Hello there, the purpose of this guide is to help you get your Arc Updated, De-Branded, Rooted, Themed or to get a Custom ROM installed on it.
The process of tinkering with any Device can seem a like a daunting process for New members but it's really quite simple so long as you read EVERY WORD of a thread describing how to Modify your Phone you shouldn't go far wrong.
Sure you might screw up once or twice but you can just simply run the Flashtool to restore your Phone to a Factory condition using a Branded or World Generic .ftf file which can be found in the Development Section
If you have Un-Locked your Bootloader DO NOT UPDATEOver The Air (O.T.A) or YOU WILL BRICK your Device. If you have Bricked then see THIS thread with how to Restore your Phone.
Using the FOTA Bricked thread (above) has been confirmed to work on Phones with Locked Boot Loaders too.
Debranding & The Flashtool
Put simply Debranding removes Operator/Carrier bloatware, which can speed up your Phone, and the Flashtool allows you to Flash ROMs that are in .ftf (FlashTool File) format, so if your Carrier is slow with releasing the latest Updates you can just simply Flash it, which is easier than using SEUS or PC Companion. If your Phone comes SimFree then it's already De-Branded but if it came from a Carrier, O2, Orange, 3 etc then it will come preloaded with their Apps, Settings etc that you may not want. To debrand you need the Flashtool and a ROM. This video by BlueChipJ explains the process of using it...
You can find the latest Firmware LT15i 4.1.B.0.587 Generic Global World (Android 4.0.4) to be used with the Flashtool HERE
How to backup your Sony Ericsson Xperia firmware using Update Service and the FlashTool
When you root your phone, you gain “superuser” privileges to the Android operating system. When you are using a stock device, you have the equivalent of “guest” privileges. If you are familiar with any Linux operating system, you know that the superuser privilege allows you to gain access to administrative rights. This level of access gets you down to the nitty gritty of the OS with no restrictions, lets you make changes to the system, and run scripts that would normally be blocked with a standard user account.
The stock bootloader on most Android phones is set up to run a signature check on any update file you attempt to flash to your NAND internal memory. So if you were to take a stock Android phone purchased from a carrier, and try to install a custom ROM on it, you'd get nowhere fast. Even after rooting, you still need to get access to the bootloader. Basically, unlocking the bootloader lets you install unsigned ROMs, like CyanogenMod.
There are two ways to Unlock yours, the Standard method (For SimFree Phones) which is explained HERE, (PLEASE NOTE! - You loose DRM when using the official method but not with the TestPoint) but if your Phone came from a Carrier then chances are (99%) you won't be able to use that method. There is a simple method of checking if you can or not which you'll find HERE. Then there is the TestPoint method.
Contact Alejandrissimo or Jinx13 for details of the remote service which isn't free, but cheaper than anywhere else on the net, and when you take in to account you will also SIM Unlock and retain DRM it's worth it.
A custom ROM is a fully standalone version of the OS, including the kernel (which makes everything run), apps, services, etc - everything you need to operate the device, except it's customized by someone in some way.
So what does the "customized" part mean? Since Android is open source, developers are free to take stock ROMs, modify them, strip them of garbage, optimize them, add things, and pretty much do whatever their imagination and skills allow.
In the Development Section you will find a few Custom ROMs, some require you to unlock your Boot Loader and some don't, and is usually stated in the thread title if it's required or not. You can find another great Guide HERE that will show you how to use Fastboot which is the method used for installing Custom ROMs.
ClockworkMod – also known as Clockwork and CWM – is a custom recovery for Android phones and tablets that allows you to perform several advanced recovery, restoration, installation and maintenance operations on your Android device
To use the CMW on a Stock ROM you will need to have Un-Locked Bootloader and run the RecoveryArc.img from the Computer, but if you use a Custom Kernel such as DoomKernel, or a Custom ROM such as CyanogenMod it comes as Standard. You can find the RecoveryArc.img HERE
CyanogenMod - CM FreeXperia Project
CyanogenMod (pronounced sigh-AN-oh-jen-mod), is a customized, aftermarket firmware distribution for several Android devices (See above for supported devices & how to install CyanogenMod on said devices). Based on the Android Open Source Project, CyanogenMod is designed to increase performance and reliability over Android-based ROMs released by vendors and carriers such as Google, T-Mobile, HTC, etc. CyanogenMod also offers a variety of features & enhancements that are not currently found in these versions of Android.
You can find the instructions of how to install it on your Arc and find the Free Xperia Project FXP CM7 Thread HERE, FXP CM9 HERE and FXP CM10 HERE
There are a good few themes in the Theme Section, all of which have clear instructions on how to install them in their First post (O.P). To make your own however is going to take some reading. You'll need to know how to do things like Decompiling, editing XML files and helps if you know how to use a Program like Photoshop or other similar software like Gimp.
So that's that, the information contained at the links above should be enough to assist you to get your Arc up to date, Un-Locked or Modded and as I said at the start, read EVERY WORD of an Original Post [OP] (first post in a thread) before attempting any modification, THEN READ IT AGAIN, if you run in to issues it's more than likely you missed a step somewhere so just retrace your steps.
All credits go to the creators of the threads I've linked to.
Thanks. The other guides go in to detail about how to perform certain things where as I just want this to be a consolidation and shortcut to handy info, so if anyone thinks there should be something added just add it here, whether it's a thread or single post.
Devices Used so far:
SONY K310i, K790i, Xperia X10,Arc,Play,Ray,S, Z,Z1,Xperia Z2
SONY Tablet S,Tablet P,Xperia Tablet Z
SONY VAIO Duo 11, Duo 13, PS VITA
SAMSUNG Galaxy S,S3,Note,Note 2,Note 8,Nexus 10
MICROSOFT Surface RT, Surface Pro
MOTOROLA Moto G
NOKIA 3100, Lumia 920
LG Nexus 4,Nexus 5, LG G3
ASUS Transformer Book T100
ACER Aspire V5 Touch
APPLE iPhone 4s,iphone 5,iphone 5S,iPad 2,3,ipad Mini,MacBook Air, iPad Air
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