How to Root Nexus 5, Nexus 7(2013) Wifi Running Android 5.0 Preview Build

Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 have been updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop via Preview builds. The new update cannot be rooted using the conventional rooting methods because of SELinux. Chainfire has come up with the solution and developed the kernel and SuperSU app for rooting Nexus and 5 and Nexus 7 running Android 5.0 Lollipop. It cannot be rooted using the tradition SuperSU script. For the new rooting method, Chainfire has changed some of the portions of SELinux kernel from enforcing to permissive. Google is periodically updating the security of Android to close all the loopholes for attackers. It also closes doors for root access.

Because of new policies, the devices running Android 5.0 will not be easily rooted. Most of the devices might require unlocked bootloader and modified kernel. The same will be done in this rooting method. Therefore, the bootloader must be unlocked. Then, the modified kernel will be flashed using the fastboot. Later on, SuperSU will be flashed from the TWRP custom recovery. Below are the requirements for this method.

Install ADB and Fastboot Drivers

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Fastboot mode is used to issue commands to the device without booting into the OS. It can be used to install kernels. If you plan to install custom ROMs and kernels, then fastboot mode will be used a lot. Follow the below given guide to install ADB and Fastboot Drivers on WIndows PC. Use Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

How to Install ADB and Fastboot Drivers on Windows PC

OR – Install Minimal ADB and Fastboot Tool

This is a basic tool which is used to make the fastboot commands work. Compared to above given tools, it is much smaller in size (~2MB).

Download Minimal ADB and Fastboot Tools

Install Nexus USB Drivers

The USB drivers are essential to connect Nexus device one to PC. Otherwise, the PC might not recognize your device one while it is connected to PC. The adb of the device must work properly. For OnePlus One, the USB drivers of Samsung work properly. Download these drivers from the below link and install on your PC. After that, connect Nexus 5/7 to PC with and without USB Debugging turned on. The PC must install the device and recognize it properly in both conditions.

Download USB Drivers

It is recommended to use Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 or 8.1.

Make a Backup of Data Stored on Internal Storage, Apps, Contacts

Unlocking the bootloader of Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, along with installing the preview build will wipe all data stored on device. Since this device does not have a SD card slot, so all data is stored in one memory only. It will be wiped when bootloader is unlocked. The files which will be wiped include media files, contacts, messages, logs, apps and any other saved files anywhere. Make a backup of everything you would require later before continuing. Use the following guide to make a backup of messages and contacts and restore then after bootloader is unlocked. For rest of the files, simply copy them to the PC. You can use apps like Helium form Play Store to make a backup of installed applications.

Contacts and Messages Backup Guide

All the installed applications are saved as history in the Play Store. You can install all the application from the Play Store once again.

Make a Nandroid Backup

A Nandroid backup can be dubbed as the ultimate backup and it is best backup tool for those who like to mess with their Android devices alot. A Nandroid backup is backup of everything stored on device(except data stored in SD memory). It includes the complete OS itself, all the changes made to it and use installed applications. It also includes messages, contacts and other related data. However, Nandroid backup can only be made on devices with a custom recovery installed. Use the following guide to make a Nandroid Backup on your device with CWM or TWRP custom recovery.

How to make and Restore Nandroid Backup Using CWM or TWRP

It can be particularly useful if you do not like the Android 5.0 Preview and you want to restore your device to the previously installed firmware.

Unlock Bootloader of Nexus 5 and Nexus 7

Although it is an official preview build, unlocking the bootloader of this device is required. The bootloader of Nexus devices can be unlocked pretty easily. To know more about it and how to unlock the bootloader of Nexus 5, visit the following guide.

How to Unlock the Bootloader of Nexus 5

The same series of steps can be applied to unlock the bootloader of Nexus 7 (2013) Wifi only.

 Download Chainfire’s Modified Kernel for Nexus 5 or Nexus 7

How to Root Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 Using Windows

  1. First make sure that you have unlocked the bootloader of your device
  2. Now connect the device to computer with USB Debugging mode enabled
  3. To enable USB debugging, enable Developer options by tapping build number 7 times in About Device tab in settings. Then go to Developer Options in Settings and enable USB Debugging. After connecting to PC, if it asks for permission to allows USB Debugging via this PC, allow it
  4. Download Wugfresh NRT
  5. DOwnload and execute the NRT tool
  6. Select your device
  7. You will have to select the software version as well
  8. After selecting, toolkit might ask user to download some extra files, download those files
  9. In the main menu, select Root option
  10. It will start the process itself
  11. At one point, it will ask you to do some steps manually in TWRP
  12. Do those steps and click ok
  13. Even when it has rooted the device, do not unplug the device
  14. After rooting, the toolkit will finish some tasks and then display the root successful message
  15. Now you may unplug your device
  16. That’s it! ENjoy root access!

How to Root Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 Using Mac

  1. Download SuperSU zip and place it anywhere on your phone
  2. Make sure that you have unlocked the bootloader of your device using the guide given above
  3. Now connect the device to computer with USB Debugging mode enabled
  4. To enable USB debugging, enable Developer options by tapping build number 7 times in About Device tab in settings. Then go to Developer Options in Settings and enable USB Debugging. After connecting to PC, if it asks for permission to allows USB Debugging via this PC, allow it
  5. Launch terminal app on Mac
  6. Type following command and press Enter:
    • bash < (curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/corbindavenport/nexus-tools/master/install.sh)
  7. Open System Preferences, select keyboard Shortcut and choose New Terminal at Folder at Services
  8. Now extract the downloaded modifed kernel for your device
  9. Extract the zip file to obtain .img file
  10. Open the extracted folder
  11. Right click and select New Terminal at folder from Services
  12. Type adb reboot bootloader and execute
  13. Once the device is on fastboot mode, type fastboot flash boot boot.img
  14. It will install the modified kernel on the Nexus device in few minutes
  15. Now boot to recovery using adb reboot recovery command
  16. In the TWRP, tap in Install
  17. Navigate to the folder where SuperSU is placed
  18. Tap on it and confirm its installation
  19. Once done, go to main menu and reboot the device
  20. That’s it! Enjoy

Got any question? Ask me in the comments below

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+Hayder Ameen is a Computer Science student and Android is his passion. Other than that, he is a gym addict and a great sportsman.
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