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Unlocking/rooting your Galaxy Nexus

This process is similar to all the other Nexus phones, which come unlockable thanks to google:


Clockwork Recovery for Galaxy Nexus (CDMA):

Superuser update package:

Using a console and fastboot (which can be obtained in various places, look around):

# boot into fastboot by powering off, then turning the phone on with volume-up + power
# unlock
fastboot oem unlock
# boot recovery
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-
# note the trailing slash when pushing the superuser zip
adb push /sdcard/

Install from clockwork recovery like you normally would.

In case you flash recovery, you can revert back to stock recovery with this image:

Full/official factory images:
Liu Yong's profile photoJeff Miale's profile photoOleg Artemiev's profile photoStephen Kawamoto (Radha Santadharma)'s profile photo
Terry -
Already wow your awesome
Would love to know when the LTE recovery is a go as I can wait... Thanks Koush!
+Nathan Amos Yes, people were using dumb tools to flash the recovery, and probably bricking shit cause their tools aren't as tested as mine.
Right, that's what I meant, just that in this case LTE = CDMA
i'm a new user to ROM Manager and the flashing game on Android (still on nightlies with my D2). Has anyone provided the SBF, or whatever the file is called, just in case we brick and can get back to stock?
+Koushik Dutta So, will we have to do something later so rom manager doesn't think we're using the GSM version? Run the permanent recovery flash that is coming later today?
there's a better method out using superboot
You should mention that "fastboot oem unlock" actually wipe the device
holy crap that was easy! much better than the other junk i'm seeing online
+Koushik Dutta thanks for working so hard on this....and no rush! i'm very patient when it comes to deviating from stock. we all want to make sure it's done correctly.
Koush, you are the MAN... One simple question the factory recovery that you posted, I am assuming that is the GSM stock recovery, any chance you or any other person happen to know where to get the LTE stock recovery image?
+Koushik Dutta when I go to choose zip from sdcard in clockwork recovery it tells me "couldn't open directory. no files found" What am I doing wrong?
I'm unlocked and rooted on my cdma version. Should I just wait until later on to flash it through the app?
Will there be a way of rooting the device without wiping it? I remember when rooting my X, it didn't wipe it.
Oh okay. So we'll have to wipe it regardless. Got it.
Does the OTA kill the fastboot volume up + power because I have tried several times with no luck.
Ok, So I tried Volume Down + Power and I am now in fastboot... anyone else experience this? Thanks
Works like a charm. I had to find drivers for fastboot, but after that, no probs.
I keep getting waiting on device even after installing samsung drivers. Can someone give me a step by step for installing fastboot correctly to recognize the nexus.
Rob H
Thanks, this worked great. It took a lot of fiddling to get the drivers in order, then the first boot after unlock took a VERY long time and looped once before finally settling in to the opening screen.
You are a huge asset to the Android community.
Why is it that I followed these simple steps all goes well and now im stuck in a boot loop? sadface
i got the bootloader unlocked and the pushed to sdcard but CWM can't see it...i keep getting "can't mount /sdcard/" so i'm just sitting at the CWM screen. someone help?

it should be noted i'm in linux (ubuntu 11.04)
wow really? Benjamin Wilson I just did a factory reset and loaded the stock image back on... waiting...
Back to Stock for me... I am starting from scratch. i'll post back when I can. Thanks
+Brian Beesley got it. here's what i did - tell CWM to reboot. it rebooted and looped once (went through the boot animation and then started over). second boot it took me into ICS, which worked fine.

./adb reboot bootloader
./fastboot boot recovery-clockwork-

./adb push /sdcard/

from here, it finally mounted the sd card but the file wasn't there. so then i did...

./adb push /data/media/

went back into install zip, and it was there now. installed zip, rebooted, and now i'm rooted. hope this helps...again remember i'm in ubuntu, that's why i have the ./ before the commands.
Ok... whew... after doing a factory reset and reloading the stock image... I rooted again with success... no idea what happened the first go. But thanks all ;)
no problem, glad you got it working! i'll edit my comment accordingly to add the missing boot in...
if you are in a bootloop..try this: go into fastboot and type fastboot oem lock, let it lock, then fastboot oem unlock...then let the phone reboot a few times...could take 5 minutes..DO NOT PULL BATTERY. it is trying to do a full wipe and that is why it bootloops. This fixed my issue
Cant wait to touch this tomorrow afternoon
If you had to guess, when do you think there will be a perm recovery? =)
I had the same "issue" a few others mentioned "E:Can't mount sdcard", it took a full reboot to the normal OS, then another fastboot boot of the recovery to get the file found. Otherwise, about as easy as you can get.
Not in that much of a rush to get root, think I will just hold out till clock work gets an official build for the Verizon Nexus. Already got myself it a boot loop once today.
+Koushik Dutta whats new compared to to i assume it hasn't fix the charge while off bug
Where you say to type the command:
fastboot flas recovery recovery-clockwork-

Shouldn't it actually be:
fastboot flas recovery recovery-clockwork-

Derek B
Should it say flas or flash?
it should read flash, im sure he's busy and we should be thankful he edited the new recovery into this post at all! so line 6 in instructions should read as follows

fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-
Is the CDMA / LTE recovery compatible with OTA updates? Earlier today a CWM's custom recovery was causing OTA updates to fail for users.

Can this ever be resolved?
Are we good to flash recovery yet on the Verizon LTE phones?
Using this process you don't actually flash CWM Recovery, you just boot it and flash Superuser. I ended up having to do a factory reset and flash the stock ROM. After I rooted I was able to get OTA 4.0.2 right after I was done. ;-)
+Mike Gomon did u try the new recovery he put up? its actually for the lte one.. and the post was changed to say flash the lte one.. but it hasnt been confirmed if ota works with it
+Mike Gomon Yeah, I know. I"ll be just booting it tomorrow when I get mine. I was just curious if that process could ever be changed so you could eventually flash CWM and still get the OTA.

Besides, the "new" instructions by Koush say to flash. Whereas this morning he had just boot.
Ahh OK. I didn't notice. Thanks I'll check it out. ;-)
I would test this out but I'm not rolling back to stock again to see if OTA works lol. Derek its all you man :-)
I am having trouble doing this on linux, are there anymore detailed instructions?
+Sean Livingston u need to put fastboot and everything in the same directory, if u cant get it from that ill help u
yepp, u can skip unlock, from now on u r unlocked forever until u lock it again
Eli Tal
Followed all the steps and all was going well. I was sitting at CWM and couldn't push to /sdcard, so I rebooted. Now bootloader works fine, and phone will boot fine, but when trying to boot into recovery, i see a dead android with a red exclamation over his chest.. flashed back to stock recovery and it is still happening. what do i do? can someone please help..
Eli Tal
Was able to use /fastboot boot c:\recovery-clockwork- to get back to CWM to install and make a nandroid backup. However, nothing I try will allow me to boot into recovery without my computer..Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure what i could have possible done wrong..
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-

that will make the recovery stick
Eli Tal
No sir. As stated above, " I see a dead android with a red exclamation over his chest.. flashed back to stock recovery and it is still happening. " The only way to get the phone into ANY recovery at all is /fastboot boot c:\recovery-clockwork- The phone will not boot from its own recovery partition.
must be some sort of problem.. i would flash the phone bak to stock using the official factory images then try again. images stated in op post

also should state the triangle with explanation mark is the stock recovery
Ok, so I've followed all of the instructions however I haven't been able to push to /sdcard/ or /data/media/ and have it recognized by cwm. As of now my phone boots onto a solid screen with the google logo and an unlocked padlock at the bottom. If I pull out of the battery and reboot it starts on the solid screen and then quickly transitions to cwm; however, cwm says that nothing can be mounted. Could anyone offer any assistance at all? Thanks.
dont be afraid of the padlock screen, thats just it booting up.. it transitioned to cwm because i assume it thinks ur having trouble booting.. reboot phone and wait until u get to ics and then try going to cwm again..
It hasn't booted to ics yet and I've cycled locking and unlocking and just letting it set; even after an hour, nothing but the google screen.
hmm.. im starting to think that theres something wrong with cwm, not perfect yet.. do the official factory images, and after that use fastboot boot recovery-clockwork- and try it that way.. if u cant get that to work, just use superboot..
How should I push the official factory images without using cwm? I have on it now but I can't push anything to the sdcard to recover. Superboot has also failed so far tonight; I guess I'll reboot the old phone and see what tomorrow brings.
Eli Tal
Thanks for your input and help Sean. Do you really think flashing back to stock images will fix the recovery issue? What about Rom Manager, now that I'm rooted? I don't understand why /fastboot flash recovery-clockwork-5/5/0/4-toro.img says success and done, but it is not flashing, as you said what i see is stock recovery......
Eli Tal
ROM Manager successfully [re]flashed Clockwork Mod Recovery And from within Rom Manager, I was able to reboot into recovery. All was fine, so I turned off the phone and booted into the bootloader, and then selected Recovery from there. I was given again, a dead Android with an exclamatory mark over his chest... Went back to Rom Manager, and selected reboot into recovery to see if this still worked, and it did NOT work, once again, dead Android.... Is it possible that somehow my Recovery is being flashed within incorrect parameters?
Eli Tal
I went back and tried again..Directly after re-flashing CWM Recovery I am able to boot into said Recovery. After any reboots, I am not... re-flash, it'll work again ONE more time... This is driving me INSANE.
Eli Tal
Gonna flash everything back to stock with:

fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-toro-primekj10.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
sleep 5
fastboot flash radio-cdma radio-cdma-toro-i515.ek01.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
sleep 5
fastboot flash radio radio-toro-i515.ek02.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
sleep 5
fastboot -w update

If this does not work, I don't know what to do. Does anyone even know what the problem I'm having IS? I see no reason for the phone to not boot into recovery. I see no other instances of this issue an anywhere..
Just flashed the recovery file and received a write fail. "writing 'recovery'...FAILED (remote: Write Fail)
+Eli Tal Thanks, it worked.
So I booted CWM and flashed Superuser leaving stock bootloader. Once I booted up the phone I was prompted for the OTA update which brings ICS up to 4.02. After rebooting the phone... Superuser rights were gone. I then had to boot into CWM again, flash Superuser again... and now it's working again. Has anyone FLASHED CWM and then received an OTA after the fact with success? Thanks
Eli Tal
Glad it worked for you +Mike Prohaska. I however am still entirely stumped. My download of mysid-icl53f-factory-65895fa8.tgz keeps getting "interrupted" I am really hoping flashing EVERYTHING back to stock will allow me to flash CWM recovery and have it stick. This is driving me insane. What would cause a recovery flash to not stick? Everything is working golden. I'm rooted, I don't get stuck on any boots, I can load into bootloader, I can adb into my phone....Just can't boot into recovery..and that is probably the most important thing..However I can adb into I can still backup and restore...just DAMN frustrating... Afraid my battery cover is going to go flimsy after the amount of times I've had to do a battery pull after seeing that DEAD Android!
+Mike Gomon Did you have any problems updating to 4.0.2? Every time I try to install the update I get the red triangle.
I updated just fine. But... I also did not replace my bootloader yet, I left mine stock and just booted from CWM. +Mike Prohaska did you flash CWM and replace your bootloader?
Some corrections:
1) Fastboot: On CDMA Nexus at least, you need to do power + volup + voldn to get into fastboot. (it's not a conventional rocker switch so you can press up/down simultaneously). You can also do "adb reboot bootloader".
2) Flash recovery: typo ("flas" for "flash"); also use the filename for toro (CDMA recovery). Example still has older maguro (GSM) recovery filename.
3) Boot into recovery Since the native CDMA recovery is now available and you "fastboot flash" it rather than "fastboot boot"ing the GSM variant, you need to explicitly reboot into recovery after flashing, by using volume control to scroll to "recovery mode" and pressing power.
I'm really glad I decided to add you into my Google+ circles. This is easier and seemingly less risky than the current directions on XDA (with the "you will boot loop" caveat).
+Eli Tal Did you delete/move/rename the file recovery-from-boot.p in /system? Apparently this file tries to restore stock recovery on reboot and therefore overwrites CWM. I was having the same problem as you but as soon as I renamed that file CWM recovery has been working fine.
From XP and Win 7 I was unable to adb push /sdcard/ or /data/media
I restarted and used MTP then restarted into CWM and it worked fine.
Perhaps it's the driver choice?
Eli Tal
+Elis Bruce-Konuah That was the exact kind of thing I was looking for. Why do you think so many are NOT facing this issue? Also, I am a little new at this, do you have an example of what to type in terminal?
Eli Tal
Finally got this fixed thanks to you man. Still don't understand why so many are not running into this issue.
thanks for all your hard/easy for you hard for us work.
+Eli Tal Yeh, I'm a bit puzzled to why more people didn't have this problem too, although I didn't even really notice the problem myself really until i tried to actually boot into recovery more than once after flashing CWM. Glad to have helped you finally sort it though. :)
Really sweet, thanks Koush et al!
Steps are slightly different, but most people who do this should notice. Thank you Koush!
Should this work with official ICS 4.0.3 for Nexus S?
If you have trouble pushing the file to the /sdcard/ the first time you send it, try sending it again and it will show up the second go around. ;-)
That's totally awesome. Worked on my Verizon Nexus. You should definitely comment that unlocking does a factory reset.
+Mike Gomon Yeah, I flashed cwm; looks like I'll be flashing back the ota update notifications make the phone almost unusable for longer than a few minutes.
Thanks brother, you're the bestusus!
+Mike Prohaska you should be able to flash back the Stock bootloader and overwrite CWM. Although... one option for you would be to use CWM to flash the 4.0.2 update which you can download from Google. to avoid having to re-flash the stock bootloader. If anyone has tried this, please let us know. Thanks.
No matter WHAT I do my PC isn't recognizing adb when I type in that last command: adb push /sdcard/

And even though I put it on the SD card of the phone (there ISN'T an SD card, is there??), I also can't use the recovery method where you "install zip from SD card," because the phone doesn't find the SD card.

What now???

I kept reading that this was EASY, but I have NOT had so much difficulty - 24 hours worth - with my OG Droid, Droid X or Thunderbolt.
Heathcliff - after you flash the new recovery you need to use the volume rocker and get your phone into recovery (not bootloader) THEN try adb.
koush... i flashed recovery-clockwork- for my cdma galaxy nexus but navigating the menus is very jumpy. sometimes it skips 2-5 (or more) lines at a time and if that happens near the top it turns on/off the back menu (which wasn't intended in the first place). in my opinion there shouldn't be a way to turn this option on/off since there is no other way to go back on this device. anyway, i flashed a recovery based on cwm (bigfont_recovery.img) and the jumpiness is gone. is there a fix coming for this? and is anyone else reporting this problem? thanks!
hey Koush/guys i have a very simple question, i'm having galaxy nexus gsm and i want to backup up current stock-recovery-image how should i do that ?? or do you guys know the download link for galaxy nexus gsm stock recovery image ?
Seems does not work any more. I already flash it to my system partition, and I could find it lie on /system/bin, but it's just not work. I am using GSM version, 4.0.4.
The ppl around just give links to binaries w/o describing them. For a su there're at least two opportunities. Anyone 've a link descibing all variants?
I have the franco kernel. 

Note that you will have to PAY to unlock and root your Nexus because TNSTAAFL (there's no such thing as a free lunch) as far as rooting goes.
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