Yet Another XA2 experience

Here is my experience on my sony Xperia XA2 /e/ OS install. I had installed LineageOS before on this phone so I already knew some of the issues. I was able to dig a little further into the details though.

I redacted this post over several weeks/months during which I’ve added details when I could. I’ve added them in nested bullet points.

Can you install /e/ by just replacing the system partition of a LineageOS phone and keep your user data?

  • Didn’t work for me. The screen showed the /e/ logo forever.

Can you revert back to lineageOS after having done what I wrote above?

  • Didn’t work either. /e/ seems to have messed with data beyond just the system partition and now neither can boot.

Installing /e/ on Xperia XA2

  • The instructions about flashing the custom recovery may be false. XA2 has 2 slots, so a custom recovery usually can’t be installed (at least the way it’s written in the docs). You’d have to boot it from fastboot every time.
    • I recently found a post from TWRP where they detail how to actually install the custom recovery. In this post they advice against installing TWRP using fastboot like in e/lineage’s docs. (I haven’t tried it yet though).
  • The steps to install didn’t seem to work, as I always ended up with TWRP warning me that I had no OS installed after flashing. I tried erasing+flashing, erasing+erasing+flashing, erasing+slot change+erasing+flashing, erasing+flashing+flashing, erasing+flashing+slot change+erasing+flashing. What seemed to have worked in the end was reboot to lineageOS recovery (still on phone)+erasing+flashing+boot TWRP+flashing.
    • Maybe it would have worked if I installed TWRP like explained in the link above

What about backups?

  • /e/ can save internal storage to NextCloud which is cool
  • Not all folders are automatically added to NextCloud. And I can’t find a way to add one manually.
    • I ended up installing the nextcloud app. I can configure it to use /e/'s nextcloud, and add a folder to “auto upload”
  • If you did a Nandroid backup with TWRP before flashing, it’s actually just tar files. This allows you to reset app settings on your new install like they were before but:
  • Think twice when making a Nandroid backup. Check again whether internal data has actually been saved and it’s not just app data. Also, encryption might be a hassle to recover you data later on.
    • I just checked again, and TWRP doesn’t allow making an internal sdcard backup, so make that backup manually before flashing!

Weird stuff happening with /e/:

  • Increasing cloud account storage is quite a buggy process:
    1. I already have an account
    2. I click the increase storage button on my main view
    3. I chose a plan
    4. The shopping page asks my username and password. I tried every possible combination, none worked.
    5. Skip login
    6. The shopping page asks what username and password I want for my new account (?)
    7. I type my current username and password
    8. Finish checkout
    9. Loads forever and eventually ends in 404 not found. The url reads nextcloud-storage-update-failed
    10. The account now says that I have the amount of storage I ordered.
  • With the default launcher, opening and app in a folder and the exiting the app keeps the launcher folder open. This behaviour seems kinda weird to me.
    • Actually I’m not that fond of Bliss Launcher, so I switched to Open Launcher from F-Droid
  • Calendar app can’t import all events form an .ics file. It only imports the first one. To work around this, I used to import all events form the .ics file to the /e/ account.
  • Random reboots every now and then
  • Errors pop up, showing 5XX error status. I guess it’s linked to cloud sync

I just made sure the posts I linked to were saved by the web archive, so you can search them there if the links become dead.

To be fair, the Sony Xperia XA2 is available in 5 versions. Three of them are single-SIM and two are dual-SIM models.

In Canada and USA the single-SIM variant is obligatory. Here in Europe, the single and dual SIM model is offered, although it is only a so-called hybrid dual SIM system.

But you are right - the nuances of A/B slot devices aren’t mentioned in the official installation instructions - neither with /e/ documentation nor with LineageOS Wiki.

Already in Device Information or Info about pioneer there is no mention of slot A / B phones at all.

This is the same with Samsung models. Only the model names SM-G930FD, SM-G935FD, SM-G960F/DS and SM-G965F/DS indicate that they are Dual-SIM devices. I wonder if the topic Slot A / B devices will be installed in the upcoming models SM-G950FD and SM-G955FD?

I used the process as detailed on the LineageOS site, making mods to the filenames, of course, although I did flash Lineage first -

The main issue was with the correct drivers for the XA2 itself - none of the documentation from e/Lineage was of use. Installing the ADB and Fastboot drivers was fine. It was the drivers for the XA2 itself that defeated me for quite a long time, because it was not possible to see the phone during fastboot mode. “Fastboot devices” returned nothing

Eventually, I found some documentation at the SailfishOS site, which finally allowed me to flash Lineage and then /e/.

That docco is worth linking here:
The driver listed as “Sony sa0114” will allow the phone to be seen during Fastboot mode. None of the drivers in the e/Lineage docs were useful, in my experience.

BUT, it is necessary to install this in the very specific way the Sailfish docs say.

Viola! Phone was visible in Fastboot, and could be flashed. But it was a bit iffy. The Mar 10 image just kept giving me an endless bootloop, until the system locked and I had to reflash the original Sony ROM to start the process all over again using their “Emma” flashtool.

Once installed, the Feb 28 image allowed me to upgrade over the air to the newest images. So far so good. OtA of Mar 14 image has also worked.