I'm using apps e.g. Autoguard and others that record files to their directory (e.g. sdcard/Android/data/com.hovans.autoguard) and I'd like to back them up locally. Unfortunately due to the disastrous Android 11 update I no longer have access to that folder. Neither the phone explorers (also including Files by Google and the Shortcut app to Samsung's explorer) nor a USB connection helps to gain access to those files on the sd card. The Android/data folder on the internal storage can be viewed using USB or the Samsung explorer but NOT the one on the sd card. The only thing I can see is that the data folder is empty (because only root has the rwx rights).

How can I access those files nonetheless without rooting the phone? I'm getting frustrated after researching for hours with no solution.

  • 1
    Have you tried to access those files via adb? If this works you could use it for creating a backup via tar. Save everything to a tar file on the device and save the created archive on your PC (e.g. by streaming it using adb exec-out tar ... > backup.tar.
    – Robert
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 12:50
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    @Robert at least on stock Android 11 adb doesn't have access to apps' private directories in shared storage. A new GID 1078 has been introduced to make these directories accessible. And adbd doesn't have this GID. Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 13:02
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    There must be some file explorer apps which still have full access to /sdcard because it hasn't been fully restricted in Android 11. Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 13:07
  • @Robert Thank you very much, the creation of the tar archive did not work. However, just pulling the files via adb seems to work. Let me see if all files can be carried over but I'm optimistic.
    – PeterMcCoy
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 13:14
  • @beeshyams I tried the SD Maid explorer and it did not work. The internal storage/Android/data can be accessed over the Samsung explorer (i.e. the internal system app), just the SD card is the problem and no explorer can access it.
    – PeterMcCoy
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


@Peter and Everyone. I ran into this exact issue. After spending a few hours befuddled by the nonsense that Android 11 has created with all of this...I decided to take a step back, look at this from a different perspective and had a tada moment :) The best solution sometimes is the most simplistic and one that was right in front of me the whole time. Well, actually, sitting in my laptop bag that's been parked for about a year.

Long story short, I ejected my SD Card, placed it in my previous S9 which was running Android whatever...anything other than Android 11. As soon as I fired it up, checked my Android/Data folder...everything was there, I simply copied it to my Internal Drive, ejected it, returned to the S10 and was back up and running. Thus, I didn't need to Root my device, test over 10+ File Manager Apps, read article after article, etc...I just had to go back in time before Android 11 and I didn't even have to revert my current S10 back to Android 10 or earlier. I just had to take Android 11 out of the picture.

So, while I've seen all of these press releases, specifications, justifications and reasoning for what Android 11 was supposed to do...it just doesn't compute. Never in my 30+ career have I seen a supposedly new solution lead to a 100% non operative solution against a given. In other words, accessing your Android/Data directory was as easy as 1+1, after Android 11 the only number that matters is 0...the number of items you can access :(

I think the moral to the story here is that always having a contingency plan... in this case an older backup phone pays off. I will not bore you with old stories of how my previous phone(s) helped in other situations...but I think today's result sums things up :)

Take care and I hope this helps everyone with this waste of time nonsense. It's OUR data sitting right in front of us that we NEVER had an issue with prior to Android 11.


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