How to root the Nexus 9

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 7 Nov 2014


The Nexus 9 hit the retail stores and made it to the hands of the public earlier this week. Being a Nexus device, gaining root forward on it was always going to be pretty straightforward. However, thanks to a new version of Android and the Nexus 9 being the first 64-bit Android tablet to hit the retail market, SuperSU developer Chainfire hit a few roadblocks while trying to root his Nexus 9

As they say though, one man’s pain is another man’s gain (Okay, pleasure). He has released a special version of SuperSU v2.18 meant specifically for the Nexus 9 and a patched boot image to make gaining root access on the tablet easier.

Before you proceed with the steps below though, keep in mind that rooting the Nexus 9 requires its bootloader to be unlocked, which means all your data including the installed apps and their data will be lost. Secondly, since Android 5.0 Lollipop is less than a week old, chances are your usual root apps will behave weirdly under it. Either way, if you want to root your Nexus 9 for one reason or another, simply follow the steps below:

Step 1: Create a new folder on your desktop and name it “nexus”. Proceed to download all the files linked below and extract their contents inside this folder.

Step 2: On your Nexus 9, head over to Settings -> About Device and tap on ‘Build Number’ 7 seven times to enable Developer Options. Then, head back to Settings -> Developer Options and enable the “Enable OEM Unlock” and “ADB Debugging” options.

Step 3: On your Windows or Mac based PC, open up the Command Prompt or Terminal window and navigate to the “nexus” folder on your desktop using the ‘cd’ command (i.e. cd/desktop/nexus).

Connect the Nexus 9 to your PC and make sure to tap on ‘OK’ to authorize your PC for USB Debugging. Then, enter the following command:

adb devices

If the drivers were properly installed, your Nexus 9 will be detected by your PC and you will get a bunch of random numbers and alphabets. If not, you need to restart your PC and re-install the drivers and try again. Then, enter the following command:

adb reboot bootloader

Step 4: Once your Nexus 9 reboots into Bootloader mode, use the Volume keys to navigate and highlight the “FASTBOOT” mode and confirm your selection by pressing the Power button.

Step 5: Enter the below command in Terminal or command prompt to unlock the bootloader of your Nexus 9:

fastboot oem unlock

Confirm the prompt on your device by pressing the Volume up button. Your Nexus 9 will reboot now, which is going to take its own sweet time. Once done, you will be back into the Bootloader menu.

Step 5: Copy paste the following command after which your Nexus 9 will reboot back into Bootloader mode. This command will temporary boot a patched boot image that will inject SuperSU into the system partition.

fastboot boot inject.img

Step 6: Finally, enter the below command to install a patched kernel with a modified ramdisk on your Nexus 9.

fastboot flash boot patched.img

Once installed, reboot your Nexus 9 back into Lollipop by executing the below command:

fastboot reboot

Congrats! You have successfully managed to root your Nexus 9. Though chances are you will not be able to enjoy it much since most root apps are not going to play along nicely with Android 5.0 Lollipop for now.