Fixing external SD card write issue on Android 4.4 KitKat


Android 4.4 KitKat brought in a lot of changes compared to its older 4.3 Jellybean update. And one of the most significant changes is how it handles storage data security.

Related reading:alearn how to use theaandroid data recoveryautility Wondershare Dr.Fone for Android to get back your lost data and save your android phones.

Prior to Android 4.4 KitKat, applications, provided they had permission to access the external 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.


Third-party apps are not allowed to get automatic permission to put files anywhere on a micro SD card. Instead, such files must go into a folder on the card where all their content from that app must go. A photo viewer, for example, would not be able to move or save images from elsewhere on a device to its folder. It would only be able to save thumbnails of photos from within the system, which would be the images used for the viewer.

Many users are facing issues with the new configuration because it drastically changes the way apps function. Most apps have become dysfunctional because they now lack the permissions to function properly. Moreover, once a third party app is deleted, its designated folder and contents are also deleted. However, the flip side is that various malware no longer has the ability to read and write through a deviceas filesystem to steal data.

If you are annoyed by the external SD card policy change, and storage flexibility matters more to you than storage security, read on to know how to restore full access to the micro SD card.

Restoring full access to the external SD card

Method 1: Editing the permissions file manually

Make sure your phone is rooted. After that perform the following steps:

  1. Using a root-enabled file manager (likeaES file explorer), navigate to /system/etc/permissions
  2. Edit platform.xml and find the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission.
  3. Add an additional group definition for this permission: <group gid=amedia_rwa />
  4. Save the changes to the file.
  5. Restart the phone.

All credits for this method go toathis threadaon XDA developers forum.

Method 2: Using NextApp SDFix app

XDA developers forum memberatliebeckahas developed SDFix, a small app that makes life easier by automating the permission file editing and thereby restoring full write access to the SD card. Please do note that this app does need root permissions.

You can download the app from either theaPlay Storeaor theaXDA forum thread. After that, launch the app and follow the onscreen instructions to solve your problem.

Method 3: Using Xposed framework with HandleExternalStorage module

If for some reason, the above two methods fail to solve your problem, then donat just give up yet. Try this too.

If you do not have Xposed framework yet,adownload it from hereaand install the apk. After that, install the framework from inside the app and reboot. Please note that you need root permissions to install Xposed.

Once you have Xposed, download and install the HandleExternalStorage module from either theaPlay Store,aXDA forum threadaor from the aDownloada section within the Xposed installer app.

This module has no user interface. Just enable it in the aModulesa section in Xposed and reboot. Youare done!

Method 4: Using a custom ROM

If none of the above methods work, then weare really sorry that you are out of luck with the stock firmware.

We suggest you to try a custom ROM/firmware likeaCyanogenMod 11,aAOKP,aSlimKataoraCarbonROMawhich already has the permission problem patched.



I earnestly hope that the methods Iave mentioned have helped solve your problem. In case you face problems, feel free to open a new discussion on ouraforumaoraFacebook groupaand Iall be more than happy to help you out. Any feedback? Drop a comment below.