I thought that each app can always freely manage its directory in /Android folder. AFAIK code is in app/ and data in obb/ folders.

But many apps (e.g. games) display a message about needing local storage permission to download additional data.

Why do many apps need to ask for the generic storage permission - the one that says Files, folders, photo, video?

Are there some restrictions on the data an app can use without asking permission?

Just to clarify: I am NOT asking about file/photo manager apps, for them it is understandable that they need to see the whole filesystem.

Btw i found 2 possible duplicates, but their answers seem to contradict each other: 1 2 Does the storage permission allow reading the whole Internal storage? Or only the FAT-formatted external SD card?

  • What for an app needs storage permission depends on the Android version on-device (and the one targeted by the app). READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE gives access to all data on your external and internal SD cards, but not to device storage, on "lower versions". Things look a bit different with the Storage Access Framework added in 5.1, and will change again with "scoped storage" on Android 11+…
    – Izzy
    Sep 1, 2020 at 19:54
  • As Izzy said, it's version dependent. See this//@Izzy, I think you made a typo, in 11,it's package visibility
    – beeshyams
    Sep 1, 2020 at 20:05
  • @Izzy - Is there a quick summary on what is the status in Android 11? Nov 12, 2021 at 8:24
  • @sancho.sReinstateMonicaCellio only roughly. With Android 11, the concept of scoped storage was made mandatory, adding another layer. Full storage access is only permitted to few app categories (such as file explorers) on PlayStore (other sources may permit it generally for distribution; any app can request it, but Google simply might not let it into PlayStore then).
    – Izzy
    Nov 12, 2021 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


Storage permission is needed by apps that will read/write files onto the storage especially files accessible by the user.

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