ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) for Nexus 4 [Updated]

The LG Nexus 4 went on sale yesterday, opening up to heavy demand causing Google’s servers to go crazy. Being a Nexus device, the first order of business for many after getting one will be to head to the Android development community and try out various custom ROMs, which are sure to come in huge numbers thanks to the Nexus moniker.

To flash custom ROMs and other modifications, one needs a custom recovery, and the most popular custom recovery – ClockworkMod (CWM) recovery – has already been released for the Nexus 4, by XDA Senior Member jellybellys, and we’ve detailed a step-by-step guide to help you flash it on your phone.

However, keep in mind that flashing CWM recovery (or any other custom recovery), you will need to unlock the bootloader on your Nexus 4. This will wipe all data from your phone and reset it to factory settings (and will also void warranty, though it is easy to re-lock the bootloader to get warranty back).

Now, read on for the procedure to flash CWM recovery on the Nexus 4.

Update: The official ClockworkMod recovery has been released for the Nexus 4, and we’ve replaced the earlier link with the link to the official recovery, and there are also a couple of changes to the procedure.


The procedure described below is only for the LG Nexus 4. Do not try it on any other device.


The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky, so try them out at your own risk, and make sure to read each step carefully before attempting anything. We will not be held responsible if anything goes wrong.

How to Install ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) on Nexus 4

  1. The procedure to flash CWM recovery involves unlocking the bootloader on the device. Unlocking the bootloader causes all the data on the device to get wiped, including everything on your internal storage. First, backup installed apps and other data such as contacts, messages, bookmarks, etc, by referring to our Android Backup Guide for help. Then, copy everything from the SD card to your computer, which will also include the apps and data you backed up.
  2. Your phone’s bootloader will need to be unlocked to flash CWM. You can unlock the bootloader on your Nexus 4 by following the guide → here. Make sure you took a backup in step 1 as this will wipe all data from the phone and reset it to factory settings. Skip this if you already have the bootloader unlocked.
  3. Download and install the Android SDK → from here. This will install the necessary drivers for the phone on your computer. Skip this if you have already installed the SDK while following step 2.
  4. Download Fastboot. Fastboot is what will be used to flash the recovery on the phone.
    Download Fastboot | Filename:
  5. Extract the file you just downloaded to a convenient location on the computer to obtain a folder named Fastboot which will have four files inside it. To keep things easy, extract the Fastboot folder to drive C.
  6. Download the following files:
    1. ClockworkMod recovery image. This is the image that needs to be flashed on the phone.
      Download CWM | Filename: recovery-clockwork-touch-
    2. Download the stock recovery disabler. This file is needed to ensure that ClockworkMod recovery does not get replaced by the stock recovery.
      Download Link | Filename:
  7. Copy the recovery image you downloaded in step 6.1 to the Fastboot folder that you obtained in step 5.
  8. Also, copy the file downloaded in step 6.2 to the phone’s storage.
  9. Turn off your Nexus 4. Then, boot into fastboot mode by holding down the Volume down and Power buttons together till the screen turns on and shows “Start” written in big green letters.
  10. Then, connect your Nexus 4 to the computer with your USB cable, then wait for Windows to finish installing the drivers (drivers will be installed only the first time). For reliability, ensure that you use a USB port at the back if you are using a desktop computer, as the front panel ports can be loose and cause problems.
  11. Click on Start menu » All Programs » Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt and click on Run as administrator. If you are using Windows 8, this can be done by right-clicking on the extreme bottom left corner of the taskbar, then selecting “Command Prompt (admin)”.
  12. Now, we need to flash the CWM image on the phone, and also to disable stock recovery replacing CWM after a reboot. Follow the steps below to do so.
    1. Navigate to the Fastboot folder which you obtained in step 4. For example, if the Fastboot folder is in drive C on your computer, enter cd C:Fastboot in command prompt (and press Enter) to navigate to the folder.
    2. Then, enter fastboot devices. If your Nexus 4 has been detected properly, you will see a device ID show up in command prompt. If nothing comes up, make sure you have installed the drivers (see step 3).
    3. Type fastboot boot recovery-clockwork-touch- and press Enter. This will make the phone boot into ClockworkMod recovery temporarily. Keep the phone connected to the computer.
    4. Using the touchscreen, select install zip from sdcard, then select choose zip from sdcard. Then, scroll to and select the file, and confirm its installation on the next step.
    5. After installation is complete, type in adb reboot-bootloader to reboot into fastboot mode again.
    6. Now, flash CWM recovery on the phone by entering fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch- in the command prompt.
    7. After recovery has been flashed, you should see a “finished”/”OKAY” message in the command prompt.
    8. Now, type fastboot reboot and press Enter to reboot the phone.
  13. ClockworkMod recovery is now installed on your Nexus 4. To boot into CWM recovery, turn off your phone and boot into the bootloader mode using the button combination given in step 9. Then, using the volume buttons, scroll to the “Recovery mode” option, then select it using the power button to reboot the phone into CWM recovery.

Flashing Back to Stock Recovery

  • If for some reason you want to flash back to stock recovery, the procedure is simple and similar to the procedure for flashing ClockworkMod recovery. Simply download the stock recovery image → here, copy it to the Fastboot folder, then flash it by following steps 9 to 11 above, but replace the name of the CWM image to the name of the img files — recovery.img, that is — in step 12.3.

That’s it. ClockworkMod recovery is now installed on your Nexus 4, and can be used to flash custom ROMs, kernels, and other modifications. Don’t forget to let us know if you run into any problems.


  1. I am on the US version and after flashing the recovery nothing works

  2. I am on the US version and after flashing the recovery nothing works

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