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I'm having a weird issue. I'm using a Sony Xperia Z1s running lollipop. I noticed a few days ago that Spotify was giving me a notification that says "No Storage Area Found. Check the device storage settings." This error of sorts prevents Spotify from being used at all. I cleared the cache, data, and even Uninstalled spotify. I thought nothing of it, until I also noticed I can't take pictures. Technically, I can take photos, but they don't save. And, yes, I still have plenty of space on my SD card and internal space.

SD card space internal space espotify notification
The screen shots are of the spotify notification and the storage space on my phone (click images for larger variants)

I ran mount in Terminal Emulator for Android and got this:

u0_a307@C6916:/ $ mount
rootfs / rootfs ro,relatime 0 0
tmpfs /dev tmpfs rw,seclabel,nosuid,relatime,mode=755 0 0
devpts /dev/pts devpts rw,seclabel,relatime,mode=600 0 0
none /dev/cpuctl cgroup rw,relatime,cpu 0 0
proc /proc proc rw,relatime 0 0
sysfs /sys sysfs rw,seclabel,relatime 0 0
selinuxfs /sys/fs/selinux selinuxfs rw,relatime 0 0
debugfs /sys/kernel/debug debugfs rw,relatime 0 0
none /sys/fs/cgroup tmpfs rw,seclabel,relatime,mode=750,gid=1000 0 0
securityfs /sys/kernel/security securityfs rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime 0 0
none /acct cgroup rw,relatime,cpuacct 0 0
tmpfs /mnt/asec tmpfs rw,seclabel,relatime,mode=755,gid=1000 0 0
tmpfs /mnt/obb tmpfs rw,seclabel,relatime,mode=755,gid=1000 0 0
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs rw,seclabel,nosuid,relatime,mode=755 0 0
/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/system /system ext4 ro,seclabel,relatime,discard,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/userdata /data ext4 rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,relatime,discard,noauto_da_alloc,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/cache /cache ext4 rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,relatime,discard,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/apps_log /mnt/idd ext4 rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,noexec,noatime,discard,nobarrier,data=ordered 0 0
tmpfs /storage/remote tmpfs rw,seclabel,relatime,size=1024k,nr_inodes=256,mode=750,gid=1028 0 0
/dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/LTALabel /lta-label ext4 ro,context=u:object_r:lta_label:s0,nosuid,nodev,noexec,noatime,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/fuse /mnt/shell/emulated fuse rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,user_id=1023,group_id=1023,default_permissions,allow_other,allow_utime_grp 0 0
tmpfs /storage/emulated tmpfs rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,relatime,mode=751,gid=1028 0 0
/dev/block/vold/179:65 /mnt/media_rw/sdcard1 vfat ro,dirsync,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,uid=1023,gid=1023,fmask=0007,dmask=0007,allow_utime=0020,codepage=cp437,iocharset=iso8859-1,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro 0 0
/dev/block/vold/179:65 /mnt/secure/asec vfat ro,dirsync,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,uid=1023,gid=1023,fmask=0007,dmask=0007,allow_utime=0020,codepage=cp437,iocharset=iso8859-1,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro 0 0
/dev/fuse /storage/sdcard1 fuse rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,user_id=1023,group_id=1023,default_permissions,allow_other,allow_utime_grp 0 0
/dev/fuse /storage/emulated/0 fuse rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,user_id=1023,group_id=1023,default_permissions,allow_other,allow_utime_grp 0 0
/dev/fuse /storage/emulated/legacy fuse rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,user_id=1023,group_id=1023,default_permissions,allow_other,allow_utime_grp 0 0
u0_a307@C6916:/ $
  • Couldn't know that – but the screenshots seem clear enough. The 3rd irritates with that warning indeed. The icon next to "No Storage Area Found" belongs to Spotify? As I don't use that app: can you configure a "storage area" in there? But that wouldn't explain why you can't take pictures. What error messages are you getting if you try that? Or if you try to write a file with any other app? – Izzy May 18 '16 at 18:30
  • I didn't need to set a partition within the app, or anything like that. Yesterday, when I took a picture, it took 2 mins to load and then gave me a couldn't save pop-up. Now, nothing happens at all aside from the shutter effect. The weird part is that it will let me take screenshots. – UberSteak May 18 '16 at 19:18
  • OK, that rules out a read-only storage which I thought might be the cause. Can you still install apps from Playstore? Try e.g. Terminal Emulator. Start it, type mount and hit enter. Add the output to your post. That will show us how your storage is attached to the system, and if maybe parts are read-only that shouldn't be. – Izzy May 18 '16 at 19:30
  • Looks like all my phone needed was a restart. I did just that, and the problem seems to be fixed. Which is strange, considering I have restarted my phone before and the problem didn't get fixed. – UberSteak May 18 '16 at 23:53
  • Explanation in my answer below. Glad it solved for you as easy as that! – Izzy May 19 '16 at 6:20
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As I guessed (and was proven by the output of the mount command), parts of the file system were mounted read-only – specifically the internal and external SD cards. Take a look at the lines with vold/179:65 entries ("vold" is used for the SD cards only), I'm picking one for example:

/dev/block/vold/179:65 /mnt/media_rw/sdcard1 vfat ro,[…],errors=remount-ro[…]

The syntax here (simplified) is: <device> <mount-point> <file-system> <options>. So we see we have a "vold block device" (an SD card that is) mounted as sdcard1 (the external one; the internal usually is sdcard0) using VFAT as file system. Now come the options, and the first we see is ro which stands for "read-only". Same applies to the internal card. Being read-only, nothing can be written here – hence your problems.

How can that happen? you might ask – so let me point to the option at the end: errors=remount-ro. Initially, both cards were mounted in read-write mode. Something caused trouble, and the system had "too many errors" when reading/writing to the cards – so this condition was triggered: to protect the cards against damage, Android remounted them read-only. Which also explains why a reboot solved the issue: at boot time, after a check of the file systems, they again are mounted read-write – until some issues/errors trigger the read-only remount again.

So what should you do? For now, the reboot seems to have solved the issue. If it doesn't reappear, I'd say there's nothing else here you should be worried about. Same if it pops up once or twice a year: shut down the device, leave it down for a few minutes to be on the safe side ("cool down" of the system :), boot up again, relax. But if it happens frequently, there might be some issues with the controller1 – something you cannot fix yourself. I'd contact service then with a detailed description (e.g. include a link to your question here).


1: Why do I suspect a problem with the controller – and not with the card? Because IMHO it's pretty much unlikely that two independent storages have the same issue at the same time. As pointed out, both SD cards were suddenly remounted read-only: one is the physical external card in the slot, the other located on the built-in storage. OTOH, it could also be some bug in vold, as only the SD cards are affected – and the very same controller dealing with the internal SD card must deal with the other parts of your internal storage as well, which was not affected. But then again, that's hardly anything you can solve; the manufacturer must provide a bugfix (system update) then.

And PS: don't let the line /dev/fuse /storage/sdcard1 fuse rw,[…] confuse you – which suggests the "partition located at /storage/sdcard1" is mounted read-write. That's only the "FUSE overlay" on top of it. So this file system is declared read-write – but the underlying one still is read-only. Which would mean the "on-top FUSE file system" would accept write commands – but couldn't commit them to the card then as the underlying system is read-only.

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