Xperia devices: How to use the Recovery Mode

Jolla Care -

If your Xperia is not starting up normally or not starting up at all, you can attempt to fix your device with the help of the Recovery Mode. This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions on recovering a malfunctioning device.

NOTE: This article is for Xperia devices only. There are separate articles for Jolla Phone, Jolla C (also Aqua Fish) and for Jolla Tablet:



1 What is Recovery Mode?
1.1 When should I use the Recovery Mode?

2 Setting up Recovery Mode
2.1 Forcing Xperia to Recovery Mode
2.2 Preparing your Windows computer for Recovery Mode
2.3 Preparing your Mac computer for Recovery Mode
2.4 Preparing your Linux computer for Recovery Mode

3 Fixing your device with Recovery Mode
3.1 Resetting phone to factory settings in Recovery Mode
3.2 Releasing Xperia from "Permanent lock"
3.3 Reverting phone back to normal state



1 What is the Recovery Mode?

Recovery Mode is a tool designed to help your device recover from critical errors. It is somewhat "hidden", because you are not meant to have to use it except in case of a rare device malfunction. To use it successfully you need a MicroSD card in your device.

Recovery Mode is considered a last resort and should be used only if there is no other way.
It is a powerful tool and using it always means that your data on the device is at risk.
Please read the instructions in this article carefully.

NOTE:  You can install Sailfish X again ("re-flash")  to your Xperia device. This is an effective way to resolve many kinds of problems, compared to Recovery Mode. Your Sailfish X license even entitles you to download a more recent Sailfish version from Jolla Shop On the other hand, flashing implies that all data and apps in the device will be wiped away and lost. Please consider which way suits better to you.

If at any point you are uncertain about using Recovery Mode, please contact us.


1.1 When should I use Recovery Mode?

  • You are experiencing problems starting up your device.
  • Your device doesn't start past the Sony logo.
  • Your device seems to never complete the startup process, before restarting again (AKA "boot loop", starts up to "Sony logo" but no further).
  • Your device starts up to a state where it is unusable because of a corrupted or not visible user interface.
  • Some parts of the Sailfish OS system seem to be missing. For example, opening Settings crashes the phone or Settings opens as a blank screen.
  • You were instructed by Jolla's Service & Support personnel to use it.



2 Setting up Recovery Mode


2.1 Forcing Xperia to Recovery Mode

  • Disconnect USB cable from Xperia
  • Turn Xperia OFF
  • If you have the fastboot drivers (Windows) or fastboot tools (Linux, Mac) already installed on your computer, skip to the next step. If not, install them now - the instructions are:
  • Force your Xperia to fastboot mode:
    • hold Volume Up key down and connect USB cable
    • ensure that the LED at the top of the display area is lit in BLUE colour
      (if not disconnect cable, release the key and try again)
  • Open Terminal app on your computer
  • Go to the Sailfish directory (see chapter 3 in Sailfish X instructions - Windows or chapter 3 in Sailfish X instructions - Linux or chapter 3 in Sailfish X instructions - Mac). This is the directory to which you have previously downloaded and unzipped the Sailfish OS for installing it. The next picture below shows the content of such a directory.

  • The following command will enable the Recovery Mode (the BLUE LED should be lit at this point)

    On Windows:
    fastboot boot hybris-recovery.img
    On Linux or Mac:
    sudo fastboot boot hybris-recovery.img




Detach the USB cable now.

After this there should not be any BLUE light on your Xperia. Instead, the following text should appear (in a really tiny font) at the top of Xperia display :

"RECOVERY:  Connect USB cable and open telnet to address"

If you have


2.2 Preparing your Windows computer for Recovery Mode

Do the following to install the "RNDIS drivers” and the terminal application properly. If you have used Recovery mode before and installed RNDIS drivers then they might still be okay. If you cannot set up a telnet connection later on, then it is best to check the drivers.

1. Connect your Xperia (which is now in the Recovery Mode after running the steps of chapter 2.1) with an USB cable to your computer. While doing this do not press any buttons of Xperia - simply connect the cable.

2. Launch Windows Device Manager

  • Windows 7:  Open Start Menu and right click on “Computer”. Select “Manage”.
  • Windows 10:  Open Start Menu and type "device manager". You should see Device Manager in the search list now. Alternatively, right click on Windows Start menu and find Device Manager in the list (see picture below).


3. Left click on Device Manager and find the Device "RNDIS" under “Other Devices”, equipped with a  small triangle.  If you do not see it listed, then ensure that you have the item "Remote NDIS compatible device" under "Network adapters" (this implies that the driver should be ok in your computer).

NOTE: The fastboot device "sa0114" of Sony must not appear in the listing of Windows Device Manager at this point any more.

4. Right click on that device and select Update Driver Software.

5. When the window pops up (Windows 7 and 8 and 10) select “Browse My Computer” for driver software, then on the next screen, click on the bottom that says “Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer”.

6. Next you will be asked for the device type. Here you go down to Network Adapters – click on it. Select “Next”, then.

7. Then when it asks you to select manufacturer:

  • Windows 7: select “Microsoft Corporation”  (do not select "Microsoft")
  • Windows 8 and 10: select "Microsoft"

8. Then select “Remote NDIS Compatible Device”.

9. Select “Next”. It will say it is not safe, etc. Ignore this. Proceed to install it. Windows should show a message about successful update. Close it. “RNDIS” should appear now below Network adapters.

10. Next install a Terminal application and enable Telnet. There are two options (in case of Windows 10):

a) Install Putty. Download it from > "Download PuTTY" which currently points to Select "putty.exe" under "Alternative binary files" (make sure you take either the 32-bit or the 64-bit version, depending on your Windows architecture).
b) In case of Windows 10 it is possible to enable the actual Telnet (instead of installing Putty) and run it from the default CMD terminal of Windows (or from PowerShell). This can be done in "Control panel > Programs > Programs and Features" by clicking at "Turn Windows features on or off" (visible on the left) and then setting the check mark for "Telnet client" in the list. Click OK to confirm. Done.

11. Launch either a) the Putty application or b) the CMD terminal on the PC. Take a) or b) below.

a) On the first screen of Putty select Telnet as the Connection type (default is SSH) and then enter and set Host Name (IP address) to See the picture below. Click Open.

b) In the CMD terminal type "telnet"  (without the quotes).



12. You should now see the black Recovery Mode menu on your computer screen (picture below):


This signifies that you are ready to perform a fix by using Recovery Mode.

You are now ready to move to Chapter 3 Fixing your device with Recovery Mode

2.3 Preparing your Mac computer for Recovery Mode

To run the Recovery Mode on a Mac computer, you need to download the HoRNDIS driver but all other software is already on your computer. You must use version 9 (or later) of HoRNDIS driver.

Citation of proof of
"Versions 10.11 and newer of Mac OS X have a rewritten USB stack that is substantially less compatible than that in 10.10 and below. HoRNDIS 9.0 has been rewritten to support MacOS 10.11 and above (El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra and Mojave); for those versions of MacOS, please try the latest version of HoRNDIS!"

1. Browse to

2. Download and install the latest version of the HoRNDIS driver.

3. After installing the driver you may be prompted to perform a system restart and receive a notification about a "Kernel extension not from an identified developer":

Please click OK on the pop-up and restart your computer if you are unsure should you do so or not.

4. Once the driver is installed, attach your Jolla to your Mac. (Note: Jolla must be in "Recovery Mode" before attaching the cable, see chapter 2.1)

5. Next you need to locate the Terminal application. To do so:

5a Open Finder
5b Click the tab "Applications" and open "Utilities"

5c Double-click the Terminal icon to launch it.

6. Once Terminal is open, select Shell > "New Remote Connection..."


7. Click on "Remote Login (telnet)" and then the + -icon to add a server.

8. Type in the address: and press "OK".

9. You should now be in Recovery Mode, with the Recovery Mode menu visible on your computer screen:


You are now ready to move to Chapter 3 Fixing your device with Recovery Mode


2.4 Preparing your Linux computer for Recovery Mode

It is likely that you won't need to download any additional software to use Recovery Mode. Below we've used Ubuntu.

1.) Connect your Jolla to your PC. You will likely see a notification relating to a disconnect/connect and Ethernet/Wired connection:

2.) Open the Terminal application

3.) Type into the Terminal:


4.) You should now see the Recovery Mode menu:


You are now ready to move to Chapter 3 Fixing your device with Recovery Mode




3 Fixing your device with Recovery Mode


3.1 Resetting phone to factory settings in Recovery Mode

NOTE: this option deletes ALL data from your device. Resetting to factory settings does not affect data on the SD (memory card) and SIM cards, however.

1. Prepare your PC and device for Recovery Mode (as described in Chapter 2), until you see the Recovery Menu:

2. In the Recovery Mode menu take option #1 "Reset device to factory state"

Note: If your terminal application suddenly disappears when attempting to run this function, simply connect to Recovery Mode again, and go straight to performing the Device Reset. You may have to repeat this a number of times.

3. Give the process some time to run and follow on-screen instructions.

When the process has completed, please refer to chapter 3.3 to correctly revert your phone from Recovery Mode back to normal state.


3.2 Releasing Xperia from "Permanent lock"

This requires that you know the correct security code!

In some circumstances it may happen that the allowed maximum number of unlock attempts of the device lock gets exceeded, resulting in "Maximum attempts used. Device is permanently locked". The following procedure may help in unlocking the device:

  • Take option "3) Shell" in the Recovery menu
  • Type the following two commands.  In the latter command replace "12345" with your correct security code!  These commands work with Sailfish OS version, at least.

    chroot /rootfs
    /usr/lib/qt5/plugins/devicelock/encsfa-fpd --check-code 12345

  •  Type exit to escape the Shell.


3.3 Reverting phone back to normal state

It is crucial to follow the below steps to successfully revert your phone from Recovery Mode back to normal state:

1. Select option 6 'Exit' in the Recovery Mode menu.

2. Disconnect the USB cable from the phone.

3. Press Vol Up key down, keep it pressed and then also press the Power key. Release both keys whn you feel the vibrator play.

4. Turn the phone on. It is now back in the normal state.

Please read this general article about factory reset. In particular, read what is recommended after the factory reset, as explained in chapter "First actions after the reset"


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