Once you’ve updated the Nexus 5 to the latest LMY48B factory image on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, you will have to gain root access to it again since the factory image wipes it away.

I’ll show you how you can root the Nexus 5 on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop LMY48B firmware build number after the break.

What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?

When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.

Why Would You Want to Root Android?

Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:

  • Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
  • Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
  • Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
  • Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.

What Are the Risks of Rooting?

If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.

With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:

  • Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
  • You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
  • You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.

Here is how it’s done.


  • You want to install the LMY48B factory image if you already have root access because updating from the official OTA can brick your device. Once done, follow this guide to gain the root access again.
  • Only follow this guide for the Google Nexus 5 and no other Google Nexus device.


  • You do void the Nexus warranty by following the guide.
  • You should enable the USB Debugging Mode. First, unlock the Developer Options by going to Settings > About Device > tap the build number 7 times. Now you can find the Developer Options from the Settings now and the USB Debugging is inside the Developer Options.
  • Download the Google USB Drivers to the Windows computer. If you find the guide isn’t working, try rebooting the computer to get those drivers to work and come back to the guide.
  • You must unlock the Nexus 5 bootloader before you start this guide. There’s no way to do it with a locked bootloader.


1. Download and install the Android SDK from the official Developers website.

2. You can set up ADB and Fastboot on Windows following our guide. If you already have it, there’s no need to do it again.

3. Download the SuperSU you want to have from Chainfire.

4. Transfer the SuperSU file over to the internal SD card storage on the Nexus 5 device.

5. Download the ClockworkMod recovery you want. Transfer the CWM file over to the same folder that you have the ADB.

6. Completely power off the Nexus 5 by holding in the Power button.

7. Boot the Nexus 5 up in Fastboot mode by pressing the Power and Volume Down buttons together and keeping them firmly held down until you see the menu.

8. Open the folder where you have ADB and CWM and right-click the mouse while holding down the Shift key and choose to open the command windows here from the new menu.

9. Now type this command: fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-

10. Now watch the new menu on the device change and choose the recovery option. Now you are entering the recovery mode.

11. Choose the “flash zip from SD card” option, followed by “choose zip from sdcard.”

12. Browse for the SuperSU file you transferred earlier to the root of the storage and confirm to upload it.

13. Once complete, navigate to the main menu in recovery and choose to reboot the system.

Congratulations. . . . Now you have gained root access from inside recovery thanks to the SuperSU, and you can flash a custom ROM again.