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Followup on How has USB File Transfer changed in Android changed over the years?

I've learned that Android 4.3 and later versions don't have this feature because Micro$oft.

Newer options, Media device (MTP) or Camera (PTP) mode, are horrendous.

It also causes other issues for (Windows) programs that relied on android having USB Mass Storage Mode.


Off hand reasons why MTP is awful.

  1. Can't copy more than one thing at a time. (Device is busy warning)
  2. Warnings that I need to convert files before copying every single time.
  3. Just seems to be a lot slower at copying files.
  4. Can't edit files on the phone from Windows.

So, how can you enable USB Mass Storage Mode on newer versions of Android?

Let's say I'm rooted and can install a custom iso if that makes a difference.

I've tried searching google, the app store, and xda forums for solutions.

  • The reason this was changed is because it allows the storage to be accessed by the PC while still mounted on the phone, whereas MSC required the SD card piece to be fully relinquished to the PC when attached. That caused issues where phones would have to have a partition boundary for the external storage space, meaning it could not be used for apps (so a 16 GB phone may only allow 2 GB of apps, and 14 GB of "files", and no way to alter that without re-partitioning). I assume it also would have caused problems for the adoptable storage feature added later on. – eldarerathis Jan 25 '18 at 20:59
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    Here's the explanation from one of Google's engineers, BTW, which is the original source for my description: reddit.com/r/Android/comments/mg14z/… – eldarerathis Jan 25 '18 at 21:02
  • @eldarerathis I'm aware of why they think its a good idea. It has it's down side though. For example usage in Windows. I'm sick of it warning me every time I copy a file that it's format isnt compatible format for my phone and that I should convert it when it's fine. Also it's just slower and you can't multitask copy operations. I have an older android phone that I like to use just because it has USB Mass Storage Mode. Well I don't want to be forced to just use that forever for my needs. – LateralTerminal Jan 25 '18 at 21:04
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    Also, the answers here are probably applicable: How can I use my Galaxy Nexus as an external USB storage drive? – eldarerathis Jan 25 '18 at 21:05
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    @eldarerathis I understand. I agree it has benefits. Thank you for elaborating on google's decision. I'd still like a solution though to use USB storage. – LateralTerminal Jan 25 '18 at 21:33
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I reckon there might be workarounds. Currently, there are a few apps offering to restore the lost UMS option

Given that you device is rooted there are some options worth exploring:

  1. Using USB MASS STORAGE (UMS) Enabler

This app's function is to enable Mass Storage Mode for mounting your Memory Card as a USB Drive in Computer from your rooted device [Android 4.0+].

It does not mount internal storage, and it will not work if your device doesn't have External Memory Card Support

Steps to Enable UMS:

  1. Connect phone using USB cable to Computer or TV or DVD/Audio Player or Mac (or even to other phone with OTG) or whatever.
  2. Open the 'UMS Enabler' app and press 'Enable Mass Storage' and give it root access. (Try 2-3 times if it doesn't work the first time itself)
  3. Before disconnecting USB, eject from Computer and then press 'Disconnect Mass Storage' in app.

enter image description here

If it doesn't work, go to App Settings and choose the required settings, and try again. Avoid using memory card from phone when in UMS mode. Learn more here

  1. Using QtADB

QtADB is an app based on adb. It requires working android sdk (command “adb devices” listing your device),requires Qt libs version 4.7, root and busybox installed on phone.

enter image description here

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    Wow this is perfect. I don't mind losing internal storage if I can mount external as USB. I'll give it a shot and report back – LateralTerminal Jan 26 '18 at 20:11
  • Did you get to try out this method? – xavier_fakerat Jan 31 '18 at 17:45
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    Installed the app and I found out my custom rom wasn't pre-rooted like I thought. I'll root it tonight and let you know. – LateralTerminal Feb 2 '18 at 14:19
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    #1 didn't work for my rooted note 4. I'll try #2 later. – LateralTerminal Feb 5 '18 at 14:34
  • Thanks @ lateral terminal for feedback. I hope the latter works Good luck:) – xavier_fakerat Feb 5 '18 at 17:33
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No solution.

So Google provides a Android Compatibility Definition Document for vendors to follow so that they can get Google Play Services on their devices.

From The Android Compatibility Definition Document - Section 7.6 Memory and Storage

Lists USB Mass Storage as

If device implementations have a USB port with USB peripheral mode support, they:

  • MAY use USB mass storage, but SHOULD use Media Transfer Protocol to satisfy this requirement.

So Device Manufacturers who want have Google Play Services on their device do not need to have USB Mass Storage support. So any driver or kernel modifications need not be implemented.

  • This answer somewhat suggests that it's possible? "MAY use USB mass storage, but SHOULD use Media Transfer Protocol" I'm confused. I'm open to, rooting, cfw, custom rom, whatever it takes to get USB mass storage. – LateralTerminal Jan 25 '18 at 20:30

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