How To: Bypass the SD Card Restrictions in Android 4.4 KitKat on Your Galaxy S4

Bypass the SD Card Restrictions in Android 4.4 KitKat on Your Galaxy S4

How to Bypass the SD Card Restrictions in Android 4.4 KitKat on Your Galaxy S4

One draw that Samsung's Galaxy S line has had over the Google Nexus 4 and 5 and the HTC One (though the M8 appears to be following suit) is expandable storage. Pop a microSD card into the slot and you have extra storage for music, photos, and even apps themselves in some cases.

However, with Android 4.4 KitKat, a change in the way the operating system gives read and write permissions to apps has caused a bit of a brouhaha among Android users. In regards to what the Android OS considers secondary storage, like an external SD card, the ability of third-party apps to freely write to it has been crippled.

Any app that doesn't come pre-installed on your phone, either by Google, Samsung, or your carrier, will lack write privileges to the external SD card. Third-party cameras and image editors won't be able to save photos. Music players like doubleTwist, whose developers have made a plea for its users to complain to phone manufacturers, can't sync music to your SD card. Those are just a few examples of how this affects KitKat users, but it applies to every single app that you install.

Have you experienced SD card-related problems since updating to KitKat? Don't lose hope—a developer has stepped up to the plate and given us a quick and easy solution!

Easy Remedy: Install & Run "SDFix"

NextApp, Inc. brings us a quick and simple fix, called SDFix: KitKat Writable MicroSD, available for free on Google Play.

You'll need to be rooted with Android 4.4 or above on your Galaxy S4. This SD card write permission issue doesn't exist on previous iterations of Android, so there's no point of installing it if you're still on 4.3 or below. Also, this fix is mainly geared towards stock ROMs. Most custom ROMs with KitKat will already take care of this issue for you.

SDFix works by modifying a configuration file deep within your GS4's /system folder. This modification restores the ability of third-party apps to write and make changes to your external SD card—all you have to do is open up the app and follow the on-screen directions.

Images via nextapp.com

Once you're at the Complete screen, just reboot your phone for the changes to take effect. It's as simple as that! Just like in Android 4.3 and before, all of your third-party apps will have full read-write access to your external SD card.

21 Comments

This doesn't work on a fully rooted HTC One M8 (international). Given SU access to ES File explorer and STILL cannot copy or move files to external sd card. I expect other apps will have similar problems.

HTC have obviously used some further steps to render the Micro SD they so lovingly fitted in the new One M8 virtually useless. How bloody stupid!

Exactly what I wanted to say. Everywhere they say "just install SDFix". It just doesn't work with the international version of the M8. I've been looking for a solution since the day I got this phone. If I had known, I would've kept my M7 with 32 GB, instead of a 16GB M8 with a useless SD Card. HTC, you disappointed me.

I fail to understand what bennifit if any disabling the ability to write to the sd card has to anyone other than data providers. If I wanted to be limited on storage I would get a iPhone.

looks good, but doesn´t work on my Galaxy S5. It´s not possible to copy files from internal sd to external sd.

hi i have same problem and i am rooted. any suggestions?

you can indeed copy files to and from the sd card but you have to do it in a tedious manor. you HAVE to use the built in file browser to copy files to the sd card. this will work no matter what the file is(I.E. it will not matter what the file extension is) but unfortunately it can be a bit time consuming.

INDEED, If I wanted an overpriced dysfunctional piece of crap with limited and overpriced storage I would get a iPhone....

face palm to the idiots at google

How do I "root" (what ever that means) my samsung galaxy tab pro 10.1? I want my sd card freedom back! Had I knew about this trouble with the SD card I wouldnt have bought this p.o.s and the 64gb sd card that is some what worthless now.

A lot of issues with SD cards and data transfer are caused by old Sandisks from Dec 2012 or before that have a known bug issue. (Another example of the same problem would be that Sanddisk Cruizer flash drives can't store/push a Chromebook ROM.)

If you're having SD card issues, make certain you have a recent card: UHS-1 or Class 10 rating. If you don't know what card you have/to look for. There should be a number there, a "U" with a "1" in it is UHS-1, a circle with a "10" in it is a Class 10 card. Older cards will typically show a circle with a "2", "4", or "6" in them denoting a Class 2, Class 4, or Class 6 card.

Great point! I've had countless issues with older memory cards, specifically from Sandisk. The unreliability of their cards makes the whole system somewhat unreliable, which is the main reason why Google has pushed to eliminate SD card support from their devices, hence the reason why they, through Android KitKat update, have all but disabled support for non-rooted users.

It's not google that's the issue. It's the manufacturers. My sister has an Xgody tablet running kitkat 4.4.2 and it has no restrictions in regards to the SD card. Yet, on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, I have restricted access to the SD card running the same version of Kit Kat. My sisters tablet is new and mine is a manufacturer(samsung Australia) refurbished unit. From the research I've done, it seems to be those using name branded phones/tablets that have the issue. Interestingly on my Samsung. If I plug an otg cable into the micro USB and use a usb drive, I can move files freely and even set third party apps to save to that usb drive. Seems funny that. It presents the same issues that google apparently wished to solve. Can also save directly to a cloud drive also... Another discrepancy to what google had said based on file security.... The fact that my tablet came with 3 pre-installed cloud storage apps by Samsung, tells a great deal about who is driving the changes. It's not solely google, if google at all.

Will this also work with a Note 3?

Yes, it should work fine on the Note 3.

Did it work} I can^t play my music nor videos on my note 3

I was having the same problem on a Galaxy S4. I finally pulled the SD card and had it formatted to FAT on different system. Problem solved! The phone reads it but I understand it can't do the folder restrictions on a FAT formatted device.

Too bad rooting voids my phone warranty...

dont work on my s5....i try to copy over some pictures from my pc to the card, it appears to be doing it, but looking at them on the phone its just a blank grey screen...same results with anything i try to put onto the phone...wtf?

My answer is to go get an Apple phone and Android can go screw themselves

I'm wondering if I'm living in China now or are we still in America? Why not let the user decide rather apps can write to the SD card? This is my phone, I paid good money for it not to mention the high cost of cell service! I should have the right to let an app write data to my storage card! Don't tell me what I'm not allowed to do with my own phone or else go back to China, Samsung!

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