So you have probably already unlocked the bootloader on your phone, and you wish to root and install a custom recovery on your Sony Xperia X Performance. If that is the case, we have got you covered here.

Once you have unlocked the bootloader on your X Performance (or XP, in short), you will want to root the phone so you can gain access to tons of custom developments happening in the Android world. Root on the phone has been achieved using a custom kernel called AndroPlusKernel and then you also have a custom recovery called TWRP to flash on the phone.

Xperia X Root

After flashing the custom kernel on the phone, you will have access to the root and all of the root-requiring apps. You can then install whatever root-requiring app you want on your phone, and the app should work fine. While flashing the kernel will only give you root, flashing a custom recovery will help you flash a custom ROM on your phone.

A custom recovery allows you to flash custom ROMs, custom kernels, custom boot animations, and the list goes on. You can flash everything on your phone using a custom recovery as long as that content is in a compatible format.

What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?

When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.

Why Would You Want to Root Android?

Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:

  • Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
  • Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
  • Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
  • Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.

What Are the Risks of Rooting?

If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.

With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:

  • Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
  • You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
  • You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.

If that sounds good to you and you would like to root your phone, here’s how to do that:

Details You Should Know

  1. The bootloader on your phone must be unlocked before you can do this tutorial. What this tutorial does is flash a custom kernel on the phone which requires bootloader to be unlocked.
  2. The guide should only use a custom kernel to gain root access on the phone.
  3. The guide should also flash a custom recovery called TWRP on the phone.
  4. This tutorial has been written keeping the Windows version of Fastboot in mind. If you are on Linux or Mac, you will need to install either ADB for Linux or ADB for Mac before you can do this tutorial.
  5. If you use a Windows computer, you will need to install the Sony USB drivers before doing the tutorial.
  6. You must only try this on a Sony Xperia X Performance phone. Doing this on any other phone will brick the phone.

Files You Need

  1. Download Fastboot and save it to your computer. You will use it to flash the kernel and recovery on your phone.
  2. Download AndroPlusKernel for Xperia X Performance and save it to your computer. It is the kernel that will help you gain root on your phone.
  3. Download TWRP Recovery and save it to your computer. It is the custom recovery that will be flashed after rooting your phone.

Rooting the Sony Xperia X Performance

  1. First of all, extract files from both Fastboot and AndroPlusKernel archives over to your computer by right-clicking on each of them and selecting Extract here.
  2. Unlock the developer menu on your phone by heading to Menu->Settings->About phone and tapping on Build number for 7-8 times and it will say you are a developer.
  3. Head to the newly unlocked menu on your phone at Menu->Settings->Developer options and turn on USB debugging.
  4. Plug in your Sony Xperia X Performance phone to your computer using a suitable USB cable.
  5. Copy boot.img (the AndroPlusKernel) over to the folder where you have extracted Fastboot files. That way, the boot.img file will be in the same folder as the fastboot.exe file.
  6. Launch a command prompt window in the Fastboot folder by opening the folder, holding down Shift on the keyboard and right-clicking anywhere on the screen and selecting Open command window here.
  7. When the command prompt window launches, type in the following command and hit Enter:
    adb devices
  8. Ensure your phone appears in the device list. If it does, you are good to go. If it does not, you need to check if the drivers are correctly installed.
  9. Next up, type in the following command into the command prompt window and press Enter:
    adb reboot bootloader
  10. Your Sony Xperia X Performance phone should reboot into the bootloader mode from where you can flash a custom kernel on your phone.
  11. With the phone in bootloader mode, type in the following command into the command prompt window and hit Enter:
    fastboot devices
  12. Your Sony Xperia X Performance phone should appear in the list which indicates your computer has recognized your phone in bootloader mode.
  13. Here comes the main part where you flash the custom kernel on your phone. Type in the following command into the command prompt window and press Enter:
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
  14. It will flash the AndroPlusKernel on your phone.
  15. When it’s done flashing the kernel, reboot your phone using the following command:
    fastboot reboot
  16. Your phone should reboot normally.

And there you go, your Sony Xperia X Performance is now rooted using the AndroPlus kernel.

Now that you are rooted, you can go ahead and flash a custom recovery on your phone using the following steps.

Installing a Custom Recovery on the Sony Xperia X Performance

  1. Ensure that USB debugging is enabled on your phone by going to Menu->Settings->Developer options.
  2. Plug in your Sony Xperia X Performance phone to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Copy TWRP Recovery .img over to the Fastboot folder. Again, it is the folder where fastboot.exe is located.
  4. Open a command prompt window in the Fastboot folder by opening the folder, holding down Shift on your keyboard, right-clicking anywhere on the screen, and selecting Open command window here.
  5. Type in the following command into the command prompt window when it opens:
    adb reboot bootloader
  6. Your Sony Xperia X Performance phone should reboot into the bootloader mode.
  7. Once inside the bootloader mode, enter in the following command into the command prompt window and press Enter. Make sure to replace twrp.img with the actual name of the recovery image you have downloaded on your computer.
    fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
  8. Wait for it to flash TWRP Recovery on your phone. It should not take too long.
  9. When it’s done flashing TWRP, reboot your phone using the following command:
    fastboot reboot
  10. Your Sony Xperia X Performance phone should reboot.

You are all set.

A custom recovery called TWRP is now up and running on your Sony Xperia X Performance along with access to the root.

Now that you have both a custom recovery and root access, you can go ahead and load up your phone with your favorite goodies. If you have not got any idea, check out our post that gives you ideas on what you can do with a rooted phone.

Don’t get rooting confused with what you can do with a bootloader unlocked and a custom recovery installed. Those two things are what is required to install a custom ROM. When we talk about rooting, we speak of something different. Rooting is being the boss on the Android operating system that is running on your device right now. That means choosing what to install land uninstall which is always done with apps. The majority of those extra apps that you can run are available from the same Google Play Store that is always used when you install apps already. In fact, the root apps were even visible to non-root users already. The difference is that they would not run unless they are granted the root access that they need to work. The Play Store does a decent job of displaying some new apps for people to try, but those are never the root apps. Instead, you need to research the names of the root apps that you want to try and then search for them using the Google Play Store search box. We have an article created that shows many of the best root apps for Android users out there for people to install and that people are already installing to make use of that root access to the internal system. Just remember the names for your next Google Play Store visit and they will come up after you have entered them in the search field.

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Take Into Account:

Team Win often release several TWRP Recovery files for a particular device. They always recommend installing the latest version of TWRP available to avoid compatibility issues. If you have updated the firmware on the device recently and the most recent version of TWRP is not working, then try downgrading the firmware and trying again.

Some custom ROMs that are newer might not be compatible with older versions of TWRP Recovery. You can fix that issue by updating to the latest version of TWRP also.

You can visit the official Team Win Recovery Project home page and scroll down the list to find your device to get the most recent version if the version available in this guide is not working for your device.