple times until you see a prompt saying “You are now a developer!”
4.2. Enable “OEM unlocking” and “USB debugging” from the “Settings > System > Developer options” menu.

Note that your Xperia device must have an Internet connection when doing this.

4.3 Turn off your phone
4.4 Connect the USB cable to the PC
4.5 Press and hold the volume up button gently and connect the other end of the USB cable to your phone and wait for the LED to light up blue. If it turns green then disconnect the cable and try again.

4.6 When your device is connected (blue LED is lit), using Windows File Explorer go to the folder where you unzipped Sailfish OS in step 3.2 (as it has the file ‘fastboot.exe’). Press Shift, then right-click the folder background (not files) and select “Open command prompt to this directory” (Windows 7) or “Open PowerShell window here” (Windows 10).

NOTE 1: Windows 10 PowerShell requires the commands in the following way, e.g. “.\fastboot.exe devices”
NOTE 2: PowerShell can also be launched from Windows 10 search utility (near the bottom left corner). Then proceed to the Sailfish folder using the ‘cd’ command.
NOTE 3: The default command prompt (“cmd”)  of Windows may work better than Power Shell. You can launch it at the search utility of Windows (the magnifying glass at the bottom left) by typing “cmd” there. Then proceed to the Sailfish folder using the ‘cd’ command.

4.7 Run the command shown in chapter 4 “Enter unlock key” of Sony instructions – but please pay attention to the slightly different command variants explained below. Use the unlock key from chapter 4.0. Do not forget to add the ‘0x’ prefix (it reads: Zero Ex) and remove the brackets.

a) If you use the default command prompt (“cmd”)  of Windows:

fastboot -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0x[your unlock code]

b) If you use Windows PowerShell:

./fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0x[your unlock code]

NOTE: If the commands above should fail with an error message about the “-i” option, please try using the shorter command variants below:

a) If you use the default command prompt (“cmd”) of Windows:

fastboot oem unlock 0x[your unlock code]

b) If you use Windows PowerShell:

./fastboot.exe oem unlock 0x[your unlock code]

Expected output:

fastboot -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0xF6147ED3A507FBAD
…OKAY [ 1.716s]
finished. total time: 1.720s

5. Getting the Sony vendor binary images

NOTE: With version v17B of the Sony vendor image we have observed a decrease in the perceived signal strength of the 5GHz WLAN access points. Version v16 should work better in this respect. Therefore we would not recommend flashing v17B if you use WLAN networks in the 5GHz band.
-The flashing script allows you to use either of the two versions
-You can also change the vendor image later by reflashing just the vendor image of your choice (and not Sailfish OS) by following the instructions here.

5.1 Download one of the Sony binary images for the Xperia™ XA2. Version 16 from here. Or version 17B from here. The downloaded files have the following names:

5.2 Unzip the file you want to use.

5.3 Copy the unzipped file (below) and paste it to the same directory where you extracted the Sailfish OS .zip file.  The unzipped files have the names:
SW_binaries_for_Xperia_Android_8.1.6.4_r1_v17_nile.img (NOTE: it is just "v17" without "B")

6. Flashing Sailfish X to your Xperia™

Connect your device to your PC in the Fastboot mode as follows:

NOTE: If your device is still connected and the blue LED lit from step 4.7 we recommend disconnecting it from the computer at this point. Then continue from step 6.1.

6.1 Turn off the device. Leave it off for at least fifteen (15) seconds.
6.2 Connect one end of a USB cable to your PC
6.3 While holding the ‘Volume Up’ button gently, connect the other end of the USB cable to your Xperia™ device. The LED next to the speaker on the device should light up blue. If green, then disconnect the cable and try again.
6.4 On Windows, fastboot drivers are needed to properly detect the device, as was needed for the unlocking process (step 4.7) . If you need to install them, see the instructions in section 2 above.

6.5  Using Windows File Manager go to your Sailfish folder (see step 3.2).
6.6 Double-click ‘flash-on-windows.bat’. A console window appears.
If Windows warns you that it ‘Protected your PC’ by stopping the script from launching, click ‘More Info’ then ‘Run anyway’.
6.7 Follow the instructions in the console window. The last three lines at the console should be:
Flashing completed.
Remove the USB cable and bootup the device by pressing powerkey.
Press any key to continue . . .

6.8 When flashing has finished, detach the cable and reboot your device into Sailfish X!

Happy flashing! 🙂

7. Booting up to Sailfish X

7.1 Press the Power button. First, you will see a reminder of the unlocked bootloader (please ignore), followed by the Sony logo. Next, Sailfish OS appears.
7.2 Your Xperia starts soon running the first boot up, a.k.a. Startup Wizard, during which it will ask you to:
  • select the display language for the phone
  • accept the End User License Agreement
  • set the security code for the device lock
  • connect to the Internet
  • set the date & time
  • sign in to your Jolla account – the same that you used for buying the license, as this makes the so-called licensed content  (including Android Support) appear in Jolla Store for your device
  • install the default Sailfish apps, Android Support (which can be installed later, too) and Aptoide Store
  • please restart your Xperia XA2 once at this point to activate all services and complete the installation.
7.3 You can now install more Sailfish apps from Jolla Store and Android apps from Aptoide Store (and from other Android stores).