NVIDIA promises fixes for broken Plex, Kodi, and more on NVIDIA Shield TV after Android 11 update

Kodi on NVIDIA Shield TV
Kodi on NVIDIA Shield TV (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • After rolling out Android 11 to all NVIDIA Shield TV models last week, some serious bugs have emerged.
  • The update seems to have broken Plex for numerous users, as well as Kodi, VLC, and accessing some local and network-attached files.
  • NVIDIA has confirmed it is working with Google on a fix and that the issue pertains to storage permissions changes from Android 11.
  • There are a few workarounds you can use to get some apps back up and running, but one of Plex's issues will require a separate fix, which NVIDIA is working with Plex on.

The NVIDIA Shield TV remains one of the best streaming devices on the market today, though some users might be wanting to throw their through a window right now. Last week, NVIDIA finally rolled out the first major upgrade to the system since 2019, which brought Android 11 and a small truckload of improvements. Users flocked to the Shield Experience Upgrade 9.0, but once it arrived, it was almost immediately clear things were afoot.

Hundreds of users flooded reddit and other social media channels to see if others were seeing the same widespread app failures and storage lockouts after the update. They were, and as the crowdsourced troubleshooting progressed, users and developers soon realized that Scoped Storage and the permission changes around it were causing the SNAFU. While Google mandated that new apps support scoped storage back in August of 2020 and that all apps targeting Android 11 or above implement it, the NVIDIA Shield TV is the first Android TV device to get Android 11.

Scoped storage permissions should be relatively easy for developers to add to their Android TV apps, but it seems NVIDIA and Google didn't think ahead to work with developers so that those permissions were added before sending the update out to millions of Shield TVs. NVIDIA confirmed to 9to5Google that it is working to get things back to normal:

"The latest software upgrade introduced an issue where "Allow only while using the app" behaves the same as "Don't allow." As a result, many apps that depend on "Files and Media" permissions to browse and view file data – like PLEX Media Server, MX Player and VLC – are not working properly. We are working with Google to address this issue as quickly as possible. Additionally, for PLEX Media Server users, there is a known issue if you have migrated your library metadata to external storage. We are working on a solution with PLEX to get this resolved as soon as possible."

Users aren't stuck with unusable streaming boxes until these more official changes can be made, though. A number of workarounds and individual fixes have been curated to try and get the apps you rely on for your totally legit cinematic marathons back up and functioning. We've collected them here for you to try at your leisure.

Current solutions and hotfixes

  • You can re-grant storage permissions to get individual apps like VLC working again. In Settings, navigate to Apps > Select your app > Permissions > Files and Media > Allow all the time (or Allow depending on the app).
  • Some users have regained functionality by uninstalling and reinstalling an app.
  • Enable external storage and network-attached storage to be seen as it's connected. In Settings, navigate to Device Preferences > Storage > Scan for media automatically.
  • Kodi's remote server streaming issue has a workaround that involves disabling the usage of http2.
  • Some users have fixed most issues by factory resetting, but signing back into all your apps is a big fat pain, even with the improved Google Keyboard.

Plex users who lost their server after the Android 11 update, you, unfortunately, will have to wait for a solution from Plex, but they're working on it. This mostly seems to be impacting Plex users who "have migrated your library metadata to external storage" rather than hosting it on the Shield TV's internal storage, but that's most Shield TV users. After all, the 500GB version of the original NVIDIA Shield TV PRO was discontinued after the 2019 model's launch (and was ridiculously expensive).

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.