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How to: Root the Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE, Flash a Custom Recovery and Make a Backup [Verizon]

Time to root your Galaxy Nexus now that @Koush has released official Clockworkmod Recovery for the LTE version. We have gone ahead and posted the manual instructions for you, because well, if you have a Nexus you should probably know most of these standard adb and fastboot commands. It’s not hard by any means, especially knowing that you all have the SDK set up after unlocking your bootloader. Should take all of 5 minutes, maybe less.


Rooting and flashing a custom recovery:

*Unlock your bootloader first. [Instructions]

1.  Download ClockworkMod Recovery for the G-Nex. [Download]
2.  Place that file in your SDK/Tools folder (same place as your adb.exe).
3.  Download the superuser file aka the root file. [Download]
4.  Place that file in your SDK/Tools folder.
5.  Open a command prompt from within your Tools folder and type the following:

adb push su.zip /sdcard/

6. Then reboot into the bootloader:

adb reboot bootloader

7.  When the boot menu loads, flash the new recovery image:

fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-

8.  When that finishes, use the volume keys to highlight “Recovery mode,” press power to select it.
9.   From recovery, scroll to “Install zip from sdcard.”
10.  Then “choose zip from sdcard.”
11.  Choose the “su.zip” file and install it.
12.  When that finishes, back out of recovery and reboot the system.
13.  Enjoy being rooted with a temporary recovery. (Permanent instructions below)

Afterwards, you will want to install ROM Manager from the market and have it re-flash recovery for you.

Make your first backup:

1.  Now that you are rooted and have a custom recovery, it’s time to make your first clean backup.
2.  In ROM Manager, flash Clockwork recovery again (it’s the first option up top).
3.  Then tap the option to reboot into recovery just below that.
4.  Once in recovery, scroll down to “backup and restore.”
5.  Choose “backup” and let your phone create a backup.
6.  When finished, back out of recovery and reboot the system.

If you want permanent Clockwork Recovery (via XDA):

1. Install Root Explorer from the market and delete /system/reboot-from-recovery.p – *Mount as R/W first*
2. Reboot into Fastboot Mode: Power off your device and (Power + Volume Up and Down)
3. Flash CWM (fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-
4. Reboot into OS (fastboot reboot)
5. You now have CWM recovery permanently installed

Cheers @davekover!

  • Urgent help needed–after choosing “recovery mode” in Bootloader, my phone simply restarts and shows an andoird whose belly is open with a big red “!”. I couldn’t do anything but restarting the phone. Any idea how do I get out of this limbo?

  • Dmillerzx


    See here:


    Conversation between mskip and dmillerzx at the bottom.  I can confirm that this works.

  • Thartsockpg

    when i try and flash the recovery using CWM i get an error that says something like:
    installation aborted
    spent 2 hours on google looking up how to fix this didn’t find anything useful. please help

    • Thartsockpg

      and when i try and flash it via fast boot it doesn’t work either

  • jasmine

    i downloaded the stupid $4 app and i can find the file that i need to delete… 

  • First of all, THANK YOU!

    I am at the very last step, “If you want permanent Clockwork Recovery (via XDA):
    “I just don’t understand what you mean be “*Mount as R/W first*” I guess I’m still too new to this

  • At the danger of sounding like a total moron, here I go. I am running a completely stock 4.0.2 Nexus and I am wondering if I have to unlock the phone to root it? Reason being is that I want to root my phone however, I really do not want to wipe it with an unlock to do so. 

    Furthermore, this article says it is using clockwork recovery, in which case I am led to believe that it belongs in a SDk/Tools folder.  If so, I do not have this folder in my nexus. It is something that comes up after root? Unlock? 

    Sorry for sounding like a moron. I rooted my Droid X no problem, yet here I am stumped. Maybe because I am on hour 36 of a 48 hour shift at work?

    • Paedz718

      Yes, you need to unlock to root. The sdk/tools folder is not on your phone, it would be on the computer you are typing the adb commands on. If you read the unlocking the boot loader write up, it explains how to setup adb properly, it’s all explained there.

  • Ahitskayla

    i need help i tried to do the permanent clockwork recovery and ended up at a !android guy.. i need help

    • Ahitskayla