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xda-developers Google Nexus 5 Nexus 5 General [GUIDE] Nexus 5 - How to Unlock Bootloader, Install Custom Recovery and Root

oot by Chromium

[GUIDE] Nexus 5 - How to Unlock Bootloader, Install


Custom Recovery and Root
By Chromium, Recognized Contributor on 1st November 2013, 11:20 PM
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Setup, Preparation and Prerequisites


Basic tasks that I may refer to throughout this guide:
Open command prompt - Press Window Key + R, type in "cmd" (without the quotes),
and hit enter.
Enter the bootloader - Turn the phone off. Hold volume down + power. The bootloader
is also known as fastboot mode.

ADB and Fastboot Installation


1. Download the full Android SDK here (scroll to the bottom of the page>DOWNLOAD FOR
OTHER PLATFORMS>SDK Tools Only) or get a slimmed version containing only the
essential components here (Thanks @El Daddy)
2. Extract the zip and place the android-sdk-windows folder on your desktop.
**If you chose to download the slimmed sdk skip to step 5**
3. Only if you downloaded the full sdk: Go into the android-sdk-windows folder and run
SDK Manager.exe. Install the following packages (there are a total of 4 packages):
- Tools > Android SDK Tools, Android SDK Platform-tools
- Extras > Android Support Library, Google USB Driver
4. Only if you downloaded the full sdk: Go back into the android-sdk-windows directory,
and you should see a new folder named platform-tools. If you don't see this new folder,
repeat the step above.
5. To confirm that it is indeed working, open a command prompt window and enter the
following commands:
Code:
cdDesktop/androidsdkwindows/platformtools
adbversion

If it displays "Android Debug Bridge version x.x.xx" it is working. If it is gives an error


saying that adb is not a recognized command, it has not been successful. Carefully
repeat the steps above if this is the case. Close the command prompt window when you
are done.
USB Debugging - On your phone go to Settings > About phone > Tap on Build number 7
times. This will enable Developer options. Now go back to Settings > Developer options
> Enable USB debugging

> Enable USB debugging


Show File Extensions - Open a command prompt window and run "Control folders"
(without the quotes). Go to the View tab and uncheck the "Hide extensions for known
file types" option. This will help avoid confusion when renaming files.
Battery - Ensure that your phone has at least 60% battery remaining, and that your PC is
plugged in and wont shut down spontaneously during the process. The procedure
doesn't take very long (5-15 minutes), but its best to have enough charge in case
something goes wrong.
Backup (Optional) - Unlocking the bootloader will completely wipe all data from the
device. This includes apps, settings and even the contents of the internal sdcard
(pictures, music, etc.). Copy all important files off the phone onto a PC or upload them to
a cloud.
Driver Installation - Try this first, but if that doesn't work look here. Still having issues?
Give this a try. None of these working? Hopefully this does the trick.

Downloads
Download a custom recovery of your choice and the SuperSU zip below. Place both files

(recovery image and root zip) in the platform-tools folder located on your desktop within the
android-sdk-windows folder.
Custom Recovery:

TeamWin Recovery Project (TWRP) or ClockworkMod (CWM)


Root:

SuperSU

Information
Rooting a nexus device is actually quite a simple and easy process. Before you begin, it is
recommended that you at least try to understand what each part of the process will do.

Although this guide will elongate each step in order to show all of the details, the method
used can be broken up into 3 main steps: Unlocking the Bootloader, Installing a Custom
Recovery and finally Rooting. Each new step relies on the previous step to have been
completed, and a basic summary of each part is:

1. Unlocking Bootloader: Opens the door to the internal memory of the device to be
written on to. This allows you to flash images onto the main partitions of the phone.
2. Installing a Custom Recovery: A custom recovery is flashed onto the recovery partition
of the device and overwrites the stock recovery that exists by default. Custom
recoveries bring lots of functionality and give you the ability to perform wipes, install
flashable zips, create full backups of your NAND (Nandroid backup), and various other
features. An unlocked bootloader is needed to install a custom recovery.
3. Rooting: You can gain root by either flashing via recovery a pre rooted custom rom, or
flashing a zip containing the SuperSU binaries. A custom recovery is necessary to do this.

LOGIN REGISTER

After completing these steps your phone will be rooted, the phone will have a custom

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131

Troubleshooting & FAQ Why am I seeing a red


triangle with a dead

Chromium OP

14

search

plus is built-in
(quote) The driver
the device, so it

will install

recovery installed, and the phones bootloader will be unlocked. This, in my opinion, is the

Kortxero

adb/fastboot knowledge, and should hopefully help you have a decent understanding of

12

has. Using a toolkit will only make things worse in the long run...learn to do it properly. It has

Chromium OP

most practical and beneficial method for rooting your phone. It gives you some basic

what is going on. Also this method will work regardless of what android version your phone
been proven that every time you use a toolkit, god kills a kitten. Save the kittens.

If you are confused by anything in this guide, I would highly suggest getting it clarified being
before moving on. Ask your question in this thread and I or someone else will likely answer.
Also I'd suggest that you read over the whole thread a few times before actually doing
anything to the phone.

you will still

Turn the phone off. Then boot it into the bootloader/fastboot mode by holding volume

2013-Nov-01 20:13

(quote) Yes you can but it's better to learn and


do it yourself.
2014-Mar-20 10:39

Chromium_ All our ADB and Fastboot problems


with users are

abaaaabbbb63

Understand? Good...lets begin:

1. Unlocking Bootloader

2013-Nov-14 15:20

(quote) Yes, if you only unlock the bootloader

Primokorn

2013-Nov-01 19:56

ANALYSIS & OPINION

2014-Jan-03 6:08

Turn the phone off. Then boot it into the bootloader/fastboot mode by holding volume
down + power.
Plug the phone into your PC, then open a command prompt window window and type:
Code:
cdDesktop/androidsdkwindows/platformtools

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Code:

May 12, 2016

fastbootdevices

Jide Launch Remix OS Powered Allin-One PC

This command will list the connected devices. If your phones serial number shows up
you are good to go and may continue. If the phone is NOT listed this indicates that your

May 12, 2016

drivers are not installed correctly. In order for you to continue you must fix your drivers
so that your phone is listed under fastboot devices.

FlashFire v0.33 Update Brings


Ability to Backup and Restore via
ADB over WiFi

If the phone has been recognized by the command above, proceed to unlocking the
bootloader with the following command:

May 11, 2016

Remember that this step will wipe EVERYTHING off the phone

Google Providing Full OTA Images


for Nexus Devices

Code:
fastbootoemunlock

On the phone a screen should pop up asking whether or not you would like to unlock
the bootloader. Use the volume rockers to highlight "Yes" then press power to confirm

May 11, 2016

More XDA News

the action.

TOP FORUM DISCUSSIONS

After the above command has finished excuting, run the following (DO NOT skip this

How to Use the Unlocked HTC 10 on Verizon


Wireless

step, it is more important than you think):


Code:
fastbootreboot

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May 9, 2016

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The phone will reboot. Next you will be presented with a screen containing an android

May 9, 2016

logo and a progress bar (this may take up to ten minutes to complete). Wait until the
phone has fully booted up into android, then proceed onto the next section of the

Invisible Power Button on Status Bar Mod for


Nexus 5X

guide.

May 9, 2016

Close the command prompt window.

Check for Doze Support on Your Device!


May 7, 2016

FBPatcher Allows You To Patch Facebook APK to


Enable Built-in Messenger

2. Installing a Custom Recovery


Turn the phone off. Then boot it into the bootloader/fastboot mode by holding volume
down + power.
Rename the recovery file that you downloaded above to recovery.img. *Make sure that
you rename it to recovery.img NOT recovery.img.img* Remember that you should place
the file in the platform-tools folder inside of the android-sdk-windows folder on your

May 7, 2016

Enhanced Thermal Configurations for the HTC


One M9
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More Forum Links

TAGS

desktop.

This thread has automatically been categorized

Open command prompt and run the following commands:

to find related threads.

Code:
cdDesktop/androidsdkwindows/platformtools

with the following tags. Click on any of the topics

Root

Unlock

Tutorial

Code:
fastbootflashrecoveryrecovery.img

On the phone, use the volume buttons to scroll onto "Restart Bootloader" and hit power
to select it. After the bootloader reloads, use the volume buttons to scroll onto
"Recovery Mode" and power to select it. You should then be greeted with your newly
installed custom recovery.

Bootloader

Recovery

installed custom recovery.


Close the command prompt window.

3. Rooting
Now that your phone has an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery installed you have
a two options to gain root (Pick one or the other. You don't need to do both)

Option A) Flash SuperSU binaries which will give you root with the stock rom
Confirm that you have downloaded the SuperSU zip from the downloads section above
and that it is located in the platform-tools folder inside of the android-sdk-windows
folder on your desktop.
Turn the phone off then boot into the bootloader. (volume down + power). Once in the
bootloader use the volume rockers to scroll onto Recovery Mode, then press power to
select it. This should bring you into your newly installed custom recovery. Leave the
phone at the home page of the custom recovery.
Open a command prompt window and run the following commands:
Code:
cdDesktop/androidsdkwindows/platformtools

Code:
adbpushUPDATESuperSUvX.XX.zip/sdcard/

This will copy the SuperSU zip onto your phone. Once the command has completed
continue.
Instructions for TeamWin Recovery Project (TWRP):
Install > browse to SuperSU zip and select the it
Swipe to confirm the installation. Then reboot.

Instructions for ClockworkMod (CWM):


install zip from sdcard > choose zip from sdcard.
Next, browse to the location where you previously copied the SuperSU zip and select
the it.
To confirm the installation, scroll down to "Yes" and select it. The installation shouldn't
take very long, and once it has completed you may reboot.

Option B) Flash a custom rom which will come pre-rooted


Note that not all custom roms will be pre rooted, however the majority of them are.
Read the OP of the ROM thread to see what the verdict is.
Copy a custom rom (you can find these in the Nexus 5 Android Development and Nexus
5 Original Android Development section) onto the phone (remember the location where
you copy it to)
Turn the phone off then boot into the bootloader. (volume down + power). Once in the
bootloader use the volume rockers to scroll onto Recovery Mode, then press power to
select it. This should bring you into your newly installed custom recovery. To install a
custom rom the general procedure to follow is: factory reset, wipe cache + dalvik cache,
flash ROM, flash GApps. Here are the recovery specific instructions:

Instructions for TeamWin Recovery Project (TWRP):


Wipe > Swipe to Factory Reset
Install > browse to the location where you previously copied the ROM zip and select it >
Swipe to confirm the installation
Install GApps using same process as ROM, then reboot.

Instructions for ClockworkMod (CWM):


wipe data/factory reset

wipe data/factory reset


wipe cache partition
advanced > wipe dalvik cache
install zip from sdcard > choose zip from sdcard > navigate to the location of the rom >
select the rom > confirm the installation by selecting "Yes"
After that you may install the GApps using the same method for flashing the rom, and
finally reboot the phone.

Keep in mind that the first boot after installing a custom rom & wiping the phone may take

longer than usual, as the phone will need to rebuild the dalvik cache and initialize other first
boot stuff.

Congrats! That is all! Your phone now has an unlocked bootloader, a custom recovery
installed and is rooted...Plus you saved a kitten. Enjoy

Last edited by Chromium; 1st June 2014 at 04:45 PM.

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Chromium
OP

Thanks: 6,506

Recognized Contributor

2nd November 2013, 12:56 AM | #2

Troubleshooting & FAQ


Why am I seeing a red triangle with a dead android when booting into recovery
even after I flashed a custom recovery?

What you are seeing is the stock recovery, meaning that the custom recovery that you
flashed did not install correctly. Try the following suggestions:

Make sure you are using the USB cable that came with your phone. Only use other ones,
if the stock one isn't working
Try using different USB ports. USB 2.0 ports (the ones that ARE NOT blue) are preferable.
USB 3.0 ports (the blue ones) may cause problems with connectivity.
If you are on a desktop, use the ports on the back of the tower instead of the ones in
the front. These ports are directly connected to the motherboard, rather than the ones
in the front which are usually attached to a header cable which then indirectly connects
to the motherboard.

My phone wont boot into android. I can only access the bootloader and custom
recovery. What do I do?

Suggestion 1: Factory reset via recovery.


TWRP Instructions:
Boot into recovery
Wipe > Swipe to Factory Reset
Reboot

CWM Instructions:
Boot into recovery
wipe data/factory reset
wipe cache partition
advanced > wipe dalvik cache
Reboot

If that doesn't work continue onto Suggestion 2.


Suggestion 2: Push a ROM to your phone and flash it.
Download a ROM onto your computer. If you don't have time to look for a ROM, just

Download a ROM onto your computer. If you don't have time to look for a ROM, just
download the stock ROM.
Move the downloaded ROM onto your desktop, and rename the file to "ROM.zip"
(without the quotation marks)
Boot phone into recovery
Open command prompt and run the following commands:
Code:
cdDesktop
adbpushROM.zip/sdcard/

Wait for it to finish copying the file, then flash the ROM. If you need further details on
how to flash a ROM take a look at the OP, section 3. Rooting, Option B)

If that doesn't work continue onto Suggestion 3.


Suggestion 3: Flash the factory images.
Flash the factory images

My phone wont boot into android. I can only access the bootloader. What do I
do?

Flash the factory images

My phone exploded. What do I do?

Tape it back together then flash the factory images

Last edited by Chromium; 2nd April 2014 at 09:30 PM.

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dombera

Senior Member

2nd November 2013, 01:00 AM | #3

Thanks: 41

Awesome post. Got a question: if I ONLY unlock bootloader will I still be able to get and
install OTA updates?

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

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Chromium
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Recognized Contributor

2nd November 2013, 01:13 AM | #4

Quote:
Originally Posted by dombera

Awesome post. Got a question: if I ONLY unlock bootloader will I still be able to get
and install OTA updates?
Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
Yes, if you only unlock the bootloader you will still be able to get ota's. The lock state of your
bootloader will not affect your ability to receive ota's.

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Senior
dombera
Member
2nd November 2013, 01:14 AM | #5

Thanks: 41

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromium_

Yes, if you only unlock the bootloader you will still be able to get ota's. The lock state
of your bootloader will not affect your ability to receive ota's.
Awesome, thx
Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

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timvdlinde

Senior Member

2nd November 2013, 01:28 AM | #6

Thanks: 46

This is awesome, will come in handy.


Sent from my HTC Desire using XDA Premium 4 mobile app

Xero258

Junior Member

2nd November 2013, 06:48 AM | #7

Thanks: 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromium_

Yes, if you only unlock the bootloader you will still be able to get ota's. The lock state
of your bootloader will not affect your ability to receive ota's.
What about if you unlock the boot loader and root, will you be able to get OTAs then? I
guess a better question is what's the point of no return (without reflashing the factory
image) where you break OTA updates? Thanks for the thread btw!

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Whyzor

Senior Member

2nd November 2013, 07:43 AM | #8

Thanks: 351

Can people please post confirmation of TWRP or CWM recoveries + rooting working without
problems if they've done it? I know it's unofficially supported at this time, but getting some
data collected would be useful.
---------- Post added at 01:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:41 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero258

What about if you unlock the boot loader and root, will you be able to get OTAs then?
I guess a better question is what's the point of no return (without reflashing the
factory image) where you break OTA updates? Thanks for the thread btw!
If you unlock bootloader & root, and modify some system files, OTAs may not be able to pass
some pre-install checks, at least this has happened to me on N4 before. I added one line to

some pre-install checks, at least this has happened to me on N4 before. I added one line to

/etc/build.prop, also one of the older SuperSU versions had to be uninstalled for pre-install
OTA checks to pass.

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abaaaabbbb63

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Recognized Contributor

2nd November 2013, 09:00 AM | #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whyzor

Can people please post confirmation of TWRP or CWM recoveries + rooting working
without problems if they've done it? I know it's unofficially supported at this time, but
getting some data collected would be useful.[COLOR="Silver"]

There isn't *yet* a booting custom recovery for the Nexus 5. Give it a couple of days.

Nbsss

Thanks: 1,011

Senior Member

2nd November 2013, 09:03 AM | #10

I see some Desire folks

Did u order one chromium?

talz13

Senior Member

2nd November 2013, 01:06 PM | #11

Thanks: 11

Is unlocking the bootloader going to be the same as on my GNex, where it wipes the device

Read More

in the process? If so, this will be the first thing I do when I get it out of the box on Monday.

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xda-developers Google Nexus 5 Nexus 5 General [GUIDE] Nexus 5 - How to Unlock Bootloader, Install Custom Recovery and Root by Chromium

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