On a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition running 4.4 and non-rooted (I'd prefer not to root a device used for professional development purposes)

Having stored some ebooks on my external SDcard, I decided that I wanted to add some audio as well (as my internal device storage is quite full.)

As far as I can tell not one app (nor adb) can perform any write operations to the external SDcard's root directory.

The one exception that I've found is that my ubuntu computer, can create and rename directories inside /storage/extSdCard/Android/data/ even though none of my apps can.

Is there a workaround for this that doesn't involve rooting the device?


1 Answer 1


Google has screwed up the KitKat API, apparently Google thinks there is a big security problem with external SD cards. Apps will have to be changed to use a different API call, so expect that nothing will use external SD cards for a long long long time (small percentage of KitKat users and even smaller percentage of KitKat users with external SD cards).

There are a lot of people asking similar questions and some partial workarounds but nothing good. Even Googles own Gallery app doesn't read the external SD card.

  • 1
    Maybe it's the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission, which was not enforced in previous versions? True it would be embarassing if they enforced it now but forgot about this in their own apps. Also, I'm not sure this is the case, though it would make sense.
    – Izzy
    Jan 21, 2014 at 10:09

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