Install CWM/TWRP Recovery & Root Sony Xperia Z1 C6903/C6902 Running Latest 14.2.0.A.290 Firmware [How to – Guide]


Sony has updated its flagship device Xperia Z1 to latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with the build number 14.2.A.0.290, the new update has fixed the camera bug upon unlocking the bootloader, there is a number of performance enhancements, some new ringtones, themes are added as well.

In case you don’t know about Sony Xperia Z1 yet, then let’s have a look at the device’s specs and features first. Xperia Z1 flaunts a beautiful 5 inches full HD display with 441 ppi. A 20.7 MP camera sensor is placed at the back, by far the best camera in a smartphone I’ve ever seen. On the front there is a 2 MP camera. Sony has used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 Quad Core CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz to power up the device, while a RAM of 2 GB is also there and Adreno 33o GPU is set inside. Under the hood a massive 3000 mAh battery is

While some of you might have updated your device to the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean firmware and now looking out for a way to root your device, you’ll probably end up finding no method, or finding a method that is not easy at all. Rooting Xperia Z1 on latest 14.2.A.0.290 firmware is possible if you have a CWM or TWRP recovery installed in your phone, you just got to flash SuperSu using the recovery. To make it even more easier for you, I’ve explained the method in detail below. But before we head towards the method, let’s have a look on what is a custom recovery [CWM / TWRP] and what are the advantages of having it installed.

A custom recovery allows you to install custom roms, mods etc. Along with these, you can make a Nandroid backup, this helps you a lot as you can move back to the previous working state of your phone at any time you want if you have backed up your current system. In some cases, to root the phone you need to flash file in the custom recovery, having installed the recovery may help you while in some casesto install the recovery easily, you need to have the phone rooted. You can also wipe cache and dalvik cache of your phone using a custom recovery.

Pre Requisites:

      1. This guide is only for Sony Xperia Z1 C6903/2. Do not try this on any other model, please check your device’s mode in Settings > About Device.
      2. The CWM / TWRP recovery is only for Xperia Z1 C6903/C6902 running latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean 14.2.A.0.290 firmware. Check your firmware version in Settings > About Device and make sure that it matches the one mentioned here.
      3. You must have installed Android ADB & Fastboot drivers. Follow the quick guide here.
      4. Your device must have an unlocked bootloader. Follow our full guide here in order to unlock.
      5. Please make sure that your phone’s battery is charged at least over 60%. This is highly recommended in order to prevent any power issues during the recovery flashing process.
      6. Please make sure that you backup all of your important media content, contacts, call logs and important text messages. This is highly recommended so that in case something goes wrong, you can still restore your data.
      7. Use only OEM data cable to establish connection between your PC and Phone.
      8. Alright! Follow this guide to the letter now.

 Update: The method works fine for Xperia Z1 C6902 as well. 

Disclaimer: The methods involved in flashing custom roms and rooting your phone is highly custom and may result in bricking your device, and has nothing to do with Google or the device manufacturer that is SONY in our case. Also rooting your device will void its warranty and you will be no longer eligible for any kind of free device services by the manufacturers/warranty providers. In case of any mishap we may not be held responsible. Follow these instructions to the letter to avoid any mishap or bricking. Make sure that whatever you do, you are doing it at your own responsibility.


How to Install TWRP / CWM Recovery on Xperia Z1 C6903 and C6902:

Download your desired recovery.img file:

  • Place the downloaded Recovery.img file in the Minimal ADB & Fastboot folder that you created using our ADB & Fastboot Quick Setup Guide.
  • If you are using Android ADB & Fastboot full package, you can place the downloaded Recovery.img file in the Fastboot folder or in the Platform-tools folder.
  • Open the folder where you placed the Recovery.img file. E.g Minimal ADB & Fastboot or Fastboot or Platform Tools.
  • Press and hold the shift key and right click on an empty area within the folder, and click on “Open Command Window Here”.
  • Turn off your Xperia Z1 completely.
  • Now press the Volume Up Key and while keeping it pressed plug in the USB cable.
  • You should see a blue light in the notification light of your phone, that means your device is now connected in Fastboot mode.
  • Now type the following command: Fastboot Flash boot Recoveryname.img
  • You may rename the recovery.img file for your ease of access and replace it with Recoveryname in the command to flash it.
  • Hit Enter and it will quickly flash CWM / TWRP recovery in your Xperia Z1.Screenshot_1
  • Remove the USB cable now.
  • Reboot your device now, as soon as you see the Sony logo,  press Volume Up & Down Keys one after another in order to boot into the custom recovery you installed.
  • Congrats! You should now see the custom recovery.

How to Root Sony Xperia Z1 C6903 and C6902:

    1. Download the latest file.
    2. Place the downloaded file on your phone’s sd card.
    3. Boot into CWM / TWRP recovery on your phone.
    4. Select Install Zip / Install > Choose Zip from SD / Ext Sd card > 
    5. Select Yes and let it flash SuperSu.
    6. As soon as flashing is done, reboot your device.
    7. Find SuperSu in App drawer.
    8. Congrats! You’re rooted now.
    9. 20131219_02553020131219_02565220131219_025556

That’s all. In case you got any queries, face any difficulties regarding this post, please feel free to stop by the comment box below. We will try our best to sort it our for you.

Credits: MohammadAG

Usama is a software engineer by profession and at he uses his expertise to solve everyday consumer tech problems with his main areas of interest being Android, iOS and Windows.


    • @subinmathews:disqus C6903 and C6902 are almost same. You can try this method If you wish, if it doesn’t root you will get an error flashing the CWM, or if something goes wrong you can simply re flash the stock 4.3 again using Flash Tool. But I’ve tested this only on C6903, so made this guide.

    • @sophearun:disqus C6903 and C6902 are almost same. You can try this method If you wish, if it doesn’t root you will get an error flashing the CWM, or if something goes wrong you can simply re flash the stock 4.3 again using Flash Tool. But I’ve tested this only on C6903, so made this guide.

  1. This is great! I’ve yet to try this on my Z1. However, you mentioned in your Pre Requisites that “Your device must have an unlocked bootloader”, Where there are other mentions that it is possible on a locked bootloader. Is this possible? And has this been tested?

  2. @yolean:disqus Sorry, this method doesn’t work on locked bootloader, and yes I’ve rooted my very own Z1 so I explained the method here as well. Good Luck.

  3. Confirmed working on 6903 without any issue. Coming from rooted 257 with locked bootloader. Upgraded to 290 via OTA. Root lost after upgrade. Followed your guide to unlock bootloader and flash philz recovery + SuperSu. Regain root access within 30 mins. Thank you

  4. FINALLY! I rooted my Xperia Z1 by Unlocking my Bootloader first then rooting proper… by the way.. can i still get the latest Software update through OTA? and does the future update will remove the root?

    • @santoslorenz:disqus Glad that you’ve rooted it now. You may not receive the OTA update, perhaps if you still receive it, It is recommended not to install it, you may update it manually using flash tool and root the firmware once again after that.

  5. Dear Sir,

    I have done exactly same as you told till where you Say “Hit Enter and it will quickly flash CWM / TWRP recovery in your Xperia Z1.” it doesn’t show as your Screenshot, mine is somewhat different and it doesn’t flash the img file (mine is boot.img), so i am unable to see the Custom Recovery. Kindly Suggest, have a look at the screen shot. Thanks in advance.

  6. Never mind its done now… thanks for all the support.. i ll post ur website on my FB pages, also i ll suggest people to come on your website for any help..
    Here is one suggestion Can you put up a page for List of Custom ROM’s which are stable and the best to try on for Xperia Z1 and how to Flash them.. Thanks in advance

    • @abhimanyu_singh_chauhan:disqus Glad that your issue has been resolved, thanks for your feedback and appreciating our work 🙂 Keep visiting for more how to’s. Yes, We’ll surely look upon your suggestion and bring a list right here very soon. Have a great day 🙂

  7. I’ve successfully unlocked the bootloader, booted in Phil’z recovery, and tried to “reboot now” in order to copy the on the internal SD card. When I selected the reboot system now, the recovery asked to install it automatically or something like that. I selected “No” and it rebooted. Now I can’t get into recovery anymore, and there is no root >.< I flashed the other 2 recoveries as well, but it just won’t boot in any of them.

    Any help ?


  8. @santoslorenz:disqus I am not sure as I haven’t experienced OTA updates over Root, perhaps flashing the firmware will wipe the root and custom recovery.

    • Thanks . Now i have gained root on my z1. Simply juz use platform tools folder n open command prompt instead of using minimal adb or fastboot folder. Love your works bro! Now i can use foldermount.

    • @chrismoo:disqus enter the recovery’s name properly. 2ndly, make sure that your phone is properly connected in fastboot. I think you’ve entered the wrong recovery name, or you didn’t place the file in Minimal ADB & Fastboot folder. Please re-read the guide.

  9. Hi Usama! I am having a problem flashing the recovery.img in my phone It always says < waiting for device > after the “fastboot flash boot” command. What should I do to fix it? Thanks in advance!

  10. i have the same thing that Abhimanyu Singh Chauhan had i followed this tutorial step by step had all the drivers installed unlocked the bootloader etc.. but still had this need some help :s

  11. all drivers linstalled, tutorial followed step by step but i’m stuck at the cwm recovery install it show me this :

  12. just one thing i had to put superSU on internal sdcard because on Philz Cwm i wasn’t able to open Ext sdcard is it normal? expept that little thing the root works perfectly thanks to you

  13. @amir_shahid:disqus Glad that it worked for you. Stay connected with us to keep yourself updated with the happenings of tech world. Have a great day.

  14. Worked a treat, finally got some time to do it, if at first you’re still waiting for device, make sure you’re using the OEM cable and reboot your PC after just to double check… Thanks Usama you legend!

  15. Hello Usama, I installed Recovery Philz advance CWM Recovery and everything works fine.I want to ask that if I want to upgrade the recovery from this website ( when installing any version, the install it correctly, but the z1 xperia will not start and I have to reinstall the recovery that you indicate above, does not work neither the CWM and the TWRP, only work my phone with the Philz recovery that you’ve left here. because?

    • @quesitoquesitoq:disqus I have recommended philz recovery only due to that reason, it works perfectly. However if you wish to flash twrp or cwm, you can flash the whole firmware from scratch and then flash cwm on the newly installed firmware. Let me know if it works that way or not.

      • Hello, I flashed the firmware from scratch and I have tried to introduce the TWRP or CWM of your website, the updated philz (v.6.10.2 or v.6.10.0), and the phone does not start, work only me with your recovery philz you have on the web (v. no matter how works perfectly but I can not update it.Thank you very much for your help.

    • @dexterdeguzman:disqus make sure that your device is properly connected. Connection issues. If you’re using windows 8 it may not work. Try using Windows 7 and connect properly in Fastboot mode.

  16. Hello Usama,My Z1’s Build Number is 14.2.A.1.136. When I installed recovery of yours, Internal Storage does not work and can not read files in the storage either by ES File EXplorer or Root Explorer. Please give me advice how to solve it or please give me CWM compactible with new Build Number. Thanks.

  17. Thanks for your hard work on this… Ran through your instructions. Not new to this. Got the new Xperia z1 C6903 – 4.3 – Build# 14.2.A.1.136. I needed to go with CWM since your Philz img didn’t see my ext sd card to install SuperUser. I installed SuperUser and rebooted all according to your instruction. When it rebooted it tried going through the initial bootup like choosing language etc and moved very slow. Now everytime I reboot my device It seems to want to go through the initial setup. and it has trouble recognizing my SIM card. Where did I go wrong?

    • @goye4th:disqus this guide is only for 14.2.A.1.290 firmware. Please flash the firmware back now to get rid of this problem. You will need to flash ftf file using Flashtool.

  18. Hello Usama, thanks for your great article here, really helpful for real beginner like me. We did root my wife’s xperia z1 successfully. But now she want to unroot it in order to update to 14.2.A.1.136. So, how can I unroot it?

    • @disqus_HwRzAzdH8t:disqus Reboot your device now, as soon as you see the Sony logo, press Volume Up & Down Keys one after another in order to boot into the custom recovery you installed.

  19. At the expense of sounding really, really dumb, i have a quick question: Why wouldn’t this work on a C6906, if the firmware for it is the same?

  20. @disqus_PVZbtG79rr:disqus this will work on C6906. You can give it a try 🙂 I just haven’t mentioned as I tried it on C6903/2 by myself.

  21. will it work on build no 14.4.a.0.157 with android kitkat 4.4.4 and my phone is already rooted btw if i do this will i get the recovery?

  22. @AnimeCruiser:disqus this happened because you probably missed some step. Please wipe cache and dalvik cache from recovery and reboot, if it doesn’t work, flash stock firmware to recover your device. Good Luck.

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