I am planning on buying a Nexus 5 for Christmas, to which I intend to Root it, so that I can use Rooted Apps eg Titanium Backup which would otherwise be unavailable to me.

If I root the device, but do not flash a custom rom or kernel, and instead keep stock android KitKat 4.4. :-

What happens when an OTA update occurs from Google ie to 4.4.1?

Do I lose Root and Rooted Apps ?

(Correct me if i'm wrong, if I Root the Nexus 5 and flash a custom rom, then the OTA updates would come from the XDA Developer for the specific custom rom you are using, rather than from Google).

2 Answers 2


If you root the device on the stock ROM, it will still offer to do OTA updates, but they won't work. OTA updates only apply to a completely clean system image that hasn't been rooted.

To apply an upgrade to your rooted device, you have to download the ROM image from the official Google site and follow the instructions there to flash it.

  • Thats exactly what I wanted to know...brilliant. In terms of a rooted device with a custom rom, what happens then ?
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 15:28
  • A custom ROM won't have the stock OTA updater anyway, so it won't even offer you the update. Some ROMs (such as Cyanogenmod) have their own OTA update system.
    – Dan Hulme
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 16:22
  • Ah I see so a custom rom will only receive an update if the developer has included an OTA updater integrated within that particular rom. It may be better to stay with Stock Android (especially in the case of people who have never rooted & flashed before) !
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 18:45

Simply rooting your device won't cause OTA updates to fail. Changing any system files such as the Kernel or installing the XPosed framework will cause the update to fail as it won't be able to verify the files.

I have rooted my Nexus 5 and the 4.4 -> 4.4.1 update applied successfully. I did have to re-root though, which simply required re-flashing the superuser.zip.

  • You must have lost Root when you updated if you then had to re-root ?There are obviously unforeseen "pitfalls" that someone new to Rooting & Flashing may be unaware of !
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 19:30
  • Yes, I did lose root but the update didn't fail. Simply having the su binary and app in /system doesn't stop the update from applying. There may be other things that a user can do once they've rooted but that's a whole different issue.
    – bmdixon
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 20:13
  • 1
    Apparently (correct me if i'm wrong) if you have the Pro version of SuperSU you can enable OTA Survival mode and therefore will not lose Root in the process of an OTA update (and therefore no need to re-root).
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 11:41

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