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Video: How to Unlock the Bootloader on the Galaxy Nexus [Verizon]

galaxy nexus verizon unlocked bootloader

If your Galaxy Nexus future includes custom ROMs and kernels, you should stop what you are doing and unlock the bootloader of the device first. With an unlocked bootloader, your phone is opened up for you to essentially do as you please. Not only that, but you get that sweet little unlock icon on the boot screen.

To help you with this process, we tossed together this quick video. For the full written instructions, you will want to check out this post.  

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  • To those confused about getting a waiting for device message:  Android 1.0 will appear in Device Manager AFTER you run adb reboot bootloader.  Once you see that, navigate through and manually add your SAMSUNG Android Phone device driver (“Let me pick”) – should be dated 11-25.  This is the driver you downloaded from Samsung.

    • Mike

      You saved my life!  I was working on this for 1.5 hours looking on every forum for a solution, and of course I found it on Droid Life.  Thank you so much, I did everything else right, but wouldve never thought of doing this.  Thanks again.

  • Jon197

    Does it matter whether u do it before or after the OTA?

  • Tjryan24

    after following all set up instructions and getting adb working correctly, adb reboot bootloader works perfectly and takes me to the bootloader screen. Then typing fastboot oem unlock, brings up “waiting for device” and it gets stuck. Also if I type fastboot devices at the bootloader screen, nothing shows up.

    Can anybody help?

    Thanks guys

  • Brennan Hall

    Can someone direct me to where/how I get the Samsung driver?

  • Jenattack02

    what about Mac??

    • Dana

      just download sdk tools and fast boot for mac

      then run navigate to platform tools folder in sdk and run ./adb reboot-bootloader
      then ./fastboot-mac oem unlock

  • Anonymous

    I’m having an issue.  When I try these steps it tells me that it is already unlocked. The bottom line says “lock state unlocked”.

    However when booted up it shows the lock as locked.

    Any suggestions?

  • Jboku

    So I did this and it was just looping the boot animation.. so I unplugged it and it still just loops so I took the battery out and now it keeps looping the google screen what should I do?

    • Zyork

      This is happening to me as well.

      • Skillz

        I was stuck at the google looping screen too, i made the mistake of taking the battery out while it was looping through all the colors. Hold the volume up and down keys at the same time along with the power button. This should take you back to the bootloader screen. Next you need to connect the phone to your computer and fire up the command prompt screen and do fastboot oem lock then fastboot oem unlock. next unlock the bootloader again. the device should boot up and do the whole color looping thing. i left mine plugged in and after 5 minutes it finally came back on. i guess the key is not to power down while its looping through the colors. just be patient and it will go to the login screen. hope this helps

        • Zyork


        • Dana

          I had this same issue. I re-locked it again and it still got stuck in a boot loop, you must unlock a second lime and be patient like Skills is saying!
           thanks for the help man!

        • Sinp3cado

          THANK YOU!!!!

        • Kristofer Fitze

          You saved my “precious”   thank you!!

        • JustMe

          Skillz – plain and simple, you rock!  You saved my butt!  Thanks!

        • Anonymous

          for me, after it bootlooped for awhile, i unplugged it from the computer.. it kept bootlooping for about a minute or two THEN rebooted itself.. it again went through the colors for about a minute and finally started up. so just give it time

  • did anyone figure out how to huddle?? I signed into google+ but can’t add anyone. 

    I really want to beat box. 

  • Hellcat

    So I went through the setup of the SDK and ADB correctly, I believe.  I’m able to get it to reboot into the bootloader, but when I enter “fastboot oem unlock”  it gives me a and sits.  Any thoughts?

    • Jason

      are the samsung drivers recognizing ur phone as the nexus and not something like android device_1?? Might have a problem with the drivers or just need to point them to where you loaded the drivers

      • Hellcat

        That was it.  Thank you for the help

  • Anonymous

    Give us more moto products DL 🙂

    • Guest1

      you father wants to know when you are coming home so he can have sex with you.  please give him a call he’s all worked up!

    • Guest


  • TacticalChunder

    Thanks Kellex! First time for me doing anything like this on my phone, so appreciate the video for confirmation that i was following the directions properly. Appreciate it!

  • Skyskioc

    sounds to me like there are a bunch of new paperweights out there

  • Benjamin Mackie

    Any1 getting a x64 error?

  • Anonymous

    Just did this on my mac, the steps are fairly similar.  If anyone wants, I can post the differences here.

    • Slim_JD

      Deegan1212. Could you post/reply with what you did to unlock via mac? I have the SDK installed and have fastboot-mac in my platform-tools folder. I am just a little gun shy about pulling the trigger. I just want to be certain. Thanks again buddy

      • Anonymous

        Slim_JD how did you get the platform tools folder, mine does not have one and the steps to download it as an addition do not work.

      • Anonymous

        Follow the necessary steps until about 2:10 in the video.  Instead of typing “adb reboot bootloader” in the command prompt, use Terminal and type the directory of your platform-tools folder followed by “adb reboot bootloader”. (For example I typed “/Development/android-sdk-macosx/platform-tools/adb reboot bootloader”)  None of the drivers are needed, so once it reboots to the bootloader, type the same command as you just did replacing “adb reboot bootloader” with “fastboot-mac oem unlock”.  It’ll take a few minutes and you should be good to go.  Hope this helps.

  • Jason__

    Could anyone direct me to where I could download the wallpaper Kellex has on his phone?

  • Bob

    Sent from my nexus

  • Anonymous

    Just for clarification. Does your bootloader have to be unlocked in order for you to root?

  • Brad_mlln

    Noob question. What is the ultimate benefit of unlocking the phone? Just picked mine up this morning, but im on the fence about potentially screwing up my phone.

  • J H

    Will this allow me to grab Google Wallet from the market and use it?

    • not from the market but there is a custom rom available which allows you to install wallet.

  • Anonymous

    Unlocking bootloader would void warranty, right?

  • Just for clarification, unlocking the bootloader allows you to put on a custom ROM? Also, should I unlock the bootloader before or after the 4.0.2 update? 

    • Anonymous

      Get the 4.0.2 update first. Unlock the bootloader, then root the phone. You will then be able to install a custom ROM when it comes available. 
      The short of it is, the bootloader was locked, so there is an extra step from before. Then you must gain root (superuser access) so the ROM will be able to make critical changes in your phone. It’s not as scary as it sounds. This phone also lets you revert to stock pretty easily if you don’t like the ROM experience. You will though.
      My advice, stay stock for a while and experience the phone. In a couple months, someone will probably make a program to on-click unlock and root. Then when you flash the ROM, you will see how wonderful they are.

  • Anonymous

    Btw guys if you see it take a long time on the boot animation after unlocking, just let it go, mine took about 3 or 4 minutes to actually reboot back into the OS.

    • Joseph Y

      Which Boot Animation was it? I’m stuck at the Google screen with the unlock icon. Just keeps restarting….I.want.to.cry.

      • S Jose923

        Me too 🙁 I just messed up my brand new phone

      • Zyork

        This is happening to mine too…….

  • Anonymous

    I wish I didn’t have an imac

  • jag28co

    I want one Santa

  • Anonymous

    I take it won’t work with an Imac.

  • Keith Tibbetts

    Unlocked! Brilliant, thanks so much! My only problem was after going into the bootloader, the drivers stopped working and my windowsdevice manager said I had an Android 1.0 plugged in. Pointed it to the samsung drivers, and everything went smoothly after that. So happy I waiting for this after my OG Droid!

    • how to do “point it to the samsung drivers”?

  • Anonymous

    I can get it to recognize the phone when it’s actually booted but when it goes to the bootloader I get a Driver Failed to Install message and a device called Android 1.0 in the Device Manager.  Doesn’t find anything when I try to install the driver. Win7 Ultimate x64.

    • Anonymous

      Figured it out off a post on XDA – download this http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4174784/usb_driver.zip  go to device manager, hit update driver in the right click menu for the Android 1.0 device and point it to the extracted folder from this zip.  Unlocked just fine after that.

      • Mr. Android Connoisseur

        This link helped me out a lot.

  • So I have the latest Samsung Drivers, but it’s still not working.  Getting the after executing fasboot oem unlock

    • Anonymous

      Same here.  Did you already update to 4.02 before you tried?  I did…not if that’s an issue yet or not

      • I actually got my friend to unlock the bootloader using his Mac.  You don’t have to go through the whole driver fiasco with a Mac, just install the SDK and you’re good to go.  Fist time I’ve actually appreciated an apple device. 

        • How do I install the SDK? I’ve got it unzipped and opened it up through Terminal, but I have no idea which packages to install. Then what else do I have to do? Someone needs to post a guide for Mac because I’m getting super confused with all these guides I’m reading. I just don’t want to brick my phone. Thanks in advance! 

  • Mwalker267

    Awesome phone. I’ll be picking one up today.

  • Interstellarmind

    D-life for life.

    Thanks, Kellex and team!!!

  • Anonymous

    had trouble with this (got stuck on waiting for devices after fastboot prompt) until i used pdanet to install the phone driver. simply uninstall the phone driver, restart, install pdanet, select samsung phone, then connect phone when prompted. 

    • Anonymous

      From Natolx on Droidforums:

      “Assuming you’ve installed the samsung drivers:

      When you are in the bootloader go to device manager and choose the unrecognized device and install the samsung adb composte drivers by browsing for device and choosing Samsung as the manufacturer.”

      • Anonymous

        yea, did that. didn’t work.

      • Thomas Redmond

        thank you so much 

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for this tip!

      • Hellcat

        This Worked for me, thank you very much.  My first go at something like this, thanks for the help.

  • no link to usb drivers?

  • Ben

    Next video up please “How to Root Your GNex”

    At the moment I don’t have plans for a custom rom/kernel, but I surely would like to get my wifi hotspot kicking again.

    Thanks guys

  • WCM3

    Does the bootloader need to be unlocked in order to add wifi tether?

  • Anthony Armando

    the minute i got home i rooted. the very minute. i didnt even take my jacket off.

    the one thing i was kind of disappointed about was when i left the verizon store my apps were somehow all restored during the ride home and my wifi password put in; im guessing google backup and restore automatically did it. after rooting i waited a bit, hoping the same thing would happen but my apps didnt get restored, just my wifi password after a restart.

    if anyone knows how to force it post it here for anyone else to profit from.

  • the abba dalla

    RRRRRRandy….. You def own an i|°0ne user….. Kudos on the video…. I would like to hear some peoples response on the battery….. I don’t own one but I’d like to know…. I I might break the bank and get yelled at for wasting money lol…. I and how’s the typing on the keyboard it seems like it’s comparable to the swift x keyboard….anyone?

  • Thanks for posting this. 

  • Anonymous

    Just came back from my local Verizon store to check it out.

    Physically it was spot on I like the size, feel, and the weight.

    The screen was amazing, Period.

    The camera was lightning fast! Picture quality from what I could tell in the store was just passable

    It had a live wallpaper set with slow moving, floating, circles and the
    homescreen swiping was choppy/laggy. A real disappointment!

    I think I will wait. Just not worth upgrading yet. Wish they kept the
    camera in the GS2 or better, and wish it had a better processor
    (preferably something that could handle a live wallpaper without
    stuttering.) My two cents.

    • Anthony Armando

      mine works great, live wall paper and all, but i keep the live wallpaper crap off because it just wastes battery.

    • Anonymous

      I have none of this lag that you speak of and I’ve tried a few different live wallpapers.

      • Anonymous

        That’s great. Maybe I’m just a bit more sensitive to it or maybe since I used it in the store, and there were probably people playing with it since they opened, maybe it had a load of programs running in the background that hindered its performance. I can’t really say for sure, but I know what I felt/saw unfortunately, because I really wanted to like that phone. I will just have to hold onto my Droid X for a while longer.

    • Anonymous

      Live wallpapers are very choppy and laggy for sure.  Not a killer for me but I did notice it for sure.

    • Anonymous

      The live wallpaper you used was the one that people already said didn’t work well on that phone.

    • always a hater

    • Anonymous

      I don’t use live wallpapers anyways, so that doesn’t bother me. I just bought the phone, waiting for it to finish charging so I can play with it. So far it is amazing, such a great improvement over my OG droid running Froyo.

    • Dewmikey

      ive noticed the same thing K1ng. i was more than a bit disappointed to see that when running a live wall paper it does stutter/lag a bit when changing screens. My droid X handled my matrix wallpaper fine. The nexus does not. Dual core 1.2GHz what?

      • Anonymous

        After some thinking, I suspect the higher res screen is what is causing it to lag more. Hopefully, there can be some sort of work around for it. I know different launchers would react differently to live wallpapers, so maybe there can be a software fix for it. Good luck

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I know a lot us couldn’t believe this day was ever gonna come especially with Verizon

  • When I get my Nexus I’m probably going to wait til my warranty is expired before attempting any unlocking..I’ve never done it and really don’t want to brick my phone or screw it up in some way.

    • Anonymous

      … two months later Anthony is on his 6th ROM

      • Lol – I think we have all been there!

      • lol..probably haha! 

        • Anonymous

          Eventually you will see it so much and you’ll realize that a hard brick is near impossible and that the jump won’t be bad. Just make sure you grab the stock recovery image and save it, I also always make a backup of it in the just rooted state.

          • See that’s the stuff I’m not positive on how to do. Getting the stock recovery image  .and making a back up.

          • Sinp3cado

            its incredibly easy. With Rom Manager you basically just click “back up” and it boots into recovery and takes a few minutes to back up and you are all set! Once you get your hands wet with this stuff you will realize you had nothing to be nervous about.

          • Cool..thanks guys. I’m sure it;s easy I’ve done some reading on it have some understanding of it just don’t want to attempt until completely sure and ready..I’ll read all the forums on here and if I’m stuck I’ll make a thread  to clear up any concerns when the time comes…I downloaded a faulty launcher on my OG once and it was in a constant force close loops so i had to do a hard reset and go through all the steps ..that was easy tho.

          • Fred Rodgers

            I remember my first back up

          • Anonymous

            Definitely do your homework before you unlock and root. 

            I waited until my warranty was up on my OG Droid before I rooted and I now wish I had done it sooner. Mainly because I learned, you can just unroot if you need to get a replacement via warranty. 

            Basically, once you think you are ready, do it. Don’t worry about the warranty.

    • Anonymous

      I said the same thing about my OG, which I purchased two years ago, almost to the day. I was rooted and running a custom ROM before Valentines Day.

    • I was just as nervous w/ my OG Droid when I loaded Gingerbread on it. Was to afraid to touch it after that. LOL. Now that I have my G-Nex my OG will be my ROMing guinea pig. 

      Anybody have any ideas what to do w/ the OG Droid now? 

      • Keep it in pristine condition in a drawer as a backup phone in case your Nexus meets an untimely demise.  If you don’t hook up a smartphone to the line you will lose your unlimited data.

  • Anonymous

    woo nexus on verizon!

  • Anonymous

    So….an almost 5 minute video to show someone how to “fastboot oem unlock”.  Sad.

    • Usually explaining how to do something takes longer than actually doing it…

  • Randy

    This is kind of a waste to do. So many people know how to do this, especially the ones that are going to do it anyway. Your audience is mainly enthusiasts, and they all know about/how to do this. Show us the device, not this awful crap. 

    • Excuse, but we don’t just cater to people who know exactly what is going on.  We were all newbz at one point. Don’t be that guy.

      • Every bit of knowledge matters..this is what separates us from iPhone users….Well at least in my mind.

        • Anonymous

          That and freedom to install whatever we want

    • Bad day? 😛

      Not every person has had a Nexus before or has OEM unlocked a phone.

    • Bionic

      get over yourself, faggitt

    • Anonymous

      I’m an Android enthusiast and I don’t know how to unlock the bootloader, I don’t think your voice speaks for everyone, show a little respect to the blog, its not “Randy-Life”

      • Everyone just fills in the blank sometime to benefit themselves. “xxxxx-Life” 🙂

      • Mrwest45

        Heck, I didn’t even realize the the Galaxy “NEXUS” was part of the “Droid” line-up. It’s news to me. 

        • Anonymous

          As far as “DROID” goes, everyone knows DROID’s are only on Verizon, so its a good name to use for ALL VERIZON DEVICES.  DROID is a meme anymore and its turned alot of good developers into snobs because of the competition between devices and developers to make one better than the other all the time, I’ve been watching a Twitter war thats doing just that.

          Just because its “DROID-LIFE” doesn’t mean they can’t cover all Verizon devices

          • Mrwest45

            Very true that about “Droid” being only on Verizon. Can’t argue that. I just wonder what happened to the an.droid-life.com website which catered all other devices that weren’t part of the “Droid” lineup. Oh yeah, it’s still there. 

            I guess your statement means that Droid-Life covers all Verizon devices now, not just “Droid” devices. That’s good, more info, I guess. 

          • Anonymous

            Android-Life, eh i’m not sure, i don’t really visit it. (Sorry Kellex, 🙁

            but DROID-LIFE was originally just DROID’s, then more and more non-Droid’s came out and they covered them all, which was the best thing they could’ve done, i mean, how often is there a new Droid compared to a new Android? or News for it?
            Sorry if I seemed like I was yelling or whatever, I just get irritated when people say “why does Droid-Life cover these devices?”  its quite obvious, well to me anyway lol

          • We have always covered Verizon news and Verizon devices here.  Android Life is for other carriers and other Android related news. 

            It’s a pretty easy concept 🙂

          • Mrwest45

            Just to clarify, I love this site, I appreciate “All” information that you guys provide for “All” devices. This site is the first place and last place I visit, daily, to get any and all info about my android devices. And I am, as well as the company I work for, a VZW customer.

            So thank you for that!

            btw Tim – I get the concept 😛

    • Far from a waste.  This site caters to all sorts of interest and skill levels – that’s what makes it so great.  Don’t be arrogant.

    • EC8CH

      I’ve rooted my OGD about three different ways, but this process is completely new to me.

      • Anonymous

         Unlocking the bootloader is not the same as rooting.

        • EC8CH

          yes, i know

    • IceBergLettuce

      Relax bro, the last time I went through this process was 2 years ago and I needed a refresher.  Thanks Kellen and Tim/

    • Vaglvr

      i’ve only ever owned an android phone, and even after roms and rooting, this is still new to me. so i think this is helpful. 

    • I didn’t know how to do that, so thanks for the video. I knew about drivers and the SDK but not how to unlock.

    • gregwilliams

      wait…so you clicked on this story why?

    • Anthony Armando

      it must be lonely up there on your pedestal.

    • Anonymous

      I, for one, appreciate the video. While I could probably do it with just the written instructions, I like having the video to follow along with. We’re talking about a brand-new device that will cost over $600 to replace if we screw it up. I prefer to take as many precautions as possible when tinkering with my phones.

    • Scott


  • John

    Done & Done. Thanks man

  • Mdh7

    Will take of this first thing after work.

  • Anonymous


    Moto..I am staring at you!!!

    • Anonymous

      The OG Droid had an unlockable bootloader. Going from an OG Droid to a Galaxy Nexus, I feel spoiled. I never had to suffer a locked bootloader.

      • Same here.

      • Anonymous

        You are incorrect. The OG Droid did not have and “unlockable bootloader”. Its bootloader was not locked in the first place. You simply could root and roll.
        The Galaxy Nexus has an “unlockable bootloader” which many of us have unlocked and subsequently gained root access.
        It was just an extra step, nothing more.

    • Anonymous

      Not entirely accurate. The OG Droid was actually already unlocked.

  • EC8CH

    Couldn’t be a more appropriate first video.

    • Anonymous

      Especially since its wise to do this FIRST before customizing your device and downloading apps since it wipes the device clean.

      • EC8CH

        it’s always good to get that pesky warranty out of the way as quickly as possible too


        • Anonymous

          LOL So true, so true. Only warranty i ever had to use on a tech device was my Xbox 360, got it replaced 5 times.  I can’t wait to start customizing mine, mine won’t arrive till tomorrow, but i already got the Otterbox case and an extended battery, if the screen is as big as the case shows it is, WOW, #excited!

          • The screen is massive and beautiful. The phone is no larger then the T-Bolt and has a little heft to it which I like. I was thinking it was going to be as light as the SGS-2 but it is not.

          • Tyler

            The Verizon galaxy nexus is 150g, so yes its heavier even then the gsm version which is 135g. 

          • I knew it was heavier then the GSM version. I was just hoping it wasn’t as light as the SGS2, which thankfully it isn’t. Not a brick by OG Droid standards either.

          • Dewmikey

            Ive been told that the extended battery doesnt let the otterbox fit.

          • Anonymous

            Well mine fits fine

        • JMac726

          Does this void the $6 monthly insurance too?

          • no you can do anything and it wont void that insurance.  anytime i damage a device i say i lost it and they send you a new one and you get to keep the old one, so worse comes to worse just say you lost it. but regardless it does not void that insurance.  

          • Anonymous

            He is correct. If you brick it beyond repair, which I have yet to ever encounter. You can just toss it and file a theft claim. But I don’t recommend doing that more than once.

    • ChrisF

      I’m stuck setting up SDK. Can anyone help? much appreciated.

      • I’m trying to download the platform tools folder from the SDK Manager and it says Failed to fetch URL http://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/repository-5.xml, reason: Connection to http://dl-ssl.google.com refused

        • Anonymous

          make sure you have administrator rights on your computer. 

          I also had to select all updates to get the platform tools. No biggie. I also had to try twice to get the platform tools #9

          • Anonymous

            I did run it as an administrator and still no luck. It is refusing to fetch anything. Ahhh so frustrating, gogood videos on youtube either.

          • Anonymous

            For me a black DOS screen popped up then went away when I double clicked the sdk after unzipping. It happened so fast I don’t know what it said, but I didn’t have an option to select anything. Is this what happened w/ you? Any luck yet?

        • Me

          Use https://

        • does anybody know why the failed fetch happens? i cant get around it and im stuck…nobody has the answer ;(

  • Cutillo

    done – thanks!

  • misko

    So I am now stuck. I soft bricked my nexus (it boot cyles on the google logo), and when I got into recovery I get the red exclamation point. Any pointers out there?

    • Dan

      Begin killing yourself slowly…

    • Joseph Y

      The same thing has happened to me. HELP!

    • Jason

      They said in the video if you get stuck bootloading screen unplug the phone from your computer

    • Anonymous

      When the process is done and you see the colorful boot animation, unplug the micro USB cable and sit it down. It will cycle for a while but it will eventually boot up. Mine took like 2-3 minutes to break out of the bootloop. 
      DO NOT battery pull it this time. That can really complicate things and take you to a place that will require expert intervention.
      If stuck, power off. Power up into bootloader and restart the unlock process. 99% of the time you won’t have to do this, but it will work.

  • Anonymous

    Nexus Heaven Ahhhhh 🙂