Fix Write Capability to External SD Card on KitKat Manually [Root]

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According to the latest stats from the Google Developer portal Android 4.4 KitKat currently occupies 13.6% share in the overall distribution of different versions of the operating system. It’s really unsatisfactory given the fact that it’s has been almost seven months since KitKat was first released. While KitKat is known for better and faster performance that the older Jelly Bean, the former is also known for taking away some good features that we used to enjoy on the latter.

With the KitKat update, Google brought a not-so-pleasant thing by revoking the write capability to external SD card by app on an Android device. You must have seen the Move to SD card option under individual app settings on Jelly Bean. It simply means that KitKat does not allow apps to write/move data on the micro SD cards on devices that support expandable storage. If you install too many apps, your phone’s internal storage might fall short as all app data will be stored to it.

Actually, Google removed the write access to the external SD card by apps deliberately for security reasons. Google made this move to stops apps from dumping files everywhere on the card. On Kitkat, all 3rd-party apps can only write to files and folders that they have created or have taken ownership of.

As you know, Android is a world of possibilities. If you have have obtained root access on your device, you might obtain a solution for almost all such issues. The Play Store already has a couple of good apps for fixing write access to extSD card by 3rd-party apps.

SDFix: KitKat Writable MicroSD

SDFix: KitKat Writable MicroSD
NextApp, Inc. Tools Free
Download

SD KitKat Fixer

While these apps work great on certain devices, the have proven to be ineffective on others. If you have root access on your phone or tablet and having this issue, you can easily fix write capability to external SD card on KitKat manually.

Fix Write Capability to External SD Card Manually

  1. Download Root Explorer or Root Browser or any other root file manager from the Play Store:
    File Explorer Root Browser
    JRummy Apps Productivity Free
    Download
     
    Root Explorer
    Speed Software Productivity $3.99
    Download
  2. Also install BusyBox on your device, then open the app and install BusyBox script: 
    BusyBox
    Download
  3. Open the root file manager app. Grant it root access if it prompts you to do so.
  4. Now navigate to /system/etc/permissions/platform.xml
  5. Tap and hold the platform.xml file and select Edit option.
  6. Now look for this entry:
    name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE"
  7. Now add the following string of code just after <group gid=”sdcard_rw”/>.
    <group gid="media_rw"/>
  8. To get a clearer idea, take a look at the screenshot below:Fix-Write-Capability-External-SD-Card
  9. Having editing the file, save your changes and exit the root file manager app.
  10. Finally, reboot your phone or tablet.

When your device boots up the write access on external SD card by third-party apps should be enabled. Enjoy!

  • Isaiah Options Roberson

    i thought i should comment since i have an old sg3 and had this problem until today, dl sdfix above and when you use the app it creates an additional platform.xml, using the steps above going through root you will find an additional file named platform.xml.original-pre-sdfix, rename platform.xml(remove the l from .xml) and restart phone(the l returns upon restart) upon reboot you should be able to move files from phone to sd(this worked for me and i do not know it it will work for you but at least i shared my experience)

  • Curtis Ray

    this is outdated. no longer works in versions above 4.4.2….look …the meathead ROM creators keep thinking they know best.

  • disqus_hgozWaRPzB

    Not working..can’t move apps to sd card..

  • Tushar Rastogi

    No…Haven’t tried on these platforms but off course tried all sort of card readers.

  • Did you try another cardreader on a Linux system (Ubuntu, Suse, Red Hat)? It also (I hope not for you) that the card is defect.

  • Tushar Rastogi

    No its not like that. I was able to format the card before this problem. It’s now, that this problem have occured. Something went wrong with the card i feel. I need a software that can format the card. I have got the card reader in my lappy.

  • Android 6 has less restrictions on sdcard usage. But otherwise its a no.

  • Fat32 might not support this size and your device might not support ntfs or exfat.

  • Timothy Recksiedler

    what why thanks for not helping i dont know how to root and its to risky.

  • hendra ari

    it work on my asus zenfone 4 Lolipop…if doesn’t work, try to add space before “/>”

  • Annette Bouchard

    This worked on my HTC Desire 610!!!! Can’t thank you enough!!

  • Rainabba

    Running Verizon GS4, rooted and can’t write to sdcard even with Root Explorer (confirmed root granted). MyFiles won’t do it either so it seems that something more has been done to enforce this idiotic policy.

  • Ryan

    doesn’t work on my rooted Xiaomi Redmi Note (3G)

  • Tushar Rastogi

    Hello, I have got sony xperia z1 and using 64gb sdxc ultra class 10 card with my phone. My issue is that i am not able to format my card in any situation. Neither on phone nor on laptop. It says that my card is write protected. The storage is struck on 35gb full. I am not able to copy files from phone memory to sd card. Please help me to solve this issue. How can i unlock my sd card and format it and copy phone data on it.

  • Manimar Druselle Operio

    My phone now cannot read the phone storage. The default system apps, like Music and Videos, does not show any file. Only the file managers can read the SD card. Previously the phone shows files on those. Explorer shows that the phone storage become a file (sdcard0). It seems that the phone thinks my SD is the new phone storage. What should I do?

  • Thanks for the appreciation!

  • Lars van der Ploeg

    THANKS! Seriously, the screenshot. Very helpful 😉 Thanks again, made my day

  • Adnan Ahmed

    Dear Vishal Yadav, Galaxy S2 doesn’t support 64 GB SD Cards…

  • Jay Katigbak

    I have Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A20 with android 4.4.2, the third party app that I have installed like App backup&restore was not able to change backup folder to sd card, the default folder it register is sdcard/emulated/0. my Mango reader has also having a problem in restoring my manga from my ds card. Is there another way to fix that? I have already tried Total Commander, but no success.

  • Vuze now uses the extsd. Hancom office still doesn’t.

  • Vishal Yadav

    When I try to access the SD card I get a message saying “this operating requires elevated permission. Try changing Root Access mode.”

  • Hi Robert, I tested this on Android 4.4.3 and 4.4.4 and it worked fine on My HTC One M8 and Note 3.

  • Robert Lee

    I have an Acer Iconia A-830 tablet, with an Intel processor. I was able to root it and tried both apps and was able to view the platform.xml file to see the appropriate change to the text. But I don’t see any option in the APPs manager to “move to SD” for any apps. I tried to install new apps but there is no option to move those either. Unmounted reformatted the SD card but still no access. Maybe there is limitation to hardware? It is running 4.4.2. Any thoughts?

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  • Paul Samaroo

    Unfortunately, the only way I got it to work, was to unmount the SD Card (System Settings -> Storage), and then Erase the SD Card. That made the system able to write to it again. Maybe there were certain apps on my SD card that were conflicting with KitKat?

  • Mustansir Khan

    Hello, like many here I couldn’t get the fix to work. Im on g3 d855 10i eur. Rooted and tried all suggestions here.
    Backup’d card on pc,
    put it back in the phone,
    unmounted from phone (settings – storage)
    Erased everything.
    To my surprise file explorer creating folders,

    finally freeing up space on phone!

  • Steve Rand

    Thanks for the old news. Also thanks for not putting “root” in the heading or in the first 99% of the article so I can read the whole lot and finally see that it won’t work on my tablet. Gah! =-/

  • Mmm,

    I’m suspecting Samsung interference. Even on rooted phone or tablet from Samsung I can’ t directly save to external sd from within a Hancom program.

  • Matias Rodriguez

    y tried everything and it work write to External SD in any app

  • Matias Rodriguez

    i installed anyway and dont see differences thank LG :))

  • Did you also try saving to the sd while using an external program like HanCom or other office suite?

  • No.

  • Anthony Scicluna

    You succeed just by doing nothing ?

  • Anthony Scicluna

    Is there a way in which one can do this tweak but on non rooted android smartphones ?

  • Matias Rodriguez

    i have 4.4.2 in lg g2 mini and i can write move edit to external storage no modification of rom all stock

  • marino

    Buddy, I have tried it all and I still can’t write in the SDcard. I checked the permissions.xml and it is as shown in the screenshot. But there is no way I can get it to work. any sugestion? I hava a galaxy S4 kit kat 4.4.2

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  • I had a rooted 4.44 on my phone… once. I couldn’t even access my SD card, even with these apps and an external browser. But that was a few months ago when 4.44 was just on the market and the code still had to be hacked properly. You could try 4.42 and see if it works.

  • Walter

    I flashed to 4.4.2 to root then flashed it back to 4.4.4. Is that an issue with the sd moving process?

  • Which Android is it running?
    My tab 4 10.1 runs a rooted 4.42. Only HanCom doesn’t have write access to the ext. SD card. Some apps even automatically are pklaced to the ext. SD card.
    HanCom states that they try to solve this, even for non-rooted Kitkat users.

  • Walter

    I rewrote the code has instructed, reset the phone and i still can’t move apps from my settings to my sd card? This feature is still missing?? And yes i have flash and rooted my Xperia Z.

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  • I used several fixes. They all worked for Titanium Backup but not for HanCom Office. Hword still gives the write error message.

  • Stéphane Vez

    I rooted again! The App does the job, it works without installing busybox! Thanks a lot for your quick response!

  • Stéphane Vez

    I wasn’t able to install busybox. It seems I’m not correctly rooted even though “Root Checker” tells me I am… I’ll try to root again. I’ll let you know, thanks for your help!

  • Also install this app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=stericson.busybox
    Open the app and install busybox script. Reboot the device and try again.

  • Stéphane Vez

    It doesn’t work… I cannot save the file after editing it 🙁 I’m rooted on an Xperia Z1 Compact. The App doesn’t work either.

  • Ken

    I think I may have found it. Apparently 2 of the cards I was using may be corrupt. Thanks!

  • Try the SD Fix apps listed above.

  • Ken Chan

    Hello thanks for much for taking taking the time to respond! Yes I applied the SD Card fix and can see the media_rw update in the platform.xml file.

    I’m currently using a Galaxy tab pro 10.1 wifi only edition (SM-T520).

  • Did you try SDFix app?

  • Sorry Ken, I mistakenly posted wrong screenshot, the correct is: .

    Which device do you have?

    Added new screenshot. Thanks for bringing this to notice.

  • Ken Chan

    Should the code be media_rw or sdcard_all like the screen shot? The media_rw does not work for me.

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  • No new update but G3 will be here in a week or too. Have patience!

  • Shan

    Hi Rakesh, No sign of G3 launch here in India. You got any update on this?

  • Shan

    Oh Gr8 to hear…even am seeing something of this timeline mentioned in various forums. Am super excited to get it home..:)

  • Second week of July!

  • Shan

    Oh ok…:):)…thought you guys might have procured an imported version…:) Any idea on the possible date of release based on your contacts?

  • Hey, I am waiting for the device too. When it’s here, we’ll have its review here! 🙂

  • Shan

    Hello Rakesh, When would DROID VIEWS come up with a LG G3 review?… am actually looking forward to get it once it gets launched here in India.