Galaxy Nexus unlock

The first step you need to take if you're going to use a custom ROM on a Nexus device is to unlock the bootloader. All bootloaders -- even on a Nexus phone -- come locked. The big difference is that a Nexus phone's bootloader can be easily unlocked with just a few commands.

Here's how to unlock the Galaxy Nexus bootloader. Note: This will erase everything on your Galaxy Nexus, so if you think it's something you'll ever want to do, we suggest doing it when you first get the phone.

  1. You'll need to download and install the Android SDK.
  2. If you're using Windows or Mac, you'll need the Fastboot tool. (Download for Windows, download for Mac.) If you're using Linux, you can make your own Fastboot tool. (And if you're using Linux, chances are you already know how to do all this anyway.) Stick it in your sdk tools or platform-tools folder.
  3. Reboot the Galaxy Nexus into the bootloader/fastboot mode. The easiest way to do that is to turn the phone off. Now hold the volume-up and volume-down buttons, and then press the power button.
  4. You'll now see a cool looking Android roboto with his front panel open. Check to see that the text below it starts with "FASTBOOT MODE" in red. Now plug the Galaxy Nexus into your computer with the micro USB cable. Let any drivers install.
  5. Now open a command line. type fastboot oem unlock. This will start the process and give you the screen you see above. Choose yes using the volume button and then press the power button. Your bootloader is now unlocked.

So now what? Now you can install rooted system images. Or entire custom ROMs. And a custom recovery. All sorts of stuff. Welcome to the real world.


Reader comments

How to unlock the Galaxy Nexus bootloader


I havent root my Nexus yet, but if its like any other android device, open my computer, and navigate to where you copied the fastboot file to/where you installed the sdk tools, and then open the platform-tools folder. Hold down the 'Shift' key and 'Right Click' anywhere but on a file (Make sure no files are selected either) and you should get 'Open command window here' in the menu.

i think they assume we are suppose to know all this ahead of time. maybe a step by step link would work better or a video even. ty

I know I'm pointing and saying look over there... but I don't have the link in front of me right now.. go to XDA, they have some of the best guides available for rooting and setting up SDK tools.

From the command line all I get is window that says AdbWinapi.dll i s missing try re installing. Anyone help me out with that?

You need to make sure you place the fastboot file in the platform-tools folder that where the missing file is.

USB driver did not auto install with my Windows 7 64bit machine. Had to get from Samsung at

But still getting unknown device.... grrrr.

So found this does not install right if the phone is not activated yet so it setup just to have me clear data but activated. Unfortunately it only finds the galaxy nexus usb, not the android 1.0 driver and will not load from the SDK per package already loaded. So frustrating.

Finally. Fix for USB driver here.

Works like a champ then.