How To Root the Samsung Galaxy Nexus


Have a shiny new Samsung Galaxy Nexus? Ready to push it to the limit? How about gaining root access and unlocking the bootloader so we can use root required apps and even load some custom ROMs to increase performance, load themes, and more? Yes, please.

I. Before Your Begin

1. You must head to our How To Setup ADB procedure and get ADB to recognize your device. Once it does (and shows a serial number at the end of that procedure), come back to this one to continue.

2. This procedure is only for Windows users.


II. Unlock the Bootloader and Root the Device.

1. Download Modaco’s Superboot files and save them to your computer.

Modaco Superboot Files

2. Once downloaded, extract it by right clicking and hitting extract all.

3. On your phone, click on Settings > Developer Options > Turn USB Debugging On.

4. Plug the device in to your computer via USB cable.

5. Open the superboot folder that we just extracted (until you see the folder with fastboot-windows inside it), then hold the shift key down on your computer and right click any blank area.

6. Now, select open command window here.

7. In the command prompt, type the following with hitting enter at the end of each line.

adb-windows reboot bootloader (and wait for the device to reboot)
fastboot-windows oem unlock

*If it gets stuck at waiting for device here, download and install PDANet on your computer, once installed, unplug then plug the device back in and see if that fixes it.

8. Once it runs the device should display a screen asking you if you are sure. Click yes using the volume buttons. The device will go back to the bootloader screen but say unlocked at the bottom.

III. Root the Device

1. After it does, look in the folder on the computer again and this time click on install-superboot-windows.bat and wait for it to do it’s thing.

2. You now have root access on your device and can use apps from the market that require root permissions.

Next, you can load a custom recovery and load custom ROMs if you want to get the most out of your device. Follow the steps below.

IV. (Optional) Load a Custom ROM

1. Head to our How To Load a Custom ROM on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus procedure.

24 responses to “How To Root the Samsung Galaxy Nexus”

  1. Jonathon D Taylor says:

    Spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get this working on my phone with no avail, then I came accross the below gem of information on the XDA Forums for anyone who got stuck like my self. May even be worth adding to your walk through?

    OK figured it out, if anybody else had this issue. For some reason when my device was connected I had to connect my phone in bootloader and then right click on the Android 1.0 unknown device in device manager and select update driver, then browse my computer, then let me pick from a list of device drivers, then select Samsung and then select android ADB interface.Works, Weird :/ I am on Windows 64bit if this helps.Hope this helps somebody.”

    • Jonathon D Taylor says:

      And to confirm again because it’s so late, and I’m so drained from my battle of wits. The actual issue it fixes, is when the CMD advises that it’s still ‘waiting for device’, which is a result of Windows not associating the Android OS with the Samsung device once booted. But the above post fixes this. Rejoice! (I am…)

      • David Cogen says:

        Glad it worked for you! I had the same issue (as indicated in the video) but I fixed it by loading PDANet (again in the video). Whatever works!

        • Jonathon Taylor says:

          Yeah, not sure why the PDA net install didn’t work for me. The drivers that PDA net install were available for selection. For what ever reason, ‘Android 1.0’ wouldn’t associate it’s self with the drivers before doing it manually.

  2. Ryan Minnema says:

    After running the “install-superboot-windows.bat” phone reboots and is stuck on the google image. Any thoughts?

  3. Whowland says:

    Mine got stuck too

  4. Anonymous says:

    step 7 says “adb reboot bootloader”  That won’t work.  
    It should say “adb-windows reboot bootload”.   About lost my scheisse there for a moment 🙂

    Thanks for a great how to .

  5. Arturo Hdez says:

    If yours fails to boot its because you need to have patience on the “GOOGLE” unlocked screen. Boot back into fastboot mode by holding VOLUME UP + VOLUME DOWN + POWER BUTTON. Then click the install-superboot-windows.bat on your computer again and this time wait for it to do its thing.

    • Andyrhockey says:

      how long should this take? i don’t know how much patience to have before knowing its not working.  i an pull battery and restart but no root

  6. nick says:

    I have a few problems after unlocking/rooting the phone. I thought it was a SIM card issue, but it’s not. After I unlocked and rooted the Gnex, my 3G/4G service just disappeared, I had none. So I re-locked and unrooted it, and I got data service back. Any thoughts? (I did go to Verizon a couple hours ago to see if it was a SIM card)

    • Jason8830 says:

      I’m having the same problem…is their any way to fix this?

      • Jonathon Taylor says:

        Just try re-rooting the phone and see how you go. Sounds a little odd b ut can only imagine something got corrupted during the rooting process. Did you get reception back after re-rooting Jason?

  7. Drapierrot says:

    Wow, I’m getting royally scr00wed.  Followed the instructions for unlocking  bootloader via adb (android sdk), and superboot with the recommended usb driver via Samsung and PDAnet… and I’m still getting the “waiting for device” prompt with no follow-up options.  

    What am I doing incorrectly?  Is my device and unlockable device (if that exists)?

    • Jonathon Taylor says:

      Hey fella.

      See my comment at the very bottom, this is likely due to the PDA net installing the drivers. But Windows not associating your device with the drivers when in Fast Boot.

      When you’re CMD prompt is stuck at ‘waiting for device’. Close your CMD screen, go into your Device Manager  (Start – Right click My Computer – Device Manager) and see if there’s a device named Android 1.0.

      If there is, right click on it and Update Drivers. From there you should be able to find the drivers to install. On Windows 7 you can do this by;

      Go to ‘Browse for driver software on your computer’, and then on the next screen. Click ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer’.

      You should be able to find Samsung Android Phone. Select these as your drivers and it’ll install. Following this, just re-run CMD and the prompt fastboot-windows oem unlock and voila!

      Let us know how you go!

  8. Mleary_77 says:

    what if there isn’t the android 1.0

  9. nickname says:

    my os verion is 4.0.2  what packege should i choose in the sdk file manager (4.0 or 4.0.3)

  10. guest111111111 says:

    ok so i got to “waiting for device” then i went through the pdanet thing and unplugged the device and plugged it back in, but there werent any dots and nothing happened, please help

  11. David says:

    How to unlock the bootloader on straight talk grand prime sm-s920L

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