As far as I have understood it's the unlocking part that requires wiping, and the rooting part doesn't. So, if I am already unlocked, can I root without losing my data? I've got a (red) Nexus 5 16GB Unlocked running Android 5.1.

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can root as many times you want without losing data if your device is unlocked. I've done that on my OnePlus One.

For further clarification, it's the default mechanism in the device set by the OEM, that whenever the bootloader's default (locked) state is tampered it would issue a data wipe (a Factory Reset), most probably to protect the user's data from a possible compromise.

Rooting on the other hand is moving a binary (su) under system (usually at /system/xbin and placing symlinks at locations like /system/bin) which with proper files permissions can be executed by an ordinary user to gain supreme rights on the system.

It is possible that the rooting method you attempt in your device isn't the standard (via Recovery) one but needs a one-click tool, and some users have reported data loss with the latter, so you may take a backup to be on the safe-side.

Further reading:

  • Do you know any methods that do work, since you mentioned you've done it? Like CF AutoRoot for example, since that's the one I've been using for rooting. Thanks.
    – Pkarls
    Jul 9, 2015 at 8:49
  • I've a custom Recovery (TWRP) running in my phone, so rooting is easy. I just download SuperSu.zip and flash it via recovery, done! No data loss, nothing. I've seen many threads where same approach is used on Nexus phones as well. I don't think rooting instructions for Nexus 5 will vary but take a look at Nexus 7 which does the same thing I mentioned here.
    – Firelord
    Jul 9, 2015 at 8:54
  • Thanks, man. [Random nonsense to get up to the 15 characters limit]
    – Pkarls
    Jul 9, 2015 at 8:57

In most of the cases, rooting won't cause data loss unless it failed. The challenging part is how to unlock the bootloader if there was. For unlocked phone, you can easily get the phone rooted with apps such as AnyRooter or TWRP.

  • Welcome to our community. It's great that you're posting answers to help others. Since this question already had an accepted answer, which made the same points you've raised, you probably won't get much attention for this answer. If you want to help where it's most needed, you can start with some unanswered questions (link in the top-right), and people will be grateful.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 16, 2016 at 8:21

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