How to root Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM, Verizon, Sprint) and install ClockworkMod recovery [Guide]

Let me don’t waste your precious time making you read things you might already be aware of. Read on to find how you can get your Samsung Galaxy Nexus rooted, while you would also be unlocking the bootloader of your device and installing ClockworkMod (for GSM and Verizon versions) or TWRP (for Sprint version) recovery in the process of rooting your Galaxy Nexus.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended as a helpful “how to”. dotTech and its writers are not responsible for any gain or loss (including but not limited to bricked devices) incurred as a result of following this guide. Root and/or unlock your device at your own risk. Rooting and/or unlocking may void your warranty.


This guide will help you to root your Samsung Galaxy Nexus and install ClockworkMod (for GSM and Verizon versions) or TWRP (for Sprint version) recovery on your device. This guide is applicable for all GSM/Verizon/Sprint Samsung Galaxy Nexus devices running on Gingerbread/Ice Cream Sandwich/Jelly Bean. This guide will also guide you through the step of unlocking the bootloader of your device (this method might be relatively simpler for you than the previously posted method).

Before We Begin

  • Download to your computer. Extract this file to the directory C:\Android. Everything you require to unlock the bootloader, install ClockworkMod recovery and root your Galaxy Nexus are included in this package.
  • Download and install Galaxy Nexus USB drivers for Windows if you haven’t already installed the drivers for your device.

How To Unlock the Bootloader

  • Power off your phone.
  • Boot into fastboot mode by keeping the Volume up, Volume down and Power keys pressed until the device responds and you enter the fastboot mode (notice the text “LOCK STATE – LOCKED”).
  • Connect your phone to your computer via a USB cable.
  • Open command prompt on your computer and enter the following commands:
    • cd C:\Android\GalaxyNexusRootNew
    • fastboot oem unlock
  • Now, get your phone and select ‘Yes‘ to unlock the bootloader of your Galaxy Nexus.
  • Do not leave the command prompt on your computer. Read on to install ClockworkMod recovery and root your device.

How To Install ClockworkMod/TWRP recovery

  • Enter the command corresponding to your device:For GSMGalaxy Nexus:
    • fastboot flash recovery optimus_prime-touch-v5.5.0.4-6-GSM.img

    For Verizon Galaxy Nexus:

    • fastboot flash recovery optimus_prime-touch-v5.5.0.4-6-toro-VERIZON.img

    For Sprint Galaxy Nexus

    • fastboot flash recovery twrp-toroplus-2.1.2-SPRINT.img
  • Reboot your device.

How To Root Samsung Galaxy Nexus

  • Copy the file from C:\Android\GalaxyNexusRootNew to the internal storage of your phone.
  • Disconnect the device from your computer.
  • Boot into fastboot mode by keeping the Volume up, Volume down and Power keys pressed until the device responds and you enter the fastboot mode (notice the text “LOCK STATE – UNLOCKED”).
  • Use the Volume Up/Down buttons to select Recovery mode.
  • For GSM/Verizon Galaxy Nexus users:
    • Choose Install zip from sdcard -> choose zip from sdcard.
    • Select the file
    • You should have now successfully installed SuperSU on your device which will help you to manage root privileges of your device.
  • For Sprint Galaxy Nexus users:
    • Choose Install.
    • Select the file
    • As instructed, swipe across the marked area to flash the file.
    • If SuperSU gets successfully installed, you will get a “Successful” message.


Enjoy your unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus with ClockworkMod recovery and the power of root!

[via GalaxyNexusRoot]

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  • jumbi

    This guide is useful as a guideline, but should be avoided by all users.

    I tried yesterday and had 2 big problems to bypass, which I eventually solved through xda forum.

    1) Drivers did not work initially. After a few experiments they did work while in windows but then did not work while in recovery mode!
    (samsung other drivers also did not work in my case, I read there are many similar cases around, finally solved through pda drivers).

    2) is in storage, recovery mode, but no option to install from zip file from sd, as if file is not recognizable, so the phone just restarted normally. Tried 3 times from start, same result. Downloaded newer version of file from xda (v0.99, where I read that indeed it doesn’t work on all phones and needs fix, even the new version!) and it did not work again. Problem solved trying a couple solutions and worked fine with specialized nexus toolkit found in xda, which is great by the way, because it includes too many extra options eg backup-restore, unroot, etc. Highly recommended.

    Of course, there are too many ways to root, but my point is that the above described method should be avoided.

  • Godwin

    @Tom: Yes, I do consider both CWM and TWRP to be equally good (but one might be better than other in some instances though). Both provide almost equivalent functionality.

  • Tom

    I run TWRP on my VZW Galaxy Nexus. Why limit TWRP to Sprint? TWRP is outstanding. In fact, I’m replacing CWM with TWRP on my Nook Color later today.