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How to: Unroot the Galaxy Nexus, Re-lock the Bootloader and Return to a Factory State

Unlocking the bootloader and rooting your Galaxy Nexus is really only half the battle. There may come a time when you need need to lock everything back up, including that bootloader. Thanks to the Android team, we have the factory images that can not only fix a bootlooping or soft-bricked device, but make it look like you just pulled it out of the box.  

Instructions:

*Note – These instructions will work for any Nexus device, you just need to swap out files and filenames in the command lines.

1.  Download the newest factory images to your PC.

[Download (4.0.2)]  [Download (4.0.4)] [Download (4.1.1)]

2.  Unzip the file and its contents into your SDK/Tools folder (wherever your adb.exe and fastboot.exe files are).

*Make sure they are not in their own folder, but have all been extracted to Tools.

3.  From within your Tools folder, open a command prompt (SHIFT + right click – “open command prompt here”):
4.  Type the following commands, allowing each to finish before moving onto the next:

*If flashing 4.0.4 or newer files, you will want to swap out to matching file names in the commands below.

adb reboot bootloader
fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-toro-primekk15.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash radio radio-toro-i515.ek02.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash radio-cdma radio-cdma-toro-i515.ek05.img
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot -w update image-mysid-icl53f.zip
fastboot reboot-bootloader
fastboot oem lock

5.  Reboot your phone by highlighting “Start” and pressing the lock switch.
6.  It really is as simple as that. Your phone is now back to a 100% stock, unrooted and locked state.

  • Anonymous

    I have unzipped the file to where my sdk folder are. I am able to use fastboot devices and find my phone. I also am able to fastboot reboot bootloader. I am not able to flash the bootloader  image. What am I missing? This is what I get

    C:UsersJadeDesktopandroid-sdk-windowstools>fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-toro-primekk15.imgerror: cannot load ‘bootloader-toro-primekk15.img’

  • Fake

    FYI, the 2nd to last step should be “adb reboot bootloader” not “fastboot reboot-bootloader.”

    tsaikimon

    • Anonymous

       Funny no one else has mentioned this but you’re right.

    • Juan Uribe

      still not working for me

  • Anonymous

    I have a grainy screen and I have the bootloader unlocked. I did not root the phone. Do I have to lock the bootloader in order to exchange it at Verizon?

  • Hamster12696

    what program can unzip 4.0.2 imges tar file?

    • Anonymous

      If you’re on Windows I would try 7-Zip. Free and can extract basically anything.

  • Hamster12696

    i have a problem return back to stock i downlaod the 4.0.2 imgaes file try push the command fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-toro-primekk15.img say cannot load this file

    • http://twitter.com/patfrank Patrick Frank

      did you figure this out? i’m having the same problem.

  • Jeremy Morrison

    Is there a way to just unroot instead of doing both unroot and locking the bootloader? I’d really like to get away with wyping the phone again. Or will unrooting it wype it as well?

  • Nick

    I unlocked and rooted and saved a backup.  Was then prompted to install the OTA for 4.0.2.  I attempt to install, it reboots and is stuck on ” ! “.  Anyone have any assistance on this?  Dang, I just redownloaded all my apps, am I gonna have to unroot and start over to get the OTA?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I4J637NCS4OJDWICWETTFRVAEQ Anonymous

    If this phone is so good, how come their telling you to root it first? Root is beyond my knowledge and I”m looking into the phone

    • Rizheno

       Because once you root, the phone is reset back to a factory state. If you are planning to root the phone, you might as well do it before you set it up to you liking. As long as you don’t mind setting up your home screens again, you can go ahead and wait.

      • Mikewoods94

        Rooting does not reset to factory/wipe, unlocking does.

  • SoggyP

    I already unlocked and rooted and wanted to see how easy it was to get back to being unrooted and locked. Once I completed fastboot -w update image-mysid-icl53f.zip, my phone rebooted on it is twice and brings me to the original welcome screen. I went through all of that and i am still rooted. I never got a chance to enter in the last two steps. Can someone please help out here? Thanks

    • SoggyP

      meant to say rebooted on its own twice

      • SoggyP

        Nevermind. It looks like the second time around it decided to work. But it did get stuck on logging into my account. Battery pulled. Restarted and now Im back to stock…Hopefully it doesn’t do this all the time..

  • Italia1918

    do you save directly to sdk/tools then unzip or do save to another folder unzip and copy and move the contents to sdk/tools?

    • Whett Phartz

      Unzip first. Then move.

  • http://profiles.google.com/loganorchard1986 Logan Orchard

    um the file I download is not a zip file how do I unzip it to the tools folder?

    • Italia1918

      same here ?

      • Whett Phartz

        You unzip it using IZArc or WinRAR (or whatever). Then, you move the files to the tools folder. If you’re running the latest version of the Android SDK, then it is the platform-tools folder.

  • Anonymous

    I like ICS, but samsung failed, this device is huge.

    • Angelface77daddy

      Maybe you’re having issues because you have small girly hands.

      • Guest

        He’s a loser faggitt! Love the name man!

      • Anonymous

        lol still crying that is amazing :)go and post your dirty pictures on here. Your soul is mine forever.

    • Anonymous

      I disagree. I think the size is great. Then again, I’m a big guy with big hands.

    • Guest

      Nexus rules the razor faggo. Now run along and suck your fathers cock.

  • Baker881

    not working for me.  keeps saying cannot load  bootloader-toro-primekk15.img

    • http://twitter.com/KayvonKevlar Kayvon Khaledi

      Can you copy and paste what you getting and what you typing? I just went through all of this so I might be able to help.

  • http://twitter.com/KayvonKevlar Kayvon Khaledi

    So I already screwed my phone. Trying to 
    fastboot flash radio-cdma radio-cdma-toro-i515.ek05.img and it just sits at the writing radio stage. Waited over 10mins. Any ideas

    • http://twitter.com/KayvonKevlar Kayvon Khaledi

      OK, for future people, it does take sometime for it to run. I just unplugged it and started from scratch and did all steps over and now Im back. THANK YOU DROID LIFE SO MUCH FOR SAVING ME FROM A 300$ PAPERWEIGHT LOL

    • Anonymous

      It can take several minutes, up to 15.

  • xvortexx

    Is there a way to lock the bootloader without a USB connection. My phone wont charge for some reason unless its off, and it wont connect via USB or charge via USB either.

    • xvortexx

      Im managed to get it to charge when connected to usb, although im not sure what changed. Still doesn’t show up on my computer, just says its charging through AC.

      • xvortexx

        I’ve managed*

  • http://twitter.com/xhaxol Vetal

    ok just tried it but the phone just keeps bootlooping at the google logo. The unlock icon is gone, good! bootloop bad! tried going into the bootloader and fastboot reboot-bootloader and then the images but it doesnt work. Saying I need to unlock it now. I need to return it becasue of a dead pixel  right in the middle of the screen, now it wont even boot

    • http://twitter.com/xhaxol Vetal

      ok, fixed it. I went into recovery and did a wipe and that took care of it. everything is good, now to go and exchange it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/vespadaddy Dan Peters

    If you guys are seeking hero status, how about an article exactly like this one, but featuring the OG Droid?  Many of us new GNex owners upgraded from that device.  Many rooted it once a long time ago, and who knows/remembers how to roll back to stock on the OG?  Or is it just me who needs this?

    • Tsteege

      I had a heck of a time finding my old stock ROM images for my OG.  I had a backup to DVD that contained them.  I was only successfule using the SPRecover method, but I have a cool OG Droid WiFi, Google Music, and game tester device.

      • Tsteege

        Crap, I need to figure out this new keyboard.  LOL!

  • Guest

    Is there any reason you’d want to re-lock the bootloader, other than to return the phone?  

  • Gooncityfl

    Does this only work with the verizon galaxy nexus? I have the gsm version. Please help..

  • jnt

    do any of those steps also replace a custom recovery with stock?  I know the simple way, but just curious if it would be necessary after doing those steps…

  • Gooncityfl

    Does this work for the gsm galaxy nexus ????

  • http://twitter.com/BiGGiE_Q Biggie Quan

    After I rooted my phone, I cannot upload photos to Facebook.  Anyone else having this issue?  I uploaded before rooting no problem.

  • http://www.mactonweb.com Web design London

    Thanks for the info, got mine unrooted and packaged up ready for return.

  • http://www.mactonweb.com Web design London

     I usually wrap the tether around my hand to take the tension off the phone – that lets me feel the device’s weight a bit better.  But I accidentally let the tether go, and it snapped back, pulling the battery cover right off the Nexus! 

  • Back to my Razr

    Thanks for the info, got mine unrooted and packaged up ready for return. BTW, for anyone wanting to know the instructions work fine on a Mac, just be sure to add ./ front on the commands.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vespadaddy Dan Peters

    Thanks.  Just.  Thanks.

  • df2rools

    If i unroot/relock and return it to a factory state will my warranty return?

  • http://Twitter.com/ContestsAccount bigrob60

    My nexus had its first drop today. Landed on its side on marble. You can’t even tell it dropped. :]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586268256 Daniel Churco

    Hey, Off topic, but hon long did the 4.02 update take?  Mine has been going for a while now, and is not booting up.  Just keeps showing the google name, and then the animation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586268256 Daniel Churco

      Battery pull fixed it.. got impatient.

    • http://twitter.com/kirilv Kiril

      Mine took maybe 15 or 20 seconds to install.

  • Anonymous

    Welp, I have to wait until Monday. Damn you Verizon for choosing 2day shipping. 

  • mike

    dude you are amazing.  thank you so much for these simple clear instructions.  Wow.  And thanks  amending your instructions on unlocking the bootloader after idiotic windows 7 couldnt find my phone.   After I did adb reboot bootloader- it kept saying waiting for device.  One of the posters helped fix this problem, then you changed your instructions.  incredible.

    • Lady Minnie

      How was the problem fixed, when it keeps telling waiting for device?

  • Anonymous

    Can’t help but being jealous…Anyone buy a Nexus and find they can’t live without a physical KB?  I have a D3 I’ll trade for it with some cash thrown in :)

    • Anonymous

      Just came over from D1.  Love this new virtual keyboard – much improved prediction algorithm and accuracy (thanks to Goog’s acquisition of BlindType, as DL reported…)

  • QtDL

    YES! This is what I need…..I know I will F up something when I try unlocking/rooting.

  • http://smartic.us bryanl

    Why do we encourage people to download files and not check the md5 sums? Especially when they are provided by Google. You didn’t even provide a link to the download page. Seems like you are just futzing with Google search results now.

  • http://twitter.com/Wingshater21 Anthony Sorrentino

    i have a question, i downloaded the above factory image and moved it to my platform tools folder but it is a single file, i cannot unzip it into the folder, what am i missing??

    • http://twitter.com/Wingshater21 Anthony Sorrentino

      figured it out….if anybody else runs into the same question you just need to download winrar and your problems will be gone

  • Anonymous

    anyone else have a problem with the notification light not working?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6WMN7SNGCCAKYWDLF4MCWDM6SM Alex

    Any chance we could get these instructions for a Mac?

    (inb4 “herpa derp get a windoze”)

    • Finger

      First, you go out and buy a windoze…

      But really, this forum post has the instructions for Windows, OSX, and Linux. But remember that these are fore the HSP version of the phone and the file names are different. Just be sure to transpose everything correctly.
      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1366806 

  • Anonymous

    Blasphemy. Why would anyone want to do this?  :p

  • Michael Forte

    So I went to my local Verizon store to look at the Galaxy Nexus.ICS was very nice. Very fast and the browser was awesome. It was thinner than I thought it would be. The screen looked very nice too. Now for the cons :the battery cover was coming off the display unit and was being taped on. The camera app crashed every time I tried to open it. Also the signal was weaker on the Nexus than my Bionic. I looked in the settings at actual dBm too, not just going by the signal bars. Now I see why they say the hardware is just the shell for ICS. I’ve never been a fan of Samsung’s hardware and I’m still not. But I was impressed overall with the phone, just not enough to switch. I’ll wait for my upgrade next November and I’m crossing my fingers for a Motorola Nexus. MOTO, Y U NO UNLOCK BOOTLOADER!!

    • Flyinion

      I noticed the battery cover issue too, but the sales guy told me it’s a problem with the new tether style they’re using.  It interferes with the battery cover on the Nexus. There’s not really a problem with the phone itself.

      • Michael Forte

        Yeah I realize it’s more the fault of Verizon, but just something I noticed. 

        • Anonymous

          That store phone might not have the 4.0.2 update.  My camera’s been flawless, no force closes in 30 hours.  No 4G issues either (except for when I come up out of the subway… takes a few minutes to re-acquire the connection).  Generally the 4G connection is quicker than wifi – I’m getting up to 16000bps on the Upper East Side.  I’m at 45% battery with 7.5 hours of heavy use, mostly on wifi though.

          Battery cover – yeah, you got a point.  Samsung seems to have skimped there.  Might have to do something with the large NFC antenna & signal propagation – I have a BBerry Bold with NFC and it’s a similar peel-off type plastic-y cover.  Any NFC experts out there?

          • Anonymous

            I know this comment is old was grabbing files a deciding to read the comments. The covers are thin because the “fast pass” payment systems would have no way to read the NFC chips if they were any thicker. Plus, the GS2 battery cover is so rugged it can be bent,folded, crunched,etc.. without damage. I have the phone also and tried it myself. I also bent the G-Nex cover too with the same results, its just not as flexible as GS2′s, hope this helped.

      • Anonymous

        I had the same issue.  I usually wrap the tether around my hand to take the tension off the phone – that lets me feel the device’s weight a bit better.  But I accidentally let the tether go, and it snapped back, pulling the battery cover right off the Nexus!  I was left holding the phone, free and clear.  I was tempted to just walk out!  (Just kidding…)

    • Dmoto

      I went it to check it out too! I noticed the cover coming off too, but I noticed it was because the lock feature (so nobody can steal it)  is holding only onto the cover, if a few hundred people kept pulling the phone out, the cover it’s going to come off eventually.  Since nobody was in the Verizon store when I was there, I played with the white Razor, and HTC’s Rezound also, and noticed that those phones are pretty awesome too.  The Nexus Galaxy on display worked very well, I tested the camera, video, and reception was all good, worked perfect.  So I don’t know what is wrong with your display Nexus Galaxy, but it sucks you had a bad experience. 

    • Unique

      Yes, I went to store Yesterday and looked at the Galaxy
      Nexus and played with it for about a hour, I like the ICS but the phone looked
      cheap and was not as strong signal and said I waited this long for this phone? I
      was not impressed otherwise, so I got the Razr and the portable charger just in
      case (with my discounts).

    • NEXUS

      See you in a year while I’m enjoying my Nexus

      • Anonymous

        Enjoy your weak radios and plastic feel lol. The sound is horrible too.

        • Guest

          Time for you to go slurp your father’s cum gay boy.

        • Anonymous

          How is the sound horrible? It is far louder and clearer than my droid x was. My guess is you never used the nexus.

          • Anonymous

            The sound is vewy low and the radios sucks period

          • Kevdogg4

            My Nexus is absoluely amazing! Sound is awesome and radio too! I’m unlocked and rooted. No idea what you’re talking about. Guess you’re just being a hater. Beat it nerd.

          • Anonymous

            I am not being a hater turd, because i like the gs2, which blows this garbage out of the water. You are trying to justify your bad purchase lol.

          • Anonymous

            “Enjoy your weak radios and plastic feel lol”, you do realize the GS2 is also made by Samsung right? And we’re not trying to justify our purchases, it seems more like you are. If I really didn’t like my Nexus, I still have time to take it back and exchange it for another phone. I love my Nexus and have no complaints about it! You’re clearly a troll and have nothing better to do than come to a post about the Galaxy Nexus just to make stupid comments.

          • Anonymous

            If i type facts about your wacky nexus device and you get mad, that means that there is something wrong about it. You may not want to admit it but we all know nexus failed terrible. On the other hand i know the gs2 is made by Samsung. Even though, it has weak radios and the call quality is not as good as Moto’s devices, the gs2 did not take a step back like the nexus did. You are a stupid little girl that likes to cry about anything.

          • Anonymous

            The speaker is much lower than the Epic Touch Galaxy 2, Droid original, Rezound abd Razr.
            I’m trying to deal with it but it makes watching YouTube impossible if you are in a room with others, no fun when they can’t hear …. also the camera compared to the galaxy s2 is pretty bad ….

    • Anonymous

      Could not say it any better, ICS on moto’s droids will be similar to ICS.

      • Guest

        It will be sept or oct of next year before moto gets isc loser!

    • Anonymous

      Try rebooting the phone before testing. Do you have any idea of the abuse a cell phone takes in a VZW store. There is no telling how many apps have been executed and the phone just needs a reboot.

  • Anonymous

    I rooted and had to return back to stock more than once with my original droid to return it and they never knew it was rooted, however will they know that I rooted my Nexus?

    • http://twitter.com/kirilv Kiril

      If you converted it back, then no. This makes the phone stock again. If you just left it rooted though, they can very easily tell if they look for it. (If they just wipe the phone and restock it, then it really doesn’t matter.)

      • Anonymous

        Thanks

  • DroidzFX

    Saved for offline reading

  • Athomson16

    thanks for the info!!!! droid life rocks

  • Shop

    Cool, now I can return my GN and get the Razr!

    • Anonymous

      Good choice lol. The nexus was overrated. The white razr looks awesome.

      • Guest

        You dad called and wants you to hurry home so he can anal sex with you.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jtsurf18 Jason Downing

    awesome… there go everyone’s worries about updates

  • Anonymous

    Just an FYI, the new version of the SDK has moved adb from /tools to /platform-tools. Thus, for people who’ve just installed it they should place fastboot (as well an the factory images above) in /platform-tools and change to /android-sdk/platform-tools before running fastboot commands as well as (if they haven’t updated their path environment variable) adb commands.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=542401380 Thant Ag

      fastboot & adb files have been moved to platform-tools, yes. However if you copy unzipped contents under /platform-tools and start cmd there, it doesn’t work. Just extract contents under /tools and start cmd there. I have just done this and successfully restored to android 4.0.2 from Liquid Smooth 4.0.4.

      Thanks a lot whoever wrote this article. I was starting to freak out since my Liquid Smooth Rom screens were showing 24-bit color icons and there was no way to raise up the resolution.

  • Anonymous

    Blasphemy!

    • Anonymous

      Sorry – didn’t see your comment. My thoughts exactly.  :)

  • Andrew Akker

    Not only is flashing the bootloader and 2 radios unnecessary, it adds potential danger to brick users.  You should edit this to only make people run the fastboot -w update command.

    • Gooncityfl

      Does this process work with the gsm galaxy nexus? I got my phone over seas..

  • Gwwjpd

    Just bookmarked this page for future reference if needed. Thanks for the write up.

  • Finger

    These instructions will also un-brick your phone if you screw up and get the looping error mentioned in this post (like I did :)
    http://www.droid-life.com/2011/12/05/how-to-unlock-the-galaxy-nexus-bootloader/ To get to the bootloader screen while the phone is off, just hold down all three buttons (power, vol up, and vol down) until it vibrates.

    Kellex, if you could put a note to this effect in this post, it would probably help a lot of people in the long run, especially since so many are modding this very popular phone.

    • Gooncityfl

      Does this work with the gsm nexus ? Mines is with t mobile .

    • Jeremy Morrison

      FYI i had to go into recovery mode and do a factory reset before I could unroot. I kept getting errors in the command prompt when trying to flash factory images. After factory reset it finally took. Thanks Kellex!

  • No

    good to know…