HOWTO unlock your Nexus One and turn it into a 3G modem


33 Responses to “HOWTO unlock your Nexus One and turn it into a 3G modem”

  1. dequeued says:

    Good article.

    As an owner of an Adroid G1, I think it’s outrageous I should have to use a software exploit, just to have root access on a device that I have paid for!
    I almost feel guilty doing it, like it’s something I’m not supposed to be doing, and I should hide my phone under my bed.

    How long until we don’t have root access on our netbooks?

  2. Ben Schiendelman says:

    It looks like since this was posted, the fastboot link has broken – it points back to There are other people on the site commenting that they can no longer find either – could someone who has it stick it up on a dropbox?

  3. Ben Schiendelman says:

    Yeah, talk about “clunky”. The Rapidshare link for the recovery image is overloaded as well.

  4. Anonymous says:

    or you could just install PdaNet:

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have a nexus one, so I don’t know if this would work for it, but it should… Just replace the device id in the setup with the values from the lsusb command listing for the nexus one.

    How to tether your Verizon Droid (Adroid-Linux based device) to Ubuntu GNU/Linux 9.10 via the USB cord:

    Shannon VanWagner

  6. chmouel says:

    It’s using rndis (remote NDIS) to export a connection on the client OS. It’s a protocol designed by 3Com and Microsoft.

    Thanks to the magic of rndis_wlan module and network-manager it’s all transparent for us Linux users.

    More info about RNDIS here :

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great post. The instructions are accurate, even though one of the steps can be simplified a bit for noobs. A couple of clarifications:

    1. What you did is root the phone, not jailbreak it. Unlike the iPhone, Google and HTC give you a legal path to replace key components of the phone software without breaking the law/breaching a contract. The warranty is voided, but it seems it is a price that a lot of people are willing to pay for the additional benefits that rooting obtains. Also, there has been a report in one of the forums of an incident in which HTC replaced a rooted device due to a hardware malfunction for no charge.

    2. Google has previously C&D’d a hacker called JesusFreak (or some such) for distribution the Google apps. You’re linking to to that, which is I think they could find a bit problematic…

    As an aside, you can follow pretty much the install an alpha of the HTC Desire ROM on the Nexus One (I did). Besides a few minor snags, it works flawlessly. More importnatly, the sight of Sense UI is clear to eschew tremors from nearby geeks. Some of the HTC apps are better than Google’s, and going back to Cyanogen is pretty simple.

    You might want to avoid publishing this comment. Perfectly understandable… :)

  8. Eris Siva says:

    dculberson (#2) – It seems that currently HTC is still offering repairs and such to people that have Jailbroken – as long as the error is OBVIOUSLY not related to your rooting of the phone. People have sent them back for repairs on the screen and body with no problem. One of the main suggestions, however, is to reflash the NExus with the stock firmware (rather than the CyanogenMod ROM) before sending it in. ;)

    SamSam (#3) – First off, this is a simple howto from start to finish. There are a few “one-step” rooting methods out there for the Nexus One…but if you mess us, there is no telling where you made the mistake. Manual is sometimes better.

    Also, there are MANY reasons that one would want to root their phone. Just search Google for “why root nexus”. Custom firmware including features that you COULD NOT HAVE otherwise (such as the new Desire ROM with Sense UI…made for a phone that hasn’t been released yet), theming capabilities, backup/task management/adblocking/file manager programs that won’t work unless you root, install Debian (just in case you want to develop on the run), use terminal with busybox, back up your protected apps, run apps off your SD card, modify the volume levels with custom hacks, LED color hacks, etc, etc…the list goes on and on.

  9. Shannon_VanWagner says:

    I don’t have a nexus one, so I don’t know if this would work for it, but it should… Just replace the device id in the setup with the values from the lsusb command listing for the nexus one.

    How to tether your Verizon Droid (Adroid-Linux based device) to Ubuntu GNU/Linux 9.10 via the USB cord:

    Shannon VanWagner

  10. Anonymous says:


    On Fedora 12 I had to restart network manager and select auto usb0 for it to work.

  11. tim says:

    Tethering? That’s this thing I have on my iPhone that takes all the technical mastery required to go to the system preferences app and click on a button ?

    Wow, I must be so very leet today.

  12. rebdav says:

    I don’t know much about Windows…..

    You wouldn’t believe how often I have to say this to MS users asking for help. Once you break out nobody wants to return to that messy OS.

    nice tutorial

  13. dculberson says:

    I can’t wait for consumer protection laws to be updated to cover cell phones. I know you’re in the UK, and I’m not familiar with the state of laws there. But in the US, say you have a car and you modify it. Well the warranty can not be voided due to that modification except as far as the modification affects the specific sub-assembly. I.e. if you put different brakes on and the transmission fails, they can not deny your warranty claim based on the brakes. If you have problems with your brakes, though, they can deny warranty coverage on that.

    How does this relate to the Nexus? It shouldn’t be possible to void your warranty by messing with the software. If you root it and then, say, the battery charging circuit fails, your modification did not cause that failure. So the warranty should still stand. Under current law that is not the case (as far as I know) but it should be.

  14. rben says:

    There are good reasons for manufacturers to have a policy that voids the warranty if you alter the software. That’s because bugs in the software of a device like a phone can easily appear to be hardware problems. The hardware manufacturer naturally doesn’t want to lose money replacing a phone that would have worked fine if you hadn’t messed with it.

    I think it would be more appropriate for them to say that they won’t accept returns until you restore the original software and demonstrate the problem still exits, or can show that its obviously a hardware problem. From what I’ve read in various places, it seems that HTC is unofficially taking this approach.

    I have a Nexus One, though it is not rooted. I’m not yet that confident of my abilities that I want to go that route. I’m very pleased with the phone. There are occasional frustrations, usually caused by apps I’ve downloaded, but that’s to be expected. It’s a small price to pay for the freedom.

  15. SamSam says:

    Wow. And yet you call installing an app “clunky?”

    I installed PDAnet on my phone. It took me about 30 seconds. I then installed it on my Mac. That took about a minute. So in one minute 30 seconds I was online through my phone.

    Then, when my home PC had no connection at all, I downloaded the Windows software onto my phone, and then put it onto the PC from the phone. I was on the web on my PC in three minutes.

    There was no risk of my phone being bricked, I didn’t have to back up my data with another app (and you say you couldn’t even back up all of it), I didn’t void any warranties, and I will still get all my OS updates automatically.

    So what was the reason again for going this crazy route? Because applications on computers are “clunky?”

  16. Anonymous says:

    This page just broke into the Google Top 40 under recent views in their Fast Flip. Kudos AGAIN, Corymeister.

  17. Anonymous says:

    or you could just install Froyo :)

  18. Patrick Austin says:

    Freedom! Android is awesome.

    Granted, I don’t actually _own_ an Android phone, but gosh…it must feel great to free yourself from the money grubbing assholes at Apple with their overly-restrictive iPhone OS. I envy the way Google lets you use the hardware however you please.

    • Caroline says:

      …You know this is equivalent to jailbreaking an iPhone, right? Even to the part where it voids your warranty, as Cory pointed out in this post?

      I’m happy to talk about open source phone software, and I think there’s a reasonable debate to be had there. But this post isn’t an example of Google “letting you use the hardware however you please.” It’s an example of circumventing restrictions, at your own risk, to use the hardware in a different way — which many people have done and continue to do with their iPhones as well.

      • giryan says:

        Google are kinda letting you use it however you please. Step 3, unlocking the boot loader, is not a hack at all.
        fastboot is a tool that comes with the Android SDK, and the OEM unlock command is a regular part of that.
        Admittedly the warranty voiding nature of it is stupid, as #2 points out.

  19. ahmacrom says:

    I do not see a Boing Boing icon….

  20. Anonymous says:

    Wait. Isn’t this terrorism?

  21. giryan says:

    Since you’re rooted Titanium Backup is the best backup app I’ve found, it’s brilliant, it will successfully backup everything, phone settings, installed apps, settings for them etc…
    It’s in very active development, and is fully functional in its free form, only needing a donation to get add a couple of additional improvements(mainly just the speed of backup/restore)
    Thread talking about development here:

  22. tcforest says:

    Even easier with a Nokia N900…

    Still in beta, though.

  23. Gibster says:

    Hi, thanks for this.

    I’ve run into two problems with your directions and links.

    First, the link for fastboot is a file that Mac won’t unzip. I uploaded it to my Unix web host and also downloaded it running Parallels with XP and still couldn’t unzip the file. Similar error for all three OS’s.

    I downloaded (file #20) from here:

    And it ran the first sudo command in Terminal.

    The second one gave this message:

    sending ‘recovery’ (33 KB)… OKAY
    writing ‘recovery’… FAILED (remote: image error! (BootMagic check fail))

    I’m Googling the forums and it looks like there may be a problem with the file I downloaded from your link, or the method I downloaded it (it should be larger than 33k).

  24. Anonymous says:

    I find that term funny “jailbroken” the android phones are not behind jail like the iphones are, all you are doing is getting root access. So rooting is a more appropriate term.

  25. Anonymous says:

    as an user of a generic sony ericsson phone it still puzzles me that tethering isn’t a standard feature on those hip new smartphones. is there really a valid reason?

  26. arikol says:

    I understand the TECHNICAL differences between this procedure (rooting) and the iPhone procedure (which is in large part also rooting but with added complexity).

    The ideological difference is very small, however.
    Cory, I thought you went to the Google side to get AWAY from restrictive crap like this. I thought you were going the freedom route. Instead it seems like you went an identical route but got a product with more flaws and incompatibilities, just for that extra fun frustration factor.

    I do not understand why anyone would buy a N1. It has all the flaws of the iPhone (secretive maker:check, closed HW:check, they make the calls:check) and add a few extra (terrible tech support for an expensive product, madly incompatible marketplace, low resolution of touch sensors, niggling interface problems, do-everything-itis).

    Either go free, or don’t.

    This is no freer than an iPhone.

    • Eris Siva says:

      There is one major flaw that I’ve seen that no one seems to mention – there is an issue in a small percentage of handsets with the screen adhesive that causes the screen to not be in place fully, and dust to collect under the corners. It is a 5-minute fix with a hairdryer or desk-lamp, but it is still an issue.

      However, it is not closed. The Android source can be downloaded from The N1 has a VERY active and open development environment. The hardware drivers are out there, the source is there – where is the “closed”? The “closed” part of Android are the proprietary Google apps – Market, Maps, Navigation, etc…which Google makes money on. But there are 3rd party apps that take the place of all of them. There are plenty of Android versions with no Google apps.

      What are these “display” issues spoken of? Perhaps the ones posted over at Gizmodo in a story that was later corrected?

      The “rooting” warning should be about installing experimental hacks that change the voltage of your processor, or overclock, etc. Google/HTC has to cover their side of things somehow.

    • XnoxpX says:

      arikol • (#19)
      Apple refuses to let you install applications outside the “app store”, you HAVE to “jailbreak” your phone( and they keep trying to break the jailbreaks)

      Google allows you to install applications outside the market, and if you decide to “jailbreak” your phone they don’t try and stop you(never mind breaking the jailbreak afterward)
      How you can consider Google(android) more “secretive maker:check, closed HW:check, they make the calls:check”
      than Apple (Mac/iphone/ipad) is beyond my understanding
      Apple is the one who tried to maintain a NDA on their sdk, not Google.
      as for the hardware, talk to HTC,motorola, ect. Google doesn’t make hardware.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Or you could just install the most excellent PDANet application and do it without jailbreaking the phone. I’ve done it on my Droid, after using PDANet for years on my Treos. I’m not affiliated with them– just a happy customer.

    $30 (I think) seems way more worthwhile than the hassle of jailbreaking.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t tried this with my Nexus just yet (used it on my G1), but I assume that Cyanogen is still using the same tethering functionality. For Windows, you might need this driver:

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