Sdcard woes

Sometimes the little things can cause a big headache

The Android 4.3 update for your shiny new Galaxy S4 Google Play edition phone has a minor issue that is frustrating more than a few users. Most apps can no longer write anything to the SD card, and instead just give you an error when you try doing it.

It's one of those little things that can cause a lot of headache. The technical reasons are a group ID issue, and applications aren't given permission to access the external storage for writing because they aren't in the right group. It's a Unix thing, and if you don't understand it all you're not alone — just know that it's an easy fix in a number of different ways, and hopefully it gets fixed soon. If you do understand, we'll cover it a little more later in this post.

While we're waiting for a permanent fix, the good news is that you can copy files to the external SD card by hand, as long as you use ES File Explorer to do so. Either through magic, or crafty developing, ES File Explorer is a member of the correct group to both read and write to the SD card. There may be other apps that can do the same, but we'll recommend this one because we've tested it ourselves and know it works. Grab it at from the Google Play download link above. If you're the type who likes to dig into things and break fix them yourself, or just a little nerdy and curious, head past the break.

Discuss this in the Galaxy S4 Google Play edition forums

Thanks, Michael!

platform xml file

As mentioned before, there's a bug where applications aren't a member of the correct group to write to the SD card. Maybe Google and Samsung meant it to be this way and application developers will need to adjust, or maybe it got overlooked, but for now you can fix it yourself if you're rooted and confident.

See the image above? That's the /system/etc/permissions/platform.xml file. Line 71, the highlighted one, is what you need to add to allow apps to write to the SD card. You can edit this file right on your phone, or pull it to your computer for editing then push it back. Either way, you need to be rooted to fix it. All you are doing is telling the system that the media_rw group is also allowed to write to the SD card. It's very likely this is how it was supposed to work, but it just got overlooked in the rush to get 4.3 out the door.

If you don't want to root your phone — that was one of the big draws of the Google Play edition devices in the first place — stick with ES File Explorer for now. Hopefully this gets sorted soon!

 
There are 102 comments

swimmaholic says:

C'mon Samsung...

Posted via my HTC One or S4 using the Android Central App

mcgowan398 says:

There's always a catch with Samsung® °_°

ⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ

There seem to have been a lot of catches with the 4.3 upgrade. My Nexus 4 was bricked by the OTA upgrade until I re-applied it sideways via fastboot. And after that, the *backup* service got stuck in a loop producing terrible battery life until I disabled the 'backup to Google' service and then re-enabled it. Now I have 4.3 running nicely. But seriously, something went pretty wrong with the transition from 4.2 to 4.3. They may not have changed much on the surface, but a lot must've changed under the covers. In my case, Samsung was nowhere to be seen - all Google, and pretty disappointing.

(then again, I'd rooted the device, so maybe some of it was my fault - but still...)

return_0 says:

You should have known not to download OTA updates when rooted. And no, it isn't all Google; Samsung still controls the updates on the Google Play Edition.

Really? Everything I read about rooting said it wouldn't affect OTA updates (except, possibly, that I'd lose root - which I didn't)

David Horgan says:

Um ya Hitting that OTA upgrade button is a no no on rooted/ROMed phones on any Android version.

It's not that it surely won't work, because it can--but only if the root user changed little or nothing in the system. If you uninstall system applications, flash custom kernels, edit your build prop, or any other seemingly insignificant things, it can - and many times - will fail.
There was also an annoying change in the way su was implemented in 4.3, which caused Chainfire (the developer of SuperSU) plenty of headaches during the update transition. He had to issue several updates before things were fully corrected.
So maybe one, or a combination of those factors caused your update to be problematic.
In Chainfire's SuperSU app, there's a feature for accepting OTA updates with root. However, even with that feature, he makes it clear that there are no guarantees.
But yeah, it's possible, but doesn't have a reliable outcome. My advice it don't even try, unless you used root privileges for something very minor. But after any changes to the system, I say don't try it at all. It could be a major headache like you've seen.

Interesting. I did very little with root - other than to grant it to ES file manager and create some .nomedia files. Also installed the Nexus display tweaker app. That's it. No ROM, no custom recovery.

Anyway, goes to show you not to take online advice a face value. Is there a preferred (i.e. reliable) way to install updates to a rooted Nexus device?

Well whadya know. I'm no longer rooted, and OTA root keeper's no longer there either. Maybe I should just leave it that way...

os2baba says:

This is a better explanation than a blanket "it's a no-no to install OTA if you are rooted". I do it all the time with my Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. I never mess around with custom ROMs, kernel or any files on the Nexus devices. I just root my devices to use Root apps, make nandroid backups. I install custom ROMs on all my non Nexus devices and of course OTAs are disabled on that. Apart from losing root (fixed after installing the new app from Chainfire) I ha e had absolutely no problems with my upgrade on either tablet.

moosc says:

Why come on Samsung? You bought a Google play device and Google doesn't support apps2sd get over it. SD cards are dinosaurs.

Posted via Android Central App

planoman says:

Samsung provides the code for the S4 google edition and maintains the updates. It is not pure vanilla android code so they should have caught this before giving to google to push the update. I think Samsung is responsible for the fix not google unless I missed something.

troyboytn says:

Seriously, loose the attitude ....Did you even read the article? This has nothing to do with a2sd......

mssca says:

Your comment itself is "dinosaurs" and opinionated. Don't like it, feel free to not to use it and you don't have to insult anyone. However, this article is not about what you talking here anyway.

NoNexus says:

Moosc has an issue with anything that is not pure google or that doesnt comply with the google commandments

spokenwordd says:

"SD cards are dinosaurs" I respect that you have an opinion BUT:

SD card = removable flash memory. Phone Storage = non-removable flash memory. Same technology......

NoNexus says:

obviously different Read/write speeds hence the hatred for it because it is a bit slower

NoNexus says:

just for giggles I ran a speed test

Internal read 46 MB/s write 11.5 MB/s
SD Card read 29 MB/s Write 5 MB/s

that is with the crappy sdcard that Samsung gave me with my original Fascinate, no where near top of the line.

So it takes me 2 seconds for a picture to save vs one

TheDu9du says:

You should consider SanDisk improved SD card. Don't know the name and I don't feel like finding it right now, but you should. I believe it was either in one of the posts in this site or perhaps in a different site.

NoNexus says:

I have a class 10 here as well, I just put this in for something awhile back and never switched it back out.

adriank403 says:

Sandisk Mobile Ultra 30MB/sec microSD. I specifically got one for my S4 from T-mobile because they don't have apps2sd yet and T-Mobile has only 16GB devices available. I save all of my camera photos on it and they are instantly available for me as I am shooting. I don't know how to test the actual speed like the above dude wrote but it is noticeably faster than a generic microSD. Amazon had a half price sale a little bit ago and I got the 32GB for around 20 bucks. It's worth looking into. There is an SD card with ~80mb/sec but I haven't found any microSD versions unfortunately.

eahinrichsen says:

That difference isn't a big deal when it comes to things you do infrequently like writing large files to SD, but do you notice any difference when running apps from SD? None of my primary devices for the last few years have had SD slots, so my frame of reference is out of date.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

I don't run many but those that I have are not bad at all. No real notice

Posted via anything but a Nexus phone.

Not exactly. One has a dedicated controller directly integrated into the system, and one doesn't. External storage also causes some system overhead. Internal storage is more complicated than just an unremovable SD-card inside the phone.

TenshiNo says:

Thank you. I didn't have to explain it this time :)

15israellai says:

I agree, but this is irrelevant.

Posted via Android Central App

jonnyships says:

Not apps2sd, regular writes. Most of my emulators with ROMs on the sdcard no longer save states. I can no longer copy files from my server onto the sdcard. Pocketcast no longer auto downloads podcasts to the sdcard.

Posted via Android Central App

BoB16731 says:

honestly i have no need for a sdcard i have 32 gigs on my htc one and still have 17 gigs of storage

i use cloud storage for pictures and google music for my music

i agree sdcard on phones are a thing of the past

Mircury#AC says:

I couldn't disagree more. As someone that uses their phone as a primary entertainment /work device (no cable tv) I'm in the cord cutter generation. I need all the storage I can get. I refuse to get a phone without a sd slot. I have my movies/shows that I download along with work documents. You just can't stream that stuff because it just isn't available or it would cost to much for cloud storage and carrier bandwidth.

Choorp says:

I'm a cord cutter as well, but have no need for SD cards...

I got rid of my cable subscription earlier this year. I use Google Music All Access for music and Netflix/Hulu for TV and movies. My two main devices are no where close to full. The Nexus 4 has 9gb free and the Nexus 7 has 23gb. You must be thinking "Streaming that much data must cost a fortune!"... Nope. I'm on T-Mobile's $30 a month plan.

Posted via Android Central App

droidhead_1 says:

I cut the cord 1 month ago. So far so good.

Posted via Android Central App

Jamaar White says:

Why don't you just stream movies?

Posted via Android Central App

I can only do 200mb per month over 3g
So no streaming is not an option

People really need to understand that there are a lot of people in this world that can't just stream everything.

I have 16gb internal and 64gb sd and I use total of which is currently still unused 4.9 and 26.6. So of the 80gb I have, almost 50gb is used

Posted via Android Central App

I'm for SD cards too but AT&T is sad, come join us at tmobile and enjoy unlimited 4g LTE Hspa+.

Posted via Android Central App

jonnyships says:

I need an sdcard.

Podcasts sync to my phone for those times I'm out of range or when I'm mowing an constantly keep switching between network and WiFi. Or when I'm on a trip and need to archive my DCIM folder to the sdcard. Or my emulators and Roms which save the progress to the same folder as the ROM.

Posted via Android Central App

Jmaxku says:

And what if you have 32 gigs of music? Google's cloud can only hold 20 gigs of data. Until Google offers more storage for free, I will continue to use my microSD card. It's funny that people on here complain about microSD file transfer rates and then pretend streaming via Google Music is perfect. It's not. I have encountered frequent dead zones in some areas. My previous phone was the Galaxy Nexus. One of the reasons I brought the Galaxy S4 GPe was the microSD card slot.

What if you have 3 TB of music?

TenshiNo says:

+1

I hate having to decide *which* 20,000 songs from the 72,000 in my library that I'm going to upload to Google Music. The All Access feature has been great, but there are still songs that I can't get through Google Music unless I upload them to my own cloud space.

And the way Google has done the Music Manager service so far requires that I have a "separate" copy of my music library which contains only the files I want on Google Music in a separate folder.

NoNexus says:

why yes, they are dinosaurs but until manufactures and Google make 32GB the standard you get what you get.

Just be glad for those few phones with 32GB and for those that include the SDcard until we get there.

Also give kudos for the apps2sd card to Samsung

crxssi says:

It is late 2013. 32GB should be the *MINIMUM* norm with 64GB being optional on all devices and 128GB on the horizon. Why things are being held back I don't know...

Karl Maul says:

128 GB is still not here because the prices haven't fallen down to a decent level. Currently they're still excruciatingly expensive to make. And yeah, I agree that 32 GB should be standard, with 64 GB a little more expensive

Posted via Android Central App

David Horgan says:

NAND flash memory is cheap. Look at the prices of SD cards ~$1- GB at full retail in the store and NAND memory is getting smaller and faster everyday with transistor shrinks. Did you hear that from Google? Remember they want you to use a costly monthly cloud service along with a Hugh data plan.

TenshiNo says:

Google has no investment in making you use a huge data plan. That would be the carriers. And NAND memory in your phone is not the same thing as an SD card. They work on the same principles, but the actual hardware is different and NAND memory is more expensive because of the way it's integrated.

NoNexus says:

NEWS FLASH!

Sometimes people make mistakes, developers too!

planoman says:

Thanks for giving this issue some attention Jerry! As someone who is affected by this, I had a camera app developer tell me to try and uninstall the app, restart and reinstall the app lol! As we know vanilla android does not have a ext sd card, but several third party apps did work to allow the S4 GPe to save pictures and video to the ext sd card. 4.3 broke this so while ES file explorer does work, it is not as convenient to move stuff over but it works fine. (at least we still have a method)

I know that the developer for JB+ camera is working on the fix so thank you to him!

This is really not a discussion about ext sd cards being viable. A selling feature of the S4 Google Edition was that it in fact had a ext sd card that third party app could utilize for writing and deleting from. That is broken and needs to be fixed regardless of anyone's thoughts on the merits of the ext sd card.

As a former Nexus 4 owner and also a current 32GB touch wiz S4, I can say that my daily driver is the Google Edition S4 and it would be nice to have this feature fixed so I can continue to save pictures video and music to my ext sd card automatically from the apps as opposed to moving them with ES file explorer.

axllebeer says:

I really don't understand why people are turning to be against having an SD card. I've never owned a phone that doesn't support one and if I have a choice I never will. Why stream when you can have it native? And why would anyone say,
"yeah I don't want more space on my phone. And if I did I would prefer to pay more for it and have it not removable incase I trashed my phone and didn't have it backed up I'd like to loose it."

trwrt says:

In a cult you don't get to pick and choose doctrine. If the leader says it then you believe it, buster!

tayswg20 says:

Even though I lol, that seems to be the sad truth lately.

Posted via Android Central App

return_0 says:

Because SD cards are easily corruptible and prone to data loss.

NoNexus says:

Funny, I still use the same one I got with my Fascinate. Never had an issue, kinda like the 1000s of others in the world.

I am not saying that it doesnt happen (one of the SGS phones had an issue) but it is not as common as the forums make it out to be.

popartist says:

Don't these things get tested before being publically pushed out? Seems like an obvious thing to catch during testing...

it looks like the default configuration for the reference device (Nexus 10) was used and it never got changed. I agree that this should have been caught and addressed somehow in testing, but developers are people, too :)

If this is the biggest bug, I think they can sleep easy lol.

Screw that. I'm starting a petition. :p

Posted via Android Central App

 

I know just the guy!

I know just who you're talking about. They work with another good law firm, Dewey, Cheatham and Howe.

jonnyships says:

I'd sign it

Posted via Android Central App

samsung whats the point of doing updates if you don't check them first. this shows that samsung doesn't test and doesn't care about the s4 owners. they only care about making money letting everyone know that they send out updates to there phone always but they hide the fact that there updates useless and untested.

NoNexus says:

someone goofed, no big deal

I would hazard a guess and say that it was one of those stupid mistakes and wasn't actually in the beta test builds.

mcgowan398 says:

Oh No! Samsung didn't pre-check their update....LET'S SUE SAMSUNG® AND BURN DOWN KOREA!!!

#Google.needs.some.blame.too

ⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ

return_0 says:

Why? Google isn't the one making and releasing the updates for this phone. Samsung is. They're also the ones who chose to keep making phones with SD card slots when official support was dropped, so they're responsible for making SD cards work with their devices.

tliebeck says:

Disclaimer: I'm the developer of FX File Explorer, which is a competitor to ES File Explorer.

My understanding of this issue is that ES File Explorer DOES NOT work around it. ES appears to work, but when you reboot, your files are gone.

I have not actually tried this. This information was provided to me by the user who reported this as a bug in FX File Explorer. His post on reddit:

"EDIT: Rebooted my device and found that all ES File Explorer modified items have reset. Created files disappeared and deleted items have come back. Potential warning as ES is aggressively caching actions that aren't being written to disk"

In my estimation, the only workaround is to use root access. Any file manager with root, on a rooted device, while using it in root mode, will be able to write to the external SD card.

And here's the important bit of my reddit posting on this issue in general:

There should theoretically be NO WAY to work around this issue without root access. The underlying problem is that in Android 4.3 (at least on the GS4 G.P. Edition), an application's UNIX user id needs to be part of the group "media_rw" in order to write to the removable "external" SD card.

The "WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" permission that almost every app out there uses is inadequate. That will get your app uid added to the group "sdcard_rw", which in the case of Android 4.3+GS4 G.P.E. is only good enough to write to the built-in storage.

The "WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE" permission is required in order to have your app uid added to the group "media_rw". The problem is that this is a system protected permission. You can put this permission in your manifest, but you won't actually be granted it unless you're a system app. (Even tested this with FX to make sure, and it fails).

I very much hope this is an oversight rather than a deliberate action. Bear in mind though that Google does not appear to like the idea of Android devices with multiple storage locations. The first (or at least first popular) device with dual storage was the HTC Incredible, which came out in April of 2010, running Android 2.1 (API level 7). Android 4.3 (API level 18) is the 11th update of the API that has NOT ADDED any support for determining the locations of other user-writable storage. App developers are currently forced to scour /proc/mounts and use device-vendor-specific APIs to determine alternate locations.

It would not surprise me if it has been decided that the media card is "for your photos and music" and that apps fundamentally have no business writing to it (other than the system signed camera/media apps, which would successfully be able to able to use the "WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE" permission). And then of course you'll use MTP to transfer your music over, or perhaps with Google Play Music, from that "cloud" thing everyone keeps talking about. That said, I very much hope what I've just said in this paragraph turns out to be nothing more than misguided paranoia.

planoman says:

Thanks for your response. I downloaded the 4.3 update to my S4 GPe on Monday and immediately noticed the issue because I was using a third party camera app and gallery for my pics. I initially thought it was my ad card and tried several cards and three camera apps that can write to ext sd card. I then noticed quick pic could not delete from the ext sd card.

I was using Astro and that did not work either and I tried several file explorer apps until ES file explorer worked. I have rebooted several times and all of the pictures I have moved to ext sd card and deleted for the ext sd card have stayed permanently.

Are you saying that this must be fixed in the OS as Jerry showed and cannot be fixed by the app developers?

tliebeck says:

"Are you saying that this must be fixed in the OS as Jerry showed and cannot be fixed by the app developers?"

Yes, per the design of Android, there shouldn't be a way to work around this at the application level.

On Android, every app is assigned its own UNIX user id. UNIX user ids starting at 10,000 are reserved for apps. For example, on this device in front of me (a CM10.1 Galaxy Nexus), "Torch" has a UID 10,085 (user name "app_85") and FX has UID 10,068 (user name "app_68").

The SD card (in this case, internal storage) on this device is mounted with the UNIX groupid (gid) of sdcard_rw. Its permissions are configured such that any user that belongs to that group can write to it.

When an Android app specifies the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission, its user id will be added to the group sdcard_rw. If the app does not request that permission, it will not be added to that group.

In the case above, "Torch" does not request that permission (it's a flashlight, it doesn't need it) and thus its user, "app_85" will not be a member of the sdcard_rw group. Any attempt by this app to write to the SD card would fail at the kernel level. There should be absolutely no way around this. If there were, it'd be a security hole.

Now, with specific regard to the GS4 G.P.E. on Android 4.3, only the internal media card is owned by the sdcard_rw group. The external SD card is owned by the "media_rw" group. Short of modifying the way things work using root, there is no way for a non-system application to become a member of this group.

There is a "protected" Android permission, WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE, that will make an app a member of this group, but it's only granted to system applications. You can try putting this permission in your application's manifest (and then tell the builder to ignore enforcing the error you've just made), and build an APK. The problem is that when you install that APK on a device, Android will simply not grant it that permission, and thus will not add its user to the "media_rw" group.

I do not have a Galaxy S4 G.P.E. in my possession, but my guess is that ES File Explorer is not actually writing to that SD card unless root access is being used. Anything can do it as root.

For security purposes, every operation performed by an app is supposed to run as its own user. The only potential way around this (without root) is to ask another app, via a "content provider", to do work for you. The target app would need the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission and would need to be a system app. And it would need to have a public API that allows other apps to make requests of it. I don't know of a way to perform arbitrary file operations using any available app...again, if you could, it'd be a significant Android security hole.

Appreciate you chiming in here (even though sometimes it's a lost cause trying to explain things like users/groups in blog comments — trust me lol).

A couple things. ES File Explorer does work, even on unrooted phones. I have no idea how, I just know it does because everyone is telling me that it's working on their unrooted phone. 

And I still think this is just a situation where Samsung didn't change the default build config, which was designed for a Nexus 10 with no external storage. It's a dead-simple fix for Samsung to make, and I have a gut feeling they will do exactly what I'm suggesting rooted users do in this post. 

MERCDROID says:

You just taught me a lot, thanks!

Posted via Android Central App

jonnyships says:

I guessing so. ES might be doing something tricky as it seems to vary across devices. Might be getting assigned an id that's the same as another app WITH media_rw capabilities. Though I've had mixed results and wouldn't trust it moving important files around.

I've also had the same issue with MTP and deleting files/folders.

MERCDROID says:

Thanks, for both of your posts, sir! You're very knowledgeable!

Posted via Android Central App

Gearu says:

Lol updates.

maconsultant says:

Thanks for taking the time to write that. I for one would want and demand a full refund they can take the gimped phone back. I don't want to be forced to use anyone's cloud storage not if I have a 64gb SD card installed I rather use my sudo internal/external storage that worked initially upon the devices launch over cloud storage anyday...

They touted the device as having a removable battery and an SD card slot. Maybe I'm crazy but them mentioning it I hope would mean we get a working SD card slot. I guess I could be wrong.. But I won't stand for that.

NoNexus says:

It

Was

an

Error

a fix will be out within a few days, if that long (I would bet Monday)

Calm down, there is no need to storm the gates or invade Korea (well S. Korea)

maconsultant says:

@NoNexus... I hope your right, but storming or invading anywhere I think is a bit much. But wanting what you paid for $650 + shipping to work as described is a small thing to ask or expect.

NoNexus says:

I understand but mistakes happen. There is no way the will not fix it

Posted via anything but a Nexus phone.

jonnyships says:

I hope its an error, but people are complaining because all ASOP devices since the XOOM have all had the same behavior. It maybe writing to the sdcard in 4.2.2 was the error

Posted via Android Central App

jonnyships says:

See I'm hoping that's the case. We haven't heard from Samsung yet, for all we know 4.2.2 write support was the error. That's how it's done on the Nexus 10, though with the Nexus 10 I'd argue that the SD card was external while with the S4 it's behind the battery cover meaning it's more of a "permanent" install.

Beachbum37 says:

5 Weeks and no fix lol. Hope your not a gambler

Gator352 says:

OOOOOOOOOOOOPS!

No big deal. I'm sure it will be addressed soon. Lol. People always find a way to make these sort of things the end of the world. Same people crapping on Samsung are the same ones who will flame to death with an ios user. Smh lol.

Posted via Android Central App

dimit says:

Do you still think it will be addressed soon?
23 weeks later is not soon enough I guess.. KitKat 4.4.2 still no access to SD card

TankMech says:

Lol. I wanted an android strictly for rooting purposes. Why not just root and be over it all? If yall want a phone that has no extsdcard, and bugless boredom, dun dun dun... IPhone is calling. sorry had to, haven't seen an iPhone comment lately. Almost forgot about them. And that code in the op seems pretty darn easy to plop in and fix if read that correctly. Either way, it most surely will be fixed soon enough for those that don't want to root. For those that think extsdcard is a dinosaur, when I'm in the middle of the dessert, and have no signal, and am stuck in a tank training for weeks on end, my phone is a great way to kick back and relax watching preloaded movies and music. And my nexus 7 has an otg 128gb usb drive for the whole weeks worth of movies. It is definitely needed for us army guys, who will have a bunch of pdf files and mos related jargon on our phones for quick reference. I know I like to have everything I can packed on it for whatever scenario. But that's just me. Good stuff tliebeck ;)

for all "weirdos"

next time read!!!!. google blocked the option to APP2SD in 4.0+ os's (samsung wanna open that agian). nowhere in the article say they dont want too...
LEARN TO READ!!!! if u need english lessons we are!!

they said that the apps on the 4.3 google play for Samsung dosn't let apps that read from sd to been downloaded... is a appstore issues. gotta problem? find leaked appstore from the web and install it.. is use 4.3 Google play editon store on my Sony Xperia X10A and no problem , sometimes erorr , if u want the APP2SD open flush google or samsung.. cuz is noway that it would write in the phone if u got SD SLUT... but it wouldnt transfer the app.

It seems a really weird thing for them to block though seeing as they opened it up in Android 2.2 I believe it was? They don't want to design phones with microSD card slots? Fine. Nothing wrong with variety. But to 'block' a feature from Android so other devices can't without working around it seems like a lazy cop out.

Don't make an operating system that's praised for it's power and flexibility among a variety of devices and then close off a major (and popular) standard like microSD card slots for apps, perhaps the most advantageous use of said microSD cards given the size apps are getting today.

return_0 says:

Google didn't block SD cards; I don't know where you're getting that. They just stopped supporting them. You don't need to have some weird workaround to get it working; OEMs just have to properly implement SD card support. If an OEM is unable to do that, it isn't Google's fault.

jonnyships says:

They did. They forked WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE into meaning only the internal storage and created a new permission called WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE for sdcards and USB OTG flash memory. The issue is WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE is only available to system level apps.

That's actively blocking sd cards from Google's POV. OEMs get around this by merging both of these back together under WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE but it appears someone at Samsung wants this device to behave as ASOP behaves, which I personally disagree with as the placement of the sdcard lends itself to an augmentation of the internal storage as opposed to something that's hot swappable.

I assume this little issue will be sorted out if and when 4.3 comes to stock (correct term?) S4 devices? I'd like to know I have Android 4.3 but my Galaxy S4 has been very good to me so far and I'd rather not root it if I don't need to, at least not yet.

I did that with my old Motorola Droid and it was fun but trying to develop for the phone, I get more consistent results across multiple devices if I don't screw with them and create unnecessary variables for myself.

Targon says:

So, minor update comes out that only adds the appropriate apps to the correct group and problem solved. Shouldn't take more than a few days of work to fix this issue. Parse the installed apps, those that are supposed to have access to the external storage now get added to the group. Simple enough to code really, but it would require the proper permissions, meaning Samsung pushes it out or those who root will get a quickly written app to do the job.

jonnyships says:

Just add the media_rw to the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission or make WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE not a system level permission

Posted via Android Central App

smooth3006 says:

i really hope that android 5.0 is more stable because 4.3 is much buggier than 4.2.2 was.

Synycalwon says:

But that's Google's MO! We're all BETA testers! Muahahahaha.... ;P

maconsultant says:

Agreed on 4.3 being more buggy than 4.2.2..

I'd also like a factory image for the i9505G to be released. If it truly is a DEV device we should have a factory image for it.

Anonne says:

This release (4.3) is amazingly buggy. The bluetooth bug, breaking keyboards, still hasn't been fixed and is a real showstopper for actually working with a 7" tablet.

spacolin says:

Just got off the phone with Samsung and explained the situation and they said they have not received any other calls on this and basically nothing will be done until they receive more calls. So please let them know. Their number is 1 800 726 7864 Thank you!

spacolin says:

Just learned this Samsung phone number has a better chance to escalate the issue quicker
You can contact our voice support at 1-888-987-4357, Mon-Fri: 7 AM - 9 PM (CST), Sat: 9 AM - 6 PM (CST).

jonnyships says:

I'll call as well. So we'll have at least two.

jonnyships says:

The Samsung support person I called today said not writing to the SD card was a "feature"

Posted via Android Central App

argold says:

I was comforted to see that Samsung is promoting the external microSD as a valuable feature in today's announcement of the new Galaxy Mega 6.3 inch phone for ATT.

JavaDevelop says:

I called Samsung today and voiced my interest in returning this capability. It was also suggested that we go onto Samsung.com and post our concern there, where a VP will likely respond within 24 hours.

heyguido says:

This is just one of a handful or issues being reported with 4.3...

And while we're griping about SD storage, Bluetooth, etc....

Let's not forget that 4.3 has broken USB Host on quite a few devices, including Nexus devices.

Not happy.

Hi Guys. I am Brazilian and I bought a Galaxy S4 Google Edition. And he came in version 4.2.2, and is not updating at all for 4.3. Add me rozicks@gmail.com. And please help me. Thank you friends.

Hi Guys. I am Brazilian and I bought a Galaxy S4 Google Edition. And he came in version 4.2.2, and is not updating at all for 4.3. Add me rozicks@gmail.com. And please help me. Thank you friends.

Sam Advanes says:

I'm migrating from iPhone 4. My S4 is running 4.2.2 and it already has those 2 lines but the problem is still there. It only works for a couple of camera shots, then it says unable to write to external SDCard! The same thing with transferring apps to SDCard. It works for the 1 st app but NOT the rest... owh.. that sucks!!!

servoguy says:

Methinks this is not an Android 4.3 Issue. Its gymping, probably
from Samsung.

I have an S3 with 4.1.1 rooted but mostly unmodified.
I have never accepted the EULA for Samsung Update,
its been notifying me for over a year now, however my wife
upgraded to 4.3 and it looked pretty sweet so I finally gave up
and accepted Samsung Update.

I got a message saying something close to "Your device has
been modified, no updates are available" then I lost SD write
access. I'm still on 4.1.1 and it didn't install a damn thing, just
gymped my SD card.

Nice one Samsung ... or Google or whoever... you really know
how to make friends.