Upgrading Xperia XA2 to S, on top of R, given no stock Android R exists for XA2

Well, it’s that time again - now that the R builds have stopped updating for my XA2 (latest is 1.81; no 1.9 that I can see), it’s time to do the fingers-crossed-upgrade process again, this time to go to S.

The docco, as usual, is a bit ambiguous. It suggests flashing to stock Android S before doing the /e/OS install via adb sideload. But there is no stock S for the XA2 - it stopped at R/11 (per this info).

I am assuming, therefore, that it is fine to just go ahead and do the sideload directly onto the current R build (1.81), per the upgrade instructions. But of course, it would be nice to know whether anyone has managed to do this as per the instructions, or if there are any traps lying in wait :wink:

In particular, the prep section tell you to download the recovery-img file, but I don’t see a command anywhere that says to use it (as it did last year, during the previous white-knuckle upgrade to R). Hence, any direct intel from the field would be useful, thanks!


…useless. :joy:

I was curious though, about the command adb reboot sideload. Turns out this simply reboots the (adb enabled and plugged in) phone to the recovery in sideload mode all ready to go.

I agree with you that it should be fine to sideload from the existing recovery on device. Only, is it imperative that you keep data intact? That’s the question.

You don’t need to worry about firmware on both slots, you’ve already done that.

My guess is dirty flash may well install the rom but the possibility exists that on reboot it may bootloop to recovery with a message that you need to format data.

A normal clean flash with format data should work from the existing recovery. If it doesn’t work, you may need to just reinstall using the S recovery flashed in fastboot mode.

Can’t help you with actual experience of your specific use case though, sorry!

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hmmm … where /e/OS documentation seems lacking, I often look at the Lineage page from which I imagine the /e/OS page was forked.

Looking at https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/pioneer/upgrade

I read

1. “Download the {LineageOS install package}” where {…} links to both /system and boot.img.

7. Run adb sideload /path/to/zip (inserting the path to your LineageOS package).

So this would lead me to believe that one would sideload both /system and boot.img at the same time.

… but of course I cannot confirm that it worked for me !

I usually blow away all the data with a full format anyway (and just restore what I need). I might try to not blow away all the data this time, just to see if it is possible, but it really doesn’t matter if it all goes to the great bit-recycler in the sky.

I always do your trick of installing the next-to-most-recent version, and letting the update install the latest, which takes care of any A-B slot nonsense.

And, of course, the title should say “no stock S exists” :person_facepalming:

I have found the LineageOS docco very helpful, and in fact relied a lot on it three years ago when I first flashed /e/OS onto the phone (as well as on the SailfishOS docco for getting drivers on a Windows box that could see the XA2; these days I run Linux which doesn’t have that problem).

Yep, sure did. All my data and apps were preserved. Very nice.

The only hiccup was that the 1.8.1-s build was 2 days older than the 1.8.1-r build, so I couldn’t do your trick of updating to the next-to-most-recent version and letting OTA do the last one; I had to go to 1.9-s directly.

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Hey, it’s me again,

I was about to try an upgrade on my XA2 (H4113) from /e/OS 0.20 (December 2021, Android 8.1.0) to latest /e/ S (Android 12) but I got scared reading both JRR’s topics.

I’m still confused about the exact process to be done:

NB: I use mainly a linux machine but I have a Windows one as well.

If you have a step by step procedure to apply it would be more than welcome.
I read and read again several forum pages and I still can’t figure out how to do exactly and avoid breaking a functional phone daily used (even if severely outdated regarding security…).

I spent a lot of time today to backup everything, I’m afraid it will be for nothing, or to be redone all over again… ^^’

And what about the simpler option: is it feasible and what is the risk, to upgrade directly from current version /e/ 0.20 ( Android 8.1 = O) to /e/ (currently 1.11) S ?

If soon enough Murena could provide direct upgrades to newest versions, that would be much appreciated to avoid this kind of issues, with heavy manual procedures (clearly not feasible by everyone) to be done to keep a (less than 5 years old) phone with security updates :slight_smile:

Thanks guys!

Well, since this thread began I have moved over to a Google Pixel 6a, and – since /e/ does not support that phone via dev or stable builds – I am running GrapheneOS on it (let me say that the install process is magically easy, by comparison; what I imagine the /e/ easy-installer must be like for those phones that are supported by it).

Anyway, what I did to move an existing /e/OS version R to S was just the sideload procedure. In your case, it is probably necessary to try to do this in stages, given the starting point. (While I’m about it, I must say that it was largely @chrisrg’s help that got me through the process described at this post).

I suspect (but am by no means sure) that you will need to do the detailed process, flashing to the highest level of stock ROM you can find (which looks to be 11/R, according to developer-dot-sony-dot-com). That will erase everything, so backups are good.

From there, one option could be to reboot to the new ROM (with its recovery), then flash to the new version (S). But I am a cautious soul, so I would probably flash to the comparable /e/ ROM to that version of Android (11/R), although that has stopped receiving updates. I would do that by flashing the next-to-last version (1.7-r-), and let that do an OTA update, including the recovery, to the last supported version (i.e., 1.8-r-).

Then, I would do the sideload procedure, as noted above, to the next-to-most-recent version (1.10-s-) and then let that do an OTA update. If all well, restore from backup.

Note: the above approach might not be optimal, and it is a very conservative and cautious process. But I tend to be that way with my main daily driver phone (which it was at the time). But this is where I would call out to @chrisrg for a second opinion (and one based on a good deal more experience doing this than I have had…)

Hi JJ, I’d be happy to help, a bit later. :grinning:

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Hi Fly.

You may need to; especially if you have not had stock android 9 on the device before.

It would be Android 9.

You don’t need to go down that route.

Not necessarily because you have Windows as an option for returning to stock which could be easier for you.

That’s good, and I get it that you want to try and upgrade quickly because this is your daily phone.

It is feasible and it’s worth having a go but the risk is that it might bootloop after installing or some other problem. So I would say make 1. a plan and 2. get everything in place on your pc and tested working/communicating with your phone before doing any installing to the phone.

On your phone in the updater have you got a list of updates? If you’ve got one for 1.11 check the url (long press somewhere on the update but not on the “download” bit, and a popup to copy url will happen) and make sure it is exactly the same version as on the XA2 download page. If it’s ok then you could try it at your first step after having completed all your preparation for doing manual installs.

To prepare I would suggest this:

If you need Stock Android 9 get Sony Flasher set up on your windows OS, make sure you can use it and test it for communicating with your device. Don’t flash it yet.

For installing eOS follow their install guide, it’s pretty accurate at the moment.

Get all your eOS downloads in place (rom, recovery, copy-partitions script)

Make sure you have adb and fastboot latest version in your linux OS and in your PATH, as per eOS instructions. Test for communicating with device

Once everything is in place you can proceed but it is important to allocate enough time just in case of problems.

Yes, always double the amount of time you think you’ll need. That’s been my rule of thumb for all these upgrades. And make sure you’ve written out your plan, literally. Because in the heat of the upgrade it is easy to get flustered and lose your place if the list of steps is only in your head. Good luck! :crossed_fingers:


This afternoon I had an opportunty to try again.
I was about to abandon once again, as I still couldn’t get a clear view on how to proceed exactly.

But at the end, reading again the last answer from @chrisrg , I encouraged myself to start with these steps.
I had to adapt a little bit on the way, but thanks to information from @chrisrg and @JJR on several topics, and some researches on the web, I managed to install Android 9 stock on my XA2.

Then the install of /e/ S was a piece a cake, following the install page on /e/ doc: https://doc.e.foundation/fr/devices/pioneer/install

At the end, the longest part was to backup a maximum of data, especially existing apps, as they all have their own (very different) way.

Then I had to find how to put the XA2 into flashing mode to install Android 9, and compare different softwares to do so.
Sony Flasher did not propose an FR custom ROM and the one proposed looked a little bit older than the one from xperifirm, so I used newflasher eventually (I had to search a little bit to see how to use it properly).

Otherwise no issue at all, once with Android stock 9 everything went really smooth for the /e/ OS part :slight_smile:
I went directly from Android 9 stock to /e/ S, as explained on the /e/ install page for pioneer. No need to follow the version upgrade process.

As no recovery image was available for the latest /e/ S version (1.15) I installed both recovery & build from 1.14 first, and then used system update on /e/, like a regular update. (I read that it could be even a better solution to have everything good at the end :slight_smile: )

So everything is cool now, this venerable XA2 will again receive /e/ updates!

Thanks again A LOT to @chrisrg & @JJR , clearly I couldn’t have done it without all your information on this forum and your direct support :slight_smile: