I'm eligible for a phone upgrade with Sprint and the Nexus 5 is one of my top choices at the moment. Normally they bundle their phones with bloatware (like their Connection Optimizer shudder) which I would like to avoid.

Can a Nexus 5, purchased from Sprint, be flashed/reimaged/reset to be identical to one purchased from the Google Play store?

Some caveats:

  • I imagine rooting the phone might be a necessary step in this process (should one exist) but I'd prefer the phone to be "unrooted" after completion.
  • Ideally the process should not void the warranty on the device

As a side question: are the differences between a Sprint-offered Nexus 5 and one bought straight from Google Play significant enough (annoying enough?) to warrant all this effort?

  • 1
    You can root and unroot, I'm not sure if there is any flag on the Nexus 5 that would highlight this. With root you can uninstall any system apps you want, then un-root. However, rooting does void the carrier and manufacturer warranty in most cases. I'd get the Google Play one myself, why get the bloatware and all the hassle?
    – RossC
    Aug 21, 2014 at 9:43
  • @RossC - also see Experience with OEM Nexus 5 in the US.
    – jww
    Aug 27, 2014 at 7:00

1 Answer 1


Unless the Google Play version is designed to work with Sprint's network, I don't think there is a process to do so.

However, there is good news. First, Nexus devices (even from the carrier) tend to be mostly to entirely bloat free. For example, the Verizon Nexus 7 2013 is completely stock. Verizon loves to put bloat on their devices too...

Second, even if there is bloat on it, it should be very simple to root and remove the bloat. In the process, you'll have to wipe your data, so if you want to use that option, you'll want to do it right when you get the phone...

  • The Google Play version does work with Sprint, actually, even including their recent tri-band LTE deployment (with some tweaking of default settings). Aug 21, 2014 at 14:55
  • Good to know. Then the OP's idea should work fine Aug 21, 2014 at 14:58

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