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How to: Root Android 4.0.4 on the Galaxy Nexus

This weekend’s Android 4.0.4 update for the Galaxy Nexus was a welcomed surprise, except for the fact that many of you had issues regaining root afterwards. Thankfully, we have amazing developers (adrynalyne specifically) that produced a new su.zip that can be flashed to give you root in no time. If you updated to 4.0.4 and have been banging your head against the wall trying to get root back, head past the break for instructions.  


1.  Download this su.zip to your internal storage.
2.  Download Clockwork Recovery and place in in your SDk/Tools or Platform-Tools folder.
3.  From you Tools or Platform-Tools folder, open a command prompt.

 *Wherever your adb.exe and fastboot.exe files are.

4.  Type the following commands:

adb reboot bootloader
–wait for your phone to boot to the bootloader
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-
–wait until the command prompt tells you it has finished  

5.  On your phone, scroll down to “Recovery Mode” and press the power button.
6.  Your phone should boot into Clockwork Recovery.
7.  Select “install zip from sdcard.”
8.  Find the su.zip file that you downloaded earlier. Choose it and flash it.
9.  Reboot your phone and you should now be rooted.


  • Dharkie

    thx man

  • The350zWolf

    Hi there, I’ve been out of the forum for awhile now. I moved from San Diego to Norway and along the way I had to drop my Droids -and Verizon as well 😛 – Anyway now I sport a GSM GNex and loving this phone to death! About a week ago I got the notification for the 4.0.4 OTA update and was resisting it until now since I figured that I was going to lose root. Indeed, that happened, but after getting the instructions on how to regain root it took me no more than 5 minutes, Voila, root is back! Thanks Kelex, Droid Life Rocks!!! Even for the GNex non-Verizon GSM! 🙂

  • HELP! my first time! Galaxy Nexus I have unlocked the bootloader, I have flashed a CWR, I have adb pushed su.zip and others but I cant find them in recovery! They seem to push to the phone, but when I try to install zip from sd card, it says no files found. Yikes! CWMR touch v5.5.0.4 beta 6.

  • Matt Gondek

    If anyone tried to update from a ROM when Kellex posted the IMM76K earlier and lost root, this gets it back for ya

  • Alexandre

    Hi somebody can help me! i dont understand the : 
    2.  Download Clockwork Recovery and place in in your SDk/Tools or Platform-Tools folder….. :/

  • neal


  • NEAL

    am getting cannot load error!

  • What if we don’t have SD cards?  Am I the only one or don’t all GalaxyNexus have no SD Card?

  • Thanks… I used the new su.zip with the Wug’s Galaxy nexus root toolkit 1.3. Just replaced the su.zip in the install directory of the toolkit and clicked the root button from the toolkit(my phone was already unlocked).

    • Cowboydroid

      Thanks, I was wondering if this was possible.

  • ej

    I keep getting a error device not found any reason for that?

  • Linda

    I followed the instructions numerous times and get this message in command prompt..fastboot not recognized as an internal external command. And when I try to go into recovery mode, I get the android with the exclamation point. Thanks for the help:)

  • parsonbrown11

    After reading the posts I’ve decided to wait with the buggy 4.0.2

  • parsonbrown11

    so i have to know psycho-DOS to upgrade my android phone?

  • Bradsadoski

    Thank God for this fix. kinda freaked out for a second.

  • Loony2nz

    thank you!  i was trying to flash an OLD su.zip.  I needed this new one for 4.0.4.  ROOTED!

  • Guest

    Do you need to be stock rooted to apply the update or can you be on a rom?

  • I used voodoo rootkeeper, but I noticed when I went into Titanium Backup it no longer asked for super user permission and neither did any of my other apps that required it. They just worked. So I went into the superuser app and denied an app. Then tried to run it. It allowed me to run it as rooted. That is not what you want. So I went ahead and flashed the new su.zip in the instructions in this post and now apps request superuser access again and I can manage them in the superuser app again as well. Most of you probably already know this, but there maybe some who don’t, you can use rom manager to flash recovery recovery-clockwork- and then boot into recovery. Then all you have to do is install the su.zip from sd card and reboot.

    • Caleb Stoll

      I was new at this and when I lost root after going to 4.0.4 I fixed it this way using Wugfresh.
      Started with ICS4.0.2 where it was temporarily rooted. Ran wugs root to ensure it was permanently rooted then Flashed ClockWorkMod Recovery. Updated to ICS4.0.4 At this point Recovery Mode from Rom Manager will not work, can’t Flash ClockworkModRecovery either, lost root permissions, can’t power off and from the bootloader get into Recovery Mode (get dead android with exclamation point).The work around is to:In the android-sdk-windows/platform tools folder replace the su.zip (1,100kb) with the su.zip (679kb). This is the file the Toolkit will flash.Run the Root tool again on Wugfresh and then Flash ClockWorkMod Recovery.Back that ROM up! 

      • Caleb Stoll

        To clarify after I had gone to 4.0.4 I restored back to 4.0.2 to do it again.

      • Tarik Faik

        I have the same problem how did you fix it?

  • Anonymous

    Total Noob question here.  When I get to the command prompt to type in  fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork- 
    It will pop up and ask me to burn a disc, I guess because of the image file. Any ideas?


  • RaptorOO7

    Since I was already rooted, I just used CWR to flash the rooted version of 4.0.4 that is available at XDA-Devs or reposted over at RootzWiki and I didn’t have to reflash SU to do it.  Everything has worked out just fine.

  • Ericmarkwilliams

    My device lost all data for no reason today. I was on 4.0.4. Tried recovery and no luck. Can I go back to factory image 4.0.2 and old radio or will that mess it up?

    • Ericmarkwilliams

      Strange. There was another guy in VZW next to me and he had a data dead nexus too. After talking to him he also installed 4.0.4 and lost data a few hours later. New sim card fixed us both. Not sure if just strange luck or what?!?!?!

      • My CDMA radio no longer worked.  I had to re-flash everything back to stock.

        • Anonymous

          My CDMA cut out for about 24 hrs once 4g still worked great and just as I was about to reflash it started working again.

    • parsonbrown11

      this is why i’m loathe to upgrade even though 4.0.2 buggy

  • Anonymous

    In command prompt when I type the command fastboot flash recovery recover-clockwork- it just says waiting for device forever…

    • Adrian

      Try using the pdanet drivers, this is pretty common problem.

      • feztheforeigner

        It’s still not working…I was rooted before flashing 4.0.4 btw…

  • Jim McClain

    gee just took a call 2 minute into it,guess what?    mic cut out

    • Joshwaaaaa

      It wasn’t your mic. I Launch the number pad, they don’t work either.

  • Jim McClain

    when will all of us who are not interested in rooting and unlocking get our updates? was promised support,been almost 2 months lots of fixes needed and seen nothing yet

  • rocketdaddy

    Didn’t notice any mention of WugFriesh GN Root toolkit.  I used the latest version and seemed to get rerooted without problems.

    • Usty

      I was just scrolling through the comments looking for that same thing.  I also used the toolkit and was able to instantly re-root with no problems.

    • Hdradeon

      It did not worked for me

  • This post is a little confusing. Did anyone actually lose root with the update? When I updated, I didn’t lose root, or even su; I just lost the ability to use Superuser.apk — su worked perfectly, but apps were no longer asking if they can use root. I don’t know if that would have been fixed by simply uninstalling and reinstalling Superuser.apk (I was already flashing stuff, so I flashed another version of su.zip while I was at it).

    •  What is the difference between superuser and su?

      • su (short for superuser) is a binary that basically gives you superuser (or root) access. Superuser.apk — what I am assuming you are asking about — is the application on your phone that pops up a message asking whether you want to grant an application su privileges. You can have su without using Superuser.apk, but you will never know when an app asks for su, leaving you open to a lot of nasty attacks. (In regular Linux distros, you are asked for an admin password to get su). I hope I didn’t butcher that explanation.

  • I installed the 4.0.4 update last night and was frustrated that I lost root & couldn’t re-root it. With the file above, I successfully rooted it and I’m back up and running. Thanks!

  • Jslafarr

    One thing I don’t understand…
    I have voodoo rootkeeper and i hit make su backup – but i don’t see that backup on my sd card.
    So if i were to lose root if i messed around with these ota’s, and had to download voodoo again, how would it know i had previously made a backup of my superuser – does that make sense?

    Blows my mind.

  • Allan1313

    People you all need to get a great app called Vodoo OTA rootkeeper. It keeps a protected copy of super user on your phone. When you lose root, you just open the app, and with one click you have root back. CHeck it out. That is how I got root back after flacshing 4.0.4

    • It’s even easier to just keep a su.zip on your SD card, and when you flash an OTA, don’t exit the recovery and flash su again, just in case.

  • Marvin de Pano

    Apparently this rom includes root only Cisco Anyconnect support. No need for a custom kernel for that.

  • RW-1

    Most of the headbanging was users who were not totally stock and trying that OTA.

  • JMack

    I cannot for the life of me get the CWR (Touch or non) to stick after the initial flash. Any further attempts to boot to recovery fail. Anyone having any issues?

  • @duke69111:disqus my neighbor’s aunt made $7,385 last month. she works on the internet and drives a Mercedes-Benz. All she did was get lucky and follow the information you can find here..http://smlk.es/PIIFED

    • Wow Wilma, that is quite the success story.  Very inspirational. 

  • Marvin de Pano

    I reflashed the su.zip file in the original DL instructions to root the GNex and that worked just fine.

    •  Same

      • Jeff Simpson

        Seriously – I had root working fine – what did this guy supposedly change?

        • Marvin de Pano

           Hmm, I did some digging around and apparently if you have existing apps added to SU, they get to keep root access. If you remove one of them and execute it, you get a “no privileges” message. You have to flash the file by adrynalyne to enable “root access” by apps.

  • Good!

  • Jslafarr

    not trying to clog this post up but i apologize for my confusion…maybe im missing something.

    why are people so anxious for the OTA and having to relock and unroot when you can just flash the 4.0.4 rom like any other rom after the devs have put their own spin on it / custom kernels / etc

    •  agree 10000%. Unless there is something groundbreaking I would never unroot just to take an OTA

      • Jslafarr

        right! thank you…
        i think i rubbed some people the wrong way in the last 4.0.4 thread.
        just amazes me how fast these roms are coming out and im still cool on my aokp 4.0.3
        IMO there are much more features than what these guys are running with there cool new 4.0.4

        took my forever to unlock and root and now i have to undo it??

        uh. no.

        • PC_Tool


          No need.

          Nandroid your current rom (AOKP rocks!).  Copy Clockwork folder from your Nexus to your computer.

          Flash to stock.

          Flash CWMR and root.

          Copy your clockwork folder back over from your computer.

          Install Boot Manager.

          Restore your AOKP (rocks!) Nandroid to the ROM1 slot.

          Done.  You can now play with stock (and updates to stock like 4.0.4), while still having your favorite ROM (AOKP rocks!) for daily use.

          Oh, and did I mention that AOKP rocks?

        • angermeans

          I think I may have been one of those people. I assumed since all we had to do was push superuser to the device that that is all the people that updated to 4.0.4 needed to do. I apologize for my ignorance. I can be wrong once in awhile and I had no idea that they had to specialize the su.zip for it to take, then again like you I didn’t update to 4.0.4 I am still on 4.0.2 rooted/romd and didnt feel like messing with it all until I see what the real world advantages it would bring me especially since I dont have radio problems and this phone is running great. Anyways, again I’m sorry my friend I didn’t mean to call you out like that I assumed and I shouldnt have. 

        • RW-1

          “i think i rubbed some people the wrong way in the last 4.0.4 thread.”

          You kinda did …. but IMO it was because you were bashing anyone who decided that they wanted to go ahead and try it and ran into issues.

          I myself had one, but resolved it. It’s a learning curve. Anyone who was coming from an OG needed to get back (if they left) on the adb bandwagon to whip their Nexus’s into shape, and although there are great tools out there that can eliminate that use, it’s still one of the easiest ways to deal with it IMHO.

      • TROLOLOL

        for those that prefer stock ICS, Voodoo OTA Root Keeper app will keep your phone rooted with updating OTA.

      • Jeff Simpson

        This phone is different. On a lot of phones, root is due to an exploit that could potentially get patched. Not so with the Galaxy Nexus. Bootloader is unlocked, so you will ALWAYS be able to re-root it.

    • PC_Tool

      Because we like to tinker.

      Because messing around with “new” stuff is fun.

      Personally: I have Boot Manager going and run “Stock” on phoneROM.  I have AOKP, MIUI, and Rootzboat in other slots.

      Update phoneROM to 4.04, all others benefit from patched radio.  ‘Tis a beautiful thing.

      That….and usually by the time an OTA hits, the source has dropped and we can *really* start playing with it.

      • Jslafarr

        that is a beautiful thing. good sh*t man.
        i need to jump on that fat lady.

        • PC_Tool


          Love the metaphor. ‘Tis beautiful indeed.  Going to have to remember that one.

    • RW-1

      Because getting it first is a thing …. however they forgot you have to be in a completely stock condition to get it working like that.

      • TC Infantino

        First!!….wait.  Uh, no.  I forgot I don’t give a crap who’s first.  LOL

  • Great!

  • This is different than usual… because?

    • Anonymous

       The original method did not work because the binaries were not working with Android 4.0.4  These have updated Binaries.

  • Anonymous

    it just feels like old school DL up in here lately.  awesome.

    • Anonymous

      I miss my og

      • TC Infantino

        I do too actually, I gave my OG to my cousin as a Christmas gift and he still hasn’t activated it with verizon yet.  He and his wife use it over Wi-Fi and play games on it.  (shakes head) I can’t quite understand not wanting to take advantage of all the things the OG can do once it is connected.

    • angermeans

      I know it, right! It feels like back in the Nexus One/OG Droid days. 

  • RadicalPie

    I know its a watermark but I want a DL Icon in my Navigation bar lol

    • sc_sucka


      • John


        Definitely deserves this: http://i.imgur.com/V0qdq.jpg

        • RadicalPie

          eh w/e I read the site every day. Some people have problems with liking Android to much, I am one of them.

          • John

            np…I’m just giving you a hard time man 🙂

      • angermeans

        Just because you wouldnt do something doesnt mean thay its dumb. Good god the commenters on droid life recently remind me of why i dont visit engadget or gizmodo. Did it really make you feel better to take the time out of your day to write an ignorant comment? What ever happened to the early days of andrpid when the og droid and nexus one users actually helped one another and didnt have to act like douche bags?

        • RW-1

          +1, but we avoid Gizmodo anyway because they are rabid apple fanboys who refuse to admit it. (Gee, my moniker will likey now be banned on there if they read that here ….)

      • RadicalPie

        Dumb for you awesome for me. Make it usable at the lock screen like the notification bar. then make it like the slide to unlock iphone feature to launch it as a web shortcut. See if apple sues DL lol

    • angermeans

      Im sure its possible. I bet developrs will have some great stuff going for the software button section (they already do at xda and probably rootzwiki). One of the great things of owning a nexus

  • Question: I’m still running 4.0.2 unlocked and rooted, stock. So no roms. I am going to wait for the official OTA 4.0.4 update. To keep all my data, will I need to unroot first before updating, and then reroot? If so, how do I go about unrooting? Is there an unroot command I can use with ADB?

    •  I’m kind of in the same boat.  I know how to relock (if you don’t just go to the comprehensive guide to the GNex on this site) but I also wonder if I wait for the OTA will I need to lock it up first.

    • use OTA RootKeeper.

    • Anonymous

      If you want to wait for the OTA, you shouldn’t have to do anything but wait. When it does come, you will still be unlocked but you will no longer be rooted (just like when 4.0.2 was applied over a rooted 4.0.1). You will just need to re-root after the update if you want to have root access/use apps that need root. There should be no need to unroot or risk of losing data.

  • duke69111

    Does Voodoo OTA RootKeeper not work with the 4.0.4 OTA update?

    • Nick

      This update wasnt ota, so no it didnt work.

      • duke69111

        That makes sense.  Thanks. 

  • Anonymous

    Question: Does this erase all your current settings (apps, configs, etc.) after flashing? What I want to know is, should I expect to reconfigure my phone for every update that is released? Also, since this is a Nexus, why is this not yet pushed out by google as soon as is made available by Google?

    • RadicalPie

      No to erasing everything unless you are on a different rom than stock at the time you update (cause you’ll have to go back to stock to pull it). It is not official. technically 4.02 is what the Galaxy Nexus is on.

    • Jslafarr

      they are going to start dropping cdma devices and they will not be supported. maybe not now but soon dont be expecting many updates

      also having root blocks ota’s so if youre on a rom it wont matter anyway

      • Jac_White

        THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!!!   OK, now really…..Just stop.   Read the whole articles/follow ups before posting things that are just going to scare people.   They are not going to stop supporting it…..or stop providing updates.   They will not be able to fully support it as a DEVELOPER DEVICE because there are some issues with CDMA and signing on certain apps/roms.

        • Jslafarr

          my intention wasnt to scare or mislead…
          from what i read the nexus will receive timely updates and continue to be supported.
          i didnt say they would stop immediately – however cdma devices will, in the near future, not continue to be supported.

          straight out of the article my friend

          “Google is simply making it clear that a device running a CDMA radio cannot be officially “supported” since its files are signed differently from AOSP code.”

          • Anonymous

            Thought it simply meant it won’t be a Dev device, as in it won’t be able to be compiled from Aosp, but will continue to see support as a nexus.

          • PC_Tool

            …and we’ll be able to compile everything but the telephony bits…which will (hopefully) be available as binaries.

            If I am not mistaken (and I may well be) this all boils down to Qualcomm not open sourcing the necessary bits for CDMA.

          • Anonymous

            Damn the qualcomm

          • TC Infantino

            This brings up an interesting question…Once verizon starts bringing VoLTE will that negate the problem of the signatures for CDMA .apk files?  Will the android phones on VZW need CDMA if everything is going over the LTE radios?

          • PC_Tool

            Wouldn’t that be nice?

          • PC_Tool

            “soon dont be expecting many updates”

            Is a far cry from:

            “Google is simply making it clear that a device running a CDMA radio
            cannot be officially “supported” since its files are signed differently
            from AOSP code.”

            You made a rash assumption. No big deal. Don’t bother backtracking.  Just admit it and move on.  No-one is grading you.  This is not a test.  We live, we learn…most of us move on.

          • Jslafarr

            thank you i stand corrected.

        • Jslafarr

          elaborating …
          For various technical reasons, recent CDMA Android devices implement core telephony functionality in .apk files provided in binary form by the carriers. To function correctly, these .apk files must be signed by the so-called “platform” key. However, when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don’t use the same signing key as these CDMA flies were signed with.
          The result is that these files don’t work properly, and pure AOSP builds running on these devices can’t place calls, access mobile data, and so on.

      • Anonymous

        thanks for the heads up. Right now, I beleive I am running stock. I did however unlocked the bootloader and rooted the nexus. I guess the next steps are to relock the bootloader and unroot the device to push the upgrade? Sorry, I’m new to G-Nex.

    • Jslafarr

      assuming you are talking about the updates being pushed to your phone.
      if youre talking about them being available online for you to download – then i didnt mean to assume.

  • Deltaechoe

    Hey kellex you might want to add some a second line under the recovery in case users download the touch recovery. Never underestimate the user’s ability to type exactly what is up on the page and then complain that it doesn’t work.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    So the old su.zip no longer works?

    • Anonymous

      Odd, I thought the Gnex was supposed to be rootable out of the box?

      • Anonymous

        It is. That isn’t to say that there’s an option that says “click here to root.” It’s just that, compared to the hell that other phones put you through, it’s an easy process.

        • Anonymous

          I know it’s much easier (at least it was for me), but I had heard on the old nexus it was an actual option in the settings. Unless I am remembering wrong. 

          • Deltaechoe

            Rooting is kind of a third party thing, what makes it easy is that the bootloader is easily unlockable (with a single command).  That’s what makes the phone easy to root.

          • Anonymous

            yes, I already know this, because no exploit needs to be used to root a nexus. And the bootloader may be unlockable, but I remember when most phones came with unlocked bootloaders to begin with. I just always figured the nexus, being a developer phone, was almost regarded as a root device, and had some sort of support from google in the form of a setting toggle, but I guess I’m wrong?

          • Jslafarr

            it wouldnt be fun to be able to root and have everything customized with the push of a button.
            working for it and figuring it out makes it much better in my opinion.

          • Anonymous

            I agree with you that it’s fun with adb and in command line to root (as opposed to one-click root utilities), but I don’t always have time to have to root every time via command line (at least with the harder to root phones, there’s usually a lot more involved)

      • RadicalPie

        it is