How to Root Nexus 5! [4.4.3/4.4.4]

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For those of you who want to root your Nexus 5, here’s how to do it.

This will work on all Android versions including Android 4.4.2 and 4.4.3/4.4.4!  (For 4.4.3/4.4.4, use the latest version of SuperSU below!)

Before we begin, please MAKE A BACKUP of EVERYTHING on your internal storage such as personal photos, videos, and other files.  Unlocking bootloader WILL ERASE EVERYTHING on your Nexus 5!!!

Download Nexus5Root.zip and unzip the files.  You should get a directory called “Nexus5Root” with driver folder and all the files you need.

Step 1. Step 1 through 8 shows you how to backup your settings, apps, and app data.  If you don’t need to backup your stuff, you can skip to Step 9.

First, go to Settings->About Phone on your Nexus 5.

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Step 2. Next, hit the “Build Number” a bunch of times until your Nexus 5 tells you, “You are now a developer”.

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Step 3. You should now see a new menu called “Developer options” in Settings menu.

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Step 4. Go into “Developer options” menu and make sure “USB debugging” is ON then connect a micro-USB cable from your Nexus 5 to your computer.

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Step 5. For Mac or Linux, skip to Step 7 as you don’t need drivers.  For Windows, you need to install drivers.

Step 6.Open Device Manager on your Windows computer and install the drivers using the drivers inside Nexus5Root.zip.  You should have “Android ADB Interface” in your Device Manager once installed correctly.  (See the video tutorial if you don’t know how to do this!)

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Step 7. Next, open a command prompt (or terminal for Linux/Ubuntu or Mac) then type:

*Note – Make sure you go to your phone after doing “adb devices” command and allow USB debugging like shown in video!

For Windows:

cd Downloads
cd Nexus5Root
adb devices

adb backup -apk -all -f backup.ab

For Linux/Ubuntu:
sudo -i
cd /home/UserName/Downloads/Nexus5Root
chmod 755 *
./adb-linux devices
./adb-linux backup -apk -all -f backup.ab

For Mac OSX:
cd Downloads
cd Nexus5Root
chmod 755 *
./adb-mac devices
./adb-mac backup -apk -all -f backup.ab

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Step 8. Next go to the screen on your phone, you should see a message asking you if you want to backup your data.  Press “Backup my data” to start backing up all of your settings, apps, app data, etc…etc..  This DOES NOT BACKUP your personal photos, videos, and contents of your internal storage.

 

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Step 9. Once backup is complete, turn off your Nexus 5.  Then hold down Volume Down and Power buttons together for about 3 seconds until you see the bootloader menu.

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Step 10. Connect a micro-USB cable from your phone to your computer.

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Step 11. If using Windows computer, open up Device Manager and make sure you see “Android ADB Interface”.  If you don’t see it, install drivers like you did in Step 6.  For Linux or Mac, skip this step.

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Step 12. Go to command prompt/terminal and type:

For Windows:

fastboot oem unlock

For Linux/Ubuntu:

./fastboot-linux oem unlock

For Mac OSX:

./fastboot-mac oem unlock

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Step 13. Go to your Nexus 5 screen and use Volume buttons to select “Yes” and hit the Power button.  This WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON YOUR NEXUS 5 and unlock the bootloader.

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Step 14. Your phone should reboot.  Once rebooted, your Nexus 5 should give you a welcome screen like the day you got it.  Go ahead and sign in to the main page.

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Step 15. Connect your Nexus 5 to your computer and copy the file UPDATE-SuperSU-v1.65.zip to your Nexus 5 internal storage. (For Android 4.4.3/4.4.4, download and copy SuperSU v1.99 instead!!!)

For connecting Nexus 5 to Mac OSX, download and install Android File Transfer.

Also, if you have more trouble copying the file, you can download this file with your Nexus 5′s internet browser at DownloadAndroidROM.com. (Should be downloaded to Download folder.)

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Step 16. Power off your Nexus 5.  Then hold Volume Down and Power buttons together until you see the bootloader menu then connect a micro-USB cable from Nexus 5 to your computer.

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Step 17. Now, go to the command prompt/terminal and type:

For Windows:

fastboot flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-2.6.3.1-hammerhead.img

For Linux/Ubuntu:

./fastboot-linux flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-2.6.3.1-hammerhead.img

For Mac/OSX:

./fastboot-mac flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-2.6.3.1-hammerhead.img

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Step 18. Next, use Volume buttons on your Nexus 5 and choose “Recovery mode” and hit the Power button.

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Step 19. Once in CWM or TWRP recovery, choose “Install zip from sdcard” or “Install”.

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Step 20. Next, choose “choose zip from sdcard” for CWM.  (For TWRP, go to Step 22.)

Step 21. Choose 0 directory.

Step 22. Browse your internal storage and find the file UPDATE-SuperSU-v1.65.zip.  Install this file to root your Nexus 5.  This is what actually roots your Nexus 5.

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Step 23. Next, choose “reboot” from main menu of CWM or TWRP recovery.  Make sure you choose  “Yes – Disable recovery flash” if asked to disable recovery.  This will make sure your CWM or TWRP recovery becomes permanent and not overridden by system.

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Step 24. After rebooting, you should find a new app called “SuperSU” app in your app drawer.  You should now have a fully, rooted Nexus 5!

Step 25. Next, you can restore some of your settings, apps, and app data if you backed up using adb backup.  If not, skip to Step 26.

Repeat Step 1 through 4.

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Go to command prompt/terminal and type:

For Windows:

adb restore backup.ab

For Linux/Ubuntu:

./adb-linux restore backup.ab

For Mac OSX:

./adb-mac restore backup.ab

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After that, your Nexus 5 should have fully restored your settings, apps, and app data.

Step 26. To verify you have full root, download and open Titanium Backup app from Play Store, you should see a Superuser request window pop up.  Congratulations!  You’ve successfully rooted your Nexus 5!

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You will need a rooted Nexus 5 to install all ROM/kernels.
NOTE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU MESS UP YOUR PHONE, PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS TWICE BEFORE TRYING IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME TO ROOTING AND CUSTOM ROMS!

First time to rooting and custom ROMs?

Please see our Nexus 5 Root FAQ FIRST!!!

37 thoughts on “How to Root Nexus 5! [4.4.3/4.4.4]

  1. Jesus

    I’m ready to root my nexus 5 but the first step is complicated ,you said download the file but, you have actually 3 downloads on the site witch one. I’m confuse .

    Reply
    1. Tangorey

      Greg, If you’re looking to Re-Lock your device, go to this link and get the All in one tool! Pretty simple UI, Should take care of your problem!

      Reply
  2. Jack

    Hey Max,

    On step 7, after I put cd Downloads on CMD and put “cd Nexus5Root”, it keeps giving me “The system cannot find the path specified.”. I did download the zip drive and unzip it in the same path (Downloads). I try to run it as Admin also but still does not work. Can you help me with that?

    Reply
  3. Pingback: How to Backup and Restore ROM on Nexus 5 with Root! | RootNexus5.com

  4. Pingback: How to Install Custom ROM on Rooted Nexus 5! | RootNexus5.com

  5. Pingback: How to Unroot Nexus 5 with Stock Firmware! | RootNexus5.com

  6. Dan P

    I did the full back up and restore, but my pictures are not there. Does this not backup and restore pictures in gallery app? I just came back from a work trip and used my phone to take numerous pictures and now i have no evidence of them. Please help. Are they located on the backup file somewhere?

    Reply
  7. Bernie

    Hi Max,

    I tried rooting my nexus 5 using your package, but however when I tried ./adb-mac devices, I got permission denied. when I tried the other fastboot commands I also got permission denied. Do you know what caused that? I’m currently using mac OS 10.9.2 Mavericks

    Reply
  8. Pingback: How to Install Android 5.0 L Preview on Nexus 5! | RootNexus5.com

  9. Reed

    I successfully rooted my nexus 5 using this guide, how ever I had to do some cross referencing. Using Ubuntu sudo apt-get install android-tools* will easily give you adb and fastboot. The terminal commands are the same as the ones for listed in the guide for windows, no ./ needed, however the fastboot commands need to be proceeded by sudo.

    Reply
  10. Daniel

    o193-102:Nexus5Root username$ ./adb-mac backup -apk -all -f backup.ab
    adb: unable to connect for backup
    o193-102:Nexus5Root username$

    Hi could anyone be of support I can’t tell why, I get this when i want to backup.
    please help, thanks.

    Reply
  11. mahesh

    hey, awesome post, especially the oem flash is not mentioned in other websites, hence not able to flash recovery.. nice , took care of all the steps.. perfect technical fit, recommend this

    Reply
  12. Steven

    Cannot get my phone to connect for backup on Mac OSX. Re-enter the command over and over again and always get offline. Tried rebooting my phone, still offline. Double checked that I have usb debugging on. I do. Still doesn’t work.

    Reply
  13. Steven

    Couldn’t get the back up to work but the Root method was flawless and my phone already has the latest bootloader so I am one happy camper! You’re guides are the best!!!!!

    Reply
  14. Alberto

    hi, i follow your guide to root my nexus 5 and it works fine.
    Before the rooting i backup all my data with adb and another software, but when i restore it starts fine, but then it stops on “com.google.android.backup”.
    I tried a lot of times, but it doesn’t work.
    I have enabled usb debugging and the device is connected as media device. someone had the same problem?
    it restores part of my data but not all. i searched a lot on internet but i didn’t find nothing on this.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Yeah this could happen sometimes, best is to just root when you first get your phone. ADB backup works with small number of apps but I found out later that it can freeze with lots of apps.

      Reply
  15. anastacia

    I keep doing everything as told.. But it won’t boot into TWRP recovery mode, it keeps giving me a black screen. I’m new to this stuff and im being very carefull to do everything by the letter, but it wont let me go into custom recovery and load that superSU file… What should I do ? I run a 4.4.4 KitKat on Nexus 4, I’ve used the latest version of SuperSU, I’ve done everything as told. Please help me…

    Reply
  16. george

    hey max trying to root nexus 5 but cant update drivers, it tells me that “the folder you specified doesnt contain a compatible software driver for your device. if the folder contains a driver, make sure it is designed to work with windows for x64-based systems.” um not sure what to do?

    Reply

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