This tutorial is written for Windows users. The Mac version of this tutorial can be found here.
Unlocking the bootloader is a prerequisite of both rooting and installing custom ROM's. The following process will unlock the bootloader on the Nexus 7 (both 2012 and 2013 models). It's super easy to do, and should take less than 5 minutes.
Before continuing, be sure and back up any existing data — such as photo's and documents. For security purposes, all data will be wiped when you unlock the bootloader.
Install Nexus drivers:
- Plug the Nexus 7 into your PC (if it isn't already).
- Download and extract the folder in the attached zip file to your desktop:
N7ToolsWin.zip 19.65MB 332 downloads
- Open the folder and double-click the Device Manager shortcut.
- Nexus 7 should be listed under Other devices — right click and select Update Driver Software...
- Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the drivers installation.
Unlock developer options:
- Unplug your Nexus 7 from your PC.
- Go to Settings > About tablet.
- Tap the build number 7 times to unlock the Developer Options screen:
Enable USB debugging:
Establishing an RSA Fingerprint.
- Plug the Nexus 7 into your PC.
A popup (similar to the one shown below) will display.
- Check Always allow from this computer, and then tap the OK button.
Use ADB to enter bootloader mode on the Nexus 7:
- Double click the N7Tools Shortcut icon:
- Type the following command to confirm that ADB can see the Nexus 7 — you will not be able to proceed past this step until it can:
> adb devices
If ADB is able to see the Nexus 7 — it will display the following. The number will reflect your device ID and will vary from the example below.
List of devices attached
- Enter bootloader mode on the Nexus 7:
> adb reboot bootloader
When the Nexus 7 enters bootloader mode, the lower left corner of the screen should indicate that the Lock State is locked:
- Type the following:
> fastboot oem unlock