A Google employee announced that the official Android 5.0 Lollipop will be available soon for Nexus 4 owners so they can join the rest of the nexus family who are already running the OTA updates. Even without the OTA rolling to notification panels for device owners, we can still update the nexus 4 to the LRX21T build using the official factory image. The folks out of the Googleplex made the images available. Therefore, whether you updated manually using the factory image, or if you are reading this at a later date and you installed the official over the air update, you can use this guide to gain root access on the new Lollipop software.
As usual, there’s a list of essentials you must read before getting to business. The first thing you want to note is backing up. We must backup the EFS folder before applying root access and unlocking the system internals. If this folder is corrupt it can cause issues without another copy. Next you want to search the Google Play store for a number of applications that will help you in backing up everything on your phone. We recommend using Helium for Android for backing up the market applications and syncing the phone contacts. Furthermore, SMS Backup+ is a great way to store the text messages from your friends and family that you don’t want to risk losing. Additionally, you can check out others such as G cloud backup for those preferring to store data in the cloud, Holo Backup and more.
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.
Details of Note
- You must have the LG Nexus 4 USB Drivers. Moreover, stopover at the Settings > Developer options and enable the USB Debugging mode. Now you are all set to connect the phone to the computer successfully. The last thing you need is the USB cable that comes out of the box. Most people use the same wire for the phone charging cable. Therefore, if you have trouble locating yours, try looking at the phone charger wire.
- The following steps are compatible for users who own a Windows computer, Linux computer and mac computer. It doesn’t matter the brand from open source, to Microsoft and Apple. However, the steps slightly differ for each. Most notably is when you must type a different command and download a different file. We run through the steps for each operating system during the guide clearly, so there’s no reason to worry.
- The Nexus 4 comes with USB charging as a default feature. That means the phone starts charging instinctively all by itself once plugged into the computer. It works by taking some of the power coming from the computer. The computer must be working for that to work. That’s not a problem since we must have the computer on for doing our work at the same time. Nevertheless, not all phones have the USB charging feature working. If yours is not working you should reserve enough battery to see through the guide without the phone turning off beforehand. If the device doesn’t make it to the end it can result in soft-bricking of the handset. Now you will require a different guide to fix the problem. Therefore, it’s a great idea to have at least 50% battery saved up before starting. You can check the battery level by observing the battery icon from the status bar.
- The following guide is for experienced Android users. You must have experience with Android SDK. It’s a unique method that’s popular for the Nexus range.
- Android 5.0 for the Nexus 5 comes with loads of features including lock screen notifications, Material Design UI, Recent multi-tasking, multi-user support, Android Runtime, OpenGL ES 3.1, Google Now enhancements to the “OK Google” menu, priority call features and more. A few lesser known features include improved camera software, dynamic status bar, battery saving mode and print preview.
- The following steps will apply root access along with clockworkMod recovery. TWRP recovery does work. The choice is yours! However, you must flash at least one version of recovery or else there’s no unchaining of the operating system.
- Once you open up the internal hardware away from the default factory restrictions you can start exploring with custom ROMS and applications that are not available from the Google Play Store. Some of our favorite apps include Children tracker, BBQ Screen, FPS Meter, Experience pro, Icon Themer, Softkeyz, Nandroid manager and more.
How to root Google Nexus 4 on Android LRX21T 5.0 Lollipop
1. Download the Android SDK to the computer. Set it up if you don’t have it already.
2. Download fastboot for:
3. Choose the correct file that matches your OS.
4. Download SuperSu 2.16 here
5. Fetch the USB cable.
6. Connect the Google Nexus 4 to the computer using the wire.
7. Transfer the SuperSU file to the phones SD card.
8. Download ClockworkMod here.
9. Save the recovery to the android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory from the Android SDK.
10. Turn the nexus 4 off and boot it up into Bootloader mode.
Hold the Volume Down + Power buttons at the same time.
11. Open the directory on the computer and press Shift + right-click the mouse on a blank space
12. Now the command prompt is open.
13. From the command line you want to enter the following:
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-220.127.116.11-mako.img
14. Choose the recovery option from the fastboot menu.
15. Pick the flash zip from SD card option in recovery.
16. Pick the choose zip from SD card option.
17. Pick the
SuperSU-v2.16.zip and flash the file.
18. Go back to the main recovery screen and pick the reboot system now option.
19. If your find the smartphone stuck in a bootloop you must reach the recovery mode. Pick the wipe data factory reset and wipe cache partition options from in recovery and confirm them.