+ Thursday October 24th, 2019

Once upon a time everyone who bought a Nexus device rooted it for the purpose of installing a custom ROM. Fast forward to now and there are many people who buy a Nexus just for stock Android and feel there is no need to root your device any more. I am not one of them. There are many reasons I like to have root access on my devices. The first reason I come across when purchasing a new phone is restoring apps and data. Until Google manage to come up with a decent solution for this I will continue to root my device and use Titanium Backup to restore all of my apps and data.

Needless to say that within 24 hours of owning my Nexus 6 I had rooted it, reinstalled my 150 apps from my OnePlus One along with all their respective data, enabled the hidden LED, enabled double tap to wake and installed a custom kernel. As for all Nexus devices it was a simple process but one that everyone should take care with- no one likes to use a Nexus as a door stop. Read on to see the instructions on how to root your Nexus 6.

Usually I prefer the manual method but with Lollipop, Chainfire (the developer of SuperSU) has released it as an auto-root. In the past I have been criticised for not recommending using a root toolkit. In no way shape or form will I ever recommend someone uses a root toolkit to root a device. In my time of rooting Android devices (my first was the G1, a month after it was released, and involved using telnet) and surfing my way through the forums on XDA I have seen far too many people have an issue with a ROM or kernel soft bricking their device and them not knowing how to fix it because they didn’t take the time to learn themselves and just used a root toolkit.

I would suggest, even with Chainfire’s new root method, that you take the time to learn adb and fastboot commands, and here is a great tutorial. It could one day save you a lot of stress and time.

  • Firstly I would recommend you download the Nexus 6 factory image just in case something goes wrong. Nothing worse than doing something wrong and then having to wait for the factory image to download to fix it.
  • Download Chainfire’s cf-auto-root for Nexus 6.
  • Download a recovery – the best around at the moment is TWRP2 (Team Win Recovery Project). Download the recovery via their website.
  • At this point I’ll assume you have set up your developer environment on your PC/Mac/Linux computer. I’m not going to link you nor tell you how to do it. Research. Google is your friend.
  • Go into the settings on your Nexus 6 and scroll down to “About Phone”. Tap on “build number” in here 7 times to unlock “Developer Options”. Screenshot_23
  • Back out of “About Phone” and open the “Developer Options” now just about the last option. Inside here you will need to check “Enable OEM Unlock” as well as the “USB debugging” box.
  • From here you need to boot into the bootloader. Two ways to do that:
    • Turn phone off and boot it up while holding the volume down button, or
    • Connect your phone while it is on to your PC and type the following command into a terminal:
      adb reboot bootloader
  • After connecting your phone to your computer check that it is recognised by typing into a command window (terminal)
    fastboot devices
  • Your device should be listed underneath. If not try and reinstall your drivers etc.
  • To unlock the bootloader I prefer the manual method: fastboot oem unlock
  • You will then have to accept this command on your phone. After selecting YES your phone will unlock and reboot
  • Reboot back into the bootloader
  • Unzip the Cf-auto-root zip file and run the requisite file- eg. the .bat file for a Windows PC
  • Your phone will then be rooted by Chainfire’s cf-auto-root.
  • Once again it will reboot and you are rooted.
  • I would also recommend you install a custom recovery to backup everything in case you break “stuff”. Boot back into the bootloader once again
  • Open the terminal/command window in the folder where you put the TWRP2 recovery image file
  • Type in it
    fastboot flash recovery name_of_recovery_TWRP.img
  • From here you can scroll up in the bootloader and boot into recovery and do a backup or you could just boot the phone up and set it up again.

As always we here at Ausdroid do not take any responsibility to what you do to your phone. It is your own responsibility and you undertake the above instructions at your own risk. In saying that, if you do have any issues feel free to contact us and we will endeavour to help you fix it.

I will follow up this guide soon with things you can do with root access to improve your experience with the Nexus 6. Stay tuned.

Scott Plowman   Editor


Scott is our modding guru - he has his finger on the pulse of all things ‘moddable’, pointing us towards all the cutting edge mods hacks that are available. When he’s not gymming it up, or scanning the heck out of Nexus devices, you'll find him on the Ausdroid Podcast.

Outside of Ausdroid, Scott's a health care professional and lecturer at a well known Victorian university.


  1. Avatar

    Anyone uses Wechat on Google Nexus 6? There is some issues with video chat of Wechat on my Nexus 6. Tested there is no video chat problem for Hangouts and Skype. Just want to confirm I am not alone.

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    Got a notification for this on my nexus 6 through the ausdroid app 😀

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    Can you elaborate on the benefits of the custom kernel (eg, features) thank you

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      Good idea. There are many benefits. I think a full post is in order. Give me a couple of days to whip it up.

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        Cheers, I know some M7 tweaks that were kernel specific (add key function to logo etc) and the Franco Kernel over/under volt stuff from my Gnex/N7. Looking forward to the post. Thanks again.

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    I always forget to root my shiny new device as soon as I get it! A few days into using the n6 now.. Over a hundred apps installed, and can’t really be stuffed wiping it for root right now. I’m sure I probably will in a few months. But wish I saw this article before I got my hands on the 6 as a reminder.

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      For this exact reason I unlocked and rooted mine within hours of opening the box last night. In hindsight I should have updated to 5.0.1 before do so!

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