How to unlock and root a Google Nexus One

Omer Saleem

Nexus One has been in the market for over six months now and there has been over a dozen techniques of rooting an Android based N1 but how would one find out which is the right procedure for gaining root access to the N1 device.

Here is how you can do it the right way. Of course there is a disclaimer attached to this procedure that says we are not responsible if you lose your phone, burn your house, break up with your girl friend and many more such disasters.

Process Unlocking

    1. First and foremost, you need to have Android Software Developers Kit (SDK) installed on your PC / Laptop. The SDK can be downloaded from Google directly but here’s the link anyway, Android SDK. You will also need fastboot for this process, download it from here
    2. Extract files from to your computer’s C: drive and remember the path
    3. Open a command prompt and navigate to the directory where you extracted fastboot in the previous step.
    4. Now you need to put your phone into boot loader mode, which can be done while holding the power button to turn on the phone and trackball together.
    Windows will try to load the drivers from the device, which is different from the normal drivers for N1, which is not rooted. In case the drivers do not load then do not proceed unless you have the drivers issue resolved.
    5. Once the drivers are loaded, go to command prompt and then type “fastboot-windows oem unlock” or “./fastboot-mac oem unlock” or “./fastboot-linux oem unlock” (depending on your operating system). A menu will appear and ask you if you want to unlock the bootloader. Read the warning, then use the volume up/down button to select your choice (yes or no) then press the power button to confirm your choice.
    6. NOTE: Just to caution you, this entire process will erase everything you have on your Nexus One Device so better back up before you try attempting this process for unlocking boot loader.
    7. Now that your Nexus One is unlocked, you can proceed to gain root access to the device.
    Process Gaining Root Access:

Root access is like being an Administrator of a Windows machine as you can do whatever you want with the OS but remember, everything comes with a risk tagged along.

You will need to have a root.img file in order to gain root access to your Nexus One. Download the boot.img file that corresponds with ROM Build number of your phone (found in Settings, About phone, Build number) from here.

Reboot your phone into bootloader mode.

Open a command prompt and navigate to the folder where you downloaded the boot.img, then run “install-superboot-windows.bat” (or the corresponding Mac/Linux script). If no error messages are displayed, reboot your phone. You should now have root access.

To test this, open the Market and download a Terminal emulator app. Launch the app and type su then press enter. If you are able to “Allow” access, your phone has been successfully rooted.


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