Last Updated: October 3rd, 2012

After upgrading my Galaxy Nexus (GSM) to Jelly Bean last night (I know, I know, I'm a few days late), I unlocked its bootloader (the usual fastboot oem unlock) and commenced rooting, which I thought would only take a minute or two. However, after almost 2 hours of pushing, flashing, rebooting, and trying no less than 5 different root methods, I still didn't have root. Something must have changed under the hood, and no root method I was trying was working (even PaulOBrien's SuperBoot).

Finally, I managed to find a solution that worked, and the familiar root permission prompt finally popped up. If you're having similar trouble, here's what you do (tested on a GSM Galaxy Nexus i9250, but should work on other variants as well):

  1. Download your favorite recovery, say ClockworkMod Touch.
  2. Download JB-SuperSU.zip from one of the mirrors:
  3. While booted into Android, push JB-SuperSU.zip to your Galaxy Nexus' /sdcard/ with your favorite file browser, download it straight from the device, or just do
    adb push JB-SuperSU.zip /sdcard/
  4. Reboot into the bootloader by issuing this command via adb:
    adb reboot bootloader
    power down, hold both volume buttons and then hold Power until the bootloader comes up.
  5. Flash the custom recovery by issuing this command from your computer:
    fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch- (or whatever the recovery name is that you downloaded in step 1)
  6. sending 'recovery' (5684 KB)...
    OKAY [  0.602s]
    writing 'recovery'...
    OKAY [  1.123s]
    finished. total time: 1.728s

    Note: For some reason I can't get the recovery to stick anymore - upon reboot, the Nexus reverts back to its stock recovery. If someone knows how to fix this, please leave a comment in this post.
    Update: Renaming /system/recovery-from-boot.p after obtaining root did the trick - you have to remount /system as rw first, of course (thanks, Derek).

  7. Now that you have the custom recovery installed, scroll down to Recovery mode in the bootloader menu using the volume down button and press the Power button to enter it.
  8. Select Install zip from sdcard, choose zip from sdcard, select JB-SuperSU.zip that you pushed in step 3.
  9. Reboot - you should now be rooted and have SuperSU installed.
  10. Run an app that requires root or simply Root Checker and observe a root permission popup.
  11. Do a victory dance.

Screenshot_2012-07-01-11-33-59 Screenshot_2012-07-01-11-15-51 Screenshot_2012-07-01-11-33-37 

Note: If you are on Windows and get "waiting for device" from any commands above, make sure you have the Samsung USB drivers for the Galaxy Nexus (Google around) and this in the Device Manager:


Credit for the zip to mutelight of Rootz

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • derekross

    Remove reboot-from-recovery.p from /system to fix the stock recovery from overwriting CWM.

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      Just to be more specific, delete the file. You don't need to keep it.

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      Just to be more specific, delete the file. You don't need to keep it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks! Why the heck is that there all of a sudden?

      • http://www.mobirae.com mjones1052

        Because in custom roms it's already removed this is a stock image

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Yeah, but why does it need to be in stock? I never had to do this to any other device - they all had recoveries stick without tweaks like this.

          • http://www.mobirae.com mjones1052

            Maybe it's a nexus thing? Yea my Moto's didn't have it, plus,it's a fail safe. If you somehow delete your recovery in the development process, which these phones are for it would bring it back? Only thing I can think of.

          • http://jeremyperez.com Jeremy

            If you always fastboot flashed your recoveries. Usually the next steps were boot into it, backup, then flash your custom ROM. You would have never noticed this behavior if that's the way you did it.

      • http://www.mobirae.com mjones1052

        Source built roms I should say have it already removed

      • derekross

        You had to do this on the Galaxy Nexus as well.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I only just got a Nexus at I/O :)

          • John


            What's your day to day phone then?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Right now it's the EVO LTE, but I'm hoping to make it the SIII soon.

        • http://jeremyperez.com Jeremy

          Had to do it on my MT4G when I had it too, I thought it was a pretty common thing that Android devices had a script on shutdown/reboot that rebuilt or flashed the stock recovery.

      • http://www.facebook.com/treswaters Tres Nugget Waters

        It's been like that since the beginning.

    • http://www.facebook.com/salman.sabry Salman Sabry

      Hmm wen i either remove or rename it,should i do it from my pc or file manager????

  • http://www.mobirae.com mjones1052

    You have to go in to root explorer and change /system/etc/install-recovery.sh to install-recovery.bak

  • http://www.mobirae.com mjones1052

    You have to go in to root explorer and change /system/etc/install-recovery.sh to install-recovery.bak

  • http://www.mobirae.com mjones1052

    His is right too, was trying to remember what I did and that file is renamed so not sure if both ways work or you need both done or what.

  • http://twitter.com/daveloft Dave Loft

    I put JB-SuperSU.zip on my SD Card and then powered down, held both volume buttons and then Power until the bootloader comes up. Then I used Galaxy Nexus Toolkit to boot to CWM Recovery without flashing so I could flash the zip file. I don't need CWM permanently installed, I just need root.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Heh, as I mentioned, even if you flash recovery, Android just reverts back to stock recovery upon next boot anyway.

  • Rithy Chum

    Just grab SU from here http://downloads.noshufou.netdna-cdn.com/superuser/Superuser-3.1.2-arm-signed.zip and flash with clockwork recovery. It's official and you can get updates from playstore.

  • http://geniousatplay.blogspot.com/ Bikram Agarwal

    I'm gonna wait for the official roll out of the Jelly Bean. But still thanks for this article as I found a download link for the CWM touch here. ROM Manager wasn't able to flash that on my GNex for some unknown reason and I never Googled it. But when I went through this article, I downloaded the img and flashed it. Better than navigating cwm with volume rocker and power button. :)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You got it.

  • Roscoe

    Just to be clear, as long as I select the right image (Toro, e.g.), this will work on my vzw gnex, correct?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii


  • http://twitter.com/trlovejoy trlovejoy

    Why not just use Galaxy Nexus ToolKit? Worked like a breeze for me and then I put 4.1 on using CWM. Running great.

  • gil2136

    I'm trying to root but upon flashing then entering recovery the phone gets stuck on the google icon

  • mark

    Where do I get the TORO image for my Verizon Galaxy nexus?

  • Ripwind

    Since I'm just running across this now, and it's the guide I used, I thought I would post that the latest version of Clockwork Recovery Mod ( at this time) asks if it can disable the stock bootloader on your behalf when exiting for the first time. Saves some of the extra goofing around. :)

  • slagg3r

    I'm trying to root my vzw late nexus but can't seem to find a .zip that will root jelly bean will this work ?

  • Cale Stasiak

    when i try to flashboot... onto my command prompt it wont do anything? i have all files downloaded and pushed to my phone but when i go to actually root it nothing happens