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

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.

What changed in Android 4.4 KitKat with SD cards

App management

It's simple, really. Prior to Android 4.4 KitKat, applications — provided they had permission to access the SD card — could read and write to any area on removable storage, including the system folders like DCIM, Alarms, etc. That has all changed, and now third-party applications — as in ones you download from Google Play or elsewhere — can only write to files and folders that they have created or have taken ownership of.

Google made things neater and more secure. Some apps have worked with that, many others are just broken.

This keeps things "tidy." Apps aren't dumping files everywhere on the card — something we've all encountered — and instead have one central location to put all their files. There also are some serious security concerns that were addressed by not letting an app write files just anywhere.

This means that Jerry's Awesome Photo Viewer app can still scan your entire system for images, build a thumbnail database of them all and save it to a folder on the SD card. But it can't move or save the pictures themselves to folders — including the Pictures folder — on the SD card because it does not "own" those folders. If programmed right, it could save copies of the pictures to Jerry's Awesome Photo Viewer's own folders on the SD card. The folder is part of the app, and if you uninstall it, the folder goes, too. The old method of putting anything anywhere you want is gone, forever.

The other side of the coin is that Jerry's Not Awesome App that steals your data no longer has write access to every file and folder on the SD card. Yes, previously any application that declared permission to read and write to the SD card was allowed to write files to any folder — including your system folders, and any folder something like a banking app might have made. Any type of file, too. That includes files that could be read when another app starts up and affect the settings or way that app works. It was a complete and total security nightmare, and why a lot of people — including yours truly — did not want phones with SD cards.

Do you want it easy? Or do you want it secure?

Android file permissions

One of the reasons things have to change so drastically on the security-front is because of Unix-style user and group permissions, and the file system of your SD card. You expect an SD card to just work when you plug it into a computer. Any computer. Because something like 96 percent of all the computers out there that aren't some sort of server run Microsoft Windows, you need to make sure your SD card will work with them.

If you want removable storage that can be read anywhere, understand that it's not going to be secure.

FAT-based file systems — that's what your SD card is formatted to — are universal on Windows, Apple OSX and (most) Linux machines. Makes sense. What good is a portable drive that can't be read, right? But there's a catch. FAT-based systems don't support file and folder permissions. If I'm an app, I can't say "This is my folder. I will allow you to look inside, but you are not to put anything new in there or change any of my stuff!" on this sort of file system. It's an all-or-nothing mess, and one that even Microsoft has moved away from in its newer versions of Windows. But FAT still needs to be used, because anything else will require a lot of finagling for people using legacy versions of Windows, and that is a large number of people.

Note that this has nothing to do with accessing your phone storage — internal or external — via a cable attached to your computer. That uses a completely different protocol and method, that has nothing to do with the actual file system of a removable piece of media.

If SD cards were set up with the same file system as the rest of the partitions inside your Android (EXT, for those of you keeping track at home), none of this would matter. Third-party apps could be given permission to individual folders, other folders could be marked "hands-off," and everyone would be happy. But they are not, and can not be without modification of a lot of computers, or a stand-alone program you run on your computer just to access the SD card you pull out of your Android.

This is a mess that nobody can fix right now.

So what do we do?

Apps to your SD

First off, you stop and think before you take any update to KitKat. Any apps installed to the SD card will lose their data when you update and need re-installed, and some of the apps you use probably will stop working because they have not been updated. The good news is that other apps have been updated — PocketCasts, for example — so you get to try all new apps.

Forgoing the KitKat update is an option, but not one we'd recommend.

You could also never update to KitKat, which I see a lot of people claiming they have planned. I think that's a bit crazy, but it is an option and it will keep things working like they always have — both the good and the bad — in regards to your external storage.

Or you can install a custom ROM that "fixes" the issue. It's a fairly easy thing to change, but the folks who make your phone aren't allowed to "fix" it or they can't retain their Google certification for Google Play and the rest of Google's apps.

Or you can huff and puff, and start a petition.

Remember, Android — whether we like it or not — is a work in progress. Google could very well have some sort of magic fix for this whole problem planned, and we'll see it in a future version of Android. Or it could just not care and take the stance that SD cards should only be used to store media, and should be kept seperate from the operating system.

We'll just have to see.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

697 Comments
  • 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. Wrong...!!! 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.)
  • Who exactly are you talking to? ಠ益ಠ
  • +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.)
  • Not nit picking, just confused. No offense intended.
  • 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
  • Pfft. 32gb is nothing. give me a 128gb sd! Without paying exorbitant prices for the higher storage models! This is one reason I am extremely disappointed in samsung for their s6, because previously they were my favorite hardware manufacturer.
  • I hope they realize the error of their ways. And yes, I am talking to myself as you guys call it.
  • 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
  • I'm just as curious. Let's split up, gang.
  • We're waiting for WP 8.1 to be release that will allow apps to be written to SD cards...
  • Maybe you should go check it out then. Get a windows phone... its a great idea.
  • That's hilarious
  • They make special phones for STUPID PEOPLE, they even come in cute clamshell designs. Stupid people shouldn't be using smart phones LOL
  • Now now...
    My mom uses one of those clam shell things, but she isn't dumb... just stubborn...
  • 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
  • Pears, being fruit, tend to be fairly non-judgemental.
  • Say that to the pears sitting on my kitchen counter. Whenever I turn my back, they snicker and make faces at me. They think I can't hear them, but I do...
  • 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.
  • Does rooting the phone solve this? Is their not work around that is easy?
  • If you are rooted, it is very easy to fix.
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2617921 I believe there are even some apps in the play store which will do it for you, although the fix listed here just involves editing a text file.
  • 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: com.android.alarm)
    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 "com.estrongs.android.pop" (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.
  • Np. I thought it would create the folder automatically, but I'm glad I could help.
  • Sir, Thanks for your encouraging comments and reply. As I am sailing in the SAME boat and using ES file explorere, I am curious to know how did you make this app default writing disk. I am interested in knowing how to make it default for WhatsApp and telegram, both are messenger services. Please guide me step by step. Would be obliged if reply be sent to "hirendra7158@yahoo.co.in" , too. I could not follow last lines of your comment, that's why I have to ask you. Thanks.
  • If anyone on here has not seen the Windows 10 release video, sigh, it will make you wonder where Android will fit in anymore, seriously
  • 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.
  • The Camera app does save to the SD card if you have it that way.
  • 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.
  • I know it's been awhile since you made this comment but I just recently got a new phone and now have this issue with the sd card. so I'm late to the game. but my phone allows me to save the video and pictures it takes (factory installed camera app) to the sd card. my understanding is you HAVE to use the stock camera app to store the media to the sd card.
  • 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.
  • And just ***WHO*** gets to define the "predefined folder"??? If I do not have control over that on MY OWN hardware, then KitKat and later are BROKEN. If I want a file manager to import and place documents, images, music, etc in particular places on my SD card, then it is ***MY*** choice on where they go. They want "security"? Then we should be running EXT3 filesystems. FFAT32 be damned, and MSWin as well if it can't handle adding a EXT3 driver (it should be able to, it's called an "Installable File System").
  • Holy zombie post :) If an app wants direct file-system access to the SDCard, then it is limited to writing to a folder that matches the apps namespace.  A namespace is kind of like a web URL for code.  For the Android Alarm app, for example is com.google.alarm.  Yes, it's backwards from how it is on the web.  And, no, it doesn't actually have anything to do with the web itself, it's just a unique name for each app to refer to itself as. Apps *can* still write to the SDCard, then just have to do it through the Google Media Accessor API.  This means that apps must explicitly declare permissions to read/write to the SDCard.  Most apps, at this point, should be updated to where this is a non-issue.  If you still have a problem with it, just root and add the permission back to the XML file to re-enable open read/write to the SDCard and accept the consequences of the security risk.  It's ***YOUR*** choice :) http://www.xda-developers.com/fix-your-sdcard-issue-on-kitkat/ I agree with the comments about using EXT3 on the SDCard, but I can also understand the reasoning behind why they are using FAT32.  Sadly, it is what it is.
  • Yes, most apps may not need to move files from every place. But I need that function because I have my own order in my files. I don't have a lot of space in the internal storage and because I need to manually manage files so I can create the folders what I want, and I can move, copy, delete the files what I want with the APP what I want. Examples:
    - A folder containing pictures, I need to zip all that folder and copy it to some other place to share it with a friend or family member. When I use internal storage to take the pictures, I can use some other app to copy the zip from internal storage to sdcard.
    - My sd card is shared as backup. I use it to make some backups and all content is shared with my computer (I manage it in a USB card reader). So I need full access to it from some apps.
    - I need to make a backup of my data from the tablet, from the internal memory to some other place. So I use my sdcard to do that because the adb backup method is broken (it always stops before the backup is complete, I am testing it from Android 4.0 to 4.2, so for me that is not a warranty, that is a big risk instead, it always fails doing the backup. The only know thing that does not fail is using a file manager app to copy all the content of the internal memory to the sdcard, now I cannot do that so no backup with adb and no backup with a good working file manager).
    - I don't want to use root in any app, it is more risky than deny an app everything but sdcard (If an app cannot go far away from the sdcard and internal storage that is great solution for me).
    - There are not good native file manager or image gallery. All that we have are like "we made native apps but don't expect a full working one", we (the Android developers. Google employee) did that but don't expect it be the best in the Store, just expect it to be like example apps (that is what is the included file manager for example, it is like an example app of how to do a file manager, but it is not a real file manager). There are better 3rd party file managers. I don't understand why the Google guys does not develop a real, full functioning, full working, full tested file manager for Android. That is the reason why I need to use 3rd party ones. The same apply to the Gallery. A broken gallery software that includes access to remote images (I don't know why, you can have some other kind of service to access remote files, don't need an app to do that by itself) but does not do a good job managing images because it freeze (trying to do remote work) and sometimes crash too (because I am sure there are still bugs because the developers lost their time developing not useful functions). So, Google decided to make a more secure filesystem hierarchy? I don't think so. I guess they just saved some time in what they seriously must take more time to plan and improve they own apps (the file manager, hangouts, the gallery, etc). The default included apps are not useful or in good level of use. For now I will try to apply the "Samsung patch". An affected poweruser.
  • If I read correctly.....
    Please email me a link, or directions to save all my documentary "YouTube" videos to SD card via my Lenova A10-70(f) tablet with version 5.0.1. What do I need to do to force mp4 files on SD card with or/ without root. I have SD maid app, which I thought is all I needed. I'm no developer, please HELP!......
    Email: Voodoo.jso@gmail.com
  • 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.
  • Hi, you seem to know of the new way to write on SD Cards, can you please share?
  • i want to use my sd card..it has a spot for it..i have one..im using it now..WTF...time to root
  • 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. MS
  • with the announcement of the card reader database from tag readers on all police cars in America going to a db the dea and other government functions can accurately try to know what people's driving patterns are, and the other file made public about police being directed to drive their tag reading cars through the parking lots of gun expos, anyone in any forum with any mentality can argue with this. It is a definite move from Google for a definitive reason, cowtowing to the feds to make another database that can be trolled to add to profiles of innocent citizens.........
  • 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.
  • Gonna have to agree with you Tenshi
  • 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.
  • Then why is 128GB micro sd cards a HOT item. This makes Google look STUPID and a lot more like APPLE.
  • I'm sorry, but I'm presently stuck running Kitkat on my phone, which clearly demonstrates that Google is, in fact, that stupid.
  • 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.
  • Soooooo true. This is exactly what I was thinking. Again, all about greed.