Unlock Bootloader / Root Without USB Cable


  1. tsruggles

    tsruggles Member

    Hi All!

    I have searched and searched for hours.....literally.

    Here's the scenario.

    My VZW GNex had a catastrophic failure in the USB/Charger region of the device. The USB port is completely unusable.
    In a panic I did a few searches for instructions on how to unroot and lock the bootloader before my battery died.
    Long story short, I succeeded in unrooting and locking the bootloader. The problem is that I had the latest VZW radios installed and the .tar I used in Mobile Odin Pro was for 4.0.2. This means that I have the 4.0.2 ICS ROM installed and 4.1.1 radios installed.

    I can't find anything that will help me unlock the bootloader and root my device. I am not very familiar with ADB commands but I can follow directions and I would like to get this phone loaded with corresponding radios and factory images. Disassembling and repairing the phone is not on the agenda. If there is any way to accomplish this, this will be the first, most current thread with a solution.

    So, I have a VZW GNex Locked and unrooted without a USB port running 4.0.2. The official OTA for IMM76K will download but will not flash. I get the dead green droid/red triangle image and then reboots back on 4.0.2. I'm sure that it's due to JRO03O being the active OTA at the moment.

    Please......I know that there is some kind of elite genius out there that can help me. Please, step forward.

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  2. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    The reason your ota keeps failing is because you have the 4.1.1 radios installed. It keeps trying to patch the 4.0.2 radios and fails to find them so it bombs out. I'm 99% sure that there is no way to unlock the bootloader without the fastboot command to do so being executed, whether it be manual or through a script. Does the computer read the device in odin mode, since you don't need juice for that to my knowledge. If so, you might be able to odin flash the 4.0.2 radios to get it back to stock.
  3. tsruggles

    tsruggles Member

    Please do tell me how to do this.
  4. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary Moderator

    tsruggles, unfortunately I don't believe you'll be able to root without having a working USB port :(.

    There are two ways to root the Galaxy Nexus without unlocking your bootloader, however both require using adb which requires USB (adb wireless requires root)):

    - mempodroid exploit (for ICS 4.0.1 and 4.0.2)
    - Bin4ry's adb restore exploit

    After root is achieved with either of the above two, you can use a bootloader unlocker app from Android

    There's also a bootloader unlocker that doesn't require a wipe or root (also requires USB connectivity):

    - nichtverstehen's OMAP flash (scary stuff)

    Bottom line is that without a working USB port, you don't have many (any?) options that I'm aware of.

    Sorry :(.
    trophynuts likes this.
  5. iwoloschin

    iwoloschin Well-Known Member

    Why is taking the phone apart off the table? USB is a 4 pin cable, Power (+5V), Ground, and D+ & D- (differential data pair). If you can open the phone up and find the USB pins on the circuit board (assuming just the USB socket failed) you could probably cut up a USB cable and get everything working. It certainly breaks the USB spec, but with a short cable and the type of USB connection you'd require, this should be fairly easy, again, assuming it's the USB socket that failed on the phone.

    Source: I am an electrical/hardware engineer and work with embedded USB devices.
    scary alien likes this.
  6. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    At least to me, it sounded like the device wouldn't charge, but that it could use the usb on a computer. He said he was able to un root and re lock before the battery died. Is that the case or did I misinterpret?
    Also, what is your goal? Am I right to assume that it's to flash the 4.0.2 radios to get back to stock for warranty/insurance replacement?
  7. tsruggles

    tsruggles Member

    That is correct. I am not going to disassemble it for warranty purposes. I was able to unroot and lock the bootloader using a boot locker/unlocker app and the Mobile Odin Pro app. It was a 'heat-of-the-moment' decision because my battery was dying. I cannot charge or connect via usb. If I can root via an app or something similar, I can use the boot lock/unlock app to unlock bootloader. The goal is to get the radios to correspond to the factory image. Like I said, OTA won't work because the radios are FF02/FG02 but the rom is 4.0.2.
  8. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary Moderator

    tsruggles,

    Are you saying you can't make a warranty claim on the device as it stands now?

    Without a working USB connection, I can't see a way for you to root or flash radios (or anything) back to factory/stock.

    If you left a custom recovery in place (which you didn't mention but I'm guessing was part of your unrooting process), you could have re-rooted and/or re-flashed the radios, etc.

    Also, without root, you can't flash a non-signed OTA update.zip file that could bypasss the assert checks to allow you to actually install the OTA.

    :(
  9. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    Unfortunately, the only app I know of that can root a device requires that you back up the root before taking an update that breaks it. Since it wasn't backed up before hand, and you used odin instead of recovery, it wouldn't work here. I'm not aware of any method out there that doesn't use a usb connection to root. I know odin via the computer doesn't need battery juice, but it still requires an active usb connection. :(
  10. tsruggles

    tsruggles Member

    I can make a warranty claim. The only issue is the radio / rom discrepancy. We will see if it goes unnoticed. I just thought that if there was a way to do this, it would be very helpful in the future for others. These micro USB ports are very susceptible to damage and debris. Thanks all for your thoughts. If someone else can think of a way to make it work, please, let me know. I can try anything in the next couple days.
  11. AndroidKris

    AndroidKris Well-Known Member

    Try downloading scary alien's app " Android root toolkit" from market. Place someone else's backed up 4.0.2 root file on your SD card (dropbox probably works for this) in the appropriate location for the app to see. Then try to restore root. After all, the only thing that is backed up is the super user binary, and it is the same across all 4.0.2 Verizon rooted gnexi(plural galaxy nexuses, like that huh?).

    Edit: the backed up root file you use must have been backed up using the android root toolkit app as well. Other apps might use a different method or format for backing up root.

    Double edit: I have no idea of this will actually work or not, so if it bricks your phone, I take no responsibility.
    scary alien likes this.
  12. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary Moderator

    Hey AndroidKris,

    Thanks for thinking of my app :)...unfortunately, the Save Root function of my app saves root in the same way as OTA RootKeeper. Root must be previously saved and that su binary is actually stored in the /system filesystem and set to an immutable (unchangeable) state so that an OTA cannot remove or modify it.

    Saving to the /system partition requires root access, so unless the OP had previously saved root with either app, you cannot restore root in this manner.

    Thanks!
    AndroidKris likes this.
  13. teddyearp

    teddyearp A guide with guides Guide

    I'm going to throw this out there. I received my phone last August with 4.0.4 and never flashed a newer radio on it. I have the I515.10 V.FC04/I515.FC05 radio (baseband), isn't this the latest one? EDIT, no they're not, ooops.

    Ultimately tsruggles, I _think_ you should be good to go for a warranty replacement if your phone is still within warranty with what you have done. If they're able to get it to boot up and do not see the unlocked padlock, I doubt they'll look as deep as you think they will.

    And in the future and for the readers, that little USB port should only be used for hacking, lol! Spend the extra few bucks and buy the spare battery with battery only charger.:smokingsomb::)

    good luck
  14. iwoloschin

    iwoloschin Well-Known Member

    Pfft, that's what soldering irons are for! :D
  15. tsruggles

    tsruggles Member

    Thank you all for putting your heads together! You have been far more help than the belittling remarks that I received at the worlds largest, and most hostile development forum. I'm thinking that there must be a way to do this, especially with a Nexus device. But alas, I am no developer, so my belief may be just wishful thinking. Thanks again folks!
  16. binary visions

    binary visions Well-Known Member

    Also keep in mind that they very rarely investigate anything if there's a clear hardware defect on the phone. It's counterproductive for them to waste resources, so in all likelihood, they're going to test your phone's USB port, determine it to be faulty, and toss the phone in the "to be refurbished" pile.
  17. iwoloschin

    iwoloschin Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, what happened to the USB port?
  18. teddyearp

    teddyearp A guide with guides Guide

    [off topic]Yes, some sites like that one can be fairly brutal. Those are the sites where you definitely need to read more and post less. You'll see I've been a member there (if you can find me) for about 5 years and doubt I've made a hundred posts.[/off topic]

    So go ahead and take it in, it is less than a year old, right?
  19. Larzzzz

    Larzzzz Active Member

    I unlocked my bootloader with your tool kit and my Gnex didn't skip a beat. No data loss at all. I was kinda suprised. Psyched as well...
    scary alien likes this.
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