Rooting your 4.2.2 Nexus 4 - A How to & Why

So, this is something I actually got ot learn myself, and tho' it may seem like child's play to some, to others (myself included) it's a bit of a mystery still.  Some Android voodoo magic is required, no?

Personally I went through the journey on how to root my device when I got it.  It was a great learning experience.  I tried to ensure I didn't use 'kits' or anything, if only so I could LEARN what I was doing.  I did it and did my little happy dance, and that was that.

After the 4.2.2 OTA it was like a full week before I realized that I'd have to do it all over again.  The 4.2.2 update does a couple things.  One of which is remove the custom recovery and spoiling root and ruining LTE for us Canadians.  Here's how to bring that back:
So yeah, if your in the Great White North, you get access to LTE with the Nexus 4 unofficially... the new 4.2.2 update affects the radio not letting us get any access.  If you want it back, you'll need to root.

You also might want to root if you're doing things like flashing mods and themes, you don't have to root to JUST flash new ROMs.  Our own +Cass M rooted ONLY because you could get AirDroid to share the screen.

I didn't think much about doing it.  It was just a matter of learning again... but I knew some of the stuff.  It wasn't until +Sivan Rehan was faced with the same dilemna that I thought about writing it down...

 So, thanks to her for asking me for help.  Seriously... somebody asked ME for help.  ON ROOTING.  What was she thinking?  And also, thanks to +Renaud Lepage for being able to answer a quick question while we were troubleshooting.

Before I dive in, just a quick note... be patient.  Don't get over-scared.  Sivan often thought it was bricked, but just relax, breathe, things are fine!  If you're total unsure, have someone readily available to help assure you.  You can always find me online!

Oh, and btw - I wrote this in sort of a voice for her to understand, more like a conversation than instructions.  Keep that in mind.

First things first, we need to unlock the bootloader.

  1. Download the proper drivers for your Nexus 4... that's paramount before this all starts. If it doesn't have the right drivers, uninstall them, reboot, then reinstall (I forgot this step a few times).
  2. Ensure your device has USB debugging on it.
    1. go into menu / settings / about and tap like 7 times on the build number
    2. go back a screen to now see developer options
    3. click the box for 'debugging'
  3. Do the 4.2.2 OTA update
  4. Get the new Android SDK
    2. download the file, and unzip it somewhere... i.e. C:\ANDROID
  5. Get the LG Nexus 4 drivers
    1. (i got mine from the toolkit - install driver - reboot computer)
  6. on your phone put it in USB debugging mode
    1. if it’s done right, when you plug in your phone on your computer you should see a pop-up on the phone asking you if you want to ‘trust’ this computer
  7. Now let’s OEM unlock this bitch!  (
    1. reboot your phone with the power and vol- key, you should load up to the ‘boot screen’ (? -- it looks like an android with a bit arrow)
    2. go to the folder where you unzipped the SDK... go into the SDK/Platform-tools folder (you’ll see the fastboot.exe file there)
    3. run a command prompt here by SHIFT+Right-Click there and choosing to “Open Command Prompt Here”
    4. type in:  fastboot devices
      1. you should see a device listed and ‘online’
      2. if not... well, wrong driver (but then again you wouldn’t have had the ‘trust’ prompt previously)
    5. if it’s all a go, type in:  fastboot oem unlock
      1. it’ll do some work and reboot your phone and wipe it. when it reboots you’ll see the unlock icon under the google logo

So that means your bootloader is unlocked.  What that means is that now you can put in your own recovery - which means that you can then flash SU which gives you ROOT POWERS!
What’s probably best at this point is to boot your phone up normally - you’ll have to set it all up again.  Put your info/password/google account setup.

Now, you’ll need to ensure you have USB Debugging on again.

  1. Go into settings / about phone
  2. tap 7 times on ‘build number’
  3. go back a screen and you’ll now see ‘developer options’
  4. click that and ensure USB Debugging is ticked
  5. with your phone plugged in, go to that command prompt and type “adb devices”
  6. your phone will probably have another prompt pop up asking to trust the computer (it’s been wiped so it doesn’t remember the last time you did it)
Then we’re golden.

So, next step put a custom recovery on.

  1. Find your custom recovery of choice
    1. ClockworkRecovery -
  2. to make it simple, put the recovery file in the same folder as that Platform-Tools folder (i.e. with adb and fastboot)
  3. Boot your phone into the bootloader again
  4. Do you still have that command prompt open?  Hopefully, otherwise open it again.
  5. Check if your device is listed there by typing:  fastboot devices
    1. if it sees it... proceed
    2. if it doesn’t... boot up your phone normally, get into the settings and see if usb debugging is on (you may need to go through the setup process on the phone seeing as it’s just been wiped)
  6. flash the custom recovery by typing:  fastboot flash recovery <NAMEOFRECOVERY>
    1. I usually type in “fastboot flash recovery” then type in the first few letters of the recovery file and hit TAB to autocomplete the filename.
  7. it should do some ‘magic’ and showing that it is flashing the image.

Now to flash the SU file to get you root access:

Here’s where I get fuzzy... i.e. does it leave you in the bootloader, or take you to the recovery … if all else fails power down, and then power+vol- to get you into the recovery... there you’ll see the standard recovery you probably know and love.  

If you have an issue where it won’t boot up... POWER DOWN, then boot into recovery and do a wipe all data option.  Then reboot.

Now, easiest method is for you to get the SU file onto your phone somewhere.  Probably easiest if you downloaded the file and put it on there way back about in 5b.  If not, we’ll just need to boot up, copy the file over, then reboot into recovery.

From the recovery install zip from SD card, choose the file you put there, and then let it do its thing and then reboot.  You’ll now have root.  Or more simply, when an app calls for root, SU will know and do the proper thing.

More flashing?

With the recovery in place you can flash a bunch of stuff... ROMs, apps, whatnot.  So long as they’re the ‘flashable .zip’.

Then you can flash an older 4.2.1 radio onto the phone to get LTE.  I haven’t found a .zip (i.e. flashable via CWM radio file yet) - but there is a .img, which you have to use fastboot for.    For this you’d need to be in the bootloader.  Something like fastboot flash radio <radiofilename>