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How to Unlock Bootloader & Root Google Nexus S on Android 2.3 Gingerbread?

Here is a step-by-step guide which will allow you to unlock Nexus S bootloader and root Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on it. For those who don't know, unlocking the bootloader will allow you to install custom ROMs while rooting will gain you full access to Android 2.3 Gingerbread filesystem on your Nexus S.

Google Nexus S Unlock Bootloader

Steps to Unlock Google Nexus S Bootloader:

  1. Download and install Android 2.3 SDK along with fastboot from here.
  2. Turn off your Nexus S completely.
  3. Now hold down the Volume Up + Power key simultaneously.
  4. Now you should be in standard recovery mode.
  5. Open Command Prompt on Windows (Terminal on Mac) and type the following command to confirm if your device is connected via USB cable or not.
  6. fastboot devices

  7. If fastboot is showing your device as connected, use the following command to unlock the bootloader of your Nexus S.
  8. fastboot oem unlock

  9. Thats it! Now your Nexus S' bootloader is unlocked and you can easily install custom ROMs on your device.

Nexus S Rooted

Steps to Root Nexus S on Android 2.3 Gingerbread:

  1. Reboot Nexus S into bootloader mode. To do so, use the following command at terminal or press the Volume Up + Power key simultaneously.
  2. adb reboot bootloader

  3. Unlock the bootloader using the following command:
  4. fastboot oem unlock

  5. Download recovery-clockwork-herring.img from here.
  6. Now install Clockwork recovery image on Nexus S by using the following command:
  7. fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-herring.img

  8. Reboot into recovery mode by using the following command at terminal or choose recovery from fastboot menu
  9. adb reboot recovery

  10. Download Koush's unsecure boot image (rootboot.img) from here and put it in your /sdk/tools/ folder
  11. Now boot into fastboot and use the following command to install the rooted boot image:
  12. fastboot flash boot rootboot.img

  13. Download CHainsDD's Superuser zip ( from here.
  14. Open the zip file, place the su binary and Superuser.apk in your sdk/tools/ folder.
  15. Now use the following set of commands at terminal to install Superuser app
  16. adb remount
    adb push su /system/bin/
    adb push Superuser.apk /system/app/
    adb shell
    chmod 6755 /system/bin/su
    adb reboot

[via XDA-Developers]

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    daragh9 years, 9 months ago


    I wrestled with this for hours here was the solution (mentioned in passing above)

    Apologies in advance for any errors: I’m doing this from memory

    Start the device in fastboot mode
    THEN check your device manager for the device driver not installed correctly: I saw ‘Android 1.0’ device in my list, but device not working
    Install the drivers from the Android SDK folders, but pick the Android BOOTLOADER driver, not the composite ones
    NOW, it should work (did for me: my device is listed as Herring v11, and I never saw any skating androids)

    Hope this helps.



    armando9 years, 11 months ago

    I have been trying every guide to unlock the bootloader but i can never seem to get it. when i type fastboot devices my nexus does not show up. what can i do?

      Wolverine9 years, 11 months ago

      Your Nexus S should be connected to your PC and should be in standard recovery mode otherwise it wont appear in fastboot devices.

        armando9 years, 11 months ago

        I tried that but when i have my phone plugged in in recovery mode it isnt recognized by my computer