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I'm using Xioami's MI 9 SE phone.

I have several PDF viewer apps installed: Mi Doc Viewer, Pdf Viewer Plus, MuPDF viewer...

However - whenever I try to open a PDF with one of these, or even with a file manipulation app, from a browser - I either get some error message (e.g. lack of permissions which I can't change, or some blurb in Chinese) - or just an empty screen.

Here are two screenshots, of the errors with two apps, when I try to open a file via my (Opera) browser Downloads screen. The file I try to open is desktop.pdf; when pressing it, I'm presented with an app selection dialog, and whichever app I choose, it doesn't work.

With "MI Doc Viewer (Powered by WPS)": enter image description here

With "Document Viewer": enter image description here

What might cause this problem, and how can I circumvent or fix it?

PS - I don't get this for other file types (at least, not that I've noticed).

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  • According to Google Lens, the Chinese text is "请在文件管理器中选择正确的文件打开" which according to Deepl, "Please select the correct file to open in the file manager".
    – Andrew T.
    Sep 9 at 12:42
  • @AndrewT.: Ok, thanks for that, I suppose that once I got the screenshot (which was not trivial, since the error message disappears quickly), at least the translation is possible. Question is - why am I getting these weird errors?
    – einpoklum
    Sep 9 at 12:43
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    Based on the second error message, looks like Opera's content provider for downloaded files is not exported, thus other apps cannot access it? This looks like an app issue rather than an end-user issue.
    – Andrew T.
    Sep 9 at 12:46

1 Answer 1

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(@AndrewT.'s comment is correct:)

It seems that the problem is with my default browser, Opera. Somehow, the "content provider" it exposes to PDF viewers is flawed, whatever that means; and if I downloaded and view a file in Firefox, it works.

This is rather strange, since the viewing should get the location of a properly downloaded file, but I guess that's not how Android works.

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  • Further reading: Content provider permissions, "If a provider's application doesn't specify any permissions, then other applications have no access to the provider's data, unless the provider is exported."
    – Andrew T.
    Sep 9 at 16:47

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