Those of you who were fortunate enough to order your Nexus 4 before the Play Store sold out last week will probably be receiving your devices from today onwards — in fact, we’ve heard that some people received them on Friday last week!

As is common with Nexus devices, the issue of rooting one’s phone comes up, and as we all know, for a Nexus handset, this is always a fairly straight forward task. We thought we’d share a fairly easy method with you below — we don’t claim to own this method, it’s been published in a few other places, but it’s easy enough, straight forward, and time-relevant to our Aussies receiving their Nexus 4s this week.

Please note: While this is a pretty easy process, we don’t take any responsibility for you trashing your phone. We didn’t create these instructions or the software used. By proceeding, you take all responsibility for what you do with your property. If you have issues, we suggest checking the XDA-Developers forums for ideas on recovering from a particular issue. That said, you shouldn’t destroy your phone by doing this. It’s pretty safe.

First step: Install the pre-requisites

  • You must have the Android SDK installed and be able to access and use adb and fastboot.
  • You must have USB debugging enabled on your Nexus 4. If this is the first time going into developer options on your Nexus 4, just go into “About Phone” from your settings and tap the build number seven times. You will now see all developer options from now on.

Second step: Unlock that bootloader

Note: This will wipe whatever is on your phone, so if you’ve unpacked your Nexus 4 and started setting it up, be sure you’re happy to start from scratch, or alternatively, take a backup using Titanium Backup, and for safety’s sake, copy the resultant backup files (from /sdcard/TitaniumBackup) to your computer before proceeding.

  1. Connect your Nexus 4 to your PC/Mac via the USB cable that came with it.
  2. Launch Terminal  (Mac) or Command Prompt (Windows)
  3. Unless you’ve added adb/fastboot to your path, you’ll have to navigate to the fastboot/adb folder which will be inside the location where the Android SDK is installed (On Windows, it should be in C:\program files (x86)\android\android-sdk\platform-tools). On Mac, it’ll be in whatever folder you’ve unzipped the SDK to, and in that same platform-tools folder.
  4. Enter the following command:

    fastboot devices

    You should see your device ID. If you don’t, you don’t have the proper driver installed and should make sure you have the USB driver installed from the SDK download. Note, Mac users probably won’t have this issue – no driver is required.

  5. Enter the following command:

    fastboot oem unlock

    If you didn’t get a device ID from step 4 and you moved to this step by mistake, it will be stuck on “Waiting for Device”. Make sure you have the USB drivers installed, Windows users.

  6. It should say Start in the top right. Hit the power button to reboot.

If you decide for whatever reason to re-lock the bootloader (e.g. you might want to return the Nexus 4 to factory stock and sell it to a friend), simply substitute

fastboot oem lock

for the command at step 5, otherwise repeating the above. It’ll wipe your data, too.

Step Three: Root that Nexus 4

  1. Re-enable USB debugging again – unlocking the handset will have wiped this setting, and you’ll have to re-do it.
  2. Download CWM recovery for Nexus 4, and save it into the same folder as your fastboot binary (for ease of access). Remember, this is probably going to be C:\program files (x86)\android\android-sdk\platform-tools in Windows.
  3. Download and place it on /sdcard on your device. You can use adb to push it to your device if needed.
  4. Enter the following command while your device is running normally and connected via USB:

    fastboot reboot-bootloader

  5. Enter the following command:

    fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-

    Note: This filename is correct at the time of writing, it may have changed.

  6. Once the flash is finished, issue a further command:

    fastboot reboot

    and your phone will reboot into the Android operating system. Once it has booted, issue a further command:

    adb reboot bootloader

  7. Tap the volume down so it shows Recovery Mode in the top right, then hit the power button.
  8. At this point you can perform a backup from the “backup and restore” option in case anything goes wrong. Note, it probably won’t. If you need to restore this backup ever, just use the restore option.
  9. From the main menu, navigate to install zip from sdcard > choose zip from sdcard >
  10. Once installed (it’ll appear almost instant), from main menu, select reboot system now
  11. After reboot you should see SuperSU in your apps drawer, open it and tap on continue to make sure your installation is successful. Congratulations, you’re rooted!
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I have a Velocity 4G from Telstra. I was wondering if this process (provided I find the CWM for Velocity) can be used to root the Velocity 4G ?

Chris (Deputy Editor)

The process would be similar, but not the same. Check out XDA for a guide.


Why is this Nexus 4 specific? Can these instructions be used to get a GN from yakjudv to yakju or takju?

Daniel Tyson

Much of these instructions can be used to get an Australian Carrier based Galaxy Nexus to run the YAKJU/TAKJU factory build. But you’ll need to flash all the files in the zip from the Google Developers page.

John Gabriel

I used this to get my gnex to yakju from yakjuzs (I think thats what it was). very clean and simple.


Is there any need to use the non-touch version of CWM?