Unlock Nexus 7 Bootloader & Flash ClockworkMod Recovery

Google Nexus 7 had been released just a few days back at the Google I/O event. It is currently available only in the United States and if you are one among those Americans who has got their hands on Nexus 7, you must be quite happy about owning a device that runs on the latest Android 4.1 firmware, Jelly Bean. No doubt, the device would perform great with the 1.3 quad core tegra 3 processor. But you may still wish to root Nexus 7, not to enhance its performance but to gain the benefits of rooting a device like automating tasks or removing system apps that may be running in the background. To root the device, you will need to unlock the bootloader of Nexus 7.

Flashing ClockworkMod Recovery will help you install custom ROMs and you can also root your Nexus 7 after flashing ClockworkMod Recovery.

This tutorial requires Android SDK installed. Make sure you remember the path where you have installed Android SDK. For me, it is in C:\android-sdk-windows\ and the ADB.exe file exists in \android-sdk-windows\platform tools\ You will get this folder only if you have install tools from the SDK Manager.


  • Have minimum 60% charge on your device else you might get stuck while the update process is running on your device.
  • Remove any security or Anti-virus app if you have them installed.
  • Enable USB Debugging. This can be don by Settings>Applications>Development and making sure that USB Debugging is checked.

Disclaimer: Hack My Android is not responsible for any damage that your device may face during this process. The developer is also not responsible for the same. There are little chances that your device may face any issue. However, try this at your own risk. This process voids the warranty of your device.


  • CWM-grouper-recovery.img (Copy this file to the platform tools folder).

Steps to Unlock Nexus 7 Bootloader

  1. After you have installed Android SDK and platform tools, navigate to the platform tools folder where you will find the AB.exe file.
  2. Press Left Shift + Right Click if on Windows and select the option “Open Command Prompt” or cd to the location where ADB.exe is located in the Command Prompt.
  3. Enable USB Debugging in your Nexus 7 and connect it to the computer via USB Cable. To verify that you have installed Android SDK properly, type “adb devices” in Command Prompt. This will pull up the list of devices attached to your computer. If it says device not found, you will need to install the drivers for your device and if it says adb is not a valid command, you have not installed Android SDK or platform tools properly.
  4. Type the following command in Command Prompt to boot your device  into bootloader:

     adb reboot bootloader

  5. Now your device will boot into bootloader mode.
  6. Type the following command in Command Prompt to unlock the bootloader:

    fastboot oem unlock

  7. This should unlock the bootloader of your Nexus 7. Do not reboot your device, stay in bootloader mode.

Flash ClockworkMod Recovery in Nexus 7

  1. I assume that you have copied the CWM zip file to platform tools folder after downloading it from the link given above.
  2. Type the following command in Command Prompt while you are still in the bootloader mode:

    fastboot flash recovery CWM-grouper-recovery.img

  3. This installs ClockworkMod Recovery on your phone, but it is not permanent. To make it permanent, type the command:

    adb reboot recovery

  4. Now your device boots into the recovery mode. Navigate using the Volume Buttons and select using the Power button. Go to Mounts and Storage option and select Mount /system.
  5. Type the following in Command Prompt:

    mv recovery-from-boot.p recovery-from-boot.bak

This will install ClockworkMod Recovery on your Nexus 7 permanently. To root your Nexus 7, head over to the next post.