I’ve used CyanogenMod before and was very satisfied with it. No bloatware, latest features and stable. Had it on my Motorola Droid (special version, since it’s not officially supported), on my Galaxy Nexus, I have it on my Galaxy S4 (my work phone) and after the latest KitKat update from Sony that drains the battery faster than a crackwhore needs her next shot, I decided to give in.
Bootloader unlock, which means a factory reset (you have to request the unlock key from Sony support). Which was the alleged solution to the battery problems anyway, so what could go wrong.
My Windows 8.1 laptop does not recognize the XPeriaZ in fastboot mode. On neither USB port. Not with Android drivers, not with Sony drivers. Just an unknown device with a yellow exclamation mark in the device list. So I hooked up my phone on my Linux server. Yep. That just works.
CyanogenMod usually works perfectly with the ClockWorkMod recovery instructions. Boot in fastboot mode, flash the boot.img and reboot. Flash the custom rom image, and while your at it the Google Apps, and reboot and done. Not this time. The phone is stuck at the CM boot logo. Read the instructions again. Okay, mandatory “factory reset/wipe data” when doing a fresh CM install. I thought I did that, but hey, let’s restart. Flash boot.img, reboot, factory reset/wipe, install CM, install Google Apps. Reboot. Same thing: the CM boot logo. WTF?!
Google is your friend. I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Seems that the data partition made by Sony is encrypted in a way, and CWM does not wipe it properly or doesn’t wipe it at all. TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project) should be able to do it properly. Next restart: flash the twrp image, reboot. Wow, nice GUI! No fiddling with the volume buttons, just point and click. Wipe the data partition/factory reset. Put the CM and Google Apps zip in the update queue (!) and flash them. Reboot. Wait. CM boot logo. Wait some more.
YES!!!! It asks for my PIN to unlock the SIM card.
Enter Google account credentials and……..oh wait. I have 2-factor authentication and the authenticator was …. on this phone. What now? Damn you Murphy. Turns out you can install the authenticator on another device, scan a barcode (the squares thingy) from a browser on your desktop and then it “moves” the authenticator to that device.
After that, I could succesfully login on my Google account with my fresh CyanogenMod installation.
Only to find that it does not automatically download all my apps. In fact, none of them. Ah well, at least it’s working again.
One more word: if you play games that are Google Play Games enabled, make sure you install Google Play Games first and then the games. Doing it the other way around will give you strange and unpredictable results. In The Gate for example, I got an “Download failed because you may not have purchased this app” which is very weird, since it’s a Free-2-Play game. Just uninstall, install Google Play Games, and then install your games.