You know why you’re here, but before I get to the real grit of rooting the Nexus 6P, you need to make sure you know all of the risks involved with rooting a device. If your phone bricks, explodes, or votes for Donald Trump I can’t be held responsible, so be aware of the inherent risks, and what to do in case you run into any problems rooting.
With that out of the way, the Google Nexus 6P is one of the few Android launch devices running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) out of the box. Since the Nexus 6P is running on the newest, fluffy sweet, it’s hard to not wonder what the device could do when rooted. I’ll show you two ways you can crack your Nexus 6P and use it however you desire.
Method 1: Root without Modifying Systems
This first method is somewhat experimental, so keep that in mind if you want to try this. This method however is also the easiest way to root the Nexus 6P as it has so little steps required. This method makes use of chainfire’s SuperSU Beta to flash the root onto your device without the need for rewriting the system.
However, this still requires you to unlock the bootloader, meaning you cannot root the Nexus 6P without a wipe. While I’m on the topic, let’s go through what you’ll need for this method:
• Unlocked bootloader on the Nexus 6P
• TWRP custom recovery
• A way to connect your device to a PC
• The SuperSU Beta zip file
• ABD fastboot tools enabled
• A PC, and at least twenty minutes of your time
As a prerequisite, please download the SuperSU Beta zip file and place it on your phone in a directory you can navigate to within a custom recovery for install purposes.
If this is not done first, you will have to reapply your custom recovery.
For this first step we’re going to be unlocking the bootloader. If the bootloader on your Nexus 6P is already unlocked, you can skip this step and proceed to Step 2 without trouble. Don’t forget to backup your phone before starting this step or any others.
First things first, you’ll need to have a PC with ABD fastboot tools enabled for this to work, and a compatible USB cable to connect the Nexus 6P to the enabled PC. Make sure you have that command prompt ready, you’ll need to input some codes soon.
You’ll need to:
• Unlock developer options on your phone if you haven’t already. To do this, you’ll need to give your build number (in the About Phone section under Settings) enough taps before it relents and offers you developer access in exchange to leave it alone.
• Now that you’re a developer, enable OEM Unlock by clicking the corresponding check box under Developer Options in your Settings.
• With the prep work done, power down your device.
• After waiting a few seconds, boot your phone into the bootloader by holding down the power button and the volume down button.
• You won’t see a screen quite like that, but once you’re in the bootloader, you’ll need to connect your device to your PC via a USB cable of the appropriate type.
• Once the Nexus 6P is connected, open a command prompt window from inside the folder that holds your fastboot executable.
From here on you’ll be completing the step all through ABD commands in the command prompt. This process will absolutely wipe all data from your device, so you have been warned.
To confirm you are connected properly, enter the command:
Entering this command should show you the serial number of the connected device in the command prompt. If you don’t see your serial number, confirm you have the proper drivers installed and then attempt the process and command again.
Next enter the command:
fastboot flashing unlock
This will wipe the data on your device, and ask you on screen (on your phone) to confirm the unlock. You’ll need to use the volume buttons to scroll, and then the power button to confirm your selection. Once confirmed, give your phone some room for the process to complete.
Once completed, enter one more command:
Once the command has been issued, and the process is finished, you can safely disconnect your phone from your PC. You may be periodically asked to re-lock your bootloader, but this message can be ignored. It is recommended to not re-lock your bootloader unless your device is the exact same as it was when stock. Meaning you didn’t install a different ROM or make any root-only changes.
This next step assumes you haven’t already installed a custom recovery, such as TWRP on your device. If you already have, understand that your custom recovery needs to be read only for this method.
To root the Nexus 6P, you’ll need a custom recovery installed, with the most common and well known one being TWRP. Keep that fastboot folder ready to go, because you’ll need to enter a few more commands, as well as wipe your data for a second time.
To start the process, connect your Nexus 6P to your PC. You can either now reboot into the bootloader manually using your device, or by using the command in the fastboot folder in your command prompt.
adb reboot bootloader
This should reboot your phone into the bootloader. Now on your PC, download the most recent TWRP recovery.
Place the file you receive in the fastboot folder, and then enter the command:
flashboot flash recovery .img
At the time of writing this, the most recent version filename is ” twrp-18.104.22.168-angler ” but this could change depending on the downloaded version. Insert the appropriate filename into the command where ” ” is present. For this example, you would type:
flashboot flash recovery twrp-22.214.171.124-angler.img
Once TWRP boots, you’ll be asked if you want TWRP to be read only, or allow it to modify the system. Set TWRP to read only. If you do this, TWRP will need to be reflashed any time you boot into Android, but TWRP being read only is necessary for this root method.
Additionally, TWRP may ask you to flash a version of SuperSU in order to obtain root. Skip past this and do not flash this version.
Flashing the presented version of SuperSU could potentially brick your device or cause multiple errors.
If you’re here hot off the heels of Step 2, you should thankfully still be in TWRP. This is where you’ll need to be to install your root, so if you booted out of it, boot back into your custom recovery.
From TWRP you need to:
• Navigate to the Install menu and enter it.
• Once in the Install menu, you’ll need to find where you placed your SuperSU Beta zip file.
• Now that you’ve found the zip, select it and swipe to start installing it.
This shouldn’t take very long, so just sit tight and wait for the process to finish. When it’s finished, you’ll be presented with a new option.
• You’ll be asked to wipe the dalvik cache as well as reboot the system.
• Wipe the cache, and then hit back.
• Now just reboot using the reboot system button and you’ll be good to go.
If the root without modifying systems is causing you problems, you can switch to a more traditional root with the use of an app and a few commands.
The first thing you’ll need is an app called, Terminal Emulator. Download it by clicking the Google Play button below.
Once you have the app downloaded and installed, you’ll need to enter a series of codes to change your root.
Enter these codes one after the other:
Using this, you’ll grant SuperSU access.
mount -o remount,rw /system
touch /system/bin/su /system/xbin/su
mount -o remount,ro /system
This should clear up most, if not all of the problems your device would have had with this newer rooting method if you had any to start with.
Method 2: Flashing a Modified Boot Image with Fastboot
Moving past the more experimental root method, this next one is more traditional. Most of the requirements are more or less the same, you’ll still need to:
• Unlock the Nexus 6P bootloader
• Install TWRP custom recovery
• Find a way to connect your device to a PC
• Have ADB fastboot tools enabled
• Set aside at least twenty minutes of your time
However, as two additional requirements, you’ll need:
• A recent SuperSU zip
• A modified boot image that is compatible with your device build.
One last note before I get into the steps, for TWRP recovery, unlike in method 1, you won’t be setting the recovery as read only. However, you still will not be flashing the SuperSU you are prompted to flash.
These steps will assume you have already unlocked the bootloader and have installed TWRP recovery. If you have not, follow the first two steps of Method One.
First let’s take care of getting that SuperSU zip file. You can snag it here if you didn’t click the link above.
Once you have the zip, place it in a directory on your phone that you can easily access, since you’ll need to later in the rooting process.
Next you need to figure out which modified boot image you need to download and then flash. For this there are four different files you need to consider, and their compatibilities. All but the first are only compatible with their own number.
First, we have MDB08K, which is compatible with MDB08K, MDB08L, and MDB08M
Secondly, we have MDB08M, which as explained above, is only compatible with a build of the same number. Third, we have MMB29N, and then bringing up the rear is MMB29M. These links are thankfully provided my mrRobinson over on the XDA forums.
Once you have the appropriate zip, extract the file in the folder where you have your fastboot files. If needed, you may rename the file to boot.img to complete the process.
Now boot your phone into the bootloader while your phone is connected to your PC, then open the command prompt in the folder that holds your fastboot and boot.img files. To confirm everything is connected properly you can enter the command:
You can rest assured that you’re properly connected if you can see your phone’s serial number displayed on the command prompt.
Keep that command prompt open, because there’s another command you need to enter to start the root process.
Enter the command:
fastboot flash boot boot.img
This will start the flash. Now just wait for the flash to finish before continuing.
Once the flash has finished, you can then use the volume keys to move up and down on screen, and then the power key to select Reboot Bootloader. This will do just what it should do, which is reboot the bootloader.
After the bootloader has been rebooted, you need to do a few different tasks:
• Boot into TWRP recovery mode.
• Once in recovery mode, locate the SuperSU zip you downloaded before.
• When you’ve found the zip file, select it and then swipe to install.
Once the install is finished you will be presented with a few options.
• You will be prompted to wipe the dalvik cache. Wipe the cache, and then hit the back button presented.
• After you’ve done this, there should be a button to reboot the system. Press it, and you’re all done.
As one last note, if you receive any prompts to download a version of SuperSU, or that you are not rooted and need to root: ignore them or skip past them. If you follow any of these prompts you may risk errors with your device.
You should now be rooted, so enjoy any new avenues opened up to you.
Thanks to chainfire’s most recent developments, you can even root your device without needing to modify or rewrite system files anymore, despite still needing to wipe data. Rooting the Nexus 6P may take some ADB knowledge, but if you follow all of your instructions closely, it can be done before you know it.
Now that your Nexus 6P is rooted, what’s the first thing you’re going to do with your new freedom? You can leave your answer in the comments below, along with any questions you may have about the process.