While the Premium and Compact variants of the Sony Xperia Z5 are already rooted, the real one remained unrooted up until now. But with the method below, you should now be able to root your Sony Xperia Z5 – the original phone – and get access to tons of root-requiring apps and other custom developments.

Rooting the Xperia Z5 requires flashing a modified kernel and then booting into a custom recovery to be able to flash SuperSU that then actually roots the phone. Here’s how you can do that all for rooting your Xperia Z5:

Sony Xperia Z5

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.

Files You Need

  1. The bootloader on your Xperia Z5 phone must be unlocked before you can do this tutorial.
  2. This tutorial has been written keeping the Windows version of Fastboot in mind. If you use Linux or Mac, you will need to install ADB on your Linux or install ADB on your Mac to do this tutorial.
  3. You should have ADB USB drivers installed on your Windows computer.
  4. This flashes a modified kernel to obtain root access on your phone.
  5. Download Modified Kernel and save it to your desktop.
  6. Download Fastboot and save it to your desktop.
  7. Download TWRP Recovery and save it to your desktop.
  8. Download SuperSU and save it to your desktop.
  9. You should only do this tutorial on a Sony Xperia Z5. Please do not try this on any other device or you will end-up bricking the device.

Rooting the Sony Xperia Z5

  1. Extract files from Modified Kernel, Fastboot, and TWRP Recovery over to your desktop by right-clicking on each of them and selecting Extract here. Make sure all of the files, namely TWRP Recovery .img, Modified Kernel .img, and fastboot.exe are on your desktop. If they are not, bring them there.
  2. Unlock the developer menu on your Xperia Z5 phone by going to Menu->Settings->About phone and tapping on Build number for 7-8 times. It will say you are now a developer which means the developer menu has been unlocked on your phone.
  3. Head to the newly unlocked menu at Menu->Settings->Developer options and turn on the Sony Xperia Z5’s USB debugging.
  4. Plug in your Z5 phone to your computer using a suitable USB cable.
  5. Open a command prompt window on your desktop by holding down Shift on your keyboard and right-clicking anywhere on the screen and selecting Open command window here.
  6. When the command prompt window opens, type in the following command and hit Enter:
    adb reboot bootloader
  7. Your phone should reboot into bootloader mode.
  8. Type in the following command into the command prompt window and press Enter. It will flash the modified kernel on your phone.
    fastboot flash boot z5_stock_fixed.img
  9. Wait for it to flash the kernel on your phone.
  10. When it’s done flashing kernel, run the following command to reboot your device into the custom recovery mode:
    fastboot boot recovery.img
  11. When the custom recovery launches, run the following commands hitting Enter after each command:
    adb shell mount
    adb shell cat /proc/partitions
    adb shell mount /dev/block/platform/soc.0/by-name/system /system
    adb shell mount /dev/block/platform/soc.0/by-name/userdata /data
  12. Now run the following commands to flash SuperSU on your phone. Make sure the name of SuperSU in the following commands match with the name of the SuperSU file you have downloaded on your computer.
    adb push UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip /data/media/0/
    adb shell twrp install /data/media/0/UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip
    adb shell rm /data/media/0/UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip
  13. Reboot your device after all of the above commands have been successfully executed.
  14. You are all done.

Your Sony Xperia Z5 is now rooted.

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