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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, 4.4.3, 4.4.4 KitKat and 5.0/5.0.1/5.0.2/5.1 Lollipop! (For 4.4.3/4.4.4/5.0/5.0.1/5.0.2/5.1, use the latest version of SuperSU in step 15 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.
Step 2. Next, hit the “Build Number” a bunch of times until your Nexus 5 tells you, “You are now a developer”.
Step 3. You should now see a new menu called “Developer options” in Settings menu.
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.
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!)
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!
adb backup -apk -all -f backup.ab
chmod 755 *
./adb-linux backup -apk -all -f backup.ab
For Mac OSX:
chmod 755 *
./adb-mac backup -apk -all -f backup.ab
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.
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.
Step 10. Connect a micro-USB cable from your phone to your computer.
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.
Step 12. Go to command prompt/terminal and type:
fastboot oem unlock
./fastboot-linux oem unlock
For Mac OSX:
./fastboot-mac oem unlock
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.
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.
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, dwnload and copy SuperSU v2.37 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.)
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.
Step 17. Now, go to the command prompt/terminal and type:
fastboot flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-126.96.36.199-hammerhead.img
./fastboot-linux flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-188.8.131.52-hammerhead.img
./fastboot-mac flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-184.108.40.206-hammerhead.img
Step 18. Next, use Volume buttons on your Nexus 5 and choose “Recovery mode” and hit the Power button.
Step 19. Once in CWM or TWRP recovery, choose “Install zip from sdcard” or “Install”.
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.
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.
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.
Go to command prompt/terminal and type:
adb restore backup.ab
./adb-linux restore backup.ab
For Mac OSX:
./adb-mac restore backup.ab
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!!!