[Solution!] Bring your Xperia U Back to Life – Fix WiFi issue, Battery Drain, Root, Remove Bloatware – Fix/Solved

Before publishing Gluddle on Android, I needed an Android device that wasn’t over-specced in order to be able to test it on a general device. I also preferred a phone that was quite small, portable and not horrendously ugly as some Android devices are. Unfortunately, this Sony has some software quirks that make it unusable, and below I’ll explain how I was able to solve this. But first, look at a U.


The Xperia U is a quite nice device compared to other relatively cheap phones, although my conclusion is that Sony did fine when designing the hardware, but software-wise they messed up a little when releasing Ice Cream Sandwich on this phone. Sony Support seems to be ignoring the issues. Look at all the complaints on the internet about this phone and the WiFi issues…and Sony suggests to do a complete factory reset, again and again. I think the issues are general Android bugs, but Sony does not release an OS update for this phone.  So…is your next phone a Sony Xperia? Meee….not so sure.

Some weeks ago I decided to get this phone working again in as little time as possible without doing a factory reset. It had become too slow to use, and the WiFi issues were becoming too annoying.

For me, there were three problems to solve:
1. The gallery thumbnails file kept on growing until it used all of the phone’s SD card space.
2. The WiFi connection was maintained when walking out of range or just because…nothing…, and some WPA_supplicant process fired the CPU and emptied the battery as fast as it could. Restarting the phone was the only solution to regain WiFi access…well, for an hour. If there was still some battery left.
3. The phone was fully packed with amazing Sony bloatware which made it too slow to use.So one step at a time…let’s start with…

Fix 1. Reclaim your storage

Well, apparently, there’s a bug in the Android version installed on the U causing the system to create a huuuuuuuge data file for the thumbnails. Deleting the .thumbdata file does not help, neither does making it read-only (src: this post). This solution fixed the issue on my phone:

.thumbdata file keeps growing
Don’t know if this will help but worth trying i guess. Delete the data/cache of your Camera, Gallery and Media Storage (you will find this under Settings/Apps/All) then reboot your phone. Pray and cross fingers.
[source, by icecrmsandwich]

Well…it helps! Moi haz space on phone now. Note: Mind that this resets camera settings, ringtone settings, alarm sounds, etc. Check before you’re embarred in public: the factory tingtones are scary (Check these ringtones by my friends at Cleartones!).

Fix 2. Fix WiFi connection and battery stamina

OK, you’ve probably noticed: WiFi is weird. It disconnects and does not want to connect, consumes the battery and slows down your phone. In order to fix this, you need to root the phone. In general, it’s a good idea to do this, so you can also fix issue 3. I used this root manual. You don’t have to flash a custom ROM.
Do try this at home, but on your own risk. Root Your Phone but Make Backups. Make Backups. Ma…ke backups. The Rooting process took me only 2 minutes because I decided to keep the original ROM, and my files and settings were kept intact, but you never know.

After rooting the phone, I fixed the WiFi issues using the file browser in Super Manager, according to this fix:

1) Turn Off the WIFI 2 (open the file explorer and go to /DATA/MISC/WIFI folder and delete the file wpa_supplicant_bgscan.db 3 Connect the WIFI (this will generate a new file wpa_supplicant_bgscan.db) wait until the new file being created. 4 Go to the folder /DATA/MISC/WIFI , select the new file wpa_supplicant_bgscan.db and change all their permissions for “read-only”. Congratulations because the bug irritant of WIFI has been solved.
[source, solution by HB76 @ androidpt.com kindly suggested by man1ac].

I was VERY happy to see that the bug irritant in my phone was fixed.

Fix 3. Reclaim your CPU and RAM

Now that you’ve rooted your Xperia, it’s nice to remove the apps you don’t need. I used App Master to remove bloatware such as Sony wallpapers, Retail Demo, Recommender, Timescape, Google Plus, etc.

The nice blue Live Wallpaper (Cosmic Flow) that comes with your Xperia is nice, but it’s a CPU hog, so consider to kill your darlings! I removed it, and did not regret it. Phone is fast now. I see animations of app folder, etc.


I installed Android Firewall to control the outgoing data and have the idea that the phone is more responsive.

Does this work for you? Do you have other suggestions? Let me know.

Update 3/3-2014: the phone still works like a charm. All the issues are solved and have not reoccurred up to date. 

Update March 2015: there seems to be a crack in the internals of the annoying LED bar causing the display to remain unlit. I replaced the Sony Xperia by a Huawei Honor, which I find superior to the Sony. Bye Sony Xperia.