Nexus 4: How to Unlock Bootloader

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We haven’t been writing up much about the new Nexus 4 as we are patiently waiting for the phone to release and get it in our hands. Some people have it and have been posting various tips about it, like Android Central. You can easily unlock bootloader on Nexus 4 just as we have been unlocking bootloaders in the past of Google Nexus devices. The process is clean and simple, unlike some OEMs which make you go through long and extensive set of instructions to unlock bootloader.

As you continue reading below, we will guide you on how to unlock Nexus 4 bootloader for installing custom ROMs, a custom recovery or doing anything nasty with your phone — most of all, you will be able to root Nexus 4 on Android 4.2+ and enjoy the various root apps. Just to be clear, unlocking bootloader will wipe ALL your data form the phone. So make sure you backup everything or unlock bootloader on a new device with nothing to lose.

Disclaimer: All the tools, mods or ROMs mentioned below belong to their respective owners/developers. We (TeamAndroid.com) or the developers are not to be held responsible if you damage or brick your device. We don’t have you on gun point to try out this tutorial ;-)

Make sure you have installed all your USB drivers for the Nexus 4 to connect it with the computer. Download Nexus 4 USB drivers! Apart from the USB drivers, there are a few more things that you need to take care of.

1. You need to enable USB debugging mode. This helps to connect your Android phone with the PC. See here: How to Enable USB Debugging.

2. Your phone battery should be 80-85% charged. If your phone goes off suddenly because of battery, during flashing ROMs or installing mods and updates — your phone might go dead permanently. See here: How to Check Battery Percentage.

3. Backup all your important data that you might need as soon as your flash a new ROM, unlock bootloader or make a backup for just in case, you never know when anything might go wrong. See below on how to backup data:

4. [IMPORTANT] Copy all the backup files from your SD card to your computer as internal memory will be wiped clean while unlocking the bootloader.

If you are a developer and would want to unlock the bootloader, we recommend doing that before you set up the Google Play Store, install apps or anything because the security feature in Android clears out everything from your phone when unlocking bootloader of a phone.

Now, let’s proceed with the tutorial below to unlock Nexus 4 bootloader.

How to Unlock Nexus 4 Bootloader

We have put together a detailed step-by-step instructions guide on how to unlock bootloader on Nexus 4. If you are used to unlocking bootloaders on any previous Nexus devices, then this should not be any different for you.

Please read every line carefully and make sure you read the tutorial once before actually performing it on your Android device.

To Remember:

  • This unlocking bootloader tutorial is only for LG Nexus 4. Please don’t try this on any other variants of the phone.
  • This tutorial has been performed on Windows, but anyone familiar with Fastboot on Mac or Linux can perform this as well.
  • Make sure you backup all your data in your phone before proceeding as it will erase all data.
  • You will void your warranty by unlocking the bootloader.

Requirements:

  • Nexus 4
  • USB cable
  • Android SDK with drivers (How to set up? Tutorial link given below)

Step 1 - Download Android SDK / Fastboot and install all the USB drivers. How to set up? Read detailed instructions here: How to Set Up ADB / Fastboot with Android SDK.

Step 2 - Enable USB Debugging mode on your Nexus 4.

Step 3 - If you already have Android SDK, then you can just download Fastboot and extract it in android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory. Create directory if not already there.

Step 4 - Make sure you have backup your data as it will be erased. Then switch OFF your Nexus 4 phone.

Step 5 - Now enter into the Bootloader / Fastboot Mode on Nexus 4. How? Press Volume Down + Power keys for a few seconds till you see some text and the START on the screen. This is the Bootloader Mode which allows Fastboot to communicate with your phone.

Step 6 - Navigate to android-sdk-windows\platform-tools directory and open Command Prompt (Shift + Right-click > Open Command Prompt).

Step 7 - Type in the following command and press Enter.

fastboot oem unlock

Step 8 - Now follow the on-screen instructions on your phone to confirm the bootloader unlocking and erase all the data, then proceed.

Step 9 - In the end, your Nexus 4 will now reboot itself. Or you can always reboot your phone with the following command if not rebooted automatically.

fastboot reboot

That’s it! Your Nexus 4 bootloader is now unlocked! You can now install a custom recovery, a custom ROM or any system tweak you like. Just be careful with what you do! ;-)

For those interested: