I have a Google Nexus 7, unrooted, running stock 4.2.1. I have set it up for two user and we seems to be enjoying it.

Recently I ran into an issue about sharing files. In User1's account I copied few PDFs into \sdcard\PDFs folder and was able to use it well.

When I switched to User2's account, I could not see the folder \sdcard\PDFs at all. Surprisingly, I could not see it even when through computer when Nexus 7 is connected as Portable media player.

I guess this can be achieved by granting sufficient access by escalating to root, which needs rooted device - but I am not sure.

My questions:

  1. Are there any way I can share files between users of the same tablet without using Internet (like using email, dropbox etc) or transferring to some repository like PC etc?
  2. If I root, can I change the permission to such user created folders and access files from other user's account or elevating as root?

Update: Found a link that asks same question - but the answer given is not applicable for files rather works for apps, not useful.

7 Answers 7


/data/media contains a number of folders including legacy and obb, neither of which appear to be shared between users, at least not on my Nexus 10. It also contains a 0 folder which is the emulated sd card of the first user, then 10, 11 & 12 for the sd cards of the first three other users of the device.

I know you said your device isn't rooted and you seem to be able to use obb (which I can't) but if you root, you will be able to access any sd card image this way.

Hope this helps in some way.

  • I had rooted my Nexus 7 and I would agree with Mike and would say that this better way to share files as it does not involve copying files to Android/Obb folder. Pros: Need not copy files and can directly use the file from other user's folder. Cons: Needs to be rooted to write.
    – Narayanan
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 4:58

After a lot of trial and error, I discovered that the Android/obb folder is automatically shared among users.

It's not ideal, but it's better than a cloud storage option for large files.

  • 1
    It is indeed. +30 :)
    – Narayanan
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 1:00
  • Because of a better answer from @Mike, I would like to make his answer as my accepted answer.
    – Narayanan
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 4:59

It's a different user account is why you can not see the files and the user files are stored on the system partition

When the user accounts were set up it's assumed the the first account to 'activate' the device is the master account, all other ones created from that are user accounts, much in the same way you have user accounts on a pc you will have your C:\Users\youusername\Downloads that isn't viewable by other users that log into the machine

If you want to share things possibly use a cloud storage system like Google Drive or Dropbox but that a bit of a pain having to share individual documents so maybe set up a shared folder you will be able to add a short-cut to that to access them maybe?

  • Thanks, talking from Windows 7+ perspective, if I have admin privilege, I should be able to see the folder. Analogously, will gaining root access in 4.2.x will work? Also, I am only creating a folder in storage which is not analogous to C:\Users folder rather it is like creating in another drive!
    – Narayanan
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 17:20
  • It's something I haven't really played around with too much, but surely if the main user has root then I'm just assuming that the other user can have root permissions granted, but I'm still not sure about seeing the sdcard contents. Your best bet is to set up a shared folder in either Dropbox/Google Drive etc. and set a short-cut to that folder on the launcher
    – spences10
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 17:24
  • The public parts are accessible by all users, like C:\Users\Public\Documents , so this a bad explanation. Also most of the FS is accessible by all users on Windows. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 22:59


1. Download PAW SERVER and run it on first user.
2. Run it
3. Go to 2nd User
4. go to localhost:8080
5. Login with user admin with password paw
6. go to Media > File Manager
Or code your own PHP Script.


it's probably mounted only for one user and unmounted when you switch to another user which explains why it's in the same place (directory /sdcard) but with different users the content change


This has nothing to do with permissions. To verify, switch to account 1 and see if the folder is visible. I think you have unintentionally deleted the folder yourself.

  • 1
    No dude. I am certain that I haven't deleted it as I could still see the folder when I switch back to the account with which I created it.
    – Narayanan
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 13:51
  • What file manager you are using? Have you tried using astro file manager?
    – ozmank
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 13:57
  • ES File Explorer. I haven't tried other such apps in nexus, but tried many on my phone.
    – Narayanan
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 16:16

Run Paw server on user 1 Use the built-in file manager

  • 3
    You need to add more information about what to do
    – Peanut
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 12:13

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