I am wanting to gain root privileges on my Google Nexus 7 tablet, running Android 4.1-4.2.1. How can I do this?

  • 2
    I took the freedom to add your Q to our Rooting Index -- see also the tag-wiki for the "rooting" tag ;) Besides: Did you know that there was already a "Nexus 7 rootkit" mentioned?
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:21
  • @LiamW I found this quite useful. I'm not going to do it though, as I don't want to lose my current memory. Do you know if it is at all possible to root a Nexus 7 without losing the memory, or at least a way to backup the memory to restore later? Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 19:25
  • @Fogest See edit to use adb backup :)
    – Liam W
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 19:48
  • 1
    @LiamW I was not telling you off -- sorry if you got that expression! It was meant as a thumbs-up and giving a hand. Good guide you wrote! So it needed to be linked in the first place to look for good guides on rooting.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


The Nexus 7 is probably one of the easiest Android devices to root - and all you need is the Android SDK (and 2 downloads).

Step 1

Install the adb and fastboot commands. On Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

On Windows you should download the Android SDK, however you can just download this zip which contains the adb, fastboot and dependencies.

Step 2

On your Nexus 7, go to System Settings->Developer Options->Check USB Debugging (You may need to slide the toggle switch in the action bar to on). If you do not see the USB Debugging option, go to System Settings->About Tablet->Tap on 'Build Number' 7 times.

Connect your Nexus to your computer.

Step 3

Make sure the drivers have downloaded and installed if you're on Windows - Windows Update should automatically find them.

Once connected, open up a terminal window (Windows: Win+R, type cmd press Enter. Ubuntu: ctrl+alt+t) and navigate to where you have unzipped the fastboot & adb programs (no need to do this on linux - they are in the path).

Step 3.5

Type adb backup -all -nosystem to backup your userdata to the backup.ab file.

Step 4

Type adb reboot bootloader.

Step 5

When the Nexus 7 has rebooted into fastboot mode, type fastboot oem unlock. Read the information on the device, and touch the Yes option. Your bootloader will be unlocked. This will erase all userdata!

Step 6

Download the latest TWRP recovery image. Save it in the same location as the fastboot binary. Issue the fastboot flash recovery twrp.img command to flash this recovery image.

Step 7

From the fastboot menu (green robot on its back with the cover open), use the volume keys to cycle through the options start, restart bootloader, power off, to recovery mode. Push the power key to select recovery mode. You'll see the google logo with an unlocked padlock, and then the TWRP splash screen for about 45 seconds. Then TWRP asks "keep system read-only?" Instead of tapping on "no," swipe the swiper to allow these modifications. This shows you the TWRP menu, 8 big buttons. Tap on Advanced. On the next menu, tap on ADB Sideload.

Download the latest SuperSU zip file and save it to the same location as adb and fastboot. DON'T UNZIP IT.

Step 8

On the Nexus 7, swipe the swiper to prepare it to sideload. Issue the command adb sideload CWM-SuperSU-v0.99.zip, which takes about a minute, and then tap the reboot button. This may take several minutes and several reboots, so don't worry.

The Nexus 7 is now rooted!

Step 9

Type adb restore <backup file made in 3.5> to restore from a backup.

  • 3
    There is a step missing before 5, where you backup the userdata.
    – ott--
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 19:31
  • 2
    @ott Fixed... ;)
    – Liam W
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 19:52
  • What does the backup save. Does it save things like music, apps/appdata? What specifically is backed up? Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 0:47
  • @Fogest Apps and appdata
    – Liam W
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 19:29
  • 1
    The link to the TWRP image doesn't work anymore (404).
    – Lennart
    Commented Feb 13, 2013 at 14:47

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