How to root a GSM Samsung Galaxy Nexus

In a Nutshell
  1. Unlock the boot loader.
  2. Replace the existing recovery ROM with ClockworkMod/TWRP Recovery ROM image.
  3. Replace the existing root/super user binaries with a modified binaries so that you can access it.
Important note: Once you unlock the boot loader, all your existing data will be deleted/ erased. Please backup all your data before rooting your Samsung Galaxy Nexus device.

Prerequisites
  • Windows
  1. Setup Samsung Android ADB Interface for the USB port in order to connect to your Samsung Galaxy Nexus during fast boot mode. Check if you already have it configured in your Windows PC from the Windows Device Manager.
  2. If the Samsung Android ADB Interface is not setup in your PC, you can download the drivers from here and set it up.
    Download the Samsung Android ADB Interface driver.
  3. Unzip the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Root Kit into a folder.
  4. Run your command line and CD into the unzipped Samsung Galaxy Nexus Root Kit folder.
  • Linux
  1. Extract the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Root Kit into a directory.
  2. Run your command line and CD into the unzipped Samsung Galaxy Nexus Root Kit directory.
  • Mac
  1. Extract the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Root Kit into a directory.
  2. Run your command line and CD into the unzipped Samsung Galaxy Nexus Root Kit directory.
Unlocking the boot loader
  1. Power off your Samsung Galaxy Nexus device.
  2. Take the back cover off and remove the battery.
  3. Put the battery and the back cover back in.
  4. Boot your Samsung Galaxy Nexus device into fast boot mode by holding the power button and the Up and Down volume button and the same time.
  5. In the fast boot mode screen you will see that the last message says “LOCK STATE=LOCKED”. Connect your USB cable to your Samsung Galaxy Nexus device.
  6. From your command line, run this command to unlock your device boot loader:
    Important note: Once you unlock the boot loader, all your existing data will be deleted/ erased. Please backup all your data before rooting your Samsung Galaxy Nexus device.
  • Windows
    • fastboot oem unlock
  • Linux
    • ./fasboot-linux oem unlock
  • Mac
    • ./fastboot-mac oem unlock
  1. Your Samsung Galaxy Nexus device will prompt you to confirm if you are unlocking the boot loader. By using the volume button to move the selection up and down, press the power button to select “Yes”.
Replacing the Recovery ROM image
After you have unlock your boot loader, from the command line run this command to flash the Recovery ROM with a custom recovery ROM image:
Windows
cmd> fastboot flash recovery optimus_prime-touch-v5.5.0.4-6-GSM.img 
Linux
cmd> fastboot-linux flash recovery optimus_prime-touch-v5.5.0.4-6-GSM.img 
Mac
cmd> fastboot-mac flash recovery optimus_prime-touch-v5.5.0.4-6-GSM.img
Replacing the root/ super user binaries
  1. After flashing your device with a custom recovery ROM image, reboot the device to normal mode.
  2. Once rebooted, connect the device to your PC using your USB cable.
  3. Copy CWM-SuperSU-v0.87.zip file into your Samsung Galaxy Nexus internal storage. Copy it to any location and remember the location. Later you will need to find the file and install it from Recovery Mode.
  4. Reboot the phone into Recovery Mode. Power down your device. Hold your volume button up and down together with the power button to boot into fastboot mode.Once in the fastboot mode, use the volume buttons to select Recovery mode. Use the power button to select and go into Recovery mode. You will enter the ClockworkMod Recovery.
    Note: In case you are seeing a robot only, try re-flash the Recovery ROM again and boot into Recovery mode without a reboot.
  5. Select “Install zip from sdcard” from the menu.
  6. Navigate the menu to the location where you have copied your CWM-SuperSU-v0.87.zip file. Select the file and you will start the installation process where the root binaries are being replace so that you can have control over the root program. You should get the following message that you have successfully installed SuperSU.
  7. Reboot your device into normal mode and you will find the SuperSU app installed in your device.

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