CyanogenMod 12 on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

I wanted to give a little tutorial on how to install CM12 on the Z3c and the current status of the phone. I’ll hopefully update this post in the future for more bugs listed as the ones on XDA aren’t very current or accurate.

Step 1: Download the latest ADB drivers.
Go here to download the Android Standalone SDK. Install it in a place you’ll remember (I just put it on the root of my C:\ drive).  Go to the folder and open the “SDK Manager.exe”. Once open, just install the SDK Tools under the Tools category. For ease of use, open up your system properties window on your PC. Click the environment variables and append the location of the SDK tools folder containing ADB to the PATH environment variable. If you don’t have a PATH environment variable, just click the New button to add it.  NOTE: If you already have the SDK tools installed make sure you have the latest version of ADB (1.0.32 or later).

Step 2: Unlock your bootloader.

WARNING: This will erase your TA partition. If you don't want to lose your DRM keys, make sure you rooted your phone with giefroot and backed up your TA-partition so that you can restore them at a later date if you want.

Head over to Sony Developer World, select your device, and paste your phone’s IMEI into the web form. It will send you an email with a link that will provide you with the code to unlock your bootloader. Once you get the code, plug your phone into your computer, launch up a command prompt window, type in

adb reboot-bootloader

and then paste in the provided code from Sony. Let your phone reboot.

Step 3: Installing the CM12 recovery.
Go to the CyanogenMod Website and download the latest nightly. You’ll also want to head over to this thread on XDA-Developers to download Google Apps. Open up the latest nightly and extract the boot.img file from the zip. Make sure you have sucessfully unlocked your bootloader by opening the phone app and accessing the service menu by dialing in *#*#service#*#* and Under the Service Info > Configuration tab you should see something at the bottom that says “Bootloader Unlocked: Yes”. Open up a command prompt and run

adb reboot-bootloader

. Once there, navigate to where you extracted the boot.img file and type

fastboot flash boot boot.img

. Reboot your phone and you should be in the CM12 recovery.

Step 4: Installing CM12.
Now, a lot of people have had success installing CM12 from the sdcard but it has never worked for me. This is why we need the latest version of ADB to install the ROM by sideloading it with CM12 recovery. First, do a full wipe to make sure we erase the stock xperia ROM that is on the device. With CM12 recovery open, tap the button that says Apply Update and then tap the Sideload button. Then, on your computer, navigate to the directory where you downloaded the CM12 nightly ZIP file and your GAPPS zip file. Type in

adb sideload

. After a few minutes, the update should apply. Follow the same procedure to install the latest GAPPS zip file you downloaded from XDA-Developers. Reboot.


Congrats, you should now be running CM12 on your Z3 compact. Here are some of the bugs I’ve noticed while using CM12 and I will update this post with more bugs and when they fix current ones:

  • Microphone takes a few seconds to activate on incoming calls (approx. 3 seconds)
  • Brightness sliders aren’t set correctly so if you set it too low it will turn off the screen backlight.
  • Bluetooth audio stops after a minute or so of playing audio.
  • Pressing anything on the dial pad while in a call disables audio out. (Such as navigating voicemail or in a call that requires you to use the dial pad for input)

If you’re unhappy with CM12 (as I am in it’s current condition) you can always return to stock with relative ease. Head over to XDA-Developers and download the latest FTF file (or the older one to get root) and then flash it with FlashTool. You’ll have to use giefroot to get root back, install XZDualRecovery, then restore from a TWRP backup that I’m sure you made before you did any of this. Oh, and don’t forget to restore your TA partition if you didn’t back it up with TWRP!


UPDATE (8/1/2015) :

I’ve been using CM12.1 for about a month now and haven’t really had any of the issues mentioned above. The only issue I’ve had is with WiFi being buggy and have to toggle Airplane mode every once in a while. Other than that, the nightly releases are fairly stable. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot if you want to get into the aftermarket ROM game for your Z3C!

2 thoughts on “CyanogenMod 12 on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

  1. I’d love to see an update here. It’s now late June, I found your blog post while searching to ascertain the current state-of-affairs with respect to CM12 on Z3C. Let us know if you happen to have tried again or if you know where I should look for updates.

    1. Well, about a month ago I was tired of the memory issues on the stock Sony 5.0.1 ROM and decided to go with CM12.1. I have to say, just about everything works well now. Only issues I have is with WiFi being wacky sometimes and having to toggle airplane mode on/off. I’d definitely recommend CM12.1 now.

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