How To Root Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android Smartphone

Galaxy Nexus is the third flagship Android smartphone made with the partnership between Google and Samsung. If you are not aware, Galaxy Nexus is also the most powerful Android phone to date, sporting a large 4.6 inches screen and dual core CPU. In addition, it is also the first Android phone to be shipped with the latest Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich.

If you are one of the lucky few who have got your hands onto this device (it is only available in UK for now, but will be made available Worldwide from December onward) and you are looking to root the phone, we’ve got the guide for you.

1. The following steps will work only on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone. Do not try it on other phones.

2. Rooting your phone means voiding your warranty. While we have tried and tested the method (and make sure it works) before posting, we are not responsible if you bricked your phone during the process.

3. The method shown below is for Windows only.

Rooting your Galaxy Nexus

There are a few things that you will need to have in order to proceed further in rooting your device. Those are:

All the required utilities are included in the above root package so you don’t need to download each file separately. Moving forward, the steps below should be followed.

1. First of all, you will need to have Android SDK and the ADB installed on your system. These can be obtained using the above download links. To make the process a little bit simple, install the SDK in C:\android-sdk-windows.

2. After installing the SDK, extract files from the Root package to the below directory.

3. You will see four files after extraction, among them, one is the drivers file. You need to install the Samsung USB drivers in order to get your smartphone recognized by your computer. It is named as Samsung_USB_Driver_for_Moblie_Phones_v1_4_6_0.exe. Double click on it and install it.

4. Now, it’s time to play with your device. Turn off your phone and connect it to your PC via the USB cable.

5. Open the Command Prompt on your Windows. Type the following command to change your current working directory to the SDK directory.

6. Turn on your phone in bootloader mode so the aforementioned task can be completed.  It can be done by holding the volume up and the volume down key and then pressing the power key. It lets you enter into the bootloader mode.

7. Get back to the Command Prompt again and type the following command to see whether your PC recognizes the phone or not.

8. If the PC has recognized your phone, it will show it on your screen. That was just to check the connection between your PC and your phone.

9. The below step will wipe all your phone data. So, if you have stored your important data on your phone, backup it now.

10. Now, we need to unlock the bootloader to soft-boot the unsecured boot image. Type the following command in the command prompt to do so.

11. After the bootloader unlockes, we need to boot up the phone with the boot image, following command will do that.

12. The boot image has successfully been installed on your phone. Start up your phone as normal and enable USB debugging to finish the final step. USB Debugging can easily be enabled by going to “Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging“, mark the box.

13. Here goes the final step that will install the super user access on your phone. Type the following commands in the CMD one by one. Be sure to type commands as they are given below.

After finishing the above steps, your phone will reboot and then it will be a rooted phone. You will be prompted for the Super user permission when any app requests for it. If you are having any problems rooting your Galaxy Nexus, do let us know it!

Mahesh Makvana Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who's written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He's been into the field for last eight years and hasn't spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.


  1. Instructions not clear nor concise.  Does one load utilities onto Nexus phone or their laptop? This “bootloader” entry on phone or laptop?  Can you clarify exact key inputs and device?  I work well with PCs of many years.  Phone is new to me and would like to get into further development of Android OS.

    1. You don’t have to load files into your device, just download the required files on your Windows PC and then follow the procedure. It is clearly mentioned that you need to use Command Prompt (Go to Start>>Run and type CMD) to run the commands. Let us know if you still need any help.

  2. If your instructions are pushing su and Superuser.apk,  then what does the updated boot.img contain?  Also, how current is the boot.img?

  3. nooba question – just got a hold of this and loaded a dozen apps already – nothing major and maybe a few hundred songs…so thats all wiped out when I root this baby right?

    1. Rooting your phone only modifies the bootloader, it shouldn’t wipe your data. Only if you install a  custom ROM, then it will wipe your data.

  4. Thanks for the post, but the USB drivers provided don’t seem to work. Just sits in the device manager as an “Android 1.0” other device, unrecognized. Also, there is no fastboot batch file in the tools folder.

  5. unable to get adb or fastboot to see my device. this must be a window thing (using window 8, unable to do it in windows 7 either. guess i must do it from an XP machine… Drivers perhaps.

  6. after you unlock your phone and everything i noticed after you do the boot img thing your instructions says to start the phone up normally and then u do the last set of steps in the cmd. well my question is do you leave your phone on when you do the last set of steps because when i start entering the commands the response im getting back is there is no production device or no command. do you have to go back into fastboot mode?

  7. When I type ..toolsfastboot devices an error comes up saying windows can not find ..toolsfastboot devices. how can I fix this? I am stuck on step 7

  8. Great guide, altho I don’t quite get what exactly rooting your android phone means? I just bought galaxy nexus few days ago and before I root it i want to know what i’ll get with that. All i’m really interested in are free apps. So is rooting somewhat like “jailbreaking”? Will it let me get “cracked” apps? Thanks for help

    1. Nope, rooting is not the same as jailbreaking. Rooting allows you to take control of your phone (something like giving yourself administrator right to the phone) and perform a lot more system-deep customization to increase the performance of the phone. The best thing of rooting your phone is the ability to install custom ROM with better functionality, provided you are not please with the default ROM

  9. I think it’s a bit suspicious that your instructions include the step of pushing a boot image to the phone ( I haven’t seen other instructions do this).

    I simply used fastboot to unlock the phone and my phone still works…

    To alleviate any suspicions, I suggest you explain exactly why we need to push a boot image to the phone after unlocking it.

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