Root the Nexus 4

This guide is for rooting your Google Nexus 4 using the stock Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean firmware.

Start with the phone powered off (hold power – select “Power off”). Turn it on by holding the “Volume Down” button and then pressing the power button. You will get to the Android bootloader screen.

Open up fastboot.exe from android tools directory. Depending on what version of Windows you’re running and the installer options you selected, the fastboot.exe binary will be in one of the following directories:

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools
C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools
C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Android\android-sdk

Open up a command window in this directory by going to the android-sdk directory and then shift-right-click the “platform-tools” directory, and then selecting “Open command window here” – you will now be dropped into the Windows shell prompt in the same directory as the fastboot.exe binary.

Note: If you are running a version of Windows prior to Windows 7, you will need to open a command prompt and manually navigate to that directory. The shift-right-click only works in Windows 7

Unlock the bootloader on the phone with “fastboot.exe oem unlock

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools>fastboot.exe oem unlock

OKAY [ 66.851s]
finished. total time: 66.852s

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools>

On your phone, press volume up to select “Yes” then press the power button – all data will be erased from your phone! This is done as a security measure! Big warning blinking lights!

Go to and download the latest ClockworkMod Recovery image for the Google Nexus 4. You can use either the standard recovery or the touch recovery. Download it to the platform-tools directory from above.

Flash it with “fastboot.exe flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-” – you will obviously want to use the actual filename and not the one in the example.

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools>fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-
sending ‘recovery’ (3464 KB)…
OKAY [ 0.436s]
writing ‘recovery’…
OKAY [ 0.513s]
finished. total time: 0.950s
C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools>

Relock the bootloader with “fastboot.exe oem lock

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools>fastboot.exe oem lock

OKAY [ 0.052s]
finished. total time: 0.052s

C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools>

We will need to download the Superuser binary and put it on the phone’s internal memory so we can install it using ClockworkMod Recovery. The “standard” Superuser app at does NOT work for Android 4.2 devices such as the Nexus 4. You will need a modified SuperSU superuser app provided by these file folks over at XDA-Developers. Open this link on the phone directly and download the ZIP file straight onto the phone: – a short URL that is easier to enter directly on the phone would be

Reboot into ClockworkMod Revoery by turning the phone off (hold power – select “Power off”). Then turn it on by holding the “Volume Down” button and then pressing the power button. You will get to the Android bootloader screen. Pick “RECOVERY” with the volume up/down buttons, and select it with the power button. After a moment you will see the “ClockworkMod Recovery” program come up.

Select the option for “wipe data/factory reset” and do a wipe and reset on the phone. Don’t worry, this doesn’t erase the internal storage where the SuperSU binary is on.

Next, pick “install zip from sdcard” and then “choose zip from sdcard” – then navigate into the “downloads” directory on the internal storage. You may need to dig around to see it.

Once you’re done installing the SuperSU superuser application, hit “go back” until you see “reboot system now“. The phone will reboot and will prompt you to setup Android again. Once you set up the phone again, you will now have root on your Nexus 4.

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