Most apps I have require the permission "read the contents of your USB storage" and "modify or delete the contents of your USB storage". Does this mean they can read/write mostly anything on my SD card that's not encrypted? including photos? any of my plain text files with my doctors notes/passwords/etc.

I'll have to toggle the granular permissions to enable to allow these apps to run properly. Why don't they just have access to SD contents that they created themselves, and no other SD card content?

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    This is one of the sore points of android. FYI Apple devices atleast for photos doesn't if configured correctly access more then one photo. The photo picker is a system menu.
    – William
    Mar 26, 2018 at 15:49
  • Thanks for the info. Sore doesn't even begin to describe this non-security. Almost any decent app requires this permission which gives it full access to most of your device files that aren't explicitly encrypted. Mar 26, 2018 at 16:13
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    If it is a picture I tend to copy and paste them in android. Android can launch a file picker app to prevent access to all photos or content but big names like FB don't even do this.
    – William
    Mar 26, 2018 at 16:26
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  • @stackinator Do you mind sharing your Android version? Moreover, are you referring to the internal storage, or to the external, removable SD card?
    – Grimoire
    Mar 27, 2018 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


Many permissions are not necessary for the application itself however the permissions you mentioned are usually required by any app that requests them

It wasn't always like this, old Android devices didn't require any permissions to write to the SD Card and that was considered a security risk, nowadays you need to accept and acknowledged all permissions..

Sometimes an application needs to create files on the SD Card that aren't it's own files like download managers and file sorting applications, this requires a higher level of access to manage the files location or create new folders etc...

Obviously you should be careful when installing applications that ask for every permission possible, Like a game of tic tac toe that requires Bluetooth, NFC and internet would be strange and probably be able to hack your PayWave card from about 60cm away :0 true story

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