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Sailfish X - roll back to Android

asked 2017-12-15 13:51:35 +0200

reini76 gravatar image

updated 2017-12-19 11:01:34 +0200

jiit gravatar image

Hi Sailfish community!

I am close to buy a Sailfish X phone ... but one pint in the disclaimer made me stopping the purchase process ...

"Re-installing the native Android OS may not be possible and is not recommended, as you will not get all of the Android functionality back."

Why is re-installing not possible? My idea is, to give Sailfish a try ... but if it does not fit my need I can always roll back to Android. However, it that's really not possible, the risk of trying out Sailfish would be to high for me. I need my phone for work ... so the functionality has to come up a certain level. With Android I'm sure it does. I would love to try out Sailfish, but as I have never tried it before or have the possibility to try it out somewhere, I can't be sure, it will fit my most important needs ...

So is there really no way to re-install Android on the Sony Xperia X, once Sailfish has been installed?

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It sounds like you're completely new to SFOS - why don't you buy a cheap used device (The Jolla, Jolla C, Aquafish) somewhere and give it a try before embarking? I have and use the Xperia X and I don't know why I'd go back to google, but that's just me ;)

gabriel ( 2017-12-16 13:31:40 +0200 )edit

Yes, you're right ... I'm completely new to SFOS. Your suggestion makes sense ... just not for me. I need to try out new stuff in the actual use. So just playing around with an old phone won't help much. I'm sure I would get annoyed by slow speed, missing functions, etc. I need to replace my current phone with a competitive phone I can use in everyday life. Only then I will see if the phone comes up to my needs ... ... I really don't like Google's data leech ambitions and would love to have an alternative. That's why I will give SFOS a try with the Jolla X ...

reini76 ( 2017-12-17 10:25:40 +0200 )edit

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answered 2017-12-15 14:06:41 +0200

revave gravatar image

updated 2017-12-15 14:11:11 +0200

To the best of my knowledge it is possible to reflash Android, but it is important that before upgrading the original Android you make a backup of the TA partition. When you unlock the boot loader, the TA partition containing the DRM keys gets deleted. These keys enable features like improved camera and the extra vivid screen colors. See this link ( ) for help backing up the TA partition (in particular if you already upgraded to Nougat). I followed the instructions and managed to succesfully make a backup. From what I gather, if you have this backup, you can restore it afterwards so you can even relock the bootloader. Be aware, you need the specific TA partition of YOUR device, using someone else's DRM keys will brick your device!! Having said all that I have not yet installed SF as my boot loader won't unlock, so I haven't tried restoring myself, but others seem to have.

Hope that helps?

Edit: Somebody on that treat said there was a bug with Xperifirm for Linux, but being on Linux I have not encountered it. The procedure should work for both Windows and Linux.

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Welp should have known this before, even if i won't go back, i like to keep backups of stuff like this just in case. :/ Thanks for the instructions nonetheless!

Rin Kaenbyou ( 2017-12-15 19:34:05 +0200 )edit

If the Sailfish experience on the Xperia isn't what you want I'm sure you could easily sell it on Ebay

AlanBreen ( 2017-12-16 21:44:57 +0200 )edit


  • the official Sonny Emma cannot flash TA back
  • the Flashtool (used by everybody on Linux, and Macs, but also works on Windows) CAN restore TA, and even have their own tool to flash it.

Warning :

Flashing the TA back in immediately reverse the bootloader lock, according to official Sony docs.

DrYak ( 2017-12-16 22:25:54 +0200 )edit

Ah no, no worries i bought it to have a update to the Jolla one, so probably will never need it. But i still like to keep things like that for the time i have to phone if i ever should need it.

Rin Kaenbyou ( 2017-12-16 22:33:07 +0200 )edit

Thank you very much for the link to the instructions! Not so easy for a noob. But still should be doable ;-)

reini76 ( 2017-12-17 10:19:12 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-01-18 21:41:09 +0200

stef gravatar image

Hi, I had the same misgivings at first, but backing up the TA oartition was straightforward using the instructions on (german)

Part 3 helps you with restoring Android if required. Let me know if you need translations or help with a specific step. (haven't tested the restoring part I should add)

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Hi Stef!

Thank you very much for the link and your offer to help! Very much appreciated! :-) I'm speaking German, so the text is not a problem ;-).

Nevertheless I've decided not to buy the Xperia X and give SFOS a try, at this moment. Reading through this forum it seems to me that SFOS is still in a phase that does not guarantee a completely smooth use in operations. And first and foremost, I need my phone for working and staying in touch with friends. So basic phone functionality, apps like Whatsapp or bluetooth connection have to work for me at 100 %. I would love to have a smartphone not depending on Apple or Google, as I'm aware of data privicy issues with these two companies. However, my smartphone is also a tool that has to do its job. I'm no developer and not looking for a technical challenge. I'm looking for an independent OS that's end user friendly and ensures data privacy. I recently heard about Eelo, which seems to better meet my expectations than SFOS. As I'm not under pressure to replace my current phone I wait and see how things develop ...

Many thanks, though, for your advise and offer! Cheers, Reini

reini76 ( 2018-01-19 07:46:45 +0200 )edit

Ahaha, SFOS is in permanent beta state. You are going to wait very, very long time. ;)

Kollin ( 2018-01-19 08:53:57 +0200 )edit

I thought SFOS is a business project that also wants to pay employees and investors ... ... but if it's just a hobby project that's fine with me, too ;-)

reini76 ( 2018-01-19 09:05:18 +0200 )edit

Your mileage may vary, I have had SFOS on Xperia the day it was launched, and am using it as my only phone, for work also.

I have had no problems with BT or anything, everything works OK.

juiceme ( 2018-01-19 15:52:58 +0200 )edit

Same answer here as juiceme!

Jk ( 2018-01-19 16:23:01 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-01-20 11:47:31 +0200

dsangui gravatar image


I've bought my Sailfish os X, that came with a magnificent Xperia X :-) It's just a wonderful piece of software.

IMHO, you install and use Sailfish by conviction: * you praise your security; * you want to use you cell phone like you use your Linux (not Ubuntu) computer. The OS, that does exactly what it says it does; * you put a wireshark in the same network where your SO is and you don't see a carousel of data flowing, even if you phone is off; * how important is your data and privacy and how you use your cell phone, to you? I've bought this wonderful Xperia , been using Sailfish, and there's no way this cell phone is going to see Android again. If your business is serious, so should be your phone. Just sharing my thoughts with you.

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Data security and privacy are important to me. But so are easy of use and flawless functionality of basic features, like calling, mailing, contacts or calendar. I'm no developer, so I cannot appreciate the beauty of code. I'm just an average user that needs the phone for business. Btw. I'm working in digital marketing ... so having technical troubles with my smartphone would put a very bad light on me and reduce my credibility as someone who knows how to handle technology ...

reini76 ( 2018-01-21 16:17:09 +0200 )edit

Hi Reini76,

One thing I've noticed this far is that I've not seen any fundamentalism. To be free to chose, is a form of freedom. They seem to take this very seriously; and I respect that. I'm a mobile app developer, teaching how to program in Android for about 7 years; and I use iOs and Android, and know them reasonably well, since I've been programming for them since iPhone 3, and Android 1.6. Anyway, Sailfish just wonderful, but maybe not in the phase of mass distributing. I suppose it's yours and my fault, because this is a community driven project. For your needs, maybe Android or iOs are the best options; personally, I love SF. Lets talk about battery. I left it with 71%, and one hour later: 71% still. Amazing. Why don't you use them, according to your needs? Personal and professional? I use iOs and SF. Android is in the office for development purposes only :) Look above lets work together to put this project where it deserves to be!

dsangui ( 2018-01-21 23:47:01 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-01-20 05:14:20 +0200

Desmo gravatar image

@reini76 After using SF since the day it became available I flashed back to the stock Sony Android rom yesterday. For me and my use, which is heavy business use, SF is just not good enough. The Exchange email is a poor implementation and doesn't cut it. While it's a beautiful OS and simplicity at its finest I don't see SF in the long term being viable. I was a user of the N9 and Ubuntu Touch...these died and I see the same fate for SF unfortunately.

At the end of the day it's just my opinion.

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Native exchange support is a bit limited(my issue with it, is that you can not invite other people to meetings ), but I've installed (Android app)Nine and that works great(better than the native included Android apps.) Really no need to go to Android for that.

yomark ( 2018-01-20 20:07:38 +0200 )edit

As I haven't tested SF myself, yet ... I can pretty much follow your line of argumentation, Desmo. E-Mail, Calendar incl. accepted or sending invitations ... that's all so super basic. If that doesn't work like charme such a smartphone wouldn't be the right choice for me either ... thanks for sharing your opininon!

reini76 ( 2018-01-21 16:12:37 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-12-15 20:25:36 +0200

JonnJonz gravatar image

A little bot more complex, but possible:

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Asked: 2017-12-15 13:51:35 +0200

Seen: 3,114 times

Last updated: Jan 20