Comprehensive Review of Rooting the Google Nexus 6

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The Google Nexus 6, released in November 2014, is a smartphone known for its impressive hardware and the pure Android experience. One of the standout features of the Nexus series has always been the ease with which users can unlock the bootloader and root their devices. Rooting provides users with administrative privileges, allowing for greater customization and control over their devices. This review explores the process, benefits, risks, and user experience of rooting the Google Nexus 6.

What is Rooting?

Rooting an Android device means gaining “root” access to the device’s operating system, allowing the user to modify system files, install custom ROMs, and use apps that require root privileges. Rooting is akin to jailbreaking on iOS devices, providing users with administrative control over their phones.

Benefits of Rooting the Nexus 6

Rooting the Nexus 6 opens up a plethora of possibilities for customization, performance enhancement, and expanded functionality. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Custom ROMs and Kernels

  • Custom ROMs: Rooting allows users to install custom ROMs, which are modified versions of the Android operating system. Popular ROMs like LineageOS, Paranoid Android, and Resurrection Remix offer additional features, performance tweaks, and the latest Android versions long after official support ends.
  • Custom Kernels: Installing custom kernels can optimize the device’s performance and battery life. Kernels control how the hardware interacts with the software, and custom kernels can provide improved speed, better battery management, and additional features like overclocking or undervolting.

2. Enhanced Performance and Battery Life

  • Performance Tweaks: With root access, users can overclock the CPU for better performance or underclock it to save battery life. Tools like Kernel Adiutor and SetCPU allow granular control over CPU and GPU settings.
  • Battery Management: Rooting enables the use of apps like Greenify, which can hibernate background apps to save battery, and BetterBatteryStats, which provides detailed insights into battery usage and helps identify power-hungry apps.

3. System-Level Customizations

  • Xposed Framework: The Xposed Framework allows for extensive customization of the Android OS without needing to install a full custom ROM. Users can apply modules that change the look and functionality of the system, such as GravityBox for UI tweaks and Amplify for battery optimization.
  • UI Customization: Rooting lets users change system fonts, boot animations, and even the entire look and feel of the user interface using apps like Substratum and Layers Manager.

4. Advanced App Functionality

  • Root-Only Apps: Some powerful apps require root access to function fully. Examples include Titanium Backup for comprehensive backups, AdAway for system-wide ad blocking, and Tasker for advanced automation.
  • Full System Backups: Root access allows for complete system backups using apps like Titanium Backup and Nandroid backups via custom recoveries like TWRP. This ensures that users can restore their devices to a previous state if something goes wrong.

Risks and Drawbacks

While rooting offers many benefits, it also comes with significant risks and potential drawbacks. It’s important to understand these before proceeding with the rooting process.

1. Void Warranty

  • Manufacturer Warranty: Rooting typically voids the manufacturer’s warranty. If the device is damaged or malfunctions, it may not be eligible for repair or replacement under warranty.

2. Security Risks

  • Increased Vulnerability: Root access can expose the device to security risks. Malicious apps can exploit root privileges to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or install malware.
  • Loss of Security Features: Some security features, such as Google’s SafetyNet, may be disabled on rooted devices, affecting the functionality of apps that rely on them (e.g., Google Pay).

3. Potential for Bricking

  • Bricking the Device: Incorrect rooting procedures or flashing incompatible ROMs/kernels can result in a bricked device, rendering it inoperable. While some issues can be fixed with technical knowledge, others may permanently damage the device.

4. OTA Updates

  • Over-the-Air Updates: Rooted devices often cannot receive official OTA updates directly from Google. Users must manually flash updates, which can be cumbersome and requires additional technical know-how.

Rooting Process

Rooting the Nexus 6 involves several steps, including unlocking the bootloader, installing a custom recovery, and flashing the root package. Here is a detailed guide to the rooting process.

1. Prerequisites

Before starting, ensure you have the following:

  • A fully charged Nexus 6
  • A USB cable for connection to a PC
  • A computer (Windows, macOS, or Linux)
  • Android SDK or Platform Tools installed
  • Custom recovery image (e.g., TWRP)
  • SuperSU or Magisk ZIP file for rooting

2. Unlocking the Bootloader

Unlocking the bootloader is the first step and will erase all data on the device, so back up important files.

  1. Enable Developer Options: Go to Settings > About phone and tap “Build number” seven times to enable Developer Options.
  2. Enable OEM Unlocking: In Developer Options, enable “OEM unlocking” and “USB debugging”.
  3. Boot into Bootloader: Power off the device, then press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons simultaneously to enter the bootloader.
  4. Connect to PC: Connect the Nexus 6 to the computer via USB.
  5. Unlock Bootloader: Open a command prompt or terminal window on your computer and enter the following command:

    fastboot oem unlock

    Confirm the unlock on the device using the Volume and Power buttons.

3. Installing Custom Recovery

  1. Download TWRP: Download the TWRP recovery image for the Nexus 6 from the official TWRP website.
  2. Flash TWRP: In the command prompt or terminal, navigate to the folder containing the TWRP image and enter the following command:

    fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
  3. Boot into TWRP: After flashing, use the Volume buttons to select “Recovery mode” and press the Power button to boot into TWRP.

4. Rooting with SuperSU or Magisk

  1. Transfer Root Package: Download the SuperSU or Magisk ZIP file and transfer it to the Nexus 6.
  2. Install Root Package: In TWRP, select “Install” and navigate to the ZIP file. Swipe to confirm the installation.
  3. Reboot System: Once the installation is complete, reboot the device. It should now be rooted.

Post-Root Management

After rooting, managing the rooted device involves maintaining security, installing root apps, and possibly tweaking performance settings. Here are some key aspects:

1. Security Measures

  • Root Management Apps: Use apps like Magisk Manager or SuperSU to manage root permissions and hide root from certain apps (e.g., banking apps).
  • Firewall and Antivirus: Install a good firewall and antivirus app to protect against malicious activities.

2. Installing Root Apps

Root apps can greatly enhance the functionality of the Nexus 6. Here are some essential root apps:

  • Titanium Backup: For complete backups and app management.
  • Greenify: To hibernate background apps and save battery.
  • AdAway: For system-wide ad blocking.
  • Tasker: For advanced automation.
  • Kernel Adiutor: For tweaking CPU, GPU, and other hardware settings.

3. Performance Tweaks

  • CPU/GPU Settings: Use Kernel Adiutor or similar apps to overclock or underclock the CPU/GPU for better performance or battery life.
  • Battery Optimization: Utilize apps like BetterBatteryStats to monitor and optimize battery usage.
  • Custom ROMs: Experiment with different custom ROMs to find one that offers the best performance and features for your needs.

Community and Support

The Nexus 6 has a robust community of developers and enthusiasts. This community support is invaluable for anyone considering rooting their device.

1. XDA Developers Forum

XDA Developers is the go-to resource for rooting, custom ROMs, kernels, and troubleshooting. The Nexus 6 section is filled with guides, ROMs, and support from experienced users.

2. Online Tutorials and Guides

Many online resources provide step-by-step tutorials and video guides for rooting the Nexus 6. Websites like YouTube, Android Central, and specific tech blogs offer comprehensive guides.

3. Developer Contributions

Developers continuously contribute to the Nexus 6’s ecosystem by creating and updating custom ROMs, kernels, and apps. Engaging with these developers can provide access to the latest features and optimizations.


Rooting the Google Nexus 6 opens up a world of possibilities for customization, performance enhancement, and expanded functionality. It allows users to take full control of their device, install custom ROMs and kernels, and use powerful root-only apps. However, rooting also comes with risks, including voiding the warranty, potential security vulnerabilities, and the risk of bricking the device.

Summary of Benefits and Risks


  1. Custom ROMs and Kernels: Enhanced features and performance.
  2. Performance and Battery Tweaks: Better control over hardware settings.
  3. System-Level Customizations: Extensive UI and functionality modifications.
  4. Advanced App Functionality: Access to powerful root-only apps.


  1. Void Warranty: Loss of manufacturer support.
  2. Security Vulnerabilities: Increased risk of malicious apps exploiting root access.
  3. Potential for Bricking: Incorrect procedures can render the device inoperable.
  4. Loss of OTA Updates: Rooted devices often cannot receive official updates directly.

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