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Unlock Bootloader, Root and Install CWM Recovery on Google Nexus 5 (all-in-one tutorial)

LG Nexus 5 is the latest handset released by Google along with Android 4.4 KitKat OS. Now, even though on the Nexus 5 you have the pure Android firmware installed, maybe you will want to flash a custom ROM, or only root the system for being able to customize and optimize the OS by your own taste. But for being able to do so, you will first have to unlock the bootloader and install a custom recovery image, all these being complex and unofficial procedures.

But what would you say if I told you that you can use only one tutorial that can explain you how to complete all the mentioned operations at the same time? Even though that’s hard to believe, during the present step by step guide we will be checking on the same. So, by completing the steps from below you will learn how to unlock the bootloader, root and install CWM recovery on your Nexus 5 by using a dedicated tool, that will easily take you through the unlock, root and install procedure.

This tool has been developed and offered by WugFresh, an xda-developer member, so we have him to thanks for the present tutorial. But before starting the proper guide, you should first have to know why you need to complete these operations (unlocking the bootloader, rooting and installing CWM recovery on your LG Google Nexus 5). Also, we will be checking on which are the negative aspects that are related to these operations, prepare your smartphone for the steps that will follow and finally, complete the proper tutorial.

First of all, we have the unlock bootloader aspect. When you first buy your Nexus 5, Google will provide a locked bootloader. Now, on a locked bootloader you can’t gain root access and basically you can’t do anything else. The bootloader program is quite similar with your computer’s program that is running each time you turn on your device. So, the bootloader is actually a small software that is running when you boot your phone. The same is loading the OS and some in built programs and tools from the ROM memory into the RAM one. Therefore, without the bootloader your Nexus 5 can’t be turned on.

As I have mentioned, when you first buy an Android based handset, it will be delivered with a locked bootloader, which is something like a factory restriction. Because of that, if you are looking forward in tweaking your smartphone, you will have to unlock the bootloader.

The same operation must be performed if you want to root your Google Nexus 5. Similar, the root access must be gained in case you want to play with the internal system of your device. Basically, rooting means that you are removing the default and factory restrictions from the OS and from the internal system of your smartphone. The best is that on a rooted Nexus 5 you will be able to remove the bloatware, remove in built apps, add new and custom apps, install a custom recovery image, flash a custom ROM firmware, overclock the CPU, flash a custom kernel and lot more.

As mentioned, on a rooted Nexus 5 you can install a custom recovery image, such as CWM recovery. But what can you do with such a tool? Well, the custom recovery offers an intuitive user interface between you and your phone’s internal system. That’s why by using CWM recovery or any other custom recovery you can easily backup the data and the current ROM, flash a custom and unofficial update, wipe the system, clear the cache and so on. Also, when you first buy your Google Nexus 5, the smartphone will come preinstalled with a stock recovery, which isn’t quite useful. So, it is your job to replace the same with a custom one.

It should be clear for you that all these operations are unofficial ones. Because of that, by completing this step by step guide, the Nexus 5 warranty will get void. In order to restore the same you will have to downgrade your Nexus handset to stock and pure Android 4.4 KitKat firmware, or update with a future release of the Android software. Take note, that on rooted handsets, the OTA updates can be spotted, so you will have to flash the official software manually, by using a dedicated tutorial, similar with this one.

By applying the method from below, your Nexus 5 data might get corrupted or wiped out. Because of that I strongly recommending you to use suitable backup and restore apps and save your contacts list, call logs, text messages, market apps, general data, personal info and accounts and everything else you might need afterwards.

Also, a computer or notebook will be used and your Nexus 5 and its USB cable will be required. On your computer the best will be to temporarily disable the antivirus protection as the security tools might interfere with our work. As you will see, at some point you will have to connect your handset with the computer; because of that, before going any further you need to enable USB debugging option on your phone – go to path “menu – settings – developer options”. Even though this is somehow a one-click root (also unlock bootloader and install a custom recovery image) method, you still should charge your Nexus 5 before starting the proper steps – plug the USB cable especially if the battery status is below 60% power.

It is important to complete this tutorial only if you own the LG Google Nexus 5. The steps from below (which are showing you how to unlock the bootloader, root and install CWM recovery) are being compatible only with the mentioned smartphone, so try not to mess things up.

How to Unlock Bootloader, Root and Install CWM Recovery on Google Nexus 5 (all-in-one tutorial)

  1. First of all, you need to download the WugFresh Nexus Toolkit file from this page.
  2. Save the downloaded file on your computer; preferable on desktop.
  3. Install the tool on your computer – double click on the .exe executable file and just follow the prompts.
  4. Now, run the program on your computer.
  5. When asked enter the version of your device.
  6. Take your Nexus 5 and pull down the notification bar.
  7. From there tap on the settings icon.
  8. Tap “about phone”.
  9. Now on the build phone icon tap your finger several times until it says that you are a developer.
  10. Good; up next, connect your Google Nexus 5 with your computer.
  11. Use the USB cable for establishing the connection.
  12. Now, head your attention towards the WugFresh Nexus Toolkit window from your computer.
  13. Unlock the bootloader by selecting the “unlock” option.
  14. Follow the prompts and in the end go back to the main screen of your handset.
  15. Again, as showed above ensure that you “are a developer” and make sure USB debugging option is enabled.
  16. From the WugFresh Nexus Toolkit now check the “recovery” box and then click on the “root” box.
  17. Follow the prompts and in the end reboot your Nexus 5.
  18. If you have encountered issues while trying to complete the steps from above, try to resolve your problems by using our dedicated step by step guide: “how to resolve most common Android issues”.

Congratulations; now you have an unlocked LG Google Nexus 5 as you handset has been rooted and installed with a custom recovery image, not to mention the unlocked bootloader. Therefore, now you can easily install a custom ROM firmware, flash a custom kernel or overclock your Android device. All these operations can be used for improving the performances, bumping the speeds, upgrading the battery life, updating the web browsing experience and so on. Don’t forget about us and do share your thoughts and experience by using the comments field from below.

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