Ok, the Google Nexus 5 has been out there for a couple of weeks and we think it's about time for a root tutorial. So, without further ado, here is our step by step guide with images.
As always, gaining root access is risky, and if you do not follow the procedure properly, you can end up with an unusable phone. Also, please note that all data is deleted during the operation so back up all your data first. Neither AndroidPIT or myself will be held responsible for anything unflattering that may happen to your Nexus 5.
The following procedure is valid only for the Google Nexus 5.
Install the Nexus 5 drivers on your PC (just plug it in and wait a few minutes, it will install them automatically).
Ensure that you have Administrator rights on Windows (if you do not know what these are, you probably haven't got them).
Make sure your Nexus 5 has at least 60% of battery. 70% is better, and fully charged is... you get the drift.
The general procedure is the same as on Windows, but the commands to use in the terminal are different on Mac and Linux. This tutorial is for a PC running Windows.
I. Installing ADB and Fastboot
1. Download the Android SDK for your computer's operating system and unzip it in a folder named "Android SDK''.
2. Launch "SDK-Manager.exe" and install the following packages:
- Tools > Android SDK Tools, Android SDK Platform-Tools
- Extras > Android Support Library, Google USB Driver
3. Look for the new "Platform-Tools" folder in the "Android SDK" directory.
II. Unlocking the bootloader
1. Turn off your Nexus 5.
2. Reboot into fastboot mode by pressing and holding the Volume Down + Power button.
3. Connect your Nexus 5 to your computer with a USB cable.
4. Open the Android SDK > SDK > Platform-Tools directory then right-click in an empty area while holding the shift key.
5. Click "Open the command prompt here".
6. Enter the following command:
If you get a serial number, it's good and you can continue. Otherwise, your drivers are not installed correctly.
7 . Enter the following command:
fastboot oem unlock
8 . On your Nexus 5, confirm with "Yes" using the Volume keys to move and the Power button to confirm.
9 . Enter the following command:
III. Installing the custom recovery
1. Turn off your Nexus 5
2. Reboot into fastboot mode (as in Section II)
3. Copy the custom recovery file downloaded earlier into the Android SDK > SDK > Platform-Tools directory. Rename the file "recovery.img". If it does not work, simply rename the file "recovery" without the "img".
4. In the command prompt window (as per Section II), enter the following command:
fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
5. On your Nexus 5, use the unusable Volume buttons to select the "Restart bootloader" option and press the Power button.
6. You can now verify the custom recovery installation by entering "Recovery Mode". If you arrive on the CWM screen, the recovery is all good.
1 . Reboot your Nexus 5 normally. Copy the previously downloaded file "SuperSU v1.65" to the root of your smartphone.
2 . Reboot into fastboot mode (as in Section II) and choose Recovery Mode.
3 . Choose the "install zip from sdcard" option.
4 . Select "choose zip from sdcard".
5 . Locate the "SuperSU v1.65" file and select it.
6 . Confirm with "Yes".
7 . Once the file installation is complete, restart by selecting "go back" then "reboot now".
8 . Final check: install an application to verify root such as Root Checker. If everything is green, it's all good! Congratulations, your Google Nexus 5 is rooted!
Any questions can be directed to the Nexus 5 Root forum.
Source: XDA Developers