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To flash or not to flash?

asked 2019-03-20 21:13:58 +0300

azupan gravatar image

OK, here's my situation. I've never used Android until now. My 1st smartphone was Nokia 5233, then Jolla 1. I've been using it until I've found a Sony Xperia X with Sailfish already installed for sale on the local equivalent of eBay (Bolha). Naturally, I've bought it immediately. Fast forward to a little more than a week ago. On my way from work I accidentally dropped my X on the floor, smashing the display. As it was late in the afternoon, most of the services & shops were closed. Soon I realized I'was pretty much fucked. I couldn't call anyone, and, even worse, I couldn't access my bank account, pay my bills, nothing. So, I found another Xperia on Bolha, this time XA2. Without navigation, I had quite a bit of trouble to find the seller that evening, but it was worth it. The phone was in pristine condition, with protective plastic foils still on, still under warranty, and price was a bargain. I immediately bought Sailfish licence for XA2, but started to have 2nd thoughts after reading the flashing procedure. Flashing is kinda irreversible, after all. Consequently, decided to use Android for a while. In the meantime, I took my X to service for display replacement.

Today, I got my X back from service, in working condition. Pheww! I'll back it up more often in the future, I promise!

And now, I have a bit of a quadrilemma Should I . . .

  1. continue to use my not so trusty, brittle & slippery X, throw my fancy new XA2 into the drawer as a backup phone, and forget about it?
  2. continue to use XA2 with Android, throw my old X into the drawer as a backup phone, and forget about it?
  3. flash XA2 now?
  4. flash XA2 when its warranty expires in May next year, and use Android until then?

Things to consider:

  • I use navigation a lot, OsmAnd & Here WeGo. On Sailfish X, it's impossible to calibrate compass for Android apps. That's especially annoying with Here WeGo. When running on Sailfish, it's constantly bugging me about calibrating the compas. On Android, this is not an issue.
  • Since I managed to nag my bank into removing the Google Play services from its Android personal banking app, it works fine on Sailfish except fingerprint reader, but I can live with that.
  • My business banking app uses Google Play services, and I can't use it on Sailfish. I could use it on Android, though.
  • I don't like Android. It's too nosy. Besides, Sailfish UI is much, much more practical & user friendly. It looks better as well.
  • My major concern about Sailfish on XA2 is Android support, which is still in beta stage. I don't know whether the Android apps I'm using will still work.

Advises and comments highly appreciated!

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For me, it is worth even under beta version. Don't know how long will take jolla to bring XA2 up to the right standard. My guess is it will take time but it will happen. I would not move to Android under any circumstance - privacy is worst ever.

g ( 2019-03-20 22:00:37 +0300 )edit

Just try it out and give feedback. In worst case you have a lot of bug reports and help to give feedback. In best case almost everything is working and you have a nice backup phone or a second phone you can use for something that improves every month with updates.

leszek ( 2019-03-20 22:28:13 +0300 )edit

I agree with the previous comment. Flash it. Sailfish is better after each release. You will have to deal with the bugs of this XA2 release but I am almost sure you will enjoy your phone more than with Android.

tbellemb ( 2019-03-20 22:38:19 +0300 )edit

I would go for XA2 with Sailfish too. But I can understand your thoughts. At least install Blokada ( on Android to minimize ads and tracking! You can get it directly on the site or via F-Droid ( I recommend install via F-Droid for maintenance reasons.

M.Bln. ( 2019-03-20 22:47:44 +0300 )edit

new kind of Russian roulette... ;-)
All right! i'm out of here

cemoi71 ( 2019-03-20 22:54:29 +0300 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2019-03-21 00:31:02 +0300

TrulloF gravatar image

Look for Orienteering Compass on openrepos or storeman. With it you'll be able to calibrate the compass in SFOS. Works very well for me.

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Did that a while ago. Yes, it works for SFOS apps, but not for Android apps running on SFOS.

As a matter of fact, no android app I've tested is capable of calibrating my Xperia AX2 compass properly (or, maybe I was doing something wrong, I'm not sure). Finally, I've managed to calibrate compass in Service Menu (you know, the one accessible by typing ##7378423## as the phone number.

azupan ( 2019-03-21 00:47:33 +0300 )edit

I noticed compas calibration problem gone away if I removed the phone from flipcase as there's a magnet inside.

Greetings from Gorenjska ;).

Filip K. ( 2019-03-21 21:06:35 +0300 )edit

I don't use a flipcase. Sorry. If I did, my X's display wouldn't have been smashed in the 1st place.

Flipcase & similar stuff is like a condom. It takes all the fun out of the job.

I've dropped my prehistoric Nokia 5233 on the floor many, many times, and it survived it all. It still works... sort of. The problem is, it just couldn't keep up with the fanciness development.

azupan ( 2019-03-22 00:57:39 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-03-21 11:54:35 +0300

azupan gravatar image

updated 2019-03-21 11:55:28 +0300

Answers to comments

@g, @lezsek, @tbellemb

I'm concerned primarily about the banking app (which will probably work), and Here WeGo (which probably won't). Yes, I know, Here WeGo is a serious privacy killer, because it continuously sends my position somewhere while I'm driving, but, that's the only way to avoid traffic jams. The only alternative is Google Maps. I use Here WeGo a lot, and that compass problem is getting only more annoying as time passes. As a matter of fact, that's the primary reason for my reluctance about flashing.

Android privacy is my concern as well, but... ummm... SFOS isn't entirely open source either. Or is it?


Thanxx for the Blokada link. I don't think I need an ad remover, though. As a matter of principle, I don't use apps with ads. I got almost everything I need from F-Droid & Yalp store. Almost. I caved in, opened a throwaway GMail account, and updated Chrome from Google Play Store only after Yalp started to act up and messed up the updates after a couple of days of use.

Blokada might also interfere with the AVG bloatware. Speaking of shitware - there's also a lot of crap from Sony which came preinstalled, and --yuck-- Facebook app. FB can't be uninstalled, only disabled.


Thanks for your thoughts & comments. Currently I'm back to Xperia X w SFOS.

Maybe I could try to remove bloatware from XA2 by force, using command line or something, see what happens. Uninstall FB, replace Chrome with Firefox, gut the bloody thing.

If it survives, I'll use it until warranty expires, or until the SFOS Android support compass problem is fixed, whichever comes first.

If not- well, I can always flash it, I guess.

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You can always compile xperia xa2 aosp using the git source to create a OS without google and all other crap. Clean, like it should. See xperia xa2 open devices about how to compile. Its very easy. I already did it.

Celso ( 2019-03-21 23:18:48 +0300 )edit

Hey, thanxx! I'll definitely have a look at it :)

azupan ( 2019-03-22 00:51:54 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-03-21 12:11:10 +0300

SagaciousT gravatar image

If you want to continue to use your Xperia X, it' should be easy to repair. I've replaced a camera some time ago and was suprised that is still as easy to repair as a Jolla C

On the other hand, don't be afraid of Sailfish on the XA2. I've changed from the X to the XA2 and I'm still happy.

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Well, I'm pretty sure compass doesn't work properly on Android navigation apps. As I've said, I use them a lot, so that's an issue for me.

I can live most of the other possible bugs, I guess.

azupan ( 2019-03-21 12:26:01 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-05-12 10:53:21 +0300

azupan gravatar image

Uh, oh! Glad I've postponed the flashing. This is from Hossa release notes:

IMPORTANT: do not update your XA2 device to Android 9, or else installing Sailfish OS will brick your device.

For the time being, I'm using Xperia XA2 with Android 9, and Google disabled. Using Yandex instead of Google.

Until I decide to flash the XA2, I'm still keeping the Sailfish on my X current.

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Is there any technical information about it? I'm super curious what causes it (and how many devices the sailors bricked before figuring it out)...

Direc ( 2019-05-12 11:39:17 +0300 )edit

@azupan Why not flash XA2 back to A8 first?

@Direc I bricked one and send it back to the store way before warning as I suspected HW failure. No response from store yet. Reading TJC regulary I think we were a few. I hope Jolla will give some details how to revert it.

Filip K. ( 2019-05-12 12:38:15 +0300 )edit


IMHE once it's bricked, it's bricked. The only possible way of unbricking it is to take it apart, and bridge something on the motherboard- maybe.

azupan ( 2019-05-12 13:58:09 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-07-03 17:02:54 +0300

azupan gravatar image

Update: My new XA2 died about 2 months after warranty expired. Probably motherboard.

So, I'm back to my old Xperia X with Sailfish OS.

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For your second banking app, the one that requires Google Play Services on your Sailfish OS device:

in my experience, you can get around by installing microG (opensource re-implementation of "") and Fakestore (empty, but pretends that "Google Play Store" is installed) from F-Droid.

microG might requirement some patching (enabling "signature spoofing"), there is a guide for XA2 if you manage to fix it, and there should be a guide for the older kitkat-based android compatibility layers somewhere.

regarding maping and routing :

Really consider giving a try to

DrYak ( 2019-07-03 19:53:55 +0300 )edit


XA2 is pretty much unfixable, and not worth fixing. Service would cost me about 100€ or more, while the price of a new XA2 is a little over 200€. It still had Android installed when it died, and no important or personal data. I'd never store such data on Android system.

Currently I'm running the said banking app on a prehistoric, 2nd hand iPad mini, purchased specifically for running apps with compatibility issues.

Thanxx for the info anyway. If I decide to run that banking app on Xperia X, it will definitely be very useful. I'd have to arrange it with my bank, though.

azupan ( 2019-07-03 22:06:43 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2019-03-20 21:13:58 +0300

Seen: 1,235 times

Last updated: Jul 03 '19