SD card: Activate

Why your SD card doesn't work the same in Android 4.4 KitKat, and the reasons for the change

"Curse you, Google! Your KitKat update broke my SD card!"

Poke around the Android section of the Internet and you'll hear something similar. Users like you and me are in an uproar because they updated their phone to Android 4.4 KitKat, and now the SD card support has changed. Apps no longer work, folks have problems with cameras and music players, and while everyone else is saying "Oh, yeah. That's how it works now," nobody warned them in advance before they grabbed that update.

There is a lot of push against these changes, with petitions and threats of grassroots movements that threaten to show Google the error of its ways — even a very popular developer that I won't name has their PR people sending out requests for blogs to write about evil Google.

But, as always, there's a method to Google's madness. Let's discuss.


Reader comments

KitKat and SD cards — what's fixed, what's broken and what's misunderstood


Well updating to KitKat (custom roms) I have damaged 2 of my SD cards, what could I do to retrieve them or are they damaged for good?

Thanks Jerry......!

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, that's constantly laughing at my wife's T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 with borked sdcard support on 4.4.2...

This whole post would have been unnecessary if Google had been truly transparent and explained Kit Kat updates in STUPID PEOPLE language.

But if they made it that easy for techies to see fault in Kit Kat it might hurt their open reputation.


The fact that this wasn't explained thoroughly hurt Google's and Nestle's reputation, while leaving a bad candy taste in our mouths.

Time to change my signature. And only buy high internal storage phones. I feel SICK, HURT, and BETRAYED.

Thank you Google for helping me lose TRUST in my once great overlord.

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, that's constantly laughing at my wife's T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 with borked sdcard support on 4.4.2...

I wonder what's going on at WPCentral.

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, with 32GBs of internal memory and no sdcard. (Bring on 4.4.2, I can handle it.)

+1 I was wondering the same thing. Isn't replying to your own comment the same thing as talking to yourself? I'm related to somebody who does that... Lol

Posted via Android Central App

But, wait! There's more. Sorry, just couldn't help it. I love it when people are concise and to the point.

Posted via Android Central App

I like all of you in the comments section, so please try not to nit-pick. From your long time forum member DWR_31.

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, with 32GBs of internal memory and no sdcard. (Bring on 4.4.2, I can handle it.)

Moto e 4.4.3 SD card format hack and get apps on mine no root or anything people if u wanna no how research it

Posted via Android Central App

Oh, just having a little fun. Didn't mean to sound over the top. Feel free to send some of it back. :-)

Posted via Android Central App

They make special phones for STUPID PEOPLE, they even come in cute clamshell designs.

Stupid people shouldn't be using smart phones LOL

I'm amazed people's intelligence are now measured by what kind of phone they have...

Posted via My Samsung HTC LG Megadroid Optimus Primus Nexus5

Aren't you kind of quick to judge people, using the system that you do? You must be from the younger generation that really hasn't got a good handle on life yet. Wake up. You might be judged the same way by your pears

It's not really Google, it's the OEM who made your smartphone who didn't inform you.
Google has made it's stance on SD cards very clear for years in it's nexus line, it wanted them to go away.

OEMS and users choose to ignore this and google had to finally do something at the operating system level to clear up the security problem.

Apps will be updated to handle this change, just like with any operating system update that stops certain things from working, It's not really the end of the world. It's just a temporary problem.
Apps makers who decide not to update apps to handle this change properly will rightly simply die off.

That said, I'm very happy to have my nexus 5 with no SD card which works perfectly the way google intended it to on Kit Kat ;)

You are kidding, right? Google doesn't really have an issue with SD cards due to security; Google has an issue with SD cards because they make large storage affordable.

People use Android devices because they want to add storage or change out the battery...things Apple will not allow. Want all of your music on your iPhone. No problem! Just be willing to shell out an exorbitant amount of $$ for the 32GB model. Whereas on a Droid, just buy a $50 SD card and pop it in.

Google wants to monetize storage. Get us all using Google Drive, i.e. "The Cloud" and then when everything we need and love is stored on "The Cloud" bend us over and empty our pockets.

The OEM manufacturers are merely giving Droid users what they want. While Google, the supposed gods of open source, are trying to lock stuff down and build a monopoly.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Droid. You will never see me with an iPhone. But you are just as bad as the worst Apple fanboy if you think this KitKat lockout of SD storage is truly about Google trying to protect us.

Dude you need to calm down,
This won't make SD cards permanently useless, app developers just need to change their apps to work within the new framework.
As happens with many operating system updates.
Myself I don't need an sd card and lucky for me it makes my life easier.
But Android isn't just about removable battieres and sd cards.
it's about the flexibility of the entire OS to me.

Yes, it has made SD cards permanently useless. Files are best handled by file managers, not mis-coded media management applets like those on our phones. Being able to load up music files on my phone's SDcard just like I do on a portable hard drive is the very reason I have an Android handset.

Google play, or some other bad file transfer and transcoding software to emulate I-tunes ? Count me out. WinPhone or UbuntuPhone, here I come. Google never released, or hinted at the release or making of a CHMOD utility. If I can't control my files, I might as well have a cheap WinPhone or flip. My phone was slowly replacing my PC's functions. Google just threw a wrench in my plans. If they don't implement a switch, or a CHMOD utility, there's going to be a flood of newbies with rooted, and very exposed phones disseminating malware gotten through pirated junk from P2P networks. It will be a security nightmare. Cloud be damned. If WinPhone allows traditional access to SD, I expect a huge surge in popularity for MS gear.

Dude, you can *still* upload your files to your SD card just like before. This change only stops apps from *writing* anywhere except their predefined folder. They will still be able to read files from wherever you put them on the SD card. The only thing this really has any serious impact on is file managers.

Yes you cab, through a physical cable connection. However not everyone wants to sit down next to their computer and shove a cable into their phone everytime they want to add something when before all you needed to do was copy and paste over wi-fi before. I don't want to get up out of bed just to upload a few songs or videos to my phone when previously I could have had a copy operation run overnight and be happy to see it all in the morning. This is a stupid change and makes sd cards a complete hassle to use on the android now since file managers were a big part of many people's phones. It wouldn't be a problem if there was an option to change this somewhere, but alas there is not without voiding your warranty, this only ends up restricting power users which are a core demographic of android phones, since iPhones don't allow for such people.

I agree with you completely. I am thinking of returning my new S5 BECAUSE OF THIS STUPID KIT KAT. When an OS starts telling my how or what I can put on the SD drive I bought. Arghhh. Where is the petition.

I can still upload files to my SDCard like before??? Really??? Please show me how I can work "just like before". I never had to carry a laptop with me before KitKat to connect to file or ftp servers and download my media, books, and documents to my device (in the directories I saw fit to organize them in). I would just open up my file manager and copy the file where I needed it, use the two or three best of breed apps to modify my files (YES, I want to edit my documents with multiple tools .. STUPID ME), and sync them back. Now I have to carry my 7" tablet AND my laptop. It was nice when my tablet could do everything, now its its a 9oz slave to my 7lb PC. The way I work, and the ENTIRE reason I bought an Android tablet in the first place was to lighten my load and be more mobile. And as an admin, managing and moving files with a FILE MANAGER is an absolute must, and one of the reason I chose the specific android devices I did.

Sensless... Or maybe Google thinks I'm just too stupid to understand. If I could return all my KitKat devices I would in a heartbeat. I am extremely upset that my Android devices are useless for the functionality I bought and used them for over a year for.

No, you cannot do it exactly as before. If you could, no one would have noticed a thing. I use a file manager to sync files with dropbox, and this is now broken.
I used another app to play music from those synced folders, and this is now broken.
I'd play video files that had been synced, and this is now broken.
So no, this is not at all working as before.
If I wanted a walled garden without extra storage, I would have gotten an iPhone.
I'm now trying to decide whether to go with Windows Phone or iPhone for my next device, because android just became worthless...

If you're not able to play the audio/video files from your SDCard, then there's something wrong with your SD card. No change has been made to *reading* files, only writing them. I'm not sure what problem you're seeing, but Dropbox still works just fine for me.

And how do you suppose my player keeps track of where I am and what I have been listening to? That's right, it doesn't when it can't write to the SD card.
Yes, I'm sure Dropbox works fine, but I don't use that app.
As I wrote: "I use a file manager to sync files with dropbox", and unless there is a way to sync entire folder structures to where *I* want on the SD card, then it is entirely pointless whether the dropbox app works or not.

But your player *can* write to the sdcard. At least, it should be able to at this point. If it still can't, contact the developer or use a player that's actually being supported. This argument is getting tiresome.

Except it cannot, although to be fair, I can't create the folder in the first place or copy my music to the folder...
I realise that you are probably happy to use your device the way you're told to use it, but I like to be able to use it in a way that is actually useful for me.

And you are right, your argument that you are right, so everyone else must be wrong is exceedingly tiresome, and also very reminiscent of how Apple used to be about their iProducts. It's almost ironic.

My argument is not that you are "wrong", only that your overstating things. You *can* still create a folder anywhere you want on the SD card and place whatever files you want in that folder, you just have to either use the file system manager that came with the device, or a USB connection. And any app will be able to read those files. I agree that it's not ideal, but it's a different scenario from one you are arguing.

And, if it's really a major problem for you, it takes very little effort (on most devices) to root and re-enable global write permissions. And before you bring up the warranty issue, I have personally had to return phones after rooting without any problems, and you can find a plethora of similar reports online. I have yet to ever hear of someone being denied a warranty replacement for a legitimate device defect due to having rooted their device.

Hey TenshiNo, you're giving some nice support here so thought I'd ask you my query. Firstly I'd like to root to solve file management app issue but rooting my phone will mean apps like Sky Go won't operate so that isn’t an option for me.

So as you've mentioned to a few times and from what I've read elsewhere an app can have a personal application specific folder that it will be able to write to on the External SD? Is there a way of manually setting this specific folder?

For example, similar to on Windows PCs making a folder called Public on my external SD and that folder being the "application specific folder" of the file management app?

At least for me that would be an adequate work around to then be able to move files from that Public folder into the folders I desire them in.

Unfortunately, without root I don't believe that there is any way to define the folder. As far as I understand, the folder gets created automatically using the app's namespace. (ie:
If you're willing to out the time in to uproot if it doesn't work, you can always try rooting and then using Xposed with the module called "Root Cloak" which can hide the fact that you're rooted from specific apps. Only downside there is that, if it doesn't work, you'll have to spend the time to unroot after.

Thank you! So this is on my Samsung S4 and the file handling app that I use is ES File Explorer. Using your info I looked for the apps namespace folder. It had an automatically created folder in the internal Android/data/ directory but not in the external SD one. So on the external SD, path; /storage/extSdCard/Android/data/ I named a folder "" (the exact same name as automated one on internal).

Using ES File Explorer the folder is acting just as I wished a 'public' folder to. I can copy music over WiFi into that folder on the external SD, and from there move them into my music folder. Only tested a couple things so far, but all has worked. Yes its one extra step from pre-4.4 but its happy days, thanks again.

Not if you want to store all your huge video files on your huge SD card, right? That's why, I think, my video keeps killing Google camera on my 4.4.2 ROM. Sure, I could redirect it to store several minutes of video on internal while I have that big SD card sitting there. : (

I haven't checked personally, but I would be pretty surprised to discover that the Google Camera app had not been updated to store files on the SD card according to the new write rules. And it's only an issue if you've downloaded the app from the play store and it didn't come with your device. You *might* be making an incorrect assumption here. I say that only to recommend that you research to find out if that's really the cause, because it could indicate that there is a problem with your SD card itself.

For pictures yes, but Kitkat does not allow you to save video files to the sd card. So if you are like me and bought a phone with only 16th of internal store because I could but a 64gb sd card to throw in the back, your screwed unless you record low res or shoot short clips

It's hard to believe that we're still having this conversation, but here goes. Kitkat does not prevent you from writing certain file types to the SD card. What it does is limit apps to o KY be allowed to write to a specific folder on the SD card. That means that, if you have an app that gives you an error about writing to the SD card, you need to contact the app developer and ask them to update it. Quit all this "but I can't write 'x' kind of file now!" because you're wrong and it's simply not true. At least, not as a result of the upgrade to Kitkat. Apps *can* still write whatever they want to the SD card, but only in a more structured way.

Still it's been months now that kitkat was rolled out.......I bought a high end android smartphone in order to have the latest geekest stuffs (MC4,MC5,Asphalt 8, TOMTOM Europe.....) and all those app made by serious companies aren't able to catch up and now I have already my internal storage full ! plus I travel quite a lot so cloud is a non option. Now it means for me to carry a laptop along with as I can't use anymore my highend dumphone to make, let says, camera backup !! So you can tell whatever reason about everything is like before it isn't. Why can't you stick to your valid argument and admit that there is some serious problems for the others ?????

No you can not.... That is what brought me to this forum, looking for what went wrong. Good luck pulling up file and folders on you PC that are on the phone (such as audible files) those are all in locked areas and you can only now download the files again to the phone even if you have them on the PC, you can not just push them over as in the past. I got the update OTA last week.

This "protective Google" smells a lot like a walled garden to me. I tried iTunes once upon a time on a Windows computer. Then I discovered that if I managed my music files the way I saw fit.../Music/Artist/Album/Song...and then used iTunes to search my computer for mp3 files, I ended up with duplicates of everything in some Apple prescribed folder. No thanks. I got rid of iTunes and vowed to stay away from iTunes and Macs. When I started with smartphones, I had PalmOS, then Symbian, then Android. If I don't find a workable solution to this Android file system mismanagement I don't know what I'll do when my contract with VZW expires, unless it is to find a
phone that's not bootloader locked and lets me run custom ROMs.

by INSISTING on removing :P the removable batteries and SD card support, they are in fact REDUCING the flexibility of the entire system.

Who is "insisting" on removing support for removable batteries or SD-Card "support"? Both still work, even if so cards don't work in exactly the same way. This change doesn't prevent apps from writing to the SD card, it only limits *where*to they can write.

YOU don't need an sd card? It's about flexibility? It's about the entire os to ME.
Hmmmm. Me me me.
Well, unfortunately, most of us use their sd card. Glad it doesn't effect you. But the majority can no longer use apps paid for or otherwise the way they were designed. Your right though. It is about flexibility. The flexibility we no longer have. Thank God Google gets to decide what WE do on our phones. We would be lost without their guidance. We's nit smart enuff ta figure out by r selfs

Evidently Google/Android's own developers need to learn to work "withing the new framework" as well since their own file manager cannot copy contebts from one micro SDXC card to another. I purchased 2-128gb cards for my new Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 which when I bought it, worked so that I could save files to the SDXC scards. This is my primary device. Then an update happened at build 90 I believe and access to my own data was taken away. I hear what you are saying yet somehow allowing ANYTHING to be saved to the coud but not on my local, removable storage reeks of beeing shoved into the looming business model in the works for over a decade - get the data on server farms, where engineers for AT&T, Verizon, et all are singig from the rooftope they are installing bifurcating switches that allow ALL data to be tapped. You don't thing the NSA Is building storage facilities 7x the size of the Pentagon for kicks, do you? And I fail to see how allowing me to store my data on a removable SD card, in a hierarchical directory structure with the highest order directore being "Userdata" is causing a "mess" all over Google's precious locked down Linux kernel. If you cannot see the social revolution occurring around you don't be surprised someday if your door gets kicked in because of some titty picture you have "in the cloud," if that is you taste. Those who fail to see the patterns in history are destined to be doomed by them. We are now living an a corporate oligarchy. Are you honestly so naiive that you think this is about developer conformity? Sorry. but the guy you tole to calm down was not NEARLY strident enough. I have no idea how old you are or what your educational background is (not saying Harvard or Yale or Princeton, but how much you read multifaceted views of an issue) but you would do well I think to study some history, particulrly before WWII, back a little further just before the Incorporation of the "United States" and follow some of those leads out to see who was in power positions and who was under boot heels. It is never the "just calm down crowd." Look at Tibet. We are no longer in an age where peaceful civil disobedience is an effective tool. Do you read the Congressional Record? What abut Executive orders? How about the Patriot Act, National Defense Authorization Act, U.N. Agenda 21? Do you know what posse comitus, codex alimentarius and extrtaordinary rendition are? What about FISA? Are you aware FISA warrants are ot being obtained an "analysts" for the NSA are free to pore over your personal phone conversations in their entirety just by filling out a webform. So, how on earth could you begin to think this invasion of our privacy is okay? If you knew the real reason these relational databases are being populated with seemingly inane statistics you would be likely to not believe it until they come knocking for you. So, whicil it is about the "flexibility of the operating system to you" on that count plenty of Linux developers would argure with you vehemently about that one. Google/Android has taken an open source kernel in the public domain and made is just a nefarious as the others. And for mem it is about the first 10 ratified amendments to the Constitution that comprise the Bill of Rights and our Constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy and the right to "abolish the cause to which we are accustomed," which is becoming an increasigly corporratist oligarchy. It is about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk, the Suffragettes, the Stonewall riot, The American and British aristocracies brokering a deal with the Nazis so no one would find out that Prescott Bush, Alan Dulles, Fritz Thyssen, the Holland American Trading Corporation, Union Banking, the Carlyle Group, Hallliburton are now closing ranks upon us. It is more thatn an OS. It is a means of free speech with a reasonable expectation of privacy. Having my data vulnerable on a server farm or internal storage of a device that can get enought ambient energy to be manipulated remotely. They cannot keep our passwords safe and we are going to ust trust them with our data, which is intellectual property? Sorry, do not mean to insult you and I am ot a nut. It just amazes me how naiive so many of my countrymen and wome are and that is why America is going to the dogs - because people do not educate themselves to see the patterns of history, No offense intended, I just watn you to think about this because unless you are as old as I am, it is going to effect your and your family much more than I and I put my neck out there on the chopping block regularly so younger people have a smidgen of a chance at freedom. Don't be fooled into thinking information is not powerful and you needn't be aware of it. Thank you. Ed S.

Oh yeah, this is really big on conspiracy thinking.
As a german with expierencies of primitive Stasi and by stories from my parents and grandparents from Gestapo, I am sure You cannot be paranoid enough if a seriouis moneymaking company is concerned about your safety or wellfare but does urgently try not to mention how they benefit from their ideas of doing you something good.
And a goverment or govermental agencies legalizing acts of invading your private area and circumventing the normal legal ways and so bothersome things like judges and their annoining ways (USAPATRIOT ACT) are seriously trustworthy.

So, I see the technical problem for handling with the SDCard on FAT filesystem. So just change that, Windows users can access the files through the USB Connection or by filemanagers on the phone, Linux users ( and I would guess MAC users also) are capable to manage EXT filesystems.

But is my phone or tablet, it is my responsibility to handle it right.
If I am too dumb too handle it, I would have to buy a new one (Galaxy S4), or an iPhone, where I am protected from myself. It is my money.

Thanks for this discussion. It is sorely needed.
Sorry for the English.


You do realize how much of a "crazy conspiracy theory" that sounds like, right? Google has numerous problems with SD-Cards, but most of them revolve around the fact that fans of "other" devices use the inherent problems with SD-Cards as ammunition to try and give Google and Android a bad name. As the previous poster said, eventually apps with be updated and we will all look back on this and realize how silly we're being. Just like has been done before when Google made major changes to Android.

Conspiracy theory? Like Planned obsolescence? You can still believe in kind-hearted, benevolent, and misunderstood big corporations if you wish, but the facts are that apps are becoming bigger and bigger, already reaching 2GB and more. Changes that Google implemented are making almost all low-end and mid range phones with small internal memory unusable.

Which are the "fans" of "other" devices that tries to give the inherent problems with SD cards to try to give google and android a bad name? :P Certainly never heard of that. Would love a link to the source materials.

Just comments I've seen are on different sites. All the claims that Android is "riddled" with malware, even if it is based on ignorant assumptions and misunderstanding of the facts. That sort of thing.

Yeah and a huge user base that dawrfs their's. Why because we can use our phones the way we see fit, not the way some spoiled children say we have to in California. The idea Google is protecting us is foolish. How's this make am option, check, and I bet you will find most phones with that option to use sd checked. If this stays, I am not buying another android anything period.

This sounds like wishful thinking. Once something that worked has been taken away, it won't be returning.
Once people are used to having less functionality, they will not suddenly get it back.
Google wants Android to be a walled garden like iPhone, and this is another step in that direction...

Google's not stupid. They know that they have "conquered the world" because they're *not* Apple. They'd be shooting themselves in the foot to go the "walled garden" route. The loss of functionality, here, is not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be. Granted, there may be some apps that never get updated to properly write to the SD card, but that's on the app developer, not Google. Changes to the OS are *going* to happen as Android matures, and some of those updates are going to be momentarily painful. It's the nature of software development.

Except they are now taking the walled garden approach of Apple.
Given how they've broken SD cards, I can genuinely not think of a single reason to pick Android over iOS.
This bug is not nearly as bad as it sounds like for people who didn't use the functionality that's lost. For people like me who were heavy users of their SD cards, it's absolutely massive, and means that Android has become pointless.
Google just went the Apple route, and I wonder how many of the people making up excuses for Google, are the same ones who would call people doing the same for Apple mindless fanbois.
And no, this is entirely on Google to take such basic functionality away for no good reason.
Security you say? Why didn't they do it to the internal storage where all the real gold is?
The SD isn't likely to hold anything that isn't available on torrent sites anyway.

The internal storage *does* work this way, and always has. It's actually a lot more restrictive than what they've done to the SDCards. The difference is that the apps were written with this in mind.

And no other reason to choose Android over iOS? Really? How about data sharing between apps, being able to choose default apps, the fact that we *can* still access our devices file system. Should I continue, or are you done being a drama queen?

You must have had a different type of Android from mine. All my Android phones, HTC/Samsung/Sony, and tablets, Nexus/Sony, have allowed me to do what ever I wanted to do with the internal storage. I haven't even needed to root them. Now *that* is a security hole. Preventing users from writing to their SD cards is a bug, not a feature.

And no, there are plenty of reasons to pick iOS over Android now, and few, if any to pick Android over iOS.
You're the one who is being overly dramatic in your defence of Google. If you have ever accused anyone of being an 'Apple Fanboi', I hope you can see the irony...

All your prior phones allowed you to do whatever you want with the emulated sdcard mount, which is stored on the internal storage, but is not the sake thing as internal storage. The data partition of the internal storage, where apps store settings and such, is more restricted than the sdcard is now. You can't even directly access that data without root. And it's always been that way and nobody thought that was a problem.

Yes, for me, Google IS STUPID. I bought an android phone with 1 GB and 4 GB and still cannot install any application because it is always "not enough storage space". Yes, again, GOOGLE is STUPID.

What kind of person can fit *ALL* of their music on a 32gb phone? Someone that has a very small amount of music and/or very shitty quality mp3 files, I guess.

I rather think Google has an issue with removable storage because with extSD you can choose to effectively remove information from nosey Google.

Quite right. Now that I've upgraded I see no problems with my music player (PowerAmp), ebook reader (CoolReader) reading things off the card. Those apps were obviously updated. I'm assuming from what I've read that the same is true of MX Player Pro, advertised as being able to delete files from SD Card under KitKat, but haven't tested it yet. I do see issues with some File Manager programs moving files on the card. They can search--but nothing else. Really, this is an annoyance, but I assume app makers will work with it and things will get better.

If apps can't access anything except for it's own folders, 3rd party file manager like ES File Explorer will become useless, unless they create a closed echo-system of folders it "owns and shares" to other apps and external connections (PC via USB or OTG-connected storage).

Google just turned all it's phones into I-phones without I-tunes. Life without my Jelly Bean device will be hard, but I'll never do KitKat as it is.

sigh .. partly true. I hated the app centric file system of the iOS and I hope Google don't continue down this route.

I don't think you seem to grasp the gravity of the problem.


the primary problem here is its my damned property and they are stripping me of command and control of my own property.

That is not acceptable. I wont even buy a note 4 if this issue is not corrected and by corrected I mean this cripple ware function summarily removed. Period.

Dude this article is more than a month old, give it up. If you dont want to buy any more android phones because of this small change then don't.
We really don't care.

I think you misunderstand. I have no problem with this change, personally. I'm just replying to comments that I'm still getting notified about this subject because I think a lot of people misunderstand what's been changed and think that this is going to cause far more of an effect than it really is.

Well I guess it depends on how you use your device. I use mine as a full featured pocket computer that is a computer first and a phone second.

For users like me this change is rather significant. Sure. Right now I can change a line once rooted to undo the crippling change but what happens when this crippling is so Integrated that we can not change it.?

Its bad enough that I can no longer plug my phone into the computer to manipilate my files because of mtp. Now I wont even be able to manipulate my files on device without hacking it and hoping they dont close the hack?

I will be forced to dismantle my phone on a near daily basis to get to the sd card?

This really sucks for people like me.

what you don't seem to understand is that this isn't a change to android as a whole and it's not Google trying to take away normal filesystem access from us, Normal write anywhere access still exists on internal ext filesystems, because they can control access via's not an attempt to lock us out of the filesystem like iOS does.
On my internal storage of my N5 with 4.4.2 I can move and copy files anywhere I like on the virtual internal sd card, because it uses a filesystem that can be properly permissioned and sensitive information can still be kept secure.

It's a kludge fix that applies to sd cards only to the security issues that sd cards present because the type of file system they use fat or fatx doesn't support any kind of permissions so apps can't protect sensitive information that you might want to store on the sd card. Their really is no other way that Google can ensure that apps can protect any sensitive information they store on the sd card, because the filesystem used by all sd cards doesn't support permissions, which was chosen partly due to the fact that sd cards can be used between different systems an filesystems with permissions don't work well in that environment.

No other Mobile OS provides the amount of control and customizability of Android, this really is just an attempt to address a huge security hole. Not a conspiracy.
Also because it's a fix for sd cards only and not a change to how android handles all files and android is open source you should always be able to get a custom rom.
even if it has to be AOSP based, that opens up this huge security hole for you.
But it's at your own risk.
Google wants to be taken seriously by business's and addressing this security risk was the first step.

what you don't seem to understand is I don't care about access to internal memory. its largely useless to me except to install program. its physically insecure and too limited crippling when full. I don't USE internal space. I let my program use it but I myself don't use it. I mean I only have 32gb of internal memory paybe 24gig available to me. that amount of space is so small its of no concern to me.

I USE MY SD CARD. of which I have 128gb I consider 64gb to be way to small I REALLY wish they would start install dual SD slots. I would really like to shove two 128gb cards into this thing.

I don't know what's hard to understand that security is simply not a major concern for the SD card to me. I don't care. at all. not even a little. My security is my brain.

GIVE me an option to disable such a stupid feature.

I WENT with android because it respected my property rights. little by little google is stripping my property rights from me. MTP has already rendered PC access to my phone all but utterly useless. I can't even work with or view files on the phone AT ALL any longer without first copying them to the PC and of course that takes 3-4 times longer.

with my note 2 I could hack UMS back in for at least the External SD card (which is all I care about) I have yet to find a successful way of doing this on the Note 3.

any idea how hard it is to dismantle a Zero Lemon equipped Phone to get access to that damned SD card?

I have tried OTG solutions but they are abysmally slow. Grrrr.

No offense but the N5 is junk to me. no space.

"Also because it's a fix for sd cards only and not a change to how android handles all files and android is open source you should always be able to get a custom rom."

In case you have not noticed google and samsung are making custom roms "nicely difficult" to use lately too and you fail to understand I REALLY DON'T CARE how the operating system handles its own files.

google can lock that up or whatever and I don't care that is between then and the devs.

the problem is this change screws with the files "THAT MATTER TO ME"


Who said anything about a conspiracy? I simply recognize that GOOGLE recognizes that a walled garden more locked down system once they have everyone hooked is more profitable.

that is not a conspiracy. that is SOP for corporations.

How about implementing that programs use a specified segment of internal memory only for "sensitive" information and then LOCK DOWN THAT memory and leave my damned SD card alone.

...and gimme back my adb push to SD...I'm not cracking open that ZeroLemon case either. If it's just to rein in apps, why lock out shell?

TenshiNom, it was supposed to be a comment in response to nerys
I think we've hit a maximum amount of nesting in this forum or something.

Thank you very much for posting! Two of the apps that you referenced (Power Amp and CoolReader) were what concerned me. I have the majority of my mp3 music collection (40 GB) loaded on my S4's SD and access it via PowerAmp. Verizon just announced the update for these phones & it would be a huge loss if I could no longer access my music files. Thanks again!

I also use powerAmp. And no, it most certainly does not work properly any more. Having the option of deleting files from card was huge. Now we have to go into file mngr to delete. First, search for album to delete, next search for album art to delete. Then pray that every time you delete, there's no leftover files, which will add up over time.

Try to edit file tags with PowerAmp. You can't. Unless you go through a ridiculous, convoluted and time consuming process involving the moving of files to and from where PowerAmp can write to. If you have a very large music library, as I do, this situation really, really sucks, and I knew nothing about it until I had paid for the phone (S5) and redownloaded the app. I'm just waiting to see what else is crippled.
What I see is people on one side who just use everything in the most basic, prescribed way, defending this mess, & any kind of power user feels like their right arm was amputated while they slept.
I hope you're right, and app devs respond & Android becomes useful again. Otherwise....

Read through the wall of comments and a lot of conflicting comments about "Openness".

Windows Mobile had do what you want or what you can with your device. (Most limited Windows Mobile Phone I ever used was the heavily locked NEXTEL i930/920
Microsoft was " too" lax on Device requirements and standards causing huge Fragmentation and leaving any innovation up for grabs.(HTC worked wonders re-skinning WinMo to be Finger friendly -moving away from Stylus dependency -Or adding Capacitive multi-touch to a single touch OS)

Microsoft took a more consumer friendly approach loosely shadowing Apple by making Windows Phone far more limiting than the previous Windows Mobile.

Many, like myself, when forced to move off Windows Mobile went to the next most "open" OS - "Rooted Android". I have never used un-rooted Android for more than 6-hours on my personal devices. Android without Root is like a soon to be unsupported Apple Device - runs smoothly for so long and then no fix as the device is no longer supported.

I use a Nexus Device, Nexus 5, and do not have the Sd-card issue. I do use USB OTG (my music files and movies will not fit on my 16GB phone model.) I am able to download media onto USB storage devices and play playlists from these devices with ease. I am assuming that without " root" access I would have run into an issue trying to use USB-OTG storage with the normal File manager drag/drop-read/write; which would have yielded a similar "broken" experience I see many complaing of.

This brings me back to the conflicting comments about "openness" - If you do not have "root" and are complaing about Google locking you down with a Walled Garden - then yes you are correct. But if you are really wanting to be free to use your device as you want, then you should have "root" access in which this sd-card permissions can be worked-around as that is the purpose of having "root" to alter the device operation to tailor to your needs.

P.S. - Those that mentioned being able to access System files without "Root" on a late model Samsung, have me scratching my head. Samsung with their implementation of "Knox" is one of the least "Open" big name Android Phone Supplier; aside from the Google Play Editions. Bootlocked Note 3's were not what I would call "Open" and I don't think the Note 4's will be more "arms-open" for root or OS tweaks than its predecessor.

I totally totally agree with you bro. .
It's seem Google is trying to become another Microsoft in shoving it's product inside our throat forcefully. . it seem it had become a norm for companies,developers to become arrogant once they perceive themselves as umbero uno in the market. . They forget that we have no dearth of geniuses today who will come out with better alternatives tomorrow and once they comes it will be bye bye android and Google. .. It will of coarse not happen today or in near future but rest assure this type of arrogant attitude towards the respect and trust we gave Google will , in a decade or two, obliterate Google from the IT field. .
As a protest i am un installing Google search , hangout and Google plus from my mobile and lap top. .i appeal to every one else to do the same. .Aldo As soon as i have done money i am going to replace this android mobile with a widow one. .
Go to hell all the developer team of Google Android because moving audio,pictures and video file to sd card was the only way i could have saved so many precious moments of my life. .

And thank you for responding to someone's question without a second thought of actually answering it.

Sent from my phone that nobody cares which phone it is.

Dude, your signature is 24 words long, your message was TWO. Be a nice guy to those of us on mobile browsers by leaving out the signature when it's longer than your comment. I'm sure your wife's phone wouldn't mind.

mmm that is strange. Samsung is the only OEM that still support moving apps to SD ... you do know that? Unless t-mobile version actually disable the support.

But...your music purchases don't go to the sd card right? Since Google wants us to upload to the so called cloud.

Posted via Android Central App

Unfortunately no, in fact i still cant find the data on a non-rooted phone. They need to give the option to download it (not just pinning).

Posted via Android Central App

Pinning does download it. It just goes into the app's data folder in the root folder, so you can't access it. Also they download it in a format that won't let you just move it out of there to somewhere else. So you do download it, you just can't access the download except through the app.

At least on jelly bean, I found the location of that pinned music. It can be moved, I did it. However, it is not filed with the file name of a song but rather with a number. So, good luck trying to figure out which song you're looking for. It would be quite an arduous process.

Posted via Android Central App

I tried that with a Google Play movie a while back and managed to find it on my N7gen1 without root. Whole reason was so I didn't have to download it again (and again...) on another 'droid running the same account that the movie was linked to but no dice. Despite managing to wifi it outta the N7gen1, I had no luck getting it to play on another device with the proper account. Haven't tinkered with the issue since so the requirement that movies be launched via the Google app is very likely, perhaps more so since I fiddled with the issue.

That's why I just buy from Amazon MP3.. That pinning stuff is for the birds. Google Play music reminds me of iTunes.. yuck.

Why should it remind you of iTunes? Unless it has changed in the several years since I used it, in iTunes you purchase proper AAC music files with no DRM.

I use a program called diskdigger to retrieve deleted photos. If the card is still readable then it might work. It's free too. To a certain extend. Caution though, it will retrieve ALL pics and video.

Try this:

-Using a microSD adapter, insert the SD card into a computer
-Click start (on Windows), type "cmd", right click and run as admin, or press control+shift+enter
-Find which drive the SD card is using in Computer
-On the command prompt, type, "chkdsk X:\ /f" then press enter. Also run the command "chkdsk X:\ /r", where X is the drive letter.

This technique has saved many SD cards that I've worked with, though I haven't linked the issue to KitKat, but rather just random errors detailing the state of the card, that being corrupted. Worth a try though.



If you are a android user and you have a sdcard handset and you RELY on that storage option to work properly with the downloaded applications you have installed on your device DO NOT UPDATE TO KITKAT 4.4.2.


Android 4.3 jellybean is a very stable platform more stable than any Kitkat 4.4.2 platform REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYONE TELL YOU.




(Plain and simple NOTHING beats SAMSUNG or TMOBILE PERIOD Posted from my 4.3 Jellybean Galaxy Note 3 via Android Central App)

A lot of what you said is pretty erroneous, but your last statement is ridiculous. Samsung and T-Mobile may work great for you but not for everyone else.'s the best part of Android.

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah. I was wondering how long it would take to see this post. I swear he has a custom keyboard where he has to hit the Shift key for each letter he wants lower case. Lol

Posted via Android Central App

But his frustration is real. Why not vent it in text format. I am thinking of wasting some time going back to Verizon to take back my S5 because of this issue. Its nonsense to have a short and memory and be held hostage by Google. That's no joke. If people stop buying phone if they come with kitkat maybe that will give people a hint.

Normally I would say "go fuck yourself Richard" or something similar but the guy has a point. I haven't seen anything positive come out of kit kat other than less RAM usage. Google has been busting some shady shit with Kit-kat and taking privilege from us (the user). The whole reason I switched from IOS is the "freedom" that is slowly being taken away.


Closing a huge security hole isn't "anything positive"? That's what the loud, mildly inconvenienced buttheads like Dick up there ignore. This was a pretty serious security problem. The fix isn't perfect, but as jerrypinted out, short of abandoning FAT, there isn't going to be a perfect fix.

exactly ... ironically i reshared this on g+ where he's King Troll abs mentioned him by name since he's been spewing this error ridden pile of nonsense for weeks now ... yarrell is so ungodly clueless to how things work

Posted via Android Central App

It doesn't matter security reasons or not they should give you the option to do whatever the hell you wanna do

Posted via Android Central App

If you want that, you can ROM your phone. Google has a responsibility to their users to provide a reasonably secure ecosystem. This was a BIG hole. Now it's closed.

What?! You mean companies are responsible for their products? /s

"Yeah, let me do what the hell I wanna do!"
Few weeks later: "What! My phone is completely fucked up! What the hell happenned? I'm gonna sue the hell out of you!"

I would prefer they abandon FAT. I want a journaled FS. I want a CHMOD utility. I just can't rely on the F-ing cloud, 32GB is way too small, and storage should be removable at all time. It's time phones started to be made with a universal, standard, removable SSD with a file system which can be unlocked and decrypted by any other device as long as the user and logon is correct.

You could make your SD card exfs, if you want, but then you wouldn't be able to read it if you plugged your phone into a pc. Your idea is Joe, but you're talking about every software OS developer suddenly deciding to hold hands and sing kumbaya. Probably not going to happen. The SD cards use fat by default because it's so old, that's it's universally readable.

closing an allege security loop that can be easily mitigated in such a heavy handed and hamfisted way is NOT something positive.

and really, Google should have sought more consultation and realised that SD card support is still highly valued by users. The way they go about it is really high handed and akin to a slap in the user's face.

and really, this is too reminiscent of iOS's stupid app centric file system and it really is not reassuring to see Google go down this route as well.

All this does is prevent apps from writing over each others data. They can still read from anywhere on the SD card, just like they always have. And if it's *really* a problem for you, root and you can fix it with a minor modification to a text file. You people are going off the damned deep end about this thing, and it's really not that big of a deal.

So what you are saying is that this is, in fact, NOT a security related feature? I mean, thank god Google still allows data mining instead of overwriting my Angry Birds backup save data (A little devil's advocate here, as I do see some security reasons for it. But it does not fix the gaping hole completely).

Do not get me wrong. I am not going to raise a pitchfork and torch or anything. But this "Security" argument is fairly moot if they can still read data unrestricted. Key loggers only need to read data. A security hole is still present. (But if they get rid of read rights as well, then SD Cards are completely useless).

Sadly though, I feel the same way about Microsoft as I do about Google and this situation. Leave everything up to me. I specialize in hardware and software. I understand risks and know how to mitigate them myself (for one thing, people need to learn to read permissions and weigh the "Which ones does it REALLY need" versus the "Which ones does it NOT need". It pretty much spews intentions when your RSS app wants to access your call log...). Not everyone can be given complete freedom of choice and know how to use it properly, which is where corporate concern comes in (ask Hitler. He had complete freedom and made some bad choices).

So I guess part of the blame falls on the users. If everyone knew how to spot malicious apps for themselves, Google wouldnt have to attempt to "fix security" (even when they fail fairly miserably).

Oh, and that comment was aimed more globally than at you, Tenshi. You just gave an amazing segue into my counter-argument against the "Security" claims being spouted. No ill intention towards anybody. It would be naive of us if we did not understand it was a shoddy security fix that also aligns nicely with Google's profit margins (Though by no means am I saying that was the reason for the change).

And to those screaming, "Google is taking our ability of choice"... get real. Only you can give that away. If it was that easy there would not be any iPhone users. They choose to use iPhone. If it was only about the bottom line and Google was able to take your power of choice from you android devices would be completely locked down and provide even less freedom than they do now. You have a choice still. Exercise it. Move to another type of phone. Root your device. The only difficult decision in the matter is, "Should I trip Knox?" Go ahead. Make the choice. :)

I do agree that it was definitely not a "perfect" solution. The "security" aspect of it was that an app, with just a permission to write to the SD card, could potentially crate a file on the SD card and then "trick" another app with greater permissions into executing some code. Again, how this works is not terribly different from how internal storage works. Not the "emulated SD-Card" on internal storage, but the actual internal storage where apps store data like saved games, high scores and login info. You can't access that data without root, either.

Between you, Tenshi, and Khai, that bright spark at Google that thought locking down removable, "universally accessible" file systems was a good idea must be in fear of their job. Given the amount of work devs would likely need to commit to fiddle with permissions in order to use the SD card as they have previously, you'd think it'd have been easier disable Move-To-SD and then tell them to keep all their sensitive information on the internal storage, including any "executable" code files and treat the mass-storage SD card as storage rather than some god-send swapfile's pseudo home.

Or, we could have some civility and not use profanity for no apparent reason. I would like to think that everyone one here is intelligent enough to get their point across without having to resort to this type of language...I mean come on, we are not a bunch of Apple fan boys.

Its the sad tragic ending of what started to be such a COOL OS. Now its broken and if you are a verizon user (as I am) and can not root without tripping the knox your phone you are hosed. Its a sad day for me when it was supposed to be such a happy one with a new S5. Now I just regret upgrading.

I have to agree with you this time. I understand that they really want to sell their cloud business. I mean, look at the pitiful amount of storage space on Chromebooks. The c7 was the only sensible option though that was later "improved". But they shouldn't be allowed to force this unto consumers. This move should have been obvious since the release of ICS.

this isn't some attack on sd cards and intention to force users into their cloud.
It's a massive security issue that they are addressing and google's stance on SD cards has been clear for a very long time.

There are so many ways OEM's can address this. Include larger internal memory or maybe reformat sd cards to ext. It's been long documented that users very rarely if ever remove sd cards.

Again this isn't about attacking sd card users, it's a security issue.
But all SD card zealots hear is your attacking me and trying to force me to use the cloud.
It's a really sad victim mentality that sd card lover's have adopted.
they interpret everything as an attack.

This does not in any way address the risk that all your content stored on internal storage is exposed to if your phone dies or breaks.

I store all my photos & videos on my microSD card add well as all my app backups. If for example I dropped my phone and broke it I can simply pull the card and get all the data off it or put the card in a new phone and be back up and running within minutes. If that was on internal storage it would be for all intents and purposes lost to me.

Also having all my important stuff on a microSD card makes it much easier & faster to set up my phone when I flash a new ROM.

No one said it addressed issues if your phone breaks. I addresses security issues from malicious code. SD cards can fail just as easy as a phone. Sd cards aren't a replacement for backup. I backup all photos videos and contacts to the cloud when on WiFi

Exactly. I learned this the hard way myself a few years back. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to have things like photos upload to a cloud storage space automatically. So, hopefully, I will never again lose hundreds of photos of my kids.

Which means your either filtby rich/lucky you have your own servers and I sanely fast network connection or yoj dont actual make stuff with your phone.

Today alone I added over 12gig of pics and video to my 128gb sd card. Want to take a WILD guess how long it would take me to copy that to the "cloud" something I would never do even if I could do it fast be ause I can not own or control the "cloud"

If google wants to make it an option? Great. Do it. Want to turn it on by default? Great. Do it.

Give me the damned option to turn what I see as a stupid crippling function off. I will handle my own security just fine thankyou without destroying functionality.

I consider nexus stuff to be junk nearly as bad as icrap.

No sd no remv battery.? Automatic junk in my book.

The update *doesn't* prevent you from using the SD Card. It simply prevents apps from writing to areas of the SDCard where they haven't been granted explicit permission. There is *zero* reason you can't still use the SDCard to store your photos and videos. Now, if you've got 3rd party apps that want to store photos on the SDCard, they will have to be updated to write to the SDCard properly, so you might see some of those apps break temporarily, but it hardly prevents use of the SDCard.

No, because the SD card is fat32, it has no permissions. That's a big part of the reason for this change. What you can do, if you're rooted, is open up the platform.xml file in your system folder and re-allow apps to write anywhere. The full instructions are in xda. It takes less and two minutes, if you're already rooted.

btw won't this create unnecessary duplication of files just like iOS forces the apps to do?

And I always hated how some apps created their own folder to store photos, and thus fragmenting all the photos in the gallery app when it is viewed using folder options.

Why would this create duplicates? I guess if you downloaded the same file twice or something, but apps can still *read* from anywhere on the SD card just fine.

Because if you install 5 camera apps like I have and I use all 5 now I cant combine all those images into one dcim folder. I would have 5 dcim folders. No thanks. Thats bs and thats just one minor annoyance.

Hasn't anyone told you shouting in forums is just plain rude? plus your just plain wrong on so many facts.

It's not really Google, it's the OEM who made your smartphone who didn't inform you.
Google has made it's stance on SD cards very clear for years in it's nexus line, it wanted them to go away.
Google isn't making users rely solely on cloud storage, my 32GB nexus 5 serves me very well.
I use the cloud for some things and internal storage for other more frequently accessed things like music

OEMS and users choose to ignore this and google had to finally do something at the operating system level to clear up the security problem.
the problem here is poorly written apps that paid no attention to upcoming kit kat changes and a long overdue security fix. not some horrible injustice done by google.

Apps will be updated to handle this change, just like with any operating system update that stops certain things from working, It's not really the end of the world. It's just a temporary problem that will be addressed by app developers.
Certain apps breaking and having to be updated to support a new operating system is very common on all platforms.

I didn't bother reading your comment for two reasons.

1) It's in ALL CAPS. When I see that, I think this person doesn't know how to turn off his CAPS Lock key.
2) It's in ALL CAPS. When I see that, I think this person thinks he has all the answers and is try to convince everyone that he is RIGHT! "Everyone else is stupid so listen to ME!"

Yes, I felt the need to post this.

Love my unlocked boot loader. I'll try it, see what happens, and worse comes to worse, TWRP myself back to my previous ROM.

Yyyyyeeeeeeaaaaa... Right or wrong, that T-Mobile statement invalidates whatever is above it. T-Mobile has been a POS in place I've been to & every interaction I've been involved with it.

Also, typing in all caps isn't a good look.

No carrier is going to take back your device because of an update you didn't like something about and there's no reason they should. Before you update your device there is a warning that updating is your choice & they lay out the changes and usually a link to a change log which it's your responsibility to read and understand before installing said update. This is the case with all 6 devices I've updated to kit Kat since it's release with more to come that I'm sure will be the exact same.

There's ways to work around things and you just have to learn them if you care about doing things the way you were prior. I really don't get what all the fuss is about.

Thats just not true.

First, I literally just got my replacement note 3 (brand new, in the box, still sealed) from tmobile. My stated reason: I do not like the update; it crippled my SD card usage which was the main reason I purchased the phone. Took all of one day to have the new device on my door step. There are numerous threads on tmobile support forums of hundreds of other users who are doing the same, or claimed to have done so already. My advice to those going down this path: be firm, polite, and persistent. If they wont cave, ask to be transferred to retentions and go through the motions of canceling your contract (I highly recommend the wherewithal to follow through: make it hurt the carriers as they have a louder voice than you do.)

Back on point, I read people detailing two main solutions:
1) the developer needs to update their app
2) just use the built in file explorer to move files around.

1) All the developer can do is update their app to write to a specific folder. This does not solve the problem of allowing a third party app to access that data. For example, if I wish to use adobe photoshop to edit a picture, it has to take the picture from the gallery folder, and any change I make to it is now stored under a new file that the adobe owns. I have now doubled the foot print of that one file, cluttered my gallery, etc. Going to a wider view, this means that any app that wishes to modify any file on the SD card, must first duplicate it to own it, before it can make any changes. Thats not a fix, thats a band aid.

2) The built in file explorers are ok, but usually limited in functionality. Furthermore, I don't like the extra step that's now required of opening yet another app to do something that used to be automatic. Navigating an entire new app just to do such a mundane action is asinine and really uncalled for.

Which brings me to my next point: this is a strawman scenario. I have never read one story of an app running amuck with the SD card. Anecdotally, both my card and my wifes card are very clean with no random files being placed around unannounced by any app. Nothing has been modified by a third party app that wasn't user induced. The "security" hole they are claiming to patch is weak to non existent. If they are claiming that this access leaves SD cards messy and unreliable my response is, first "so", and second, what about internal storage? Its downright chaotic in there. Uninstalling apps leaves remnants all over the place there. No,it appears that their main concern is stopping piracy by limiting the sd cards capabilities (pirated APK's), and forcing a transition to the cloud. I know people want to yell paranoia at this point, but unless you back that up with google's efforts to offer a non cloud alternative, I see no basis for such a rebuttal. Their answer has always been, "just use the cloud dummy!" Combined with their attack on local storage, it leaves no alternative theories.

Lastly, why does my unhindered use of the SD card vex others so much? If 32 gigs (or rather 26 gigs in most cases) is enough for you, great!! If you trust the reliability of both the cloud and your connection, great!!! I am truly happy for you. I, and many others (obviously) do not! We like to back up to the cloud for emergencies, but prefer the reliability of local storage. My use of local storage, and the ability to access it in a logical and unhindered way, does not hinder your ability NOT to use it at all. In fact, you can simply pretend you have no SD card slot and it would in no way affect your use or security. The opposite is not true for many of us: the removal of an SD card, its unhindered use and access, will greatly affect us. The qualitative, quantitative and logical choice then, would be to leave it alone and satisfy the largest segment of your market base. The opposite is not logical unless there is an alternative motive for that action, such as monitizing cloud storage in some form (farming, or charging).

This is why we believe google is pushing for its demise and the growth of cloud storage: to remove local memory is simply not logical. I understand that you are passionate about how I choose to use my device; I do not understand why though.

You are absolutely right. "Security" is a pretext for this change, but definitely not a reason.
If a had a reason to assume that an app might modify or destroy files without my consent, I would uninstall that app. Thinking that limited access rights on external SD cards improve security (while apps can do whatever they want on the inetrnal storage) isn't just wrong - it's insane.

Unlike the SD card, the internal storage does have permissions, so I can't believe that apps have unfettered access to the internal storage. They might have unfettered access to the data storage segment in internal storage, but I would have to look into that one.

If Google really didn't want anybody to use external storage why would they give you the option in Google Play Music to save pinned music to an SD card? Paranoid much?

I really with I had come across this information before. I had been too busy and had been putting off the 4.4.2 update until I could see what to expect and what was changed (I had been burned on previous upgrades). The upgrade notice kept jumping up full screen randomly and eventually, it popped just as I was pressing that area of my screen; less than 30 seconds later, my device was rebooting and installing the update. Now I don't know what to do about it; paid full price less than 5 months ago and now I'm not sure if I can use this piece of s***.

My PHONE the S5 came with this INSANITY and since its VERIZON you can not ROOT it.
I am thinking about returning this thing and my wifes as well until this issue is addressed. HOW STUPID I feel for supporting google as OPEN and easy to work with.

I am new to android with a tablet I love (two weeks now). It came with jelly bean 4.2 and immediatly came a request to update to 4.2.2 which I surely did, immediatly after came a new request to update to kikkat 4 with a unusual long list of instructions I surely took care to read before hit update and the last ítem on the list was a warning I didn't fully understood, bit certainly enough for refrain myself from jumping into KitKat. My tablet has 16gb infernal storage and accept a microSD up to 32gb which I soon will get. That's enough form me.
I usually don't read comments un CAP's but I made an excepción here and if I don't commend you for it I truly appreciate your comment. I think it is wise for me to stay away from KitKat and enjoy my jelly bean 4.2.2 (no option to update to 4.3, bit I al the only user here).

After having SD cards lose all my data several times in the past on several different devices, once I obtained my Galaxy Nexus, I personally have never looked back and can do without an SD card. But as a result of these SD cards failing I ended up backing up my cards data on a regular basis. You may be able to use a recovery tool but only if the card is readable.
Hence why SD cards. I can take or leave them.

I have never had a SD card go bad on me, unless I actually "abused it". The SD card to die for me was the card in my tablet, that had come from my Galaxy S2/3, which died after continuous "rounds" of writing loads of movies to it, watching them from the card and then delete them again. Which obviously wears out a card sooner or later.

Yeah I never had an SD card die on me. My current one has even gone through a wash and dry cycle twice. Im not saying it wont die on me, but thats what my cloud back up is for. My local storage is there for instant access regardless of data connection. Plus, my data usage is very limited now (I have unlimited data plan up to 5 gigs, and then its slowed way down).

Not sure how you can fix it after the fact. But it's always a very good idea to back up your SD card onto your computer hard drive. It's a very easy thing to do, simply create a folder specifically for SD card backups, insert your SD card into your SD drive (if you don't have one you can obtain an SD/USB drive adapter for very cheap), and copy/paste the entire content into that folder.

As a rule, I always back up my SD card before inserting it into a new phone, before installing any custom ROM, etc.

Damn it Jerry! How will you win the Internet if you keep writing articles with logic and reason?

Posted via Android Central App

This is a classic case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Posted via Android Central App on my T-Mobile LG G2

The best option would have been to allow the user to format the card with a real, proper filesystem that Linux understands and can fully utilize- ext2/3/4. Then you could have full permissions. Few people ever pull their card out of their phone to use in an MS-Windows computer, anyway. And there are ways to get MS-Windows to understand ext2/3/4 (although it isn't simple). Most people just want the SD option for expandability and extra on-board storage, not for file transfer to computer (for that you can use Airdroid, or a cable and MTP, or a flash drive and OTG cable).

Our, how about an option of keeping the SD card formatted FAT, but having a virtual partition, like VirtualBox does on the PC, that Android can "safely" move apps into? Just a thought.

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That is "sort of" how Android used to handle moving apps to the SDCard. I think removing that feature had more to due with performance. Moving an app to the SDCard could cause performance and stability problems that your "average" user didn't understand. And, when those problems occurred, they would blame Android/Google, not their decision to move apps to the SDCard. That, I believe, was a PR move.

It (getting ext on Windows) is pretty simple actually. There is a nicely packaged, real driver I've been using for years on Windows. Install it. It 'Just Works'. I said, exactly what you said, minus that bit, to the minute in another post.


I think this sums it up beautifully. I have my smartphone so I can be untethered from a desktop. If the price I had to pay for making it all work well on my phone was to not be able to read the card (or to be able to read it by jumping through some hoops) from my desktop computer, then I would choose that option every time.

So who needs to make that happen? The Carrier? The Phone Maker? Google?

From what I know the S3 already does this. I haven't tried removing my SD card from my phone and attached to my computer. But I read about it when Samsung talked about "unified" storage as in that all storage is combined into one mass that can be used for anything, rather then segmented into userstorage, app storage etc.

"Or it could just not care and take the stance that SD cards should only be used to store media, and should be kept separate from the operating system."

I think this is how they feel. They make certain unpopular decisions and stick with them because they want us using our devices a certain way.

It kind of reminds me of how they will not give the option of disabling the stupid conversation view in the Gmail app. An option that is standard in every single email app I have ever used and even in Google's web gmail. But, they feel they know best.

It's also possible that they haven't seen enough people wanting the ability to turn it off to justify the time and expense of re-writing GMail to support it being off. May sound a bit harsh, but the reality is that stuff like that costs big money, and runs the potential of "breaking" the system for others who are perfectly happy with the conversation view.

+1 million..!

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, that's constantly laughing at my wife's T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 with borked sdcard support on 4.4.2...

That is great for you, but no Android phone (that I am aware of) HAS 32GB. At most, maybe 28GB *usable* space. And I would greatly prefer 48 or 64...

Was there? I can't remember. If so, perhaps it was one of those "only on ONE vendor" type crap and, of course, it wasn't my vendor.

they weren't in stores i don't believe ... had to be ordered is my assumption

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Lets see. Pay $200 more for fixed 64gb built in or $119 for 128gb that I can move to any damned device I want.

Cluing In yet? Crap I want samsung to put 2 sd slots in the phone so I can have 256gb of storage.

64gb was driving me nuts ALWAYS running out of space.

It really irkes me that j have to dismantle my damned phone to access my data since this bullsh&# mtp Interface is both damned near useless and utterly insanely slow.

Go take a look at the content of you card or internal (whatever you have) and tell me do you access the majority of it on a regular basis. I have a 32 n5, 27 usable. 3gb apps 1.5 photos 3 for a backup (bout time for a new one actually) 3.5 cached play music and 6 in the misc. I have a couple movies and shows that I have yet to watch. ( I spend a lot of time commuting with the MTA). When I watch I delete cuz wtf I need it to stay for. And still have 8 left. So tell me how is it that you need 64 gb of data. You are hoarding on your phone and thats your problem

Posted via Android Central App via the shiny new Nexus 5 and a half

I have a [so-called] "32GB" Nexus 5. First there are all the apps. Then my music collection would be 22GB. The remainder is my rescaled photo collection of 13,000+ photos.

I want more space. And yes, I want my music and photos with me. And no, I don't think it is unreasonable to want it with me on my device. It all fit on my previous phone and with room to spare, an EVO LTE, which had something like 16GB internal storage and a TRUE 32GB card so I had perhaps 42GB (and I COULD have put in a 64GB card if I needed). And I could easily rsync it just like I do to backup and my laptop. Now with 27GB, it doesn't fit, so I CAN'T rsync anymore, and I have to have subsets of crap. Blech.

It is 2014. It is not unreasonable to want more local storage. And it is also not unreasonable to not want to move BACKWARDS to lesser storage than what I had on my last THREE phones. (Otherwise I really love this Nexus 5).

With this security hole plugged, it's possible that Google might start being more open to the idea of an SDCard on future Nexus devices (although I doubt it, but who knows).

That said, you can still store whatever you want on the SDcard. This new change only restricts *writing* to the SDCard, not reading.

I think I have 7.21GB free on my 32GB card and yes I use just about everything. Yeah, I like my music high quality and am now in the process of converting most of my songs to at least 320kbps mp3, m4a/mp4 or OGG vorbis or yes sometimes even Flac (much higher bit rate) . I use neutron media player coupled with my v-moda m80 headphones and I can tell the difference in the way files sound. They sound the best in FLAC of course. I was planning to buy a 64gb card but now I'm not so sure. The only other platform that has Neutron is BlackBerry and they are pretty much done. Any way, my point is that I use more space than you do, and would never use Google play music because it is too limited in features and is not capable of 64 bit play back. I also plan to get a portable day at some point to truly enjoy my music especially on my daily commute. Do you understand how different you and I are? Do you understand how different people's interests can be? Now you should just be more understanding of other people's interests. One size fits all doesn't apply here. Who are you to make such judgement and tell people that they are hoarding? When I look at what you say I could simply conclude that you are just compromising. You only have 3.5 GB of music, you use play music which is no where close to something like Neutron in terms of features, you use way too much data streaming. Oh, and sometimes Tmobile's network might go down, heck, sometimes Google's go down. What do I do then? I like having control over my media, not saying I don't use Spotify and Pandora, I just don't like my choices being cut off.

I'ts a personal choice to want a 64GB or 32GB phone..there's nothing wrong with that. I hate when people make arguments against more storage in favor of a person just minding their lower storage spaced phone instead. That's why we have options. I know for sure Samsung is going to screw people with the 16GB S5 and carriers will screw people over more with pricing of a 32GB model for those that want it because of how low the storage space will be on the 16GB model. Stop arguing against choice. It's not harming you in any way. If someone wants more internal storage in their phone, it's not your decision to make as to what is convenient for them as the user. It's not your phone.

I have a 128gb sd card in my note 3. I "move" on average 60 or 70 gig of data on and off my phone on a weekly basis.

It drives me mad that it wastes hours of my life dealing with the god damned horrible mtp interface they shoved down my throat. I freaking want ums back. Really badly

I use my SD card everyday for storage of photos taken with the camera, and also to store my music on. I had loads of trouble once Google Play Music updated a few months ago, and ended up purchasing a 3rd party music app that has no trouble identifying ALL music stored in the path I designated as my music directory (unlike Google Play Music, which still has this issue). Does anyone know if KitKat will break applications which allow us (users/owners of the devices) to specify target paths, or does it allow the app to "lock in" the path we specify, but block all other paths other than its own installation directory? As for apps, I don't install them to SD, and don't plan to. I know the use of SD cards with Android has been problematic for some of us (often dependent on phone manufacturer/carrier), and this sounds like we're possibly going to take a step or two backwards in terms of managing our own storage space. Any advice/guidance on this is welcome...

Any app should be able to read all music on the SD card, though, only the owner app of the music can manage it. Which is the big problem with this solution.

The problem is that any photo (or sound) editing application will become unable to save back (or copy) modified media files in their original folders.

Imagine that you need to use different apps of this type: storing all your pictures files in a single folder structure and still being able to edit and save them back in the same place wont be an option anymore.

(and I assume that the "owner" of the files is myself, not an application, BTW).

Interesting, but I'm still confused.

Does this mean office applications will not be able to open and change files in other folders?
Currently, on my Note 10.1 2014, I have a folder that is synced with Dropbox through Dropsync (Dropbox Autosync). I can open and annotate PDF files using EzPDF, and when I close the EzPDF app, the files are saved and synced back to my Dropbox account (and the computer).

But that means both EzPDF and Dropsyc have to have access to read and write the same folder. Currently, this folder is on the internal memory, but does this mean that I won't be able to move the folder to an external SD with KitKat?
Also, why is it safer to give these two apps permission on all folders in the internal memory, but not on the external memory?

Google has API's to treat the files you mention as a content type. Both EzPDF and Dropbox can be updated with these new tools to share the folder if it were on the SD card. Of course, Google doesn't force developers to update their apps, so this may never happen.


The internal memory is different. A folder can be set for both ExPDF and Dropbox to have write permissions, be world readable, or private all while not allowing any apps or code to run that's inside that folder. This is because it uses a different file system than the SD card does.


One is not "better" than the other when it comes to file systems for storage. Both have very good points. It's just that the type of file system used on SD cards is unable to set permissions on a per app or per user basis.

Great, thanks for the help!

Just one last thing: is it possible to see (and change) each folder's permissions on Android, like we can on Windows?

That's a change that only root should be able to make. When you edit something that affects any other app, it's a system-level change and shouldn't be open for just any application to do.

Users don't have "admin rights" in Android. You're still thinking like it's Windows. Understand that newer versions of Windows don't use fat32 anymore, largely because of the problems we're dealing with right now. That's why you can set folder and file permissions in a newer version of Windows. As for "admin rights" in Android (or Linux) that's called "superuser" (often just referred to as "su"). You get superuser permissions on an Android device by "rooting" the device. Instructions on have to root most devices can be found on Understand, though, that rooting your device can open you up to far more security threats and should jot be done lightly, if you don't understand what the potential consequences are. If you do decide to obtain root, there are instructions, also on xda, that will explain how to re-enable apps to be able to write anywhere on the SD card. The change itself is actually *very* simple.

Only Google would put out phones andtablets without sd storage capability.aka anything nexus or moto. then do this with kitkat

You remember the fiasco about Apple dropping optical drives to push their cloud storage and Mac app sales? Oh yeah they did. So no, Google is not the only one that would do this.

you two read Jerry's article up there? the cards still work ... the devs need to change a little code ... it was done for security purposes ... follow along kiddies

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You're telling people they're hoarders for wanting more storage in their phones..far cry from the content I read in Jerry's article.

i'm specifically referring to the phenomenon of people storing everything they come across in a physical space ... dont argue just to argue ... i told you to read the article ... all of it ... to understand that the sd cards still work yet you come back accusing me of saying people are hoarders because they want more storage ... if anything by saying "digital hoarders" i'm accusing people of filling up storage because its there ... compulsively ... if they didnt have it they'd work with it and move on like most everyone who's left the sd card universe ... and from what i can tell its worked out fine

I beg to differ, if it wasn't available it would annoy me senseless and I would be looking for alternatives all the time, so the second an alternative was presented I would jump ship right away....

Only on the Nexus 4

You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

Umm... Trolling would be saying something incorrect to get a response. The Nexus 4 came in an 8gb model

You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

I totally agree with ditching the SD card slot altogether, but it has to be done by a company courageous enough to mark up storage options directly proportional to the amount it costs them.

If they want a 100% markup on storage then the cost difference between 16gb and 32gb should be about 20.80. That’s after the markup! The premium on a 64gb model should be, post markup, around $85.

Until a company is willing to actually compete instead of following the apple status quo for storage markup, SD cards are necessary. Imagine the goodwill (and profits) a 64gb HTC One or GS5 might garner if the markups were even $50 for the 32gb and $100 for the 64gb.


We need MORE LOCAL STORAGE and they should not be raping the consumer for the cost. It doesn't cost that much to up the storage.

Typical stupid Nexus user comment. Why are you here,??????

(Plain and simple NOTHING beats SAMSUNG or TMOBILE PERIOD Posted from my 4.3 Jellybean Galaxy Note 3 via Android Central App)

give him a break you guys ... he's only 48 ... just got his first gray pube ten years ago ... he'll mature and figure it out in a few years

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I have a 32GB CD Card, with 6 available. I need an SD Card because the phone makers don't provide you with enough internal memory. They charge you a ridiculous amount for anything more than 16GB. If they plan on doing away with SD Cards, they need to make 32 the new 16. I find it to be amazing that these companies have been stuck on 16GB as a standard.
"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

Unless your phone breaks or dies between the time you take photos or videos and the time those are uploaded to the cloud. In which case you've lost those forever.

I learned my lesson with my S4 Google Edition, when 4.3 broke the SD card writing thing etc. Real leary about having the SD card again. Would rather have the internal storage. Was surprised to see the HTC One with an SD card slot.
Sent from my Moto X!

What are you using that shows those SDCard option in App Data? I'm using an S4 Google Play Edition (running 4.4.2) and I don't see this.

First world problem for SD card users lol
Good thing I don't have to deal with this but great reading tho.

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My concern is with new "flagship" phones with only 16gb internal memory. I hope the Z2 has at least a 32GB option.

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i have music on my sd card, will i still be able to access and listen to music stored on my sd card with a device that runs 4.4? and does this break the save photos to sd card?

Your music player should be able to read your music with a small update to the app. If you use a music player with system level permissions — like the Samsung music player or Google Play Music, for example, they have none of these problems.


The device camera app will still have access to the pictures/DCIM folder on the SD card. Third party apps can create their own folder to store images in, which any gallery app will pick up during a routine media scan.

Using internal storage is fine if you have a 32 GB phone, but if you have 16 GB, you really only get 8 GB storage space. The SD card is something of a necessity.

Does KitKat remove the ability for the camera to store photos to microSD? Are we still able to move our own files to microSD, even if third party apps no longer can?

See above for photos.

Apps *can* write and move files to the SD card. They just need coded correctly to use content types. Total Commander with the SD or USB plugin is a good example.

I'm thinking about file explorers. Do they still have permission to write on external microsd?
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Edit: never mind, looked it up

Thanks for the writeup Jerry. I'm betting lots of people (myself included) have been looking for something like this.

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They have updated the app to treat SD card items as registered content types instead of files. All developers need to do this, and there would be little issue.

That's what I want to know. I use ES File Explorer and I move around files on my external SD card all the time. Some of those times include moving files from the onboard (limited) storage to my external storage. Or creating new folders. Or messing around with the music on my external SD card.

When AT&T pushes my KitKat update for my Galaxy S III, will my portable computer be slightly less usable and I'll have to plug the wee beastie into my desktop PC to manipulate the files?

Good luck with the horrid mtp interface they shoved down our throats. Zero real time edit ability on the sd card.

Great article Jerry.

You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

-"There also are some serious security conrcerns [sic] that were addressed by not letting an app write files just anywhere."-

If the new system is designed to limit apps to only write/modify their own folder, but can still see/read all SD content, I fail to see how this is really all that helpful for security. Yes, it stops an errant app from trashing the data used by another app, but it does nothing to keep a malicious app from stealing data.


Can't download to the ext card using the Dolphin browser anymore. Therefore I'm forced to use my stock browser for downloads. Annoying!

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I'm guessing this applies to USB thumb drives too? I was about to pick up one of those Sandisk dual drives which have a micro usb port built in. Does this mean I won't be able to transfer files from the phone to it now?

Actually, you can because I transferred my music from one sd card to another using the dual flash drive. No need to plug it in the pc

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It doesn't. You can even put your SD card in a USB adapter and apps can read and write, etc. I don't know if Google intends to hobble USB as well.

It sounds like I need to move apps (that I have moved to my SD card) back to device memory to prevent losing data if I upgrade to KitKat. But what if I don't have enough space?

I also won't know which ones won't work with the SD card properly after the update? Is there an easy way to tell?

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So for example, if I download a song from AmazonMp3, it won't get saved on to the sd card? Or will it?

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Jay, the amazon mp3 app doesn't support sd card right now for android because I emailed and asked them but they claim sd card support will be in an upcoming update .there's an app called amazon mp3 mover that will automatically move music to your sd card but you will have to enable it.

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There's an easy fix for this, stop buying any phone with less than 32 GB of internal storage whether it has an SD card slot or not. Want us to use the cloud, fine but don't continue to decrease app storage space by making the OS bigger and not give us more internal storage options. On my note 2, I HAVE TO use my SD card for all media storage because by the time I put a few apps, then some games (some of which have 1 GB or more of extra data they download now) I'm almost out of internal storage and I've not put any pics or music on it yet. I use Spotify for music but I play in offline mode the majority of the time to conserve data usage and because I'm not always in an area with good signal (and even when I am it won't always stream except on a good LTE connection) so I have to a streaming app that has offline cache for music and the ability to put it on the SD card.

If Google wants to eliminate or restrict what SD cards can be used for that's fine. But then the manufacturer's need to step up and offer bigger than 32 GB internal storage options. Give me 64 GB internal storage and I'll throw my SD card in the drawer happily. I won't buy a phone without 32 GB internal and an SD slot again or 64 GB internal.

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+1 million

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, that's constantly laughing at my wife's T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 with borked sdcard support on 4.4.2...

Rather, don't buy a device which does not take an SD. If Google has its way no phones in future will have SD slots - so don't "upgrade" to a lesser device. You seem to miss the fact that SD cards are removable and swappable. So you can have movies on one or more, music on another, photos on a third etc, And if you take the card out when you don't require it you aren't giving away all your data if you lose your phone. On the other hand, if all your data is on an internal 64GB of storage you lose the lot - probably with a lot of personal information too. INTERNAL storage is the real Security Risk.