Rooting the Nexus 7
Google Nexus 7 PR shot1-580-100
On a whim I picked up the Nexus 7 (2012) from a local store here in Japan. It was my first good taste of the Android Operating System and it is enough like Linux, which I love, that I went and swapped my iPhone in for an Android phone.

And it’s true that you can jailbreak an iPhone or iPad but it just isn’t embraced by Apple and they do all they can to get you un-jailbroken. God forbid you update anything.

Not so in Android land. Rooting your device opens up the world to power users like myself. If you’ve looked around my website one of my dynamics is to exploit technology as much as I can.

Ok. On to the rooting instructions. First you need to download a root toolkit. I am a Mac User so I went here. PC users need to look elsewhere. Same general instructions apply. NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE NEXUS 7 2012 VERSION. IF YOU HAVE THE NEW NEXUS 7 (2013) you need another toolkit.

Updated One-Click Root Toolkit

Unzip your file and open the folder

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 5.35.13 PM

Click on the Little Green Android Guy.

This opens a terminal shell which looks like this:
Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 5.37.13 PM

Now start your device in FASTBOOT MODE. That means hold down the power button and the volume button at the same time. Looks like this:


Now hook your Nexus 7 to your Mac via the USB Cable and hit enter.

Carefully follow the directions on the screen.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 5.50.04 PM

You just unlocked the boot loader. Now to make the device play nice you need to enable USB debugging. Disconnect your usb, start the device and go to Settings> Developer Options> USB Debugging

You probably have to enable developer options first. Do this: Scroll to the bottom of Settings and find “About Tablet”

Go down to the bottom and click on “Build Number” 7 times fast. That enables Developer Options. Now go back to Settings and you’ll see it.

Now restart your Nexus 7 into Fastboot mode again and then hook it back up to the computer. Press ENTER to root

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 5.50.33 PM

Now press 1 then press enter
Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 5.50.46 PM

Now follow the directions on the screen again. Scroll using the volume button to RECOVERY MODE then hit the power button. Select INSTALL FROM SD CARD. Navigate using the volume buttons and select the SuperUser file in the screen shot above. Press enter.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 5.51.04 PM

YER DOING IT! You now have a rooted Nexus 7.

Now they don’t tell you this but just as soon as you are rooted go back into recovery mode.


This creates something called a NANdroid backup which a backup of your entire system exactly as it is configured. Now once your backup is complete you can screw around as root all you want and if you completely whack something you can your system back exactly as it was in a couple of minutes by going into FASTBOOT, selecting RECOVERY MODE > BACKUP AND RESTORE > RESTORE.

Do this.

I’m not kidding. Do this.

I recommend doing a stock out of the box root then backup. Then make your Nexus 7 yours. Install your favorite apps. Customize it. Get your music, your photos, your contacts. THEN BACK IT ALL UP AGAIN.

Now you can play around with Custom ROMS. What are custom ROMS? New operating systems created by the people playing around with the Open Source Android Operating System.

I recommend CyanogenMod

Download a stable version first. That will probably be CyanogenMod 10.1 (based on Jelly Bean 4.22)
If you want the bleeding edge get the nightly builds. That will be CyanogenMod 10.2 (Based on Jelly Bean 4.3) Be advised there could be some bugs in the nightlies. My experience has been positive.

If you really want to understand the power of ROM’s look at this one.


This one lets you add a UBS Digital to Analog converter to the Nexus 7 and then you can hook the DAC to an amplifier. Audiophile quality music. It is awesome. Trust me. This is my Nexus 7 hooked to a HiFiMeDIY USB Sabre Dac ($40) and hooked to a Bottlehead tube amplifier. It is just awesome sounding.


Order one of these cables and you can simultaneously charge your Nexus 7 and keep it powered full time while using a USB DAC. (Note this only works with USB ROM installed).


You can get it from here at Amazon

Anyway that’s just a taste of what you can do by rooting your device and installing a Custom ROM. Don’t just buy a tablet. Hack it. Exploit it. Get your monies worth.


Email me if you have any questions. Happy to help!