Sunday , May 27 2018

How to: Root a Nexus 9

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You receive a brand new Nexus device in the mail and once you have made sure it all functions as it should, there are no dead pixels and nothing falling off it what is the first thing you should do? That’s right obtain root access. In the past it was extremely simple to root a Nexus device that when all the blogs came out with the “ZOMG! Root All the Nexuses!” many of us had a very hohum moment. With Android version 5.0, lollipop, as posted here on Ausdroid a couple of weeks ago root access isn’t as basic as it once was.

It seems that now instead of it being extremely simple it is now just simple, thanks to the hard work of Chainfire. There is an extra step but if you read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter then you should not have any issues at all obtaining root access. As per usual we do not take any responsibility for what you may do to your device. You proceed with the following steps at your own risk.

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  • Download the SuperSU root file from Chainfire’s server
  • Read the instructions obtained within the zip file
  • Read them again
  • Enable Developer settings on your Nexus 9 by going to Settings -> About Tablet and tapping build number 7 times
  • Enter the Developer settings and tick the “Enable OEM unlock” box and the “USB debugging” box
  • Boot into the bootloader by either typing adb reboot bootloader into a command box or turning tablet off and booting it up while holding down the volume down button
  • Select Fastboot in the menu that comes up using the volume keys to scroll and the power button to select
  • Open a command prompt for the folder where the files you downlaodedd are located
  • Type in “fastboot devices” to make sure that your tablet is recognised. If it is not you will need to either reinstall or update your Android SDK
  • Once you get a return of a device present it is time to unlock the bootloader. Doing so will erase all your data (interestingly it didn’t wipe the sd storage, just the /data partition on my device
  • Type in “fastboot OEM unlock
  • Read the disclaimer that comes up on the screen and select the volume up button to accept it. Your Nexus 9 will now erase the data and return you to the fastboot menu
  • The next step is to inject SuperSU into the system partition. Type in “fastboot boot inject.img
  • After it reboots it is time to flash a modified kernel to bypass some SELinux restrictions as mentioned previously on Ausdroid
  • Type “fastboot flash boot patched.img” into the command box
  • Type in “fastboot reboot” to boot up into a rooted Android 5.0 system
  • Go to the Play Store and purchase SuperSU Pro to thank Chainfire for all the work he has done obtaining this root access for us to enjoy

The difficulties do not end there. Root access apps will need to be altered to work with this new root process. A popular app is Titanium Backup and at this stage the market version does not work. You will need to obtain the latest beta for this from their twitter account. A way around this for apps that have not been updated and do not look like being updated is to turn of SELinux totally although I do not recommend doing that. There are apps on the Play Store that will accomplish this for you.

You can now enjoy your rooted Nexus 9 with very little restriction, the way Android should be.

Scott Plowman   Associate 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.

7 comments

  1. Pretty sloppy guide. Might want to mention for new people that they need to install adb and which directory they need to be in to flash files across.

    Or better yet just tell people to use nexus root tool kit. Im pretty sure its updated for lollipop. I think youd have to do something very wrong to stuff up with that and its really good for troubleshooting problems.

    • Don’t forget that they will need fastboot too!

    • Montalbert_Scott

      Sorry mate. I just assumed people would already have that and if they don’t and don’t know they need it they have no right to ever play around with root. And as for toolkits there is no way I would ever recommend them to anyone. They are a terrible way to do it because then people don’t learn how to do things so if things go wrong they can’t fix it. I’ve seen far too many posts on xda re people stuffing something up and not know even adb is to fix it because they had used a toolkit.

  2. An owner having to go through this degree of hassle just to get control of, and full access to, the Android reference device they own, makes me seriously consider never getting a Lollipop device.

    • There are two extra steps this time around compared to previous Nexii. It’s not hassle to write two extra lines of code. I have spend more time and effort composing this reply. I would have already rooted my Nexus 9 by now.

  3. With the modified kernel, are OTA’s still going to install correctly?

    • Montalbert_Scott

      No one knows yet but it is assumed by chain fire that you will still get them but you will lose root once you accept that ota. This is a learning process and very early days at this stage

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