Upgrading and Rooting Xperia Mini ST15i

So wifey got a new Android phone, an Xperia Miro ST23i – a welcome upgrade to her old ST15i. The timing’s perfect because I’m in need of another Android device. The problem is, ST15i’s still on Gingerbread. So I stretched my arms, cracked my knuckles, and got to work.

I thought it’ll be easy, after all, I’ve upgraded my GT-P1000 and Xperia ST27i before. But boy was I wrong. The most confusing part is wading through a lot of tutorials and trying them all out one by one. So I’m compiling this list to make it easier for those doing the same thing.

This is a two-part tutorial. The first one is upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich – which is relatively simple, and the second is rooting your ST15i. If you don’t need root, then you can skip this part out. I only rooted my device for only one reason – to uninstall Sony’s crapware. And for a device that only has 400MB or so of storage for apps, every unnecessary stuff has to go. That means Timescape, TrackID, Lyrics/Karaoke extensions, etc.

Tools
I’m on Ubuntu, so the tools listed here are specific to Linux. You can easily search for the Windows version from the reference links though.

Flashtool
http://androxyde.github.com/

DooMLoRD script
named Xperia-2011-ICS-ROOT-emu-Linux.zip
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=20869699

Firmware
I used the 4.1.B.0.587 firmware from this site
http://www.4shared.com/rar/29kaVZ1E/Xperia_Mini_ST15i_41B0587.html

Kernels
This is only required if you plan on rooting your ST15i.

ST18i 41A0562
This is Xperia Ray’s kernel used to root your device
http://www.4shared.com/file/QSM6uqPU/ST18i_41A0562_kernel.html

ST15i 41B0587
This is used to revert/reflash to the original kernel
http://www.4shared.com/file/uyrA0Amq/St15_41B0587_Kernel.html

Preparation
USB Debugging must be enabled from Settings > Developer Options
MSC / Mass Storage Connection Mode enabled from Settings > Xperia > Connectivity > USB Connection Mode

Upgrade Procedure
Time to flash! Extract FlashTool, then execute FlashTool (not FlashToolConsole) as root. I forgot to mention that you’ll need Java for this.

Click the Flash button (the one with Lightning icon) and select Flashmode. Then select the directory where you saved the 41B0587 ftf firmware (extract it if you still haven’t). Then click the OK button. I have all wipe options checked, and all exclude options unchecked. You can leave the No Final Verification either checked or unchecked.

Follow the instructions to shutdown your device. Then while powered off, press and hold the Volume Down button while plugging the USB cable back in. Again… plug the USB cable while still holding down the Volume Down button.

Let the FlashTool do it’s job. Grab a cup of coffee or something. It took about 10mins in my case.

Once it’s finished, you can now unplug the device and turn on your phone. Congratulations, you now have a shiny new ICS phone.

Rooting Procedure
You can follow the procedure here – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2118343. Be warned, the site gave me a headache, a very mild headache… different colored fonts, different font styles, with different colored signatures for each user post… sigh, that’s web forums for you guys. Then again, alokbina created an awesome rooting tutorial for Xperia 2011 devices. And this procedure is based off his work.

Do not bother with FlashTool’s rooting function – it uses the Sony’s Backup & Restore exploit, but since it’s not installed, then you wouldn’t be able to root your device. And don’t bother Googling for the Backup & Restore apks… I’ve wasted many hours searching for and trying ‘dem buggers out.

But here’s a summary for your Xperia Mini ST15i – the usual disclaimer applies… Do this at your own risk, I will not be held liable for any bricked devices, yada, yada, yada.

Turn Off your phone… again! Launch FlashTool (as root) and click the Flash (lightning icon) button. Select Flashmode and change directory to where you saved the ST18i_4.1.A.0.562_kernel.ftf file (This is the Xperia Ray kernel) and click Ok.

While your phone is still turned off, press and hold the Volume Down button then connect the USB cable. Let FlashTool do it’s job.

This is where it’ll get scary. You turn on your phone… and nothing happens. At best, it’ll show you the Xperia or Sony logo. Mine showed a blank screen and obcenities started pouring out of my mouth until I realized everything is fine and that it’s part of the process. So do not panic.

Plug back your powered on phone. Change directory to where you extracted the DooMLoRD script and execute runme-linux as root. Running it as a regular user won’t let you push past the ‘Waiting for device‘ prompt.

I didn’t get any errors, so I hope yours went fine as well. Since my device only shows a blank screen, I didn’t know if it’s powered off or turned on. So I removed the batteries instead to make sure.

Getting back to FlashTool. I clicked on the Flash button, changed directory to where I saved the original kernel – St15_4.1.B.0.587_Kernel.ftf – and flashed my device for the third time.

Once that’s done, I powered on my ST15i and launched the SuperUser app to make sure. I configured my phone, linked an account, downloaded Root Uninstaller and removed some crapware.

Finally I could lie down and relax while I admire my Ice Cream Sandwich pr0n machine. Goodluck you guys.

5 Responses to “ Upgrading and Rooting Xperia Mini ST15i ”

  1. guys..thank for the tips.. i just used it and done..
    now i ask about “downloaded Root Uninstaller and removed some crapware”
    what crapwares that usualy be delete/not importan?

  2. OK, my phone is Xperia Mini, st15i, i tried to flash it, it got blanked and didn’t reboot, i tried using root toolkit but it just finishes without doing anything, what went wrong?

  3. OK, my phone is Xperia Mini, st15i, i tried to flash it, it got blanked and didn’t reboot, i tried using root toolkit but it just finishes without doing anything, what went wrong?

  4. Anonymous/Me: you have to reflash the kernel. double-check the procedures.

  5. hi i have a question how do i know if my phone is rooted or not? i follow the procedure and my phone is xperia st15i but there are no super user apps in my phone when i restart my phone after flashing

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