Last Updated: December 7th, 2014

In recent years, Google hasn’t exactly been known as particularly hospitable toward SD cards with regard to its Android operating system. This theme is most often associated with the Nexus line of devices - the Nexus One was the only such handset to ever offer expandable storage. But despite arguments from Dan Morrill and Matias Duarte suggesting this stance is about keeping the Android interface simple and file picker-free, people still want more space. Google is apparently firming up its position on expandable storage even further, though, and in a way that limits flexibility and changes how we can use it.

A Bit Of History

Let’s start with just a little bit of terminology. Almost every type of storage in Android is considered "external storage," including the non-removable flash memory that comes in every device, which is designated "primary storage." Everything else is considered "secondary storage." Since the very early days of Android, an app simply had to request the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission to have access to any and all external storage.


Back in March 2011, almost 3 years ago, a small modification was made to the Android source code that would change how secondary storage mediums (SD cards) were mounted by the operating system. The commit message simply read, "Mount secondary external storage writable by AID_MEDIA_RW rather than AID_SDCARD_RW." The side-effect of this change was that applications would now have to belong to the media_rw group to modify the contents of an SD card. To gain access to this group, a permission called WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE was added.

source: /platform/frameworks/base/core/res/AndroidManifest.xml (@hide added later)

In essence, WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE duplicated the original functionality of WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, but with a catch: it was impossible for regular apps to request it. The new permission had a protection level of systemOrSignature, which limited it to system applications (usually those included by Google and OEMs) and anything signed by the creator of the permission (the OS itself).

The end result was that the original WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission could only give apps the ability to write to the primary storage, but not secondary storage. The newer WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission could write to secondary storage, but regular apps couldn’t access it. Basically, this cut off any possibility for 3rd-party apps to modify data on SD cards. There is a little bit more to this story, but we’ll get to that later.


Left: Attempting to write a file, Right: Attempting to delete a file

This change actually went live in Honeycomb 3.2, but it received fairly little attention. We can attribute that to a few factors. To begin with, Honeycomb's source code only became public with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, meaning this change was buried amidst thousands of others. Further, the Nexus One never received an official OTA to Ice Cream Sandwich, so access to the SD card was never visibly lost. In fact, the only device known to be affected by the change was the Motorola XOOM. But the XOOM launched with a disabled SD slot, and by the time it was enabled in 3.2, the issue was usually disregarded as a bug.

However, the most significant reason the change never made news is because OEMs and custom ROM developers didn’t follow along with Google. For example, Samsung’s solution was to automatically grant the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission to any app that requested WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE. Effectively, any developer expecting to have full access with the older permission would get exactly that. In similar fashion, CyanogenMod simply set the access group back to sdcard_rw, as it had once been.

Note: A huge credit for this background belongs to Chainfire, who researched and posted his discoveries more than a year ago. When he first covered this, the code in AOSP simply defaulted to mounting all non-primary storage devices under media_rw. Since that time - in Android 4.2, I believe - filesystem permissions have been restructured to use the FUSE (Filesystem in UserSpace) model. The code looks and works differently from that of Chainfire’s original posting, but the end results are basically the same.

The New Stuff

I mentioned earlier that 3rd-party apps couldn’t modify the SD card, but that’s not entirely accurate. As of KitKat, Google has a new documented behavior that directly relates to this:

[For all external storage]

“Starting in Android 4.4, the owner, group and modes of files on external storage devices are now synthesized based on directory structure. This enables apps to manage their package-specific directories on external storage without requiring they hold the broad WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission. For example, the app with package name com.example.foo can now freely access Android/data/com.example.foo/ on external storage devices with no permissions. These synthesized permissions are accomplished by wrapping raw storage devices in a FUSE daemon.”

[For secondary storage, if it exists]

The WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission must only grant write access to the primary external storage on a device. Apps must not be allowed to write to secondary external storage devices, except in their package-specific directories as allowed by synthesized permissions. Restricting writes in this way ensures the system can clean up files when applications are uninstalled.

- http://source.android.com/devices/tech/storage/

This basically says apps may now have a folder on an SD card designated for their private use, where they can do anything and absolutely no permissions are required. It’s just like the private folders that already exist on primary storage, but with negligible security, since the SD card can be removed and freely accessed by a computer. The WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission still grants unrestricted access to public folders on primary storage, but writing anything to secondary storage - outside of the designated folder - is totally off limits to all 3rd-party apps.

It’s also important to notice the last sentence, because it says data written to any private folder will be erased when the app is uninstalled. This means that common apps like alternative cameras, image editors, and GPS loggers probably shouldn’t store data in these folders because it will all be erased if you uninstall them for any reason. We’ll come back to this later.

While it’s not clearly documented, there is another tweak to the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission. Outside of those private folders on secondary storage, everything is fair game to be read. This makes it possible for users to put photos, music, and movies onto an SD card for later use. However, there is still no way to modify, delete, or add such files through 3rd-party apps.

It should be noted: transient storage devices, like USB drives, are not covered by these rules. The precise nature of how they are handled is still largely up to the OEM.

Why Talk About This Now?

OEMs have historically turned away from Google’s intentions for SD cards. After all, this all started in Honeycomb and most people still haven’t experienced it. However, KitKat OTAs from Samsung appear to have adopted Google’s intended behavior. The reason for the course correction isn’t clear, but the quoted text doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for interpretation. In other words, OEM partners may be required to fall in line going forward.

Keep in mind, there is no certainty that the final firmwares from any other OEMs will function this way. The only evidence we have at the moment is a leaked firmware from a single OEM and documentation from the Android Developer portal. Of course, the Google Play Edition variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG GPad also function as documented, so there is precedent.

The Consequences

Just to sum up, here are the options 3rd-party apps have on KitKat:

  • An app without any permissions:
    • Automatic read and write for designated private folders on the primary and secondary storage
  • With WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, they also have:
    • Read and write for any public folder on the primary (built-in) storage
    • Read (not write) for any public folder on the secondary (SD card) storage

Overall, it will probably depend a lot on perspective if somebody will see this as a serious issue, an inconvenience, or completely innocuous. It’s definitely unfriendly toward many power users, if for no other reason than it the extra hurdles it adds to simple tasks like making backups or cleaning up old files. It’s not that these things won’t still be possible through some other method, but they will become tedious and annoying.

These problems become exponentially worse for content creators. Photographers will be the first to run up against these restrictions, especially those that use high-end cameras for shots and then make edits on an Android device. Viewing photos on an SD card might not be an issue, but what happens when it’s time to delete bad shots or save back edited versions? This quickly becomes a painful and confusing experience. These problems will become exponentially worse as Android becomes a viable platform for creating and editing music and video.

Of course, some will suggest that rooting is the answer, and they aren’t exactly wrong. Power users tend to be more comfortable with this solution. But what about everybody else? Android was finally at a point where root seemed like a tool just for serious modders (especially the Xposed crowd) and enthusiasts with specific needs (backup apps and such). On a fundamental level, Android should not be giving the average person a new reason to hack their phone or tablet.

Perhaps There’s A Plan

If this new behavior is going to become a requirement in Android, things don’t look great for SD cards. We’re losing one of the most basic capabilities that we’ve had since the early days of Android. Since managing content via SD will be even more of a hassle, people are less likely to bother with in the first place. On the surface, it looks like this is setting up SD cards to become little more than a dumping ground for cached content and downloaded game files. But what if the goal isn’t to eliminate demand for expandable storage? What is Google trying to achieve here?

One possible explanation takes us back to Dan Morrill’s comment about "sneeze and a file picker appears" syndrome. Perhaps the Android team determined that file pickers were just too unavoidable, so a new plan was formed to make the experience as elegant as possible by hiding the filesystem from users. Enter the Storage Access Framework, a new feature in KitKat. Coincidence? Probably not.

The Storage Access Framework fits most of the criteria that the Android team has been driving for since Ice Cream Sandwich: the UI is attractive and consistent across apps, each provider can enforce its own security policies, and files can be represented as more than just a list of names. It doesn’t matter if the file is stored on the phone, on an SD card, or in the cloud. Through this interface, Android could be headed toward a paradigm where files are "owned" by applications, not just clumps of data loosely organized by a mess of folders. Assuming both apps are configured appropriately, the SAF can even allow one application to modify or delete files belonging to another app (if that app has allowed such access through the SAF), as though it had accessed those files directly. The actual location - SD card, primary storage, or cloud - would only be relevant insofar as the app providing the access to those files was able to modify them itself.


It’s not hard to see how the Storage Access Framework could look like an obvious replacement for classic filesystem access. That certainly sounds like a bright future and a better experience for users. Admittedly, it does feel like something we might expect from iOS or Windows Phone, but that isn’t always a bad thing.

However, If Google’s plan really is to herd app developers toward turning their apps into Document Providers, this is a pretty heavy-handed way to get there. Without any public direction to app developers, this also feels like a surprise, as if app developers were supposed to intuit this plan. There are also some holes in this solution that feel largely overlooked. In particular, how are users supposed to be warned that deleting an app can lead to the destruction of files they may want to keep? That’s not a pattern people have learned to expect on Android.

Perhaps I’m overreaching and there is no connection here. Maybe Google really does plan to slowly push SD cards out so cloud services can take over. I doubt it, but I might as well say it before somebody else does.

Whatever the case may be, devoted fans of expandable storage are likely to be very angry if their update to KitKat ends up killing write access with no warning or way to restore the old functionality. Seriously, not cool.

Update: With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop, new APIs have been added that allow an app to request permission from users to access folders on external storage. This approach gives users the same level of functionality that has always been available, with greatly improved security. See Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again, Extends API To Allow Full Directory Access, Automatic MediaStore, And Improves Security

Thanks, Matthias

Sources: Chainfire, Android Documentation

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Jason Williams

    yah as long as they're not taking it away I'm not sure I really care.

  • johnnybgood24

    Someone explain this shit like I'm 5. I don't really understand any of it but it just seems really interesting!

    • http://www.facebook.com/morrissex Javier Cárdenas

      From what I got:

      "Buddies from Google removed a permission that granted apps the access to all the contents of a microSD card. After that, they created a HOLO, Google-style 'program' that accessed those files".

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Important distinction: write access. You still have read access without any ticks.

      • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

        not all access, just write access. they can still read. means we can still save our music and videos in our SD Card and 3rd party apps can still played it.

        • ProductFRED

          But I can't download my music on the go to my external SD card, for example...

          • EowynCarter

            Or edit tags and such.

          • Chris

            That's super annoying. I usually download roms straight to my SD card...

    • Tom Brennan

      Basically, if a dev, calls the API to get access to external storage via getExternalFilesDir and getExternalCache , no permissions is needed. On other hand, if the permission is specified, a app will have read/write access on primary storage and read only on secondary. That is the new change in KitKat.

      On older Android versions < KitKat (such as JB, ICS, GB and older), external storage was just SDCard - accessibly by above API calls and required two permissions, one for read and one for write to external storage depending on app itself.

      With the above changes could wreak havoc on apps designated for older versions, such as backup apps.

      And it looks like as if Google is making a push to get rid of SDCards completely in favour of Cloud based storage, one has to take a look at the recent Google Drive API.

    • thartist

      I guess that's part of the problem too, it's really convoluted

      • Pierre Gardin

        No one is forcing you. Just buy an iPhone and stop being a crybaby.

        • thartist

          You mean person!

        • firesoul453

          Ya cuz iphone's policy towards sd cards is a lot better.....

    • Zargh

      In Kitkat, non-system apps can only create/edit/move files and folders within their own designated directory on removable physical SD-cards. Also the directory gets deleted when the app is deleted.

      e.g. A Backup app, "X" can only write to the Removable SD-card/X/ directory.

      They can still read whatever from the SD-card, but when it comes to actually saving the changes, they need to make their own copy either within their sandbox, or within the Primary/Shared storage(which is confusingly called /sdcard due to legacy).

      They've basically made it so that the only place where apps can effectively collaborate on files is on the device storage. In the new system the physical SD-card is more like a temporary data store which you can dump files to/from.

      • cabbiebot

        So it can only write to its directory, but it can read anything on the SD card?

        • Zargh


          It's really not so bad, and now there's a standard interface to the SD-card in 4.4 more apps will support it. Plus If you drag files from a PC to an apps dedicated folder on a physical SD-card (assuming its using one), it would now just automatically show in the app. No file explorer opening/scanning step required.

          It only really hurts power users who want to micromanage the SD-card storage files/folders directly on the device. Even then there's nothing stopping OEMs from shipping a File Explorer which makes that possible.

          • Jon

            Wrong. If you delete certain app, and you actually hold the files that are used from other apps there, you also lose those. Which is beyond retarded. Say you have an HDR camera app. You take pics with it. You can reach those pics from any other app. Nice! But if you want to edit/save those pics, either you do it within the HDR camera app, or any other app will have to keep its own (duplicated) copy of the modified picture, because it WON'T BE ABLE TO SAVE in the same folder. Also, you get tired of your HDR camera app and uninstall it...And there goes all your pictures taken with that app!

          • Zargh

            Doesn't really apply to Camera apps since the system handles a Camera media store, so any picture taken by a 3rd party camera would make a copy to there (i.e.. /DCIM) in addition to any copies made by the app.

  • Kcls

    Excellent article once again guys. There's a reason you're called Android Police!

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    Great article. The Storage Access Framework may be a little iOSy in nature, but it works really well and if you want filesystem access, you can easily install one of the many file explorers out there.

    I'm perfectly OK with external sd cards disappearing. Although it's nice for the user to have a choice, things are handled much nicer without one. Plus, it's freaking 2014 and cloud storage and such works so well that we don't even need much phone storage anyways. Been using an 8GB Nexus 4 for over a year and haven't once wished I had more space.

    • smeddy

      I had 78gb on my last phone (14 internal and a 64gb card). Currently just on 32 inbuilt on my Note 3, and it's a squeeze. I ideally like 6gb of music, 15gb of video, a couple of 2gb games, and room for photos/videos/other.

      • mesmorino

        I wish I had a 64GB card, I'm on a 16GB GS3 with a 32GB card it IS a squeeze! I honestly don't understand the people who say they're happy with 8/16GB, I really don't.

        • Crispin Swickard

          The most I have ever used was probably 2 gigs, or so. 16 even has been more than enough.

          • Guest

            640KB should be enough for everyone

      • J_Pod

        Having GB's worth of songs on your phone I understand as seeing I do too on mine, but what videos do you have on your phone that you like to watch over and over such that you need 15GB's worth of them persistently there? Not hating on sd cards, really just curious.

        • smeddy

          Occasionally I'll watch something on my phone, especially if I can't sleep and want something to doze to. And then I'll occasionally use microHDMI to either a telly, or a screen at work when doing a night shift. And it's just easy to use the phone as a USB key when at a friends or just getting stuff onto a laptop.
          Five films and, say, a series or two of Family Guy would get close to 10.
          I know it's slight overkill but that's my usage.
          I got a kindle at Xmas and at least now I'm reading more!

          • J_Pod

            Ah, makes more sense now.

        • Michael Vieux

          When I travel, how many movies can the kids watch in the 8 hours between hotels. Now add 3 days of travel. :)

          Plus all the music I listen to up front.

    • mesmorino

      Don't be ridiculous. Cloud storage and such absolutely does NOT work "so well", and even if it does, that only applies to YOU. If you've been using an 8GB Nexus 4 for over a year and never ONCE wished for more space, then you're probably only making calls/texting on it.

      Even something as common as installing freaking games from the play store would nuke that nonsensical 8GB in a day, nevermind taking pictures, recording video, listening to music. You know, the things people actually use their phones for.

      • tanknspank

        Dude, not everyone has the same use case as you. A lot of people don't care for large games like Asphalt and such that take up 2GB of storage a pop. They have an Xbox or Playstation with Forza or Gran Turismo. Another large amount of people don't watch movies on their smaller devices. They have a tablet or computer or use Netflix. Same thing with music, with many using Spotify, Google Play Music. And pictures? I'd have to take thousands to fill up my device. And then the cloud storage that you for some reason does not work well very easily accepts the pictures with open arms. While you may believe you are the normal case here, I think you may need to step back and think about all the people who use their devices just fine without an sd card everyday, yet still get everything out of it that they need it to.

        • gotluck

          To me it's more of a question of why not have external storage.

          • tanknspank

            Because it comes back around to the issues of licensing fees and standardizations. Why spend resources and time on an aging method of storage and figuring out how it should behave when you can move on from it and avoid the cost of licensing it for every device?

          • mesmorino

            It's not an ageing storage method. What do you think digital cameras use for storage? They've been using sd cards for far longer than phones, for much of the same reasons- in the early days they even had internal memory but that was quickly abandoned when it became clear how stupid that idea was- Every time you wanted to transfer photos you needed the cable.

          • gotluck

            I hear you on licensing fees but disagree that it is aging. I dont see better expandable local storage available.

            I guess the answer is because I want to pay for it. Hopefully there are enough of me :)

          • Michael Vieux

            I never saw a Manufacturer ever flinch from charging as much as possible for a phone.
            Why is the cost of licensing fees even being brought up.
            How much do you think they pay for a licence fee per device?
            It really won't make a difference and you'll never see a difference in the price.

            An aging storage method? Really?

          • tanknspank

            I think Google is the biggest example of this. The Nexus 4 and 5 would not be at the price points they are without cutting prices where possible and still some subsidizing out of Google's pocket (at least on the Nexus 4's part).

            And by aging I meant in comparison to built in nand. The built in storage chips are becoming cheaper and as you will soon see increasing in storage size. In a few years, sd cards in phones won't need to be on the table.

            And why would Google want to pay Microsoft a dime more than they have to regardless?

          • Michael Vieux

            Good points.
            I hope it's sooner than a few years.

        • smeddy

          So because some people can live without them, everyone should?

          • tanknspank

            Again, I think the people of a tech website are confusing their view with the view of many. Everyone on this website. The rooters, romers, xposed installers. The people who feel the need to have their entire media library in their pocket. They are an extreme minority. So why cater to the minority when it's cheaper to go with the majority. It is a business for Google after all.

          • smeddy

            I don't disagree, sadly :)

          • eebrah

            I don't think you got the majority part correct, but yes, the people who spend a lot of money on android devices are in the first world, they are okay with a limited amount of internal storage and the cloud and streaming services, but a "majority"? I think not, infact a majority of new activations are in areas where that cannot work

          • Aborto

            Thats the thing, the vast majority of the world DOES NOT have unlimited mobile data, we cant use googles cloud storage services even if they are available (and they are not in most of the world), we just dont have the bandwidth for it.

            We are the majority, if we want to store a decent amount of files we have to have an SD card. Most android phones sold are still cheap and crappy devices with less than 8GB and most people I know buy a phone with limited storage and a cheap SD card.

            You may be in the tiny tiny minority of the world who can get away with storing everything in the cloud or paying insane markups for small bumps in internal storage, the rest of the world is not.

          • Michael Vieux

            "Again, I think the people of a tech website are confusing their view with the view of many"
            You certainly are.

          • tanknspank

            Do you honestly believe your view is consistent with that of the consumers Google and Apple are targeting?

          • Michael Vieux

            It's beginning to look like about 50/50 :)

            You're right though, about what type of user Apple and now Google are targeting.

            Besides it's not whether you or I, are right or wrong.
            It's the joy of the discussion. :)

        • mesmorino

          You misunderstand. I'm perfectly aware that I'm not the average use case, my point is that even for the average use case, non-expandable storage simply does not work!

          My GS3's internal memory is 16GB. after the OS and other system shit, it comes down to 11GB.

          If you're a mobile photographer then obviously you are gonna be taking thousands of pictures on your device. I myself have over 1500 pictures on my phone right now, 500 of which are ones I've taken- the other are downloads from websites, emails, and picture messages from whatsapp. How are you not gonna run out of space with 11GB?

          Or maybe you love your music. You've got an account with Spotify/Google Play Music/Xbox Music, but since there's no streaming in your country- or maybe you just don't have a data plan, or maybe the network is shit where you live, or maybe you spend a lot of your time in a no coverage zone- ALL your music is on your laptop, with your favourites on your phone- how is 11GB gonna be enough?

          And then we have the mobile gamers, the ones who don't have consoles, whose phones literally are their entire entertainment centres- You download 1 or 2 games and you're done.

          God help you if you're some sort of hybrid of those three scenarios, which a lot of people are!

          • tanknspank

            Again, minority view being extrapolated as the majority. Just because you need it this way doesn't mean the majority do.

            I need to go from Quebec to Mexico City, Cape Town to Cairo, what have you, without stopping. Should Audi make sure every car has a big enough tank to do such a trip since I need to? No, because that takes resources and time that can be better spent elsewhere.

            I'm a movie producer and need my computer to hold terabytes of raw video files while I work on a project. Should every computer be forced to be more expensive so I can have the storage I need?

            In these cases, the majority need it one way. Instead of everybody feeling the affects of making this the standard, you take what options you have or find another way. So, you continue to buy phones with expandable storage and I'll continue buying phones that have enough storage for me built in. And I'm completely fine with that. But I see no need for me to have to buy a phone $15 (yes, I pulled this number out of my ass, but replace it with whatever a manufacturer decides to raise the price because they have to pay licensing fees) more expensive because you need to have an sd card to carry everything with you.

            Now, do I agree with the price hikes manufacturers charge to go from say 16GB to 32GB? Hell no. But those fewer who need the extra should be forced to pay more, not the majority who can get by with 16GB

          • mesmorino

            Your car analogies do not work because it would be impractical to actually implement your solution of building a big enough tank. It is clearly not impractical to have an sd card slot and in any case, that is not the argument google is making.

            They're saying it's complicated, it's not. They're saying it'll confuse users- It never has, and it never will. They're saying no one wants/needs it, when a lot of people DO want and in most cases, NEED it!

            Your computer analogy is a bit better, except that it only works because in computers you absolutely CAN increase the storage! That's what we're talking about here, the inclusion of a slot so that you CAN! Can you imagine if you couldn't increase a computer's storage?! THAT is why computers can be as cheap as they often get, because you CAN do what you want to the internals, from RAM to processor to disc drive to freaking STORAGE.

          • Michael Vieux

            "I'm a movie producer and need my computer to hold terabytes of raw video files while I work on a project. Should every computer be forced to be more expensive so I can have the storage I need?"

            No but they still give you the option of adding storage or using an External HDD, (as in an Ext SD card)

        • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann


        • Aborto

          Dude, not everyone has the same use case as you either.
          Sure, a lot of people don't install games, but almost everyone listens to music. And in the real world outside of your city and country the cloud DOES NOT WORK, at all, ever.

          I don't personally know anyone with more than 1GB of monthly data on their phone. I have unlimited broadband at home but the largest mobile plan is 2GB and it costs a fortune. And I live in an awesome country with very low population density, huge open spaces and lots of national parks, none of which have any damn cell coverage.

        • Michael Vieux

          "Dude, not everyone has the same use case as you"
          Precisely, so why are you against Ext SD cards?

          • tanknspank

            I'm not. They just don't serve a purpose for me. But as a business, Google has to weigh the costs of implementing a standardized way at this point for how sd cards should work and then on top of the time and resources that would take, they among other manufacturers would also have to pay licensing fees for any devices using such an implementation. Google obviously doesn't believe the hassle would be worth the return so they aren't going to change their position. It's just how it is going to be.

          • Michael Vieux

            "Google obviously doesn't believe the hassle would be worth the return so they aren't going to change their position. It's just how it is going to be."

            But again, where's the fun in accepting something that's inevitable without a vigorous discussion? :)

      • ProductFRED

        Agreed. Reasons for microSD card:

        - 64GB card is like, what $30? Going from 32GB to 64GB is like $100 for internal storage (what manufacturers charge)
        - If the phone dies, the microSD card (and your data) can be saved
        - Expand your storage whenever you want
        - No cloud/internet connection/battery destruction necessary
        - Internal storage becomes dedicated app space

        I really don't understand peoples' opposition to them. Why not just ignore the one in your phone (if they all had one) if you love your internal storage so much?

        • Guest123

          there is no rational opposition to them. . . unless, of course, you want to lock people into your services ;)

      • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

        Ha, you mad bro? I take lots of photos, listen to music, read news, take notes, read books, communicate in various ways, play games, customize the crap out of things, automate everything with tasker, watch videos, navigate, track running/biking/skiing, control my PC, and surf the web all from my phone every week. I can do all that and have 2.5 GB left of storage. I'm not hampered in any way plus if my phone dies or I have to wipe data, it doesn't matter because hardly anything is on my phone.

        I know everyone has their own use cases... But I'm winning.

        • mesmorino

          What are you talking about? Mad at you? Why would I be mad at you? And winning? What exactly are you winning? Don't be a dumbass, it's not a competition! We can BOTH get what we want! If Google stopped this nonsense with the internal storage, I could have a phone with expandable memory, and you could have that same phone and ignore it entirely!

          It doesn't have to be an either/or proposition

    • http://www.facebook.com/morrissex Javier Cárdenas

      It should depend on the user if they want external SD cards or not. In my country (Chile), people are not that used to store their stuff on the cloud as internet access is not granted everywhere (sure, people do have internet at home but carrier's data plans are very expensive here.)

    • folkrav

      How much data allowance do you have with your plan? Here in Canada, unlimited is a long gone dream (except for one CDMA provider who sells unlimited provincial ("state-wide") calls and unlimited HSPA data for 80$ + 15% in sales taxes), and data on major providers cost an arm and a leg. To give an example, I have 3GB / month and nationwide calling for 55$ + tax, and that's only because I'm on a loyalty plan. The closest thing to that on the major providers right now is 85$ / month for 2GB.

      I own a Xperia ZL, which has 16GG, plus my 8GB microSD. My SD is full of music, and that's only about half of my relatively small music collection... I won't start streaming my music all the time, I'll eat through my 3GB in no time...

      Google's intention might be good, and I am totally aware that SD cards may are kind of "dirty", but before every damn country out there are able to get affordable data plans, cloud storage isn't the answer to the lack of internal space. I won't pay 105$ per month just to get 6GB data allowance...

    • digi_owl

      Err nope, because this specifically breaks file explorers.

  • smeddy

    I just want internal space for OS stuff: game files, etc etc and SD card for dumb media/files. How hard is that? I only pick phones which have removable batteries/storage so sadly I turn down a lot of good manufacturers.

    • taz89

      Exactly the way I use sd cards too and don't even look at a phone that doesn't have sd slot. Seems like we can still do all that with this new stupid sd card rules but won't be able to modify those files. If I'm correct we wont be able to delete a music or video file without connecting it to the pc. I think anyways.. Google Just leave the sd card how it is its not confusing anyone, it's you who's confusing people with this bs

  • mesmorino

    Google really should stop fucking shit up and then acting like them cleaning up their mess is doing us a favour. This entire move against sd cards is driven by a few peoples' pet peeve with them, because the ENTIRE industry, from the manufacturers to the OEMs to the fucking consumers, PREFERS sd cards!

    "Oh yeah, I want less choice and less storage options, I'm perfectly fine with being artificially and arbitrarily limited by Google" - Said no one in the history of anything, ever.

    • tanknspank

      Well I may be going against the grain with this comment but I don't think the ENTIRE industry prefers sd cards. I hate them personally. It's another area for stuff to be put that just adds to the clutter of my device. I currently only have about 25-50% of the storage used on my devices. Maybe I was just quick to adopt the cloud though. I use Google Play Music for my tunes (just fine with a 2GB plan, mind you) and upload pictures to DropBox or Drive every once in a while to keep them on my computer. With very minimal effort I have been completely fine without sd cards for the better part of a couple years now.

      • RaptorOO7

        Well until we actually see smartphones in the USA with 128GB of storage, heck even 64GB of storage (HTC One doesn't since NOT all carriers offered 64GB) then SD cards are a MUST. I like media files, pictures, music what ever I want on the card.

        Apps are huge, and the bloatware, lets talk about bloatware and the lack of usable space on the smartphones today. Even google doesn't offer a Nexus with enough storage.

        Cloud, screw that, the cost to access data on the go is too costly, have the rich CEO's even looked at what WE pay for mobile data.

        • sweenish

          A must for you.

          That's always the problem with asserting your tastes onto everyone else. I don't care for or need an SD card. Phones exist that have them, and phones exist that don't. This isn't an "either or" situation here.

          • wayne

            No one I asserting anything here; quite simply, if you do not want to use an sd card then don't. Heck it's as simple as not inserting an sd card into a device that is capable, but why remove the option for others that may want this option?

          • http://www.friendlyphotozone.com/ Friendly Photo Zone

            But with the way SD card access is being forced down our throats, it IS an "either or" situation. The mere presence of an SD card slot no longer means we can use it. To someone like me, these new restrictions are crippling.

            I'm a Canadian living in the US. I travel between Canada and the US a lot. I can't afford the stratospheric data roaming fees charged by AT&T while I'm in Canada. No mere mortal can afford those rates. So I need my stuff ON MY PHONE! That means all my music, all my photos (I'm a photographer), and all my documents.

            Having stuff in the cloud is all well and nice, but if I can't access the cloud, my stuff might as well not exist. These new SD card restrictions are becoming a big pain.

            So the first thing I do when I get a new phone?


            And if AT&T, Samsung or Google aren't happy with that, they can lick my sack.

        • The Motto

          What the hell are you storing on you phone?!? You don't need to mirror all your porn to your phone.

          • Michael Vieux

            Because I have been doing that.
            Never know when you'll need it.
            Wouldn't want to be somewhere without wi-fi or cell service and need your porn.

        • abobobilly

          Exactly. Its funny seeing some people not liking apple because of the restrictions but then they are completely fine by a move from Google which "will" (eventually) take away their freedom ... should they continue to support them.

          Cloud Storage with a Data Plan is expensive-er than having a SDCard, plus its slower. Maybe its the "convenience" factor which is driving some people away from SDCard or the lots but then again, some people don't like driving Manuals because its "too much work".

          • hp420

            1. Use wifi. It's unlimited.
            2. Use a carrier that offers unlimited data, like tmobile...$70 is a great deal!
            e. expensive-er isn't a word. At least try to sound intelligent when saying dumb things.

          • abobobilly

            What if i am not around a WiFi? What if i don't have a WiFi? What if i live in a country where "Open" WiFi hotspots aren't a common thing? What if we don't have 3G/4G here? What if i don't like "Renting out" everything and like "Owning" it more? What if you stop acting like a Grammar nazi and focus on the context, so that you may understand better whats being discussed.

          • Michael Vieux

            Funny, the last time I tried to access my Unlimited Wi-Fi in my car I couldn't seem to find it.
            Then I boarded that jet and I still couldn't find it.

            I should have asked an intelligent person like you where it was.

            T-Mobile is a great deal, but dropped them when I couldn't, get or place a phone call from my house (2.1 miles from a major intersection on the Interstate)

          • Matthew Fry

            How long ago was that? Wifi-calling is kind of crap compared to normal calls but it fills in the gaps nicely and makes having T-Mobile a lot more bearable.

          • Michael Vieux

            Approximately 8 months ago.
            You know who, in my neighborhood has AT&T or T-Mobile, they're the people standing out by the curb using their phone. :)
            The solution they offered was to "Sell" us a $130 device for the roof that boosted the signal in the house.

          • Zomby2D

            1. Wifi isn't available everywhere, nor is it unlimited.
            2. No carrier offers unlimited data around here. $70 will only get me a 3 GB plan.

          • Cerberus_tm

            I currently pay € 14,50 for my plan, with 500 MB. If I were to be paying $ 70 a month (excluding taxes?), the difference would be about € 55 monthly, so € 1320 in two years. How is that a great deal? I don't want to be paying that much money! I just want a decent phone with decent storage and a cheap plan. The storage has a cost price of maybe € 0,33 per GB for manufacturers? A card reader costs only a few euros. You're basically throwing away a lot more than a thousand euros...

          • Aborto

            Great plan genius. What should the near 7 billion people who don't live in America do? Most of the world cant get unlimited plans.

            To make that very clear I said CANT get. As in not available AT ALL, at any price, in the country we live in.

            The ignorance of suggesting the rest of the world just buys an unlimited data plan is astounding. I could buy a 4GB monthly plan (the highest I can get in my country) for the low low price of four 64GB SD cards, every single month.

          • SAI

            What if you're in a area with poor or no connectivity? I use SD cards to store videos I watch while I'm commuting underground...you know, a place with no internet.

          • LoRie

            1. Unless you're not near a hotspot... then you have nothing.
            2. Great deal... unless you are somewhere that does not have or permit WiFi (not all airplanes have it yet... or you might be at your grandmother's house "What's WiFi?")

            Point is... allow the choice. External SD or Cloud should be up to the user.

        • Pierre Gardin

          What about WiFi?

      • mark

        I use Google Music and Sky Drive - but I still would prefer more storage. My 500MB plan doesn't allow for a great deal of streaming, and it's also no good in areas of poor or no reception (the underground, or on various train lines), let alone issues like roaming.

        For video it's even worse, just one SD-quality TV show would blow through most of my monthly allowance. There's also no cloud site Google Videos yet, to store this amount of data. Watching videos is one of the most obvious purposes for a tablet (there's a reason they used to be called media players) - I find it odd that ~10 years ago we had mp3 players with loads of storage space on hard drives, but now we've got devices for videos, and we are meant to be happy with 32GB. Even more odd when you consider the obsession with super-high resolutions - what good is that, when a 32GB tablet can only store 1 Blu-Ray quality film...

        I have a Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7, but have to use USB OTG as a hacky workaround for taking more videos to watch, and I'll most likely be picking a phone for my next upgrade with SD card so I can store all my music; currently I use my Sansa when out most the time, with Google Music mainly being used round the house on Wifi.

    • Wesley Modderkolk

      I don't know anyone who actually uses an SD card.

      Most consumers hardly know what an SD card is and just want to access photos, music, videos etc. etc. and honestly, this is a much better way to do it. That a few advanced users find it annoying, well, too bad. The 99% wont even know of the change and will find accessing files in this way much easier.
      Also, this change hides the file system and prevents the user from fucking everything up, like users always do when the possibility is there.

      • mesmorino

        On the contrary, in my experience most consumers DO know what an SD card is AND explicitly ask what capacity the phone can take. This is in the UK, and it may be due to the fact that everybody and their moms knows what a sim card is, and when you're switching phones, the two minimum pieces of equipment you need are the sim card and the sd card. My consumers are way more tech savvy than yours it seems, except that I don't know how that's even possible- digital cameras have been having sd cards since before phones!

        What, your consumers never heard of a digital camera now? or they cannot reconcile the concept of a camera having an sd card with the concept of a phone having an sd card?

        • Wesley Modderkolk

          It obviously wasn't in a literal sense, it was more in a way of "people don't notice the change and won't notice the lack of expansion".

          • mesmorino

            Ah, I see. Well, here they absolutely would, expandable memory is a selling point.

          • Ashish

            And how do you know that? In india everybody prefer sd card as far as I know. Everybody. Also the country where 3g or 4g is not so much evolved. They need sd card since there speed of internet is not adequate to sync from cloud.

          • LijuD

            Yes. That's correct. We have budget phones with limited memory (less that 4 GB in most cases). So such a phone without an SD Card is an absolute No-goer...

          • Leonardo Farage Freitas

            IMHO, google apparently only takes USA as their scenario. Google has so many offices spread through the world, it would be only a matter of taking their opinion about this issue. I mean, not every country have a good mobile data coverage!

            Unless they want to turn into an Apple kind of company, if this is the case, I have to say - God bless root and devs all around the world :P

            But still I agree with their take on making apps only write to their assigned folder. I hate all the garbage some apps leave after uninstalling or flashing a new rom. But somehow the system should warn the user of deleting possible wanted files.

      • ProductFRED

        I have a 64GB microSD card in my Galaxy S4. I don't have to worry about losing my data if the phone dies, and I don't have to worry about running out of space for apps since all of my media is on the microSD card. Also, most device manufacturers charge $100 extra on average to double the storage (e.g. 32GB to 64GB). It's plain stupid. Google said that they scrapped MicroSD cards because it was "confusing for developers and consumers" where data was going. They said different OEMs named the mount points different things (e.g. "mnt/extSDcard" vs "mnt/externalstorage"). Why not standardize it? It's plain stupid. It works perfectly fine on my Samsung devices. I should have to waste battery power and data streaming things from the cloud.

        • Wesley Modderkolk

          Personally, I find SD cards the most annoying invention ever, they are way too small to actually use them and you lose them in no time, plus switching becomes a pain in the ass.

          Also in the code, it has to consider multiple data points on the devices, which not only adds code, the OS has to address them individually and make a distinction between both, and so do apps.

          Plus, it adds the confusion for the user of having two storage devices available. Now, what is where exactly? Where did the user store his photos, and did he store all of them everywhere?

          Also, i don't get the point of "I don't have to worry about losing my data if the phone dies,", because in quite a lot of situations, the SD card is gone to hell with it. Someone steals your phone? bye bye SD card. Dropped it in water? bye bye SD card. The SD card hardly adds any safety of your data. Only when you drop you phone would an SD card be of any use.

          But also, if the data is that important, why don't you copy it to your PC at the first possible moment?

          • patrik

            So it's the most annoying invention because YOU don't like small things and can't take care of your stuff?

            Atleast you have the option to switch right? I know alot of "resolutionphiles" that need to have movies in the most extreme quality. We're talking 10GB+ per movie. That's why they need a phone with SD-cards, because they can use bring 10 of them to a trip and they're good to go.

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            "So it's the most annoying invention because YOU don't like small things and can't take care of your stuff?"

            I take care of my stuff, and data, rather well, that is why I don't use an SD card.

          • patrik

            Honestly, being against SD-cards the way it works today is simply retarded. There is no other word for it. No matter how much storage you need, there is NO bad side to having an SD-card slot just in case.

          • mesmorino

            Don't conflate taking care of your stuff/data with having to manage your space and police yourself.

            I take care of my stuff too (triple back ups between dropbox, my laptop, my desktop and and external hdd) but I rather like the freedom of not wondering what to delete today because I'm going to a parade and I plan to take lots of pictures

          • ProductFRED

            Personally, I find SD cards the most annoying invention ever, they are way too small to actually use them and you lose them in no time, plus switching becomes a pain in the ass.

            "Way too small to actually use them." You just pop them into your phone and you're done...What are you talking about? And switching to a bigger one is as easy as copying and pasting on your computer or using a USB OTG cable and a file storage app. If you don't like them, don't use them. I don't see why I should have to suffer because you don't like them.

            Also in the code, it has to consider multiple data points on the devices, which not only adds code, the OS has to address them individually and make a distinction between both, and so do apps.

            You're talking out your @ss. There's a mount point for internal storage ("/mnt/sdcard") and there should be a standard one for external storage ("/mnt/extsdcard"). Problem solved.

            Plus, it adds the confusion for the user of having two storage devices available. Now, what is where exactly? Where did the user store his photos, and did he store all of them everywhere?

            Ask the user when they open an app for the first time where they'd like to store their files. That's what the Samsung camera app does when it detects external storage. Better yet, dedicate internal storage for apps and external storage for media. There are several ways around this. Android is about choice. iOS and Windows Phone are about simplicity. If a user doesn't know the difference between internal and external storage, they shouldn't be using Android. This is besides the fact that the average user views photos, videos, and music through apps that aggregate files from all locations (e.g. QuickPic and DoubleTwist will display media from both internal and external storage together, with no user input).

            Also, i don't get the point of "I don't have to worry about losing my data if the phone dies,", because in quite a lot of situations, the SD card is gone to hell with it. Someone steals your phone? bye bye SD card. Dropped it in water? bye bye SD card. The SD card hardly adds any safety of your data. Only when you drop you phone would an SD card be of any use.

            Actually, not true. MicroSD cards will continue to work even when dropped in water (personal experience). As a matter of fact, when I had a Galaxy S3 i9300, it died of SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome), which was due to poor firmware programming on the eMMC chip (internal storage). The phone died because the internal storage wore itself out and it wouldn't boot at all. My data on the MicroSD card was fine (pictures, music, movies, downloads, etc).

            But also, if the data is that important, why don't you copy it to your PC at the first possible moment?

            I have Dropbox set up to upload photos and videos on Wifi. Music isn't an issue for me because it's coming from my computer more often than none (except for downloads on the go). Your question doesn't really make any sense. It's a phone. The purpose of local storage is to make data accessible wherever you are...

          • mesmorino

            I would just like to point out that sd cards are not as fragile as you seem to think they are. I've put one though a washing machine and ironed the jeans it was in and it's still alive and kicking, no problems whatsoever.

            In addition, it does NOT add confusion for the user in ANY form. SD cards are the NORM, people are AWARE of the concept of putting object A in storage space A. This is something that a computer user does as automatically as breathing. On the phone, if they are aware that they have a memory card, and are aware of what a memory card is, and they want to USE it, then they look for the setting in the camera or whatever that says "save to SD card"

            That is literally it. Saying it confuses the user is akin to saying users would be confused about where they saved a document on a computer, and the kind of person that has issues with computer file paths would probably only get along with an iPhone

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            "Saying it confuses the user is akin to saying users would be confused about where they saved a document on a computer"

            Which users very often are.

            You and me, we know a bit more about it and how to handle it, yet the average user does not. They just want a device, turn it on and expect it to work. And as great as an SD card can be it just adds a lot of hassle and gives room for confusion, confusion this average person that just expects it to work does not want.

          • mesmorino

            But it still doesn't add confusion- you have to make a conscious choice to a) buy a memory card, b) INSERT the memory card, and c) ACTIVELY tell an app to save stuff to it. The user that just wants things to work without the hassle still gets the no hassle experience!

            Without an sd card inserted, the GS3 automatically saves data to internal memory.

            WITH an sd card inserted, the GS3 STILL automatically saves data to internal memory!

            YOU have to tell it to save things to the card- How does that add confusion?! The phone doesn't even come with an SD card, so where would this arise? You put your sim card in, you put your battery in, off you go. No fuss, no muss.

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            Yeah, it doesn't add much confusion as you say it, but remember; this change applies to people who think an password like "12345" is a good idea.

            I have had an internship where we had to get 2000 android devices ready for our employees so they could get their schedule on the road, and check in/out at clients. As you might guess, these employees required an data connection to be able to use the application.

            employees would often turn the data connection off and we have had many. many calls of this where we had to tell them to turn it back on again. These same people, when at training to use these devices, simply locked the phone when at the end of the training they were asked to turn the device off. They weren't able to execute something that was explained to them not even 5 minutes ago.

            That is, how much you want to deny it, the average user of a device. And when they can't use a decent password, do something simple as turn a device off or turn on a data connection, then yes, i have huge doubts with these same people being able to properly use an SD card in their device.

            And if they didn't and if it all was that easy, then why did Google made that change? Other than making it less accident prone and less confusing to the user I see no reason whatsoever to change the things described in this article.

          • mesmorino

            See when you put it that way, I want to agree. The thing is though, the overall utility of an sd card simply outweighs all of their potential for "confusion". Even the most non-tech user can learn after all, and once they learn how to use their device, they'll eventually come to a point where their phone starts giving them the "low storage" warning.

            And then they'll be wondering why no one told them that they could insert a memory card, and all the inherent advantages of a memory card become immediately apparent- At that point, the potential for confusion becomes drastically low, because they're actively involved in the process.

            I don't know why Google made the change, but all the reasons they're giving stink.

          • Aborto

            Why should the whole world have to dumb itself down to the level of those people? The iphone was designed for them, it would be nice to still have something designed around the rest of us who can figure out an SD card.

            I work as a computer tech so I know you are dead right about the abilities of the average user but how is it helping society to just give up and sink to the same level?

            If we dumb everything down to the point no one can stuff anything up then the next generation of kids will never learn how the hell to use technology and we will have gone backwards.

          • Rickin

            That's all I wanted to say to gnome3 devs

          • Michael Vieux

            You are ignoring the point made by many people in this discussion.
            1- You don't have to use a SD card if you can't figure it out.
            2- Some of us can figure it out, so the option should be there.

            Pretty simple.
            My wife's car has heated seats, she loves them, I hate them.
            She turns hers on
            I don't, turn mine on.
            I didn't insist she buy a car without them.

            My Father in Law couldn't for the life of him figure out how to use his cable box. It was actually quite funny, everyone in the family took a turn trying to explain it to him.

            We didn't ask the cable company to stop making boxes.

          • Aborto

            There is already two mobile platforms for the average user who cant figure out an SD card. Android started as an OS for geeks and power users and it is us who helped make it popular in the early days.
            Removal of the main features that got a lot of us onto the platform is a great way to create a lot of anger.

          • RTWright

            Only you! You seem easily confused!

          • Zomby2D

            And those people will simply never insert an SD card in their device because they don't understand them. My 10-year old can understand without issue what data is in the internal memory of her tablet and what is on the SD card, so I'm guessing most users could.

          • Michael Vieux

            Don't confuse the intelligence of a 10 year old with the average user.
            We have reality tv for the average smartphone user

          • Michael Vieux

            Just because some people can't figure it out, doesn't mean the rest of us should do without.
            You should really look at that philosophy, and think if it was applied to everything in life.

          • fell8

            I sincerely doubt that describes an "average" user. However it does describe some users. You know what they do? Leave the SD slot empty.

          • Dtect

            What a cock^

            1 - The code added to the OS is minor. It doesn't burn anyone's asshole.

            2 - General users don't have to worry about where they've stored their data because apps collect from internal and external storage. For example, my gallery app shows everything on my internal and external storage. My ebook app does the same. The only people who could have this headache would probably be those who are power users who are randomly saving files they want to flash without remembering where they saved it. Most people don't use file browsers!

            3 - Wtf? Dropping an SD card in water does not damage it. The SD card may not add any safety to data, but it sure as hell adds cheap extra storage to my devices. I don't want to shell out $100 extra for a few gigs when I can get 64GB for $50

          • epicmau5time


          • JWolf_PDX
          • RTWright

            Your brain is too small.... They're a chip, it was meant to be small, hence the word -micro- SD card. Also dropping it in water does not damage the SD card, just the phone ( Not even the phone lately as they're going for water-proofing them ). You are just spouting off garbage because you think you're superior to everyone else because you don't use one and do not care to. Fine, don't buy one with one you'll be happy. For the rest of us? We have an IQ, we can handle using a simple storage system. Have for decades on my home computer which has 4 internal HDDs on it and 1 external. Guess you'd lose your mind trying to figure how to use my computer eh?

          • Reg Joo

            Your comment reminds me of a show called 'ancient aliens' , whatever happens in history is because of aliens, man's too stupid to think of stuff himself, give people some credit, this isn't the sixties. Children, can even grasp the use of a sdcard.It's not that complicated.

          • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

            If your phone is damaged in water, sd card is the only thing that survives

          • Michael Vieux

            "Plus, it adds the confusion for the user of having two storage devices "
            That's why I was so happy when PC and notebook manufacturers stopped offering card slots and USB ports for external HDD's, and stuff like that.
            Way to confusing for the average human.
            Just let us use velcro on our shoes, knots who can figure them out?
            Smocks instead of all those high tech buttons.
            Purina People Chow, so we don't have to figure out how to use those complex stoves, can you believe all the buttons and dials on those things?

        • Matthew Merrick

          Why? Because the market makes you choose, a device with an SD card or a device with adequate internal storage. If I handed you a phone with 64 GB internal, you wouldn't have a single complaint about storage. Some users are all right with 32, but almost every phone with only 16 GB is pushing full, even with an SD card. Make reasonable (32gb+) storage a standard and people could take or leave

          • Zomby2D

            Until your phone dies on you and you lose everything that would have normally been on the SD card. (Backups, pictures, etc) When my S2 died on me, all I had to do with my S3 was root it, install Titanium backup, pop in the SD card and it restored all my apps and settings. I even kept my pictures and just continued using the camera on the new phone in the same folder as if I never had to change device.

        • Jay Holm

          Same here, I have a 64GB microsd card in my S4, got it cheap on Amazon for only $42 when it was on sale. I like how easily transferable memory cards are. No usb cable necessary, no pc necessary. Internal storage is way, way toooooo damn expensive anyway. 64GB's of internal memory still remains nearly non-existent in smartohones.

          • hp420

            It's a catch-22. The manufacturer asks if you want more storage, the consumer says no, i'll just use my sd card. The manufacturer says ok, they don't want more storage because they use sd cards. Then the consumer complains their phone doesn't have enough internal storage to not need an sd card.

          • fell8

            Whaaaaa? Where are these "consumers" that don't want more storage? In special needs facilities?

            Every memory-equipped device I buy, I get as much storage as I can afford, then I slap the biggest SD card I can afford in it (assuming that's an option). Why? Because being totally and utterly dependent on 3rd parties whose #1 priority is squeezing every last penny out of me is a top-flight recipe for getting my ass bit.

            First that wifi comment, now this? Dude, you best have your attendant take that device away before you forget to breathe.

        • The Motto

          Well I have a 32GB Nexus 5 and I don't have to worry about losing any data if it dies to. EVERYTHING is just mirrored somewhere else (part of the point off Android). And don't give me the shit about "data is expensive" - stuff like that only syncs over WiFi. 32 GB is more than enough for cached stuff as well; 8 GB of Play Music, 2 GB from Play Books and 3-4 GB of movies from my Synology.

          Its not that we hat SD cards, there is just no need for them in the real world... unless you suffer from Permanent storage anxiety.. at which point you should consult your doctor..

          • Zomby2D

            In the real world, you don't always have access to the cloud so all those things are pretty useless. Just because you live in a bubble where Wi-Fi or cell reception is always available and in sufficient quantity for your minimal use doesn't mean everyone's scenario is the same as yours.

          • Matthew Fry

            The 'ole Xbox One always on argument, huh? Didn't really work for Adam Orth...

            Anyway, there appears to be two different camps here:

            Camp 1 says they don't offer enough storage space in current phones for their needs. There doesn't seem to be a fixed number on what people need but 32GB is currently enough for the average user but will never satisfy everyone.
            Camp 2 says the SD card provides them with security or for everything they need in areas with no Internet connection.

            Google has not provided a good solution for either of these problems. If they were honestly using it as a push to more in-device storage they wouldn't be selling the 16GB Nexus 5. If they were trying to offer a more polished user experience they'd be creating a virtual file system where in-storage and ext-storage were transparent.

      • Stone Cold

        I prefer sd cards easy way to move files without having it stored in anyone's cloud service

        • Mr Glass

          I prefer sd cards as well.. Now if Google wants to guarantee me free bandwidth and coverage everywhere I go, yeah I may not miss it, but that will never happen.. An sd card has a one time cost and is upgradeable/changeable. Wen Android started that was its selling point over Apple (orig. mot droid)

      • The Motto

        yeah stuff like Android needs to be made with the "My mom should be able to use it" approach..

      • janzour

        I have an 16GB and 64 GB sd card on my Galaxy S4 and my note 10.1 respectively. My parents are in their old ages but they find no option for sd card as being stupid. They would at least upgrade their devices to 4 GB more bcs they have no place to put their songs, clips and at the end the camera app tells them that they have no space and they come to me asking what to do. I just shake my head and say there is nothing to do. I have not seen anyone that had an sd card storage on their phone and that they didn't use it. Don't play silly and stick to the fact that people need more storage 4, 8, 16 GB on the device is not enough when the manufacturer uses most of it.

    • Cory Wilson

      I have had nexus devices for nearly 2 years and Sd cards were a pain in many ways and I don't miss them. However having a slot there for you to use if you need more storage than the OEM provides isn't hurting anything and the majority prefer an SD slot even if they never buy one. So I agree just because Google hates SD doesn't mean they should force their opinion on everybody!

      • Johnny Bravo

        with my nexus 4, 16gb felt limited, towards the end of the year, i filled up my space (mostly with backups) and was forced to delete. it was a slight pain, but nothing to much i had to complain about.
        then i got the nexus 5, and 32gb is more than enough. and i can be a data junkie sometimes so for a phone, 32gb is enough for me.

        • Tarik Akleh

          ...for you.

          • Johnny Bravo

            i never did assume about someone else.

        • abobobilly

          Hokayy. So 16GB felt limited towards "the end of the year" and now with double the storage, you are claiming it to be "more than enough".
          Lemme guess, more than enough for "this year" only?

          Apparently you haven't even started to use your 32GB storage, which effectively isn't even 32GB. You should give it some time, install some apps or a few games. Take some pics and record some videos. Lets see how long does it take you to admit the "limitness" of 32GB.

          • Johnny Bravo

            never said limitless. but ive got most of the high end games from injustice, assassins creed, asphalt, fifa 14, badlands, gta sa, robocop, angry birds etc. a couple hundred photos and videos. a couple back ups.
            I would like to say im not afraid of filling it up.

        • varun

          That's the most ass-backward comment I've ever heard in my life, and I've read YouTube comments.

          You're trying to prove that 32GB is enough by showing that 16GB ... was not? Have you considered that there are other people in the world with different storage needs? Or that even you might one day hit the 32GB limit? What happens when you get an ARM64-based phone, with fat binaries that take up 75 percent extra space, making your 32GB phone an 18GB one, or if you get a phone with a decent camera that shoots 4K video at 10MB/s or if you build a music library and are stuck on a limited data plan or ... ?

          The fact is, it may be enough for you; good for you! It's not enough for everyone, and the plural of anecdote is NOT data.

          • Johnny Bravo

            First off, i never talked about anyone else. I always said it was good enough for me.
            Second, i really dont plan on buying an arm64 phone until the os and apps start utilizing the 64bit processing power. that being said, every year memory gets cheaper. by the time arm64 is common in phones, 128gb memory will cost $30.
            All my music is google. uploaded it since its beta age.
            limited data plan solution - put down my phone, enjoy life until new plan cycle.

          • RTWright

            Your music is all Google, what happens when you are in a place, building, commuting somewhere that you have barely any signal at all and can't even make a phone call without dropping connection? Not trying to argue, just making a point is all. If it's good for you, it's good for you. I have a GS3 with 32GB internal, I'm fine with mine and it has an additional SD card for files I don't want on the internal storage, just in case the phone needs a factory reset.

          • Johnny Bravo

            You make a great point. I would then just listen to the radio (if im in my car) or find something else to do. I can just listen later. Music isnt a necessity for me. Ive found the world is full of wonders when I pick up my head.
            But thats just me. If you plan to keep all of your music on your phone either keep a small library or the nexus isnt for you

        • Michael Vieux

          If you're happy with 32gb, then I'm happy for you, but I still need more than 32gb.

          • Johnny Bravo

            wish more people can be more like you. everyone is so hostile. all i said was it was good enough for me.

          • Michael Vieux

            Commenting on any forum, is the tech equivalent of learning to swim, by being thrown off the end of a dock.

            Toughens you up. :)

          • abobobilly

            Thats not what i'd call "Hostile" since arguments usually turn that way. But I gotta say, they are not for weak hearted :p

        • Nick

          I play numerous games on Android. Each taking up between 1-2GB of space. I normally like to have about 10 games or so installed. Lets average that out which makes that about 15GB just from games alone. I also backup my data and apps using Titanium backup which uses about 8 GB of space. I also like to keep at least 1-2 system backups. Thats another 2-4GB. Thats easily 25GB

          I'm not even including my podcasts, my photos, or my general downloads I have on my phone. To me, all the data I have taking up space is vital. My point: Everyone has different needs.

          • Johnny Bravo

            not arguing with you there. i said 32gb was good enough for me. never said it was good enough for everyone. that being said, ive got a similar setup, but keep one system backup, about 10-15gb games, and all my app backups are on the cloud courtesy of helium backup. but thats me.

          • Bobby Phoenix

            I think the bottom linke is phones should just come with 150GB of storage for internal period. If you can buy a card that size, it should be able to be built into the device. You could sell ones with less, but even so, you could increase the max to a lot more than there is now. I wouldn't mind paying another $50 for more space to get rid of SD cards. As it is now I backup everything on my phone (internal and external) to an external HD monthly, so I see no real need for SD cards as long as internal can meet the needs of users who need like 100GB.

          • Joe

            I would have agreed with you 2 months ago. However, my new Z1 can play 1080p HD in stunning detail. I've got SD cards just for HD movies & TV. 64GB fills up fast, and it is nice to swap out a micro SD quickly and easily.

      • RTWright

        I've never once had an issue with using one, had one on my flip-phones ( Razrs ) and my BB Bold. Never understood how having one is an issue or how it's hard to use. They're not. Not any different than accessing a second or third drive on a desktop. Google has always tried to play the public as being too stupid to understand how to use them, claiming that they're too complicated. Well.... I disagree with this because all they're really trying to do is turn people into thinking they're not worth using and turn all the Androids into iDroids.

        When I first got into Android, I did it 100% because of the Customization and the ability to expand my memory on my device. The iPhone did not offer any such luxury, you were stuck with it's crappy low capacity memory. If you wanted more storage? Buy the BIGGER iPhone! Oh wait, can't! Under contract so you couldn't actually do that either. So I went with Android. Now it seems, more and more Google is taking this away from us a little bit at a time. This is where I'm starting to think Google is becoming more like Apple every day.

        OEM's would probably prefer to not make microSD slots, because of the very reason I just posted here. Some of us do not like using cloud storage for music and video, because when you get in a bad connection areas ( Especially where I live with Sprint ) you can't get even a bar barely and that means cloud media is a no-go! So having it on my device physically, means I can go and workout and do stuff around the neighborhood and listen to my music uninterrupted. Without that kind of ability, I'd be stuck with streaming that wouldn't be worth thinking about.

        Also I don't get where people can honestly sit here and think this is nothing but just another place to store or collect clutter. Are you really this lazy that you don't organize stuff properly, even on your main computer? I mean it's no different. So all this stances against the cards is stupid, one-sided, selfish and pretty much arrogance at it's best. And I point those comments directly at Google and their so called "We know what's best for everyone so you should just accept what we shove down your throats and be happy we even allow you to use our Android!" way of thinking.

        At this point, if anyone else were to cut into the OS market on Cell Phones and really offered up something of high quality and less restrictions as like what has been coming into Android in the past few years? I'd pretty much jump to it, I don't have to be on what is the most popular Cell OS. I just need it to do what I need and be happy with it. To hell with these corporations shoving their ways down the consumers throats and forcing us to deal with it.

        • Laura Rollins


          ☸☸☸ ☸☸☸ ☸☸☸ ☸☸☸☸ ☸☸☸What a horrible clusterfuck. I see more people will end up moving to CM or similar ROMs that allow the intended SD behavior.

          • sssgadget

            How/when did bots become smart?

          • Guest

            They just copied what Jon said a few posts down, they are gettling clever with it though.

          • sssgadget

            Ah! I see. Nice catch.

        • The Motto

          Does your mom know how to use a SD-card in her phone?
          People need to remember that phones should be usable by everybody. SAF is a really good start.

          • wayne

            That's the thing right there, some people don't even know how to use a smart phone; my mum refuses to let go of her old Nokia E73. Does this now mean that manufacturers should just stop making smart phones? After all my mum says she doesn't want a smart phone because they are too confusing.

          • RTWright

            Most flip phones from Nokia and Motorola had SD cards in them....

          • roger

            Exactly, a damn flip phone outshining quad core devices because they had enough brains to actually make their expandable storage available for use. SMH

          • roger

            Well your mom's E73 has a working SD card function. Smart lady. Seriously reconsidering my phone needs and the merits of a feature phone. Most have twitter/Facebook/html browser, can take pics and other functions. Might as well save some money since it seems all these companies are in a downward spiral of making smart phones stupider by the update.

          • Sheikh Steve

            When people moved from horses to cars, they made the same comment. Change is the issue here, as you get older you like change less, and less!

          • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

            No but when I set up her phone I made sure to set the camera app to store photos on the SD card instead of internal storage, that way if her phone dies she won't lose access to the photos she's taken since the last time she was on a WiFi network (where the photos would be backed up to the cloud). All she knows is that she takes pictures.

          • Matthew Fry

            Ah, but Google wants you to backup your photos on Google+ not the SD card. Maybe this is another motivation.

          • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

            There are two big problems with that theory:
            1. Few people have unlimited data plans.
            2. Cell coverage is not universal.

            I actually back up all my photos to Google+ but when I got my Galaxy S4 I had to turn off auto-backup over cellular network because the large pictures would have chewed through my entire data plan in less than 2 weeks. Now I auto-backup only works over WiFi.

            Also a lot of places I go (like when I'm riding my motorcycle in the mountains or in rural areas) there is no cell coverage on any carrier.

            The day Google prevents me from saving my photos on removable storage is the day I start carrying around a separate camera again.

          • Matthew Fry

            I'm just trying to understand Google's motivations. I never said it was a good idea...

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            The day Google does that is the day that google will get trampled to death by OEMs because they'll foot the bill of people switching to apple/MS.

          • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

            I don't think people would jump to iOS or WP based on the loss of that feature, since it's not something that either of those supports now.

          • Jack buddy

            Sorry, but as an owner of two WP I can safely say you are wrong. WP is like Android, where the OEM can choose to include a SD slot or not. My L920 doesn't have one but my L520 does.

          • Jaimin

            No WP is different, its mix of enterprise and entertainment http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CUpgMVSAM7M&feature=c4-feed-u#

          • mgdll

            Maybe blackberry will become more relevant to power users.

          • Quintus Maximus

            Wrong. I'm jumping. I want 30-40 gigs of music on my phone. Im not going yo stream it from some effing cloud. Not the 7.6 I'm left with now than the os is so big. This is the last android I'll ever own.

          • Daniel Dan

            Windows Phone 8.1 allows you to install apps on the SD card as easy as you would on the internal storage.

          • howardbamber

            I carry an mp3 player now

          • Joe

            what do you ride?

          • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison
          • gregge

            I carry a separate camera (Nikon Coolpix S6200) because the one on my Photon Q is shite. That would be a very nice phone if it didn't have the crappy camera and the keyboard didn't alternate between completely missing letters and doubling or tripling them. How did Motorola completely forget the concept of switch debouncing?

            Also WTF on this is the ; and : (Shift+ , and .) produce instead of the ; and : on the keys. That makes it impossible to text someone an https:// (or any other that starts with anything but the default assumed http://) link without resorting to the onscreen keyboard just for the : character. Motorola must have assembled a "Team F" to do this port to Sprint of the Droid 4 from Verizon. So they juiced it up with a faster CPU, why the fail on the rest? The Droid 4 on Verizon got tons of raves about its keyboard and everything else, so why should the Sprint version be different?

            I want a GOOD, high end phone with at least 2 gig RAM, 32 gig internal storage, a micro SDXC slot, 1080p display AND a slide out 5 row keyboard that registers one and only one character per key press. AND USB MASS STORAGE access to the SD card. A CMOS camera sensor will never equal a CCD for image quality but there's no excuse for the blurry (yet high resolution) crap the Photon Q takes. Using the highest resolution then scaling down helps some. I suspect the native resolution of the sensor is quite a bit less than the maximum the camera takes and its interpolating the higher resolution. Just haven't been bored enough to take test images of the same scene at every resolution and quality setting to see which produces the sharpest images.

            My previous phone was an Epic 4G. Nice but low RAM that quickly filled up, even with being able to move some apps to the SD card. The keyboard on it would double-tap single letters and miss the second letter of doubles like the t's in letter or the s's in miss if I didn't type at just the right speed. There is no "right" typing speed on the Photon Q, it just does what it does so there's lots of going back and editing.

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            Of course it is ;)... They'll just never admit it because its google... or they'll wrap it in some sort of "it's for the user" scheme (aka, we'll optimise your pictures... collection data on where you are and what phone/camera you have and what colour your hair is and what clothes you're wearing... they definetely know what brand your t-shirt is)

          • Frettfreak

            But in all seriousness, why would you NOT be doing this? Its pretty awesome.

          • Matthew Fry

            This? Auto-backup? If you're me, you're doing it because you haven't bothered to turn it off yet. It's so easy to get things in to the cloud but it's hard to remember where it is to access/get rid of it. You may have multiple dropbox, box.com, drive, google+, imgur, flickr, facebook, twitter, and various other cloud storage accounts and you don't remember which one it was or your account password because you've been logged in with your phone for 6 months. You might also have some discrete photos you don't want leaving your person...

            Anyway, I use Scatter which I believe to be the greatest thing ever. Auto replication to every other connected device. My pictures are already on my work computer, home computer, tablet, and phone.

          • Jaimin

            Google wants everything???

          • RTWright

            It's a stupid motivation, people need to keep in mind if it's on the net it's not any safer there that it is on your own phone. It's actually safer not on the web....

          • Matthew Fry

            Again, not the user's motivation, Google's motivation.

          • Richard Yarrell

            Piss on Google Plus backing up photos and piss on Google too. Sounds to like they don't value their platform to much.

          • squiddy20

            Your comment makes absolutely no sense (as usual). Backing up photos to the cloud (be it G+ or Drive), specifically shows they care about their platform. Otherwise, they could have half-assed it and not given us the ability to back up photos, in which case they'd be called out since Apple has had it for a few years.

            Also, if it weren't for Google, and by extension Android, your "pimp slapping" Note 3 wouldn't work at all. What an mindless, ignorant Samsung fanboy.

          • Liam Phoenix

            Android meant choices to me. I likes the auto-backup, but I love my SD cards. Anything that takes options away from the user is bad for their platform. I probably won't switch as iOS is definitely not right for me and WP is still trying to figure out what it wants to be.

            It's Samsung too though. I spent $750 on a Note 3 rather than buying a Nexus 5 because of the SD support, now it's gone, and I don't even have OIS to sooth the loss.

            If the Note 3 has OIS, and they didn't follow to Googlification of the file system, it would be the perfect phone once the Samsung bloat is cleaned up. Now I'm looking to Oppo and Cyanogenmod. Ah well, I should have done that a while back, but now the S-Pen being a favorite feature is overshadowed by the loss of what, to me, is a necessary feature.

          • TruFactz

            Man, from AAM to Android police, man you are known Mr Yarrell. Oh this is TruFactz from AAM........GET IT TOGETHA BROSEF!

          • gregge

            The #1 all-encompassing big problem with "cloud" storage is that the provider of that service can take it all away at any time.

            Cloud service providers can go out of business, get bought out or merge with another company that doesn't see the service as something they want to do, or a provider might decide that cloud services are no longer viable as a part of their business vision going forward.

            I had exactly that happen to a website when the ISP I was using at the time was bought out and completely shut down by a company from a different State. They came in on the day before Thanksgiving and took all the computers and everything, leaving only one guy with one phone line to field a few thousand calls from very irate customers who'd just permanently lost all their files and email.

            It's not hard to come up with some "cloud" services that have been shut down in the past (before some marketing idjits glommed onto the term). @World, mac.com, Geocities, eWorld, AOL Hometown, get the picture? Do NOT trust any "cloud" service to be around for the long haul, not even from the biggest companies. Another big example is how Microsoft shut down online service for the original XBox - and did it on April 15th, the day Americans' income taxes are due. Online/cloud should be called "Indefinite term insecure storage you'd better keep a local backup of if you don't want to lose your stuff".

            This "cloud" thing is a term lifted from computer networking infrastructure, most notably Novell Netware. The "cloud" was a concept rolling everything in a LAN into a placeholder where the actual hardware infrastructure wasn't directly important to what you were working with. Workstations, servers, backup systems, everything wired into a "cloud" that you needn't know the exact particulars of *unless* you were doing things like plugging in cables or configuring IP address access permissions. In practice, this cloud concept was just a learning and training aid because a network administrator had better know exactly where every cable in the system went, or at least have it written down somewhere.

            This new 'popular' misuse of "cloud" has been applied to remote storage methods that have existed since the first file was uploaded to the first FTP server. All it is, is any storage that is not directly in your physical possession and/or is accessible without going through an Internet link.

            All web and FTP servers are "in the cloud", so are all those file upload sites where you push out a file then send someone a link to download it.

          • Richard Yarrell

            fuck squiddy20 and his retarded mother and asshole father

          • squiddy20

            You're just mad you don't have the brain capacity to come up with a logical rebuttal, so you hurl insults at people like an immature 7 year old. Grow up.

          • john doe

            Piss on Google Plus backing up photos and piss on Google too. Sounds to like they don't value their platform to much.

            Agreed 100%

          • Liam Phoenix

            The SD card problem has me backing up to my PC, as soon as the card stopped working I turned off auto-upload and deleted all my albums.

            I like Google+ for photos, but I'm less than trusting of Google services, now I have a nearly useless $750 phone to go with my Reader trauma.

          • howardbamber

            That's what I think is behind this and the fact that Google has launched a music streaming service. They want me to pay £10amonth for their music, streamed at a crap rate. As for music I've bought of Google I don't feel like I own it. My amazon stuff I can move to different music apps. Not with Google music. Can't even find the files and I'm rooted. This goes beyond SD cards.

          • mgdll

            Ding, Ding, Ding...

          • TraceBuster

            That's the beauty of the SD card model. It's expandable storage that's completely optional to use. Mom doesn't know how to use it? She doesn't use it. I know how to use it? I throw my 80 GB of music onto it (as soon as the stupid 128 GB micro SDXC cards arrive, anyway).

          • Liam Phoenix

            They're here :)

            Unfortunately it dropped from UHS-1 to Class 10.

            Still, if you want it for music that's more than fast enough.

          • john doe

            I throw my 80 GB of music onto it: That's the problem Google want you to buy music off of them.
            Greedy Bastards that are soon going to find out what public wrath means!Some
            day company's will realize that when they get extra GREEDY they pay in
            the long run as soon as linux comes out with OS I will switch!

          • hajmola

            My mom doesn't know how to use the damned camera on her phone. Doesn't mean we should limit everyone because of that.

          • Heather M Stryker

            That's like taking away everyone's drivers license just because a few people don't know how to drive.

          • Frettfreak

            agreed. Funny how up in arms everyone gets about something that was a standard 2 years ago and now google is offering an elegant and user friendly solution. SAF works great! Go ahead and try putting an SD card in an iphone.. oh yeah... they dont have them either.

            The thing no one else is thinking about here is google isnt really against sd cards. They are against the way you were interfacing with them. If SAF can just make it all "data" doesnt matter where its located, then google can allow SD cards more readily without the issues they were concerned about.

            I can say for SURE that in years past i have had to help less tech savy friends understand that they had SD storage and phone storage and they were 2 different places.

          • RTWright

            It really shouldn't be GOOGLE's choice, it's YOUR device, YOUR Data, YOUR Files. YOU should decide where things go, how, and when. Not Google. This is one of the biggest most irritating things Google has done. I don't care what Google likes and doesn't, it's my data, my files, my choice. Which is why a lot of us went to Android early on, because it allowed us the choices that iPhones could not and will never let you have. Expanding memory/storage is definitely the main one.

          • Liam Phoenix

            I'm fine with it, just so long as I can go back to a system that works for me, make the SD access an option in the developer options like USB debugging is.

            Most people should not mess with that, but those of us who need something in there should be able to enable it.

            Turn it off by default so that in order to use it the way you want a box, like the one for installing APKs from alternative markets or your own backups, and simply tell people not to check it so you can tell them it's on them if they do.

            At least that would just void my support, not my warranty, needing to root so you can alter the write permissions on the SD trips the e-fuse and leaves me SOL if I have a hardware issue that should be covered under warranty. It also negates the option to use upgrade services like Jump because they are technically warranty programs.

          • Joe

            Exactly. I think SAF is a great idea, and probably a good way to move forward. BUT, I also want the option of doing what I already do with MY device, MY data and MY files. Giving me SAF and removing my freedom is not the way forward...

          • Arnav Sahay

            true it is nowadays everyone is trying to lock you down in a ecosystem I switched from iphone to an android device just because it was so flexible and customisable it felt like "yeah,it's my phone" especially by rooting my and setting up live wall papers. It seems like google is becoming more like apple and microsoft and that worries me I am looking forward Ubuntu phone and Samsung tizen os and BTW microsoft seems to have it's lost mojo back as microsoft just added the ability to store apps in sd card and creating a file management app they finally seems back on track :D

          • RLB63

            I agree that it can be confusing for a LOT of people explaining about the difference between SD and external SD.
            HOWEVER, who's fault is that? It is GOOGLE's. They are the ones that STUPIDLY used the term SD for INTERNAL memory! Who would be so STUPID? That was THEIR choice. I don't care if they weren't the first. I don't know. However, they could have been smarter than a 1st grader and used a better name. Aren't these suppose to be geniuses? I do NOT want to have to let the system mess with cloud storage. If they force that then I will be EAGERLY waiting for the newer open source OS for phones coming out.
            Google had better be careful. Look at MS. They have fallen from grace like they fell off a cliff. They wont let us do a LOT of simple things that any OS should allow. For example they will NOT allow us to block apps from auto starts unless we root the phone. They don't seem to understand that people don't want any app to be able to start at any time it wants. It is an easy fix but they know BETTER than us......

          • ag

            GOOGLE knows what they're doing.

            Who benefits from separating users from their privately-owned SD cards? GOOGLE! So, where to safe-store your private data? Oh yes, in the GOOGLE CLOUD, where is absolutely can't be compromised, just like Target, Sony, or eBay couldn't be compromised.

            It's also illegal in at least a few ways:
            1. Separates an owner from his/her private property
            2. Prevents individuals from writing/committing their own data to their own SD drive (Constitutional Freedom of Speech issue).
            3. An anti-trust case, because in the act of violating SD owners' rights, GOOGLE is forcing users to save private data to the GOOGLE cloud. Everyone, of course knows, that as much as GOOGLE is a commercial enterprise, it will NEEEVER take commercial advantage of having all this private information stored in its systems.....
            4. Probably also breaks some Federal Interstate Anti-Racketeering laws.

            ...and will follow up with formal complaints with my state's Attorney General, and other agencies.

          • john doe

            Not to bright are we?
            Wait till they hack your photo's off the cloud!
            Wait till they can find you via cloud info!

          • space_panda

            Yup. They aren't tech savvy yet they both know how to even move apps to sd.

          • RTWright

            SAF is not a good start, having a SD card in your phone, or the slot at least, doesn't make it any less usable by everyone that ones without the option. SAF needs shot the hell down in my opinion. But hey, that's why I root my phones because I can't stand restrictions that Google wants to shove down our throats.

          • superg05

            what does that have to do with anything they should not buy what they don't know how to use and no one if forcing you to buy one and use it but someone is trying to force you to use more cloud services and not import your own media to buy and rent it cause you have such artificial limitations

          • George Bumgardner

            Yes!!! let's dumb down all technology!

          • Joe

            My Mom knows how to use an SD card. She's been using them for years in her cheap cameras. When I gave her my iphone, she took some photos and was looking all over the phone for "the photo card, where's the photo card?" Lol, to her it seemed totally logical that cameras had cards, you could take out and plug into the computer to see the photos.

            My Mom doesn't even know how to use a computer, watching her move the mouse around is hilarious. She just knows how to get to Skype, and click the right buttons for the photo program to copy her photos off "the photo card". Her old phone had a "photo card" so she just assumes all phones do.

            Getting rid of SD cards in phones will make her life harder. She just wants to take the card out, plug it in, and take photos. She doesn't want to learn iTunes, Sony Xperia-wutang-ninja-cloud-PC-toolbox-clusterfark. That's why removing simple SD card configuration functionality is such a dumb move by Google.

        • Lars

          The stupid things Google has been/is doing with Android is really making me want Ubuntu on phones to succeed.

          • RTWright

            Agreed, I'd love a full blown Linux OS on my phone over Android. The people that make the Apps for Android could easily make them for Linux, seeing how that's really all that Android is, is a customized version of Linux.

          • George Tasker

            Mate Ubuntu is making moves in that direction. Take a look at their efforts. They have something apparently working right now.

          • roger

            If Ubuntu doesn't come out with a phone solution, I'm just going to get a Nokia Asha feature phone and.call it a day. At least I will have a functioning SD card. I'm completely fed-up with Google's bullshit and I've had enough.

          • marco


        • Reaper

          Have you considered BB10, people may dog on Blackberry but their OS just works and makes sense. Try a Z10 or Z30 for a month and you won't be disappointed

        • Jipy Do

          I totally agree with you. I'm NOT MARRIED with Android nor Google and i'm ready to jump into any alternative os. I just need to have the choice, MY choice for 1) The apps i want to use and 2) The location of MY documents. I don't like cloud based storage solution for personal use. I can understand that cloud storage like server based information system offers a structured storage environment but this is designed to offer frame and rules to multiple users sharing the same environment and this is not the case of the majority of the users of Android devices which are personal devices.
          Do you share your smartphone or your tablet with any other person ? Surely not. Personally, i'm looking forwarding to root my devices with all inconvenient it could have as it is seems to be the quickest available solution till someone/something else comes up.

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        old Audi A5 Convertible only from working part time off a home computer... find
        out here C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

      • Rickin

        I'm with you the nexus thing, and will keep it for a long time. They do are a pain for most things, but I would be very happy to use one just to store musics

      • Francis

        I just read about how Google is slashing its Could Services prices.
        This article said "Perhaps there's a plan". Well there is a plan indeed: Google wants to kill the SD so that we subscribe to its cloud services for a "convenient" monthly fee. Wow Google... that's screwing things up!

        • roger

          Why the fuck would anybody subscribe to any cloud service when you can buy a hard drive from western digital/Seagate that has cloud capabilities? You can have your own cloud based at home!

          Give us our sd card function back or fuck off, Google!


      I know i chose android because apple didnt alow me the choice of sd cards but it seems google secretly wishes they were apple. Flash. Sd cards. Capacitive buttons. All gone. Android gets worse every day.

      Sad really.

      • Dmitri Smirnov

        Capacitive buttons are not gone, some OEMs still use them, OS supports it.
        Google doesn't wish to be Apple, they just want to force you into the cloud, where you pay for storage monthly, not once, and where they can access all your data to mine.

        • roger

          I can hook up my Pogo Plug right now and force myself into a cloud Google will have no access to. Same goes for a Seagate or WD external cloud drive or even a router like D-link has with a cloud function. Anyone who pays for a cloud service is an idiot and the faster cloud devices for the home kill these services off, the better.

      • guest

        Capactive buttons should be gone, unfortunately they are not. I hate those damn things.

        • fell8

          While I sympathize, I feel your stance is irrational. The advantages of capacitive buttons--practical immunity to wear and breakage and no opening in the case for moisture and debris to enter--far outweigh the risk of unintentional button-pressing, which can be ameliorated with sensible button placement and use of raised/depressed areas.

    • Jon

      I found this the hard way, when I moved from TW to GE on my S4. Suddenly the "move to SD card" button is greyed out, and the only way to move a huge 1.5GB data file to the SD card is by using a cumbersome method of mounting the folder via a link to the SD card, using foldermount. Which, by the way, fails to mount in my kernel. So yeah, I'm angry towards Google for all this crap. For the first time since I bought samsung phones, I was eyeing the TW ROM. And now it seems they bent samsung's hand and also samsung ROMs will behave this way. What a horrible clusterfuck. I see more people will end up moving to CM or similar ROMs that allow the intended SD behavior.

      • Jamie

        You say "allow the intended SD behavior.", so you're going to use the GPE ROM, with the way Google want SD's to work.

    • sweenish

      To ignore that they were previously a mess before is, well, ignorant. Apps would clutter the card, never removing their garbage when you uninstalled. Apps would break if the SD card was removed, etc.

      You may have been fine keeping track of all that, but why bother with the hassle?

      • mesmorino

        The issues you list have nothing to do with sd cards in and of themselves.

        If apps don't clean up after themselves, have devs write their code properly and prevent apps without the indicative code from passing certification.

        If apps break when the sd card is removed, ditto.

        If you have a broken arm, you fix the arm, you don't fucking amputate it. To not even realise that the solution to fixing the sd card mess is to CLEAN UP THE MESS, not get rid of sd cards is quite frankly idiotic

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      iUsers don't seem to be concerned about SD cards for years now so Google sees them as an example for Android

      • Richard Markert

        Most iUsers are morons, where as even the less technologically inclined Android users I know seem to be able to use an SD card as intended.

    • SimonPieman

      Perhaps direct your anger at security companies that are constantly spreading FUD and making Google go in this direction under the guise of security enhancements

    • Sanders

      What is it so difficult for google to implement a setting for sdcard ?
      Instead of forcing us everything, they can give a Storage Settings with checkboxes like:

      [X] Allow app read on primary storage.
      [X] Allow app write on primary storage.
      [X] Allow app read on secondary storage.
      [_] Allow app write on secondary storage.
      [_] Allow app access any public folder on primary storage.
      [_] Allow app access any public folder on secondary storage.

      What so hard with that, Google ?

      • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

        Maybe they will. Make it a paid feature

      • someoneasdf

        Yes, actually. Have you looked at your much,ard lately? The developers crap all over it. I use to email devs to put their files where they belong (/data/com.package), but maybe 5% of them listened.

        If you let the devs be lazy, they will take the lazy way out.

        Hell, how many games do you see these days that actually implement the keep screen on feature? (Hint, it doesn't require the "wake lock" permission.

        Incidentally, the article fails to mention the developer option to permit SD card writes. Again, hidden from the noon, but a very small one-time power user detour

        • Matthew Fry

          Huh. Do you have a source for the dev option? Is it in the current 4.4 ROM?

        • Michael Vieux

          I'm surprised by all the people who say developers put all this crap on their SD card .
          Are you referring to what your file manager or phone refers to as a SD card, which is really your internal storage.

          The discussion is about Your Ext SDcard, and I have never had a developer put anything there that I wasn't asked first.

    • Proioxix

      Speak for yourself. I don't like SD cards. I have cloud storage with more storage than any SD card could ever provide. SD cards are a thing of the past for me, just takes up extra room. I'm sure a lot of people use it, so in that sense Google shouldn't limit peoples choices. I know some people will say cloud storage is not good, Google and others can access your data blah, blah.

      They are free to look at my data all they want. The sensitive information I store in the cloud, I use Tresorit which works great. The data I don't really mind if anyone sees, I store in Google Drive, Dropbox, Mega. Cloud storage for me is great, I don't have to worry about hard drive woes. Cloud storage is the future.

      • abobobilly

        Your (and the others thinking along the same lines as yours) problem is that you guys think "Cloud Storage" is the future. ITS NOT. Plus, there are many countries where Cloud Storage isn't even an option, let alone convenient or otherwise. Not to even mention the fact that your data is "not under your authority" when you are saving it on cloud.

        SDCards are not just "extra storage" but its the "Freedom" we require from Android. A freedom, which i am slowly seeing to be closing its way for general consumers, unless they choose 3rd Party Devs, because they fulfill their wishes.

        Don't get me wrong. As much as i like the idea of Kit Kat's Storage Access Framework, i don't like it where its going.

        • Proioxix

          That is where you're mistaking. Cloud storage IS the future. I would rather have my storage in the cloud than carry around a bunch of SD cards. Internet speed and availability is increasing all around the world. Even now, a lot of people use the cloud, and many more will do in the future.

          Just like flash drives replaced CDs, cloud storage will do the same for SD cards. If you lose your smartphone for example, you've also lost that SD card inside it. There's a lot more you can do with cloud storage than with an SD card.

          Cloud storage is the future and you can't prove otherwise.

          • abobobilly

            "A bunch of SDCards". REAAAAAAALLLLLLYYYYYY?

            See, its funny you should say this because the last time i checked, the "Cheapest" 25GB per month plan still comes out heck of a lot expensive than the "one-time investment for a 64GB SDCard".

            I bet you buy your phones on Contracts because you think "they are cheap". If you do, good for you.

            The whole point of SDCards is "FREEDOM", something which you people have been becoming oblivious to, recently. Apparently too much convenience has clogged your mind.

            Unless we start getting FREE Internet everywhere, with Cloud Storage getting "Dirt Cheap", i can't POSSIBLY see it getting close to be called "The Future". If you don't care about your privacy, DON'T. But lets not get ahead of yourself and feed others the same BS.

          • Proioxix

            I see you and mesmorino are into the habit of assuming bullshit about people. Good for you two. Perhaps you should read my comment again before you reply, it would save me from having to repeat myself.

            Google Drive offers 100GB of cloud storage for just $4.99, I'd like you to show me a 64GB SD card that costs just $5. I use sim free phones (Nexus 5) with pay as you go. If you want freedom, go build your own device and operating system. That or become a big shot at Google who gets to make these decisions.

            Until then, welcome to the real world. Cloud storage IS dirt cheap, Mega gives you 50GB for FREE, you can't get anymore dirt cheap than FREE! Box, does promotions occasionally offering 50GB FOR FREE! Once again, can't get more dirt cheap than FREE!

            Privacy, privacy all you hear is privacy, perhaps you should look into cloud storage solutions and what each one offers before you use the privacy card like an idiot.

          • abobobilly

            Really? We hardly "Assumed" anything when you thankfully, were presenting all the facts to us.

            So, 100GB @ $4.99 ... hm, lets round it off to $5.
            Now tell me, does that price include:
            - your data plan charges?
            - the time you'll spend uploading/downloading your files
            - the reduced security, or putting your trust in a "corporation" which can NEVER be faithful to their customers?

            You know i can just go on and on about the questions, but not infront of you.

          • Proioxix

            I used dollars because that's what is shown on the page for upgrading Google Drive. Not once I did specifically say I was from the US (which I'm not). The time you'll spend uploading and downloading files is hardly an issue when I consider the benefits of cloud storage. You've yet to show me a 64GB SD card that costs just $5. Don't worry I'll wait.

            Most people have an internet connection already, they already pay for that monthly. Nice try there, but you failed. Once again, do some research before playing the security, privacy card. Really, you should.

            If you don't like cloud storage, don't use it, the rest of us who do see the obvious benefits of cloud storage will continue to use it because (I hate having to repeat myself) cloud storage is the future. Until you've understood the benefits of cloud storage, the sort of services different companies offer, the level of security, encryption and more they each provide, you'll remain ignorant.

          • Zomby2D

            The $5 to upgrade your Google drive is a monthly fee, not a one-time price. After 2 years, you've paid $120 for it while a 64 Gb SD card would have cost only a fraction of that. Your reasoning is quite stupid.

            People have an Internet connection, but I don't plan on paying the extra $30 a month to have the required data cap I would need to access my files from the cloud, and no I don't have Wi-Fi access everywhere I go, sometimes I don't even get cell service so the cloud would be utterly useless anyway. Having an SD card saves me hundreds of dollars a year and actually allows me to access my data whenever I am.

            Cloud is the future for on-the-fly access storage and sync between devices, but it'll never be able to replace local data capability in any way.

          • Proioxix

            You obviously fail to see the benefits of cloud storage over an SD card. Go do your research and come back when you're no longer ignorant. Perhaps take a look at some cloud storage articles on Lifehacker. For what you get, paying $5 is definitely worth it. In fact, let's do better than that. You can grab a Mega account, 50GB free.

            If you don't have the internet connection for it, well too bad. It's not the job of these storage providers to give you that. Those of us that use cloud storage will continue to do so. If you prefer to use an SD card, good for you.

            Just don't come bitching when your phone gets stolen along with your SD card. I on the other hand, can simple look to the cloud to get my data back. Cloud is the future for storage. In fact the 3rd largest internet company in the world is coming to the west, offering 10TB of free storage. That's something I look forward to, tiny 64GB SD cards are a thing of the past.

          • Zomby2D

            I do know the benefits of cloud storage over SD card, just like I know the benefits of SD cards over cloud storage. I use cloud storage to store and access a whole lot of data, but it can never have the convenience of readily-available data on my device.

            Maybe if you got your head out for your ass for long enough, you'd realize that whatever use scenario works for you can't work for everyone. If cloud storage fits your needs, that's great for you. Just stop complaining about those who have different needs than you do.

          • Aborto

            The vast majority of the world just does not have the data caps to allow cloud storage over a mobile connection. Are you 12? have you ever travelled? Very few countries on earth have the universal cell coverage and cheap plans to allow this cloud future of yours. I use MEGA for the free 50GB, hell I live in New Zealand the country mega is based in but while I have unlimited broadband at home I have 1GB on my phone in a country with far too much empty land to cover with 3G.

            MOST of the world is like this. The tiny minority of you people living where the cloud is a viable replacement for local storage need to pull you heads out of your asses and realize this is a big problem for the rest of us even if you don't personally give a shit.

            You act like we are complaining over nothing and can all go out and replace our SD cards with google drive accounts. WE CANT.

          • LoRie

            Not everyone has the internet. And try driving through the forested mountains sometime: NO connection-- WiFi or cell. Or underground in the subway. Or on an airplane (though that is changing, but it is still not EVERYWHERE).

            So let there be Cloud storage. Let the apps put their respective in a tidy place so the user can find it. But let people who are willing to do a little bit of extra continue to have that option as well!

          • mark

            That $4.99 is per month! Most SD cards last longer than a month...

            Price of cloud storage isn't the only issue - I can stick all my music on Google Music for free. But until we have Internet access everywhere, I can't use it everywhere - monthly limits, poor or no reception, roaming.

            "If you want freedom, go build your own device and operating system. That or become a big shot at Google who gets to make these decisions. "

            You're the one who wants the freedom to control how other people use features that you're not interested in - perhaps you should build your own OS. But the OP was talking about the freedom of choice in how to use a device, not freedom to write an OS.

          • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

            Sync between devices via cloud IS the future. My files are on the device, but when I modify them, it sync to server, laptops and tablets. Streaming every file through mobile network would slow me down, drain battery and is costly. My own cloud via btsync is free

          • Aborto

            Great, I can buy 100GB of cloud storage, yay for me. I can then access the 1GB of that storage per month that my data cap allows before I am stuck with nothing at all.

      • mesmorino

        Don't be stupid. America is not the world, and just because you have access to the cloud does not mean that it is ubiquitous elsewhere, or that people want to be beholden to some company's server farms. How does an sd card take up extra room? It's a 1cm x 1cm x 0.1cm chip! What would you do with that space if you had access to it?! Cloud storage is NOT the future, not because it isn't good (which it isn't anyway), but because it simply isn't available in a consistent and reliable manner in a lot of places. Shit, even in AMERICA it's not consistent or reliable!

        This is about freedom of choice. FREEDOM. Not about how convenient the cloud is, or how private your data is (that's another argument entirely).

        If you don't like it, be quiet and don't use it, and the rest of us who don't live in fucking America will put a memory card in and EVERYBODY's happy

        • Proioxix

          Perhaps you shouldn't go assuming things about others. Who says I live in America? You want Freedom, go build your own device and operating system, then you'll have complete freedom. It's not Google's or anyone's job to give you that. Cloud storage is the future, if you can't deal with that perhaps you should go back to your cave. I don't know about you but the world is moving forward not backwards.

          Only an idiot wouldn't understand. When I say cloud storage is the future, I mean it's still growing and becoming accessible to more people everyday. Like I said before, internet speed is increasing around the world, internet is coming to more people around the world. In the future, it won't be an issue.

          Get it through your thick skull. Cloud storage is the future whether you like it or not isn't anyone's problem.

          • mesmorino

            It's a reasonable assumption to make, because only Americans are so in love with this stupid idea of moving everything to the cloud. Once you leave the States and actually get some world experience you will realise that internet access is nowhere near as common, cheap, or consistent as you think it is, let alone increasing in speed. That's a stupid statement and you know what, even if it were true, it certainly isn't getting cheaper!

            In addition, yes cloud storage is growing and becoming accessible to more people everyday, except that we don't live in the future, we live in the now. Getting rid of something that works, for something that is unfinished and inadequate is all sorts of dumb, and only an idiot wouldn't understand.

            To paraphrase @ProductFRED:disqus -

            I really don't understand people's opposition to them. Why not just ignore the microSD slot in your phone (if they all had one) if you love your internal/cloud storage so much?

            And when it's ready we'll all move to it. Nobody hates cloud storage, the problem is that as a replacement for sd cards it is currently not fit for purpose for myriad reasons. It is not an either/or proposition. If we both had a phone with an sd card slot you could stick to your cloud and I could put in an sd card and we'd BOTH be happy. Is that so hard to understand?!

          • Proioxix

            No it's no where near a reasonable assumption. It seems you have a problem with people from America. Well I'm not from America, so don't make assumptions about me. Cloud storage is adequate and works well for a lot of people. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how to use it. Sign up with a provider of your choosing, upload your files, download when necessary, no physical media to lose or hard drives failing on you, simple as can be.

            If HTC, Samsung et al. decided to add a stylus to every smartphone, some would welcome it, others wont. Does that mean those who don't want it should simply ignore it, no. It's something they won't use and definitely don't need in their device. In the modern smartphone, every centimeter counts.

            I have over 65GB worth of music, it's much easier for me to upload them to Google Music, and listen to them on the go. Not only can I access it from anywhere with an internet connection, it's also a backup of my library, and it's all FREE!

            If you want a phone with an SD card buy one, but don't come moaning because Google made changes to THEIR product. If they ever remove support for SD cards, I'm sure a developer somewhere will come up with a solution for those who need it.

            Reality is, companies will make changes that some people will like and others won't. At the end of the day you can make all the assumptions you want about why they made such decisions, it's still their decision.

            As a replacement for SD cards, cloud storage works well. In the long run it's better to use cloud storage than SD card. Your main argument seems to be that people who have limited internet access or none at all can't use cloud storage. Do you live in a bubble?

            The earth I live on, not everyone gets to enjoy the luxuries that others enjoy. It's a fact of life. Obviously it's not a good thing, but that's just how it is and will continue to be until we start to care for one another.

            SD cards have done their bit, now it's time to move on to something better. Is that so difficult to comprehend?

          • Michael Vieux

            "Not only can I access it from anywhere with an internet connection"

            As many comments have stated, an internet connection is not available to all.
            It has nothing to do with enjoying luxuries that others can't afford.
            I travel often, and believe me you can't access the internet everywhere.

            And assuming you could, what's wrong with keeping the things you want access to on your phone?

            Somewhere in the comments a statement was made that "It's Google's OS and they can do what they want"

            Yes they can take their ball and go home, that's their choice.
            But since the Pro-Con comments are about evenly split, why not program it in as an option. They programmed it out so it can't be to difficult

          • Aborto

            How the hell are you not able to understand this? There is not enough bandwidth for cloud storage to be an option in most of the world in the near future.

            I have a monthly cap of ONE GIGABYTE, I am not being cheap, I pay $90 a month for it, the largest mobile data cap I can get in this country is 2GB and it costs something like $200 a month!

            You think we are going to be given cheap unlimited 4G connections anytime soon here?

            Even if we do get unlimited mobile data I live in a sparsely populated, mountainous, rugged country with cell phone coverage to probably less than 20% of the land area.

            I like music when I drive, I play that music from my phone and if there's no bloody reception how does googles cloud bullshit help me in the slightest?

    • Pierre Gardin

      You do understand SD card support is not removed, don't you? They are just preventing apps from writing into other apps' data files, which is what Windows have done for, like, 30 years.

      • abobobilly

        The way things are progressing, i won't be surprised if its removed one day and some people will come out as 'Fine'.

      • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

        what version of Windows you are using? Seriously, how is app like btsync is supposed to work? It can sync say 64GB of my files with a remote server, and then I can only view those files but not modify/delete?

      • Zomby2D

        On what planet are you living? Because when I write an app on Windows, I can have it write to any file I want. (And the first ever version of Windows only came out 28 years ago)

    • hp420

      Here's how uneducated your comment is: manufacturers = OEMs. OEM is an acronym for "Original Electronics Manufacturer"

      • mesmorino

        You are a special kind of idiot, the one that doesn't know what the word "uneducated" means. You might be trolling, in which case you're stupid AND incompetent.

        And the fact that that is the only thing you could find in the entire two paragraphs to jump on is a sign of your blatant desperation to find something, anything to talk about.

        Fuck off back to the play room son, you have some skills to develop.

    • someone755

      I always said that, eversince ICS, and, to be honest, I love it.

      • mesmorino

        Well, I stand corrected. I guess one person did say that! :p

        • someone755

          Hey, 18 minutes have passed without a single dislike on any of my comments depicting my thoughts!

    • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

      This. ^

    • Android Developer

      but that has nothing to do with what the external storage (sd card or "internal" sd card) is about.
      they speak here about permissions.
      google changed it so that apps will stop polluting your external storage, so that after uninstallation you won't get any traces of the app.
      sure, this behavior existed before, but now it doesn't require a permission if the app promises to behave and only write to its designated folder.

      There are so many apps that put temporary folders on paths that the system will never remove by itself.
      Examples: WhatsApp, Waze, Zeptolab-games (like cut the rope), airdroid, widgetsoid, antutu, viber,...
      All leave junk folders and files even after you uninstall them.

      This has to stop. the sd card should be used for the end user. not for cache of apps that don't know where to put their files. it's like a jungle of files.
      that's the reason behind google's actions, and what this articles talks about.

      it doesn't talk about google wanting to disable external storage...

    • Frettfreak

      people PREFER more storage, not necessarily SD cards. If the storage access protocol will just make it so you can pick from any source WHO CARES!

  • deltatux

    I find it interesting how Google and Microsoft differs on the SD card issue. Google seems to want to get rid of them while Microsoft is actively making them better on their mobile OS... Interesting indeed.

    • Robert Mahon

      MS want people to use SD's as then they can hit up the make of the phone for licensing fees. And probably why Google's trying to get away from it (and avoid them on Nexus devices) so they, and their licensees don't have to pay the MS tax.

      • Tuấn Ankh

        Oh. I've never looked at it that way.

      • deltatux

        The licensing fees can be avoided by encouraging the use of the ext4 filesystem for file access or continue to use FAT32 which has no licensing requirements to use.

        • Taco Monster

          If it's ext4 formatted then Windows can't read it.

          • deltatux

            There are opensource ext3/4 drivers for Windows: http://www.ext2fsd.com/

            If Google's serious about SD Cards, they could easily contribute to such a project to avoid licensing. Unfortunately, it seems Google isn't. If licensing was the main deterrent, this would have been the preferred route.

        • Robert Mahon

          Would love the option of when first inserting the sd-card it offers to format it to ext4, but I'd imagine the later tech support issues of people not able to make their sd card work in their camera/computer would be a nightmare.
          And you don't need a license for FAT32?
          If I understand it, means you would in an Android Phone/device that can take pictures?

          • Sears

            I'm really against using FAT32 on sdcard. Its 4GB file size limitation is crap. Not to mention awful cluster size, which means lot of space wasted when you have thousand of small files. Thing got even worse when you have bigger sdcard size, like 64gb.

            I wish they give you choice when inserting sdcard, like formatting it to ext4 or fat32. Of course with appropriate warning that ext4 sdcard will not readable on some device.

            In my case, filesystem doesn't matter. I use encrypted sdcard, which means the sdcard only readable on my phone (htc), regardless of what filesystem it was formatted to. I can access the sdcard from PC through phone's mass storage mode only.

            I think MS did the same thing with their WP7, sdcard inserted to phone will be automatically formatted & encrypted for phone use only, so it won't be usable on other device except through phone usb connection.

  • gotluck

    So this is why google edition s4 users must root and apply a change to the platform.xml for 3rd party apps to gain write on sdcard

  • redmafia

    Meaning that apps won't be able to create random folders on the root of your SD, right? That's good. I'm sick of having to clean up all those empty, useless folders all the time. Program Files for Android.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yes, that's a positive side effect and a perfect example of using a nuke to eradicate a cute bunny infestation. Or something.

    • Michael Vieux

      No, that's not right.
      You are confusing what's listed as the SD card in your internal storage, with the Ext SD card which everyone else is talking about.

      Apps do not write or create random folders on the Ext SD card.
      These changes will not stop apps from creating random folders on the root of your internal SD card

  • Fry

    What's an sd card?
    - sent from nexus 5

  • Taco Monster

    One aspect that I was expecting to be mentioned was security and permissions systems: EXFAT is a proprietary system with poor permissions management. The sooner it dies, the better.

    • Me

      I got a 32 GB ext4 formatted sdcard in my CM10.2 Galaxy S3. No need to have stupid EXFAT for external storage.

  • Aborto

    This really upset me, Proper filesystem access is one of the best points of Android. While an IOS style filepicker is easier to use and good enough for most people it is nowhere near as useful for power users. This pretty much describes the direction I feel google is taking with android, constantly locking things down more and more.
    I no longer look forward to new versions, I just fear they will remove something I use.

    i live in New Zealand, a country with huge areas of no reception and monthly data caps around 1GB. SD cards are very important here and the day I cant buy an Android phone with at least 64GB internal or an SD card is the day I stop using Android.

    • dextersgenius

      Fellow Kiwi here, and I agree 100%. I dislike the way Google is forcing the cloud upon everyone, when data limits and coverage is patchy in many places around the world. Raw and full SD Card/filesystem access was one of the main things that attracted me to Android and it's something which I still see as an advantage Android has over iOS. Working with iOS (at work) is a pain and it's very obvious how limiting Apple's restrictions are. Eg even a simple and common task like saving an attachment from an email is a big task, often impossible. I think in a bid to make Android more secure cloud and user friendly, Google is displeasing the very crowd that adopted and spearheaded the spread of Android in its early days. If I were Google, I'd tread this path very, very carefully.

      • Aborto

        Exactly the way I feel. I was the first person I knew of to own an android phone, back in the HTC Magic 1.5 cupcake days but as it stands I am seriously hoping Jolla sailfish or Tizen takes off.

        The locking down of android, excessive pushing of cloud services, constant closure of less used google services and forced G+ integration when it isn't wanted makes me not trust google these days. I have stopped using most google services outside of Gmail and android and will leave them as well if better alternatives comes along.

        Google used to do what was best for the consumer, now that they have the market share they do what is best for google only.

      • taz89

        I'm all for the cloud but not until data isn't so expensive like now and data is available evryhwwere. I still go to places where I don't have 3g or 4g and without data the cloud is no use. Also right now I have 1.5gb of data a month and that's not enough to rely on cloud storage. Until we get truly unlimited data, the cloud is a good back up. Everything I chose Android for, seems to be what google wants to kill.

    • Stacey Liu

      They're not removing anything. You can still access the file system with a file manager from the Play Store. I don't think Android ever shipped with a file manager before, so it's really no different. There's a stock interface now for normal users. Power users do the same thing either way,

      • Aborto

        They are removing the ability to write to the SD card!
        How is that not removing anything?
        I don't dislike a file picker as a default option but they do seems to be trying their best to get rid of filesystem access entirely.

        I am a power user who has been using android since 1.5, it just doesn't feel like the OS is designed for users like me any more, they are going after the average user which is fair enough I guess but it's disappointing for someone who has been a user and supporter for years.

        • Taco Monster

          If what you got out of the article was that they are `removing the ability to write to the SD card!', I suggest that you reread it.

          • Aborto

            Taken directly from the article:
            Read (not write) for any public folder on the secondary (SD card) storage.

            What this means is that all third party apps can only write anything to the SD card in their own app folder. No editing and saving of files on the SD card. No deleting of files saved to the SD card. No file management of files on the SD card with programs like ES file explorer.

            Sure, I can remove the card and save files to it from a computer, and apps can read those files, but NONE of them can write to the card outside of their own folder (the IOS method).

            They are killing file management on the SD card. Fair enough, they are not killing writing to the SD card in theory, just in practice.

          • Taco Monster

            > What this means is that all third party apps can only write anything to the SD card in their own app folder. No editing and saving of files on the SD card. No deleting of files saved to the SD card. No file management of files on the SD card with programs like ES file explorer.

            Only the last assertion is true.

            Also, if you care so much about file management, you just have to root your phone. The reaction here seems rather over-dramatic.

          • Aborto

            If I save a bunch of photos to the SD card from my computer not one of the apps on my phone will be able to write to those files in any way, read sure, but unless I save them to the apps own directory they cant change those files.

            Your probably right about my reaction being a little over dramatic but this is more a case of the worst of a bunch of small changes and policies I haven't liked finally pissing me off enough to consider leaving the platform.

          • Taco Monster

            Yeah, I've never really used SD cards, so it's hard for me to understand the issue here. It's clear from the comments that it's made a lot of people unhappy.

            What's surprising to me is that Google managed to twist Samsung's arm into not undoing this change.

          • Michael Vieux

            ".you just have to root your phone. The reaction here seems rather over-dramatic."

            Except for the fact the Carrier will void any warranty or insurance you've paid for if you Root.

      • Zomby2D

        Except that your file manager will not be able to write anything to the SD card, except in the /filemanager folder, and that folder will get deleted if ever you uninstall said manager. Tell me again how they're not removing anything?

  • Stranger from a Far Coast

    Because competition is starting to heat up, and Android has to dig up old features they deemed unworthy which they were wrong and start re-implementing them...

  • cabbiebot

    Excellent post, I'm going to have to read this more than once so it all sinks in.

  • Chris

    I have a ton of music, I will always keep a device with an SD card slot for that simple reason.

  • EH101

    All I have to say is: the moment top-tier Android devices stop having sd cards (or stop allowing me to use them to their fullest) is the exact moment I'll stop buying or recommending Android devices. Hopefully, a good alternative OS/device with sd card support will be available by then.

    • dextersgenius

      Sailfish OS by Jolla is looking promising, with support for Android apps and even existing Android devices.

      • EH101

        Sailfish definitely looks neat and very "clean", but I'll have to try it and see if I'll be able to use a gesture-based OS. I already get annoyed just having to scroll around. Lol.

        I also wonder how difficult it would be with cases that extend outward from the face of the device around the edges. That might be easily negated by upping the sensitivity to edge gestures.

        • carl g

          As long as my android devices have usb host (otg) functionality, im certainly not worried about external storage issues. This feature has native to every android smartphone and tablet Ive ever owned.

    • dontpanicbobby

      That's why I left Windows Mobile when it changed to Windows Phone, No SD card support.

  • Telefunken

    So I can't use estrong to copy music to my sd card and play with a third party music player, and delete music using that player because the music belongs to estrong?

  • Andrew Hope

    To me, this just highlights & reaffirms what Google & Android really is...Compared to Apple & Microsoft, is not as bad, but it's still a dictatorship. We fanboys, geeks & power users like to kid ourselves with illusion that Android is equivalent of free, open source software like Linux for phones, but it ain't. Google & Android are just a necessary evil, rather than an ideal, & the more they become Apple like, the more I will seek & hope for an alternative.The progressive erosion of the fundamental principles & of the Android Open Source Project is testament to this.With each newer version, it seems something else is taken away & replaced by Google services. If only I could buy Hardware that could have software changed as easy as my pc...I don't want my shit in the cloud thanks so that I have to pay for it with you or anyone else Google, I want it as cheap as possible & in my secure physical possession...

    • Guest123

      IMHO this is also about google forcing people into staying with their built in "system apps" as they will be the only ones with the permissions to do what you really need to do, thus no getting away from living in google's garden. . . . unless you throw a custom ROM on your device that works properly.

      So. . . how's Ubuntu Touch coming along. . .

  • cooldoods

    Great timing on this article because I just ran across this issue with my Galaxy Note 3 running Kit Kat. My File Explorer is no longer able to copy a file from a network shared folder into my SD card (a 64GB microSDXC which I just bought specifically to hold media). Am I going to need to use a computer and Samsung Kies just to copy files into my SD card? The great attraction of Android to me is that it allows me to do things without needing a computer to do it. Suffice it to say that I am plenty ticked off by this change and is exactly the kind of thing that will eventually force me to change to a different platform. And I consider myself a huge Android fan. Boo, Google!

  • Andrew Hope

    Andrew Hope • 4 minutes ago −
    To me, this just highlights & reaffirms what Google & Android really is...Compared to Apple & Microsoft, is not as bad, but it's still a dictatorship. We fanboys, geeks & power users like to kid ourselves with illusion that Android is equivalent of free, open source software like Linux for phones, but it ain't. Google & Android are just a necessary evil, rather than an ideal, & the more they become Apple like, the more I will seek & hope for an alternative.The progressive erosion of the fundamental principles & of the Android Open Source Project is testament to this.With each newer version, it seems something else is taken away & replaced by Google services. If only I could buy Hardware that could have software changed as easy as my pc...I don't want my shit in the cloud thanks so that I have to pay for it with you or anyone else Google, I want it as cheap as possible & in my secure physical possession...

    • Pierre Gardin

      Oooooh cry me a river.
      FOSS is all about dictatorships, remember how linus called himself 'benevolent dictator for life'

      • Andrew Hope

        Please have a cool refreshing glass of "Go fuck yourself!"

  • Anfronie

    They need to start making 64+GB internal phones at a reasonable price then!

    • Aborto

      True, I would give up my SD card if 64-128GB phones were common. It seems to be getting worse though, google wants us to use their cloud storage and wont even make a high storage phone.

      • Guillaume

        When they start to acknowledge the need, someone will make them (I bet on the Chinese). We just need to voice our concerns louder and louder, eventually someone will hear.

  • Flameon

    Honestly people need to have a long hard look at how their phone works. SD Cards only add space for music and photos.... For real that's it. Google play music let's you put 20000 of your own songs on for free and listen anywhere. Dropbox and Google plus have auto back up for your photos. Plus the backed up photos stay in your gallery even if you delete them from your phone...... So what's the point of an SD card. The games and apps you download have NEVER been installed on the external SD card........ Like ever. Go have have a look. It says move to SD it means move to primary SD card the one that's already in your phone not the secondary SD card (external) it's very confusing for the end user hence why Google wants to get rid of SD Cards. The ability to move to SD meant if you have a 32gb phone you can download 32gb of apps where as before even if you had a 32gb phone and a 64gb SD card there was still a limit of about 4gb worth of app space

    • epicmau5time

      And the data usage? You speak like the entire world has wifi on the bus/train or has unlimited data plans

      • mesmorino

        He has a bad case of cultural myopia. I don't understand how people cannot understand and appreciate that a lot of the world simply does not have basic internet access, nevermind USEABLE internet access, and this before getting to whether or not those cloud "services" are even available at all.

        • sean

          Does it work during commutes and underground on subways or metros?

        • Michael Vieux

          Going to remember "cultural myopia" very descriptive response.

    • mesmorino

      So, what are the users who don't live in an area with Google Play Music supposed to do? Or the users who don't have data plans? Or the users who do have data plans but have a shit network? Or the users who live in a no-coverage area? Please explain how they are supposed to access Dropbox and all those magical Google services without an adequate internet connection?

      The world is not America, sunshine and even in America there are people who live in the boonies who don't have access to your ubiquitous superfast internet connection. And even people who do may want more storage for their own reasons, it is not up to you to make arbitrary assumptions about their needs and then come to nonsensical conclusions with your air of superiority

      "For real that's it"

      • Michael Vieux

        I thought everyone lived in Mountain View?
        You mean there's another world out there?
        A place without a Starbucks on every corner offering free Wi-Fi and charging outlets?
        A place without 5 full bars on your phone where ever you go?
        A place where everyone can afford massive data plans from their carrier?
        That must be the place beyond the Dome.
        You're dreaming crazy dreams man, there's no place like that.

        • mesmorino

          Haha soooomewherrrre over the rainbooow! :D

          • Michael Vieux

            Yours is an even more succinct response to the "Just use the Cloud" folks.

        • Aborto

          I have a view of a mountain, there's one starbucks here I know of and I have a MASSIVE one gigabyte data plan. Same thing right?
          I didn't know reception bars when to five, I thought three was good. Damn.

    • Aborto

      You people living in places where cloud services are a good solution are actually in the minority, I don't think you realize that. Most of the world has data caps for mobile connections on the order of a couple of gigabytes and/or patchy reception. If I drive the 4.5 hours from where i live to my parents house, 3.5 hours of that will be in mountains with zero reception.

      In New Zealand pretty much anyone with a smartphone has an SD card, I work for a electronics wholesaler so I can say the amount of cheap cards in the 32-64GB range I have sold to my friends very rather high. My data cap of 1GB is also one of the larger caps available here, I think 2GB it the highest you can get and it costs around $200 a month.

      YOU'RE in the minority and you seem to object to a feature the rest of the world needs and that you can just ignore, it doesn't inconvenience you to have an SD card slot, just don't use it!

      • Michael Vieux

        Thanks for a great rebuttal.
        To many people use their personal experience as example of how things are done, or should be done.
        Don't any of the people who say, "Just use the Cloud" travel , or fly?
        My guess they live in Mountain View, and ride bicycles every where. :)

    • Guillaume

      There are PLENTY of apps out there that allow you to move apps and games to the external SD card. The one I use is FolderMount, that allows to create virtual folders, located on the SD card, as if they were on the internal storage (using symbolic links). Your phone needs to be rooted of course, but why wouldn't it be? With that, anything can be moved to the SD card. Including big games of 1GB+ (I have about a dozen of these on my phone, along with 12GB of music and 8GB of photos for instance, plus a couple of seasons of the TV show I'm currently watching). I want to be able to access them even when offline, so cloud storage is not an option (although it complements it nicely for backup)

      • Michael Vieux

        Until this update my Samsungs would let you install apps to Ext storage.

  • hp420

    All this fuss about SD cards...I've had many androids, and for about the last 3 years I've had no SD card in all but one of them. 16gb is getting progressively smaller, but I think 32gb is really plenty. If handset manufacturers would start offering 32/64gb models at FAIR prices, there is honestly little need for an SD card. Let's all be honest here...those of you who do have removable storage: how often do you actually remove it? Realistically. The same argument can be made for a removable battery. People moan and complain about not being able to take it out when they want....when was the lat time you did that? And to hard-reset doesn't count, because if it's not removable you hold the power button to get the same effect. I understand why, having both of these in my current device, Google has opted to go toward this design. It's a far more seamless, unified experience. Internal storage is far faster, and in my personal experience, far less prone to file corruption and stability issues. I remember when I did have an SD card I had to wait about 2 minutes for it to mount after a reboot. Granted, that was back in GB days, but I also had a GB device with internal storage and no SD card, and I never once waited for any storage to mount after a reboot. I hope more manufacturers start offering devices that fall in line with this model. More people will see the benefit of having it this way, I think. Especially the people who are more power users.

    • epicmau5time

      Remove it when swapping phones. Saves me about 2 hours or work

    • Aborto

      You are right, if they offered enough storage for a fair price it wouldnt be much of a problem, generally you dont swap the card, ever.

      The problem is that they dont offer enough storage, not even close, and an SD card is the only option.
      I wouldn't care about an SD card if I could buy a 128GB phone, but even 64GB isnt an option for most models.

    • Michael Vieux

      You are stating your experience as though it's the only way to use a phone.
      This is something many people write comments do.

      1- I've never waited 2 minutes for my SD card to mount. Even if it did how many times a day do you reboot for this to be a problem?
      2- Your assumption that the only reason someone would remove the battery would be to reboot. I know people who have to carry multiple batteries so they can use their phone through out the day. Not everyone sits in an office or car for work.

      This is only a benefit if the manufacturers offered phones with 64-128gb at a fair price.
      They don't and probably won't.

  • Bryan

    The sooner sdcards die the better, we need more internal storage not external.

  • mike

    The big 4's infrastructure is no where close to being able to support this presumable forcing of the hand. Cloud and streaming services are great, in theory, but are useless if you don't have a connection. ExtSD is the first requirement for me, because I drive truck, and 20 minutes out of the city, half the apps/services on my phone are useless. All my music, podcasts and movies are downloaded to external.

  • Giorgis

    Google is doing the right thing. It enforces security for a reason. Do you want any app to be able to access any other apps file ? If you want to edit a photo, that is fine. Save the edited photo in your own directory. When you retrieve the photos, you know what is original and what is edited. Power users want to be able to edit everything, that is possible as well, fork your own Android (Cyanogenmod) or just root it. Google lets you do whatever you want, it gives you the whole source almost the day it releases. It holds your hand if you don't know what you are doing and it puts the keys under the mat for those that do or want to.

    • sean

      How is it different than being on the same internal storage?

  • cooldoods

    For now, my workaround for copying files from my network shared folder is to use FX File Explorer to copy the files into my built-in storage and then use Samsung's My Files file manager to move the files into my SD card. It's cumbersome, requires enough available space on your built-in storage, and takes twice the time but it works. I just wish Samsung comes out with a new file manager that can connect to network drives, or add a hack for this.

  • joser116

    I actually like this change. I hate having to constantly clean up my SD Card for folders than an app left over after I uninstall it.

  • Paul Tobeck

    Makes that SD slot rumor for the HTC M8 seem a whole lot less useful.

  • http://rayshq.com/ Ray

    I don't think Google should be trying to make the sd-card redundant as I can see a lot of really good reasons why someone might want one.

    That being said, personally I'd much prefer not to have an sd-card and have managed (just) on the G Nexus and Nexus 4, and doing quite well on the Nexus 5. A 64Gb option would be nice though.

  • jeremias

    This is what happened to me as i updated my Note 3 to KitKat trough OTA update. I used to watch movies from my phone and i used an app on my phone to download subtitles. Well, now that app doesn't work anymore unless I decide to save all of my clips to on the internal storage. It feels that i can't do anything with my 32gb sd-card as my applications don't get access to it.

    There is a solution to this problem though, simply get a root access to the phone and change the permission.. But the thing is that Note 3 with kitkat cannot be rooted without voiding the warranty because of KNOX. Im quite frustrated with this and i think i will end up rooting my phone.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Why manufacturers won't solder a second flash chip int their phones - slow, unreliable, and 128Gb on size?
    The only reason why internal memory is so expensive is because it's fast and can endure lot of write cycles, but you don't need that for media files.

    • Guillaume

      This. I'd buy any phone that has a 128GB storage built-in.

  • Aborto

    The obvious simple solution here would be for google to put a check box in the security options like the unknown sources box. Leave this stupid change on by default and allow an easy "let me use the SD card I paid for" option.

    I don't expect they will as I believe this is more about pushing cloud services than any security or usability issue.

  • mikegonzalez2k

    When manufacturers like Samsung only provide users with a basic 16GB internal storage, SD cards are necessary. If we are going to move away from using SD cards then ALL manufactures have to stop being cheap asses and give use the storage capacity that we need. There is no reason why we shouldn't have 128GB internal storage.

  • Rafael Eduardo Gomez Barrios

    As long as you are in an area with fast internet access, cloud sounds great (to me, sounds the best). Just get yourself in an airplane outside your city/country meaning high roaming fee, or somewhere with poor coverage (Yes, this kind of places also exist in the world!!) and you can kiss your cloud bye bye.

  • Anotherworld

    Does this mean that PowerAmp won't access my ext SD CARD for music?

    • Aborto

      At this stage Poweramp will still be able to read and play your music from the SD card. This takes away the ability to write to those files. For example if you tried to edit the tags on some songs on the SD card you couldn't save the changes, you wont be able to use Photoshop to edit the photos without saving a duplicate copy to the internal storage.

  • Nottagrammernasi

    I have an S4 with a 64g card. I have about 10 free on it. Without that card, there's no way I could keep all my media, games and videos on my phone that I do. The card is why I switched from HTC to Samsung. I'll do it again if Samsung drops the micro SD slot.

    • Guillaume

      Same story for me

  • Lamm

    Google is slowly destroying android. I'm not upgrading from JB to KK.

    I guess GingerBread was the most power-user friendly android version ever.

    I want another OS, and a VM to run android apps, then google can go f*** themselves.

  • Fifth313ment

    Yeah this pisses me off. I bought my phone simply for the SD and removable battery support (Note 3) and Google (the open system entrepreneur) wants to stop both of them. I love Google although I don't like their far left agendas. I'm not saying that cloud storage is a far left agenda but doesn't it makes sense? Make users store all their files online so "they" can search them? I mean simply for the purpose of quick easy file success from anywhere... yeah right...

  • Stanley Chan

    Thats why Ive alway keep with my galaxy devices.
    U can always count on spare battery and external memory...

    And thats why Ive never update to a new android version before some time. Now that I know KiKat have a lot of issues. I still keep with my Jelly Ben with flash in my browser with webkit engine and everything working with no rrestrictions.

  • Barnassey

    I'm glad AndroidPolice picked this up. I tried tweeting you guys a few days ago.

    I think the article doesn't fully explain the bad scenarios for Android users.

    Music apps cannot edit tags on the SD card.
    Music apps cannot delete an unwanted song on the SD card.

    Photo apps cannot edit a photo on the SD card.
    Photo apps cannot delete a photo on the SD card.

    Sync apps cannot sync anywhere but in their own folder, where nothing
    else is. (Dropbox cannot keep a folder on your SD card in sync, neither
    can BitTorrent Sync)

    Uninstalling a sync application will remove everything it has downloaded to the SD card.
    Uninstalling an MP3 downloading app will remove any MP3s it has placed on the SD card.

    If you are on a Safari taking pictures, you cannot manage the SD card
    using Android. You'll need to take a full laptop, or not upgrade to

    If you have old MP3s, pictures or whatever on your SD card, you can never delete them, only reformat the SD card.

  • Anotherworld

    Guys I was reading the XDA forums and there is a fix for this..But you have to root your device and flash a custom ROM with R/W enabled for SD cards.

  • eebrah

    At risk of pissing people of, I have to point out that a MAJORITY of new Android devices are being bought in parts of the world with poor connectivity where Cloud storage is not really an option and where paying $100 more for the more spacious model is also not a palatable option.

    I love using my smart phone and tablet but have the data turned off to save battery life and money [ connectivity isn't cheap, relatively ] My only option has been to store my frequently used documents and media files on SD cards, allowing me to move them from tablet to phone to computer and vice versa with minimal hustle.

    I do not mind that google do not "like" SD cards but I do mind them making android less capable of using them, to the point now of it being an major annoyance. Yes the "cloud" options exist but I cannot use them and not being able to manage my files from the android device itself is a deal-breaker for me.

    I can only hope that custom ROM modders keep SD cards working or that other mobile OSes become available to me [ without having to purchase new devices ] but people need to get rid of this "I have plenty of space and if not use the cloud" mentality. I hope other android users in my situation finally get the memo to google, we use their stuff too, they should not make it unusable for us.

    • Skay

      Don't worry you're not pissing any people, it's Google that pissing lot of people with awful decision.

  • taz89

    So does this mean that I can't just put any media on my sd card and expect to play it on my phone. Also does this mean example my s4 when taking pictures and I have it set to save to sd card automatically I won't be able to access them photos outside the device. Honestly why Google is doing its best to eliminate sd card, this excuse that it's confusing is a joke. It's not like you have to use it, it's not hurting anyone by the option being there and those who use it clearly know how to use it. Most people will buy just 1 sd card and leave it in there. This idea that people have lots of sd cards and will be swapping them out everyday are probably very little few people. Considering the route google is going which is the apple route I should have probably just stayed with Apple. The reason I left ios for Android was because Android was everything ios wasn't but it seems like eventually they just going to become the same. They basically trying to force people away from sd card by making the use of it harder. If they thought it's too confusing they should be making it "easier" to use instead they just putting more and more obstacles in the way so it's google who's making the use of sd card confusing.

  • Alphajoe

    Thanks for the great article. However, I would disagree with the following:

    "It’s also important to notice the last sentence, because it says data written to any private folder will be erased when the app is uninstalled. This means that common apps like alternative cameras, image editors, and GPS loggers probably shouldn’t store data in these folders because it will all be erased if you uninstall them for any reason."

    As far as I understand Google's guidelines, this only ensures the system actually _can_ clean up files at uninstallation - which I consider as a good thing. After a while of installing and uninstalling Apps, there tend to be many folders with random leftovers. Now a tech-aware user might match the package file names with the Apps and manually remove what he doesn't like. For most of the users this will however be something to never do. It shouldn't be a problem for the system to ask the user, whether he wants to completely erase any user data or not. After all, I think it's something Android is lacking as of now and will improve things.

    TL;DR: "system can erase" =/= "system will erase".

  • Reg Joo

    When you're in the sticks, far away from civilization, no such luck with connecting to anything, no signal, no cloud, you'll wish you had a sd card. "Where am I? Maps is useless, cause I didn't save anything to sd,damm, forgot I don't have that!" Being like apple is not the way to go, google! No connection, no cloud, expensive paperweight.

    • Imparus

      Or you know you could use external storage and now be limit by 128gb sd cards.

      using example it could also go like this. I'm in some other city where there is 3g, but I don't want to use it, since I have a SD-card, but it turns out I putted my newest music and movies on some other SD-card well fuck.

      • Aborto

        That's one of the most illogical arguments for getting rid of SD cards I have ever seen. Did you read it before posting?
        You think they are bad because you might have the wrong SD card in your phone? or am I reading that nonsense incorrectly?

        Most people who use SD cards buy the size they need, install it and never take it out again. I have a 16GB phone and a 64GB SD card, if I could have brought a 64GB or 128GB phone I would just have got that and not used the SD card but they are not available here.

        I have never met a person who carries around a stack of SD cards for their phone, although I'm sure they exist.

        What if I was in another city with 3g and use it because google took away my SD card, and then I use up my 1GB monthly bandwidth cap and cant listen to a damn thing?

        • Imparus

          "Most people who use SD cards buy the size they need, install it and
          never take it out again. I have a 16GB phone and a 64GB SD card, if I
          could have brought a 64GB or 128GB phone I would just have got that and
          not used the SD card but they are not available here."

          Here is the thing, if you ask the samsung fanboys if they would be happy if their phone had 128GB instead of a SD-card slot they still want the SD-card, I find this as illogical as you do, but this seem to be the opinion of a lot of sd card user, or at least those people are the most vocal ones.

          "I have never met a person who carries around a stack of SD cards for their phone, although I'm sure they exist."

          Yes it seem stupid, but people are using those kind of argument for stuff like removable batteries, because there are apparently people who does it and they keep saying that other OEM are falling, because they don't support something so niche.

          "What if I was in another city with 3g and use it because google took
          away my SD card, and then I use up my 1GB monthly bandwidth cap and cant
          listen to a damn thing?

          • Aborto

            1. I use all of my 1GB of data by the end of the month already without listening to music, there's no spare bandwidth to add music listening on top of that.

            2. Exactly my point, very little of the world has the option of large cheap data caps. I already pay $90 per month for that one gig cap, there are NO unlimited mobile data caps available in my country.

            I just checked and the largest cap I can buy is 4GB, it costs $170 per month. That is not a reasonable replacement for buying a one off 64GB SD card for $50.

          • Imparus

            Where do you live?

          • Aborto

            New Zealand, a fairly wealthy, well developed western country with a high standard of living. Its not just the third world where this is a problem. Look at Australia or Canada, both have far too much land to get good cell coverage over the whole country.

            Remember there are 270 million android users in China alone. Thats probably more than there are phone users in America and they sure as hell don't all have cheap high bandwidth data caps. Most of the world doesn't and wont any time soon.

          • Imparus

            I tried going through all the major carriers in new Zealand and can't find anyone who charge 90$ for 1GB per month, but they are pretty damn high, so are they being run in the same style as America carries?

            I'm not saying that SD-card should disappear, but having it in a flagship device seems a bit redundant, since they cater to the high end market not the low end, where SD-card fit well until the internal storage have fallen more in price.

          • Aborto

            Yes, they have got slightly better in the last year. I am still on a older plan that isn't offered any more and cant change for another couple of months. No we have a proper competitive market even if there's only a few carriers, the difference is that we only have a single undersea cable out of the country so international data charges are expensive. Its also very expensive to build a mobile network in such a rugged country so they use that as an excuse.

            Things are rapidly improving and data caps might not be an issue in a few more years but the limited reception wont go away anytime soon.

            I brought my Galaxy S3 within a month of its release and so did about 4 of my friends so I like my high end flagship phones, that doesn't make my need for an SD card any less.

          • Imparus

            Yeah the average speed in NZ is quite low

            pretty much all flagship comes with either a 32/64GB internal memory option, so there are option for those who want storage and we are probably gonna see higher number this year or at least the standard will be set higher. Samsung is also not the way to go if you care about space considering touchwiz stuff take up a lot of internal space so you only have half of your original 16gb internal space if you went with that tier, which then increase the need for SD-card.

            This also lead to the issue where samsung price the s4 32GB more expensive, than HTC one lowest storage option which is 32GB for first world countries, because they can use the SD-card slot as an excuse. This is also one of my main issue with SD-card, that they are holding the market back when it come to the max internal storage you can get in a phone and how much you have to pay for internal storage, the other is it being a pain to deal with SD-card as a developer :-/

  • hocestquisumus

    Yes, that was indeed a nasty surprise with KK. Google's war on SD cards continues - while the manufacturers continue to churn out 16 GB devices and charge monstrous premiums for a little bit more.

    No, Google. I won't stream movies over the 3G network when I'm on the road. Leave the SD cards alone!

  • EowynCarter

    When i fist got my nexus, i was annoyed at the lack of SD.
    Now, i'm getting along fine,didn't exploded as I though it would. (Despite the "only 16Gigas )

    But, if they want to push the "no SD", they should make sure phone have a descent storage, at affordable prices.

    Cloud, it would take ages to upload all my stuff, and you don't always have a working connection.

  • Matthias

    In principle, I like the idea of restricting write permissions for apps to the secondary external storage.

    Back on my HTC Desire, it was always the same: After a few weeks of use, the sd card was completely cluttered with 50-100 seemingly random folders, all created by different apps.
    Installed an app, didn't like it, uninstalled it .... right, that'll make an extra folder (or even multiple folders) on the sd card. Cleaning that up was always a pain in the ass.

    Restricting the app permissions to only write in their own subfolders within the "Android" folder definitely helps keeping the sd card clean. Sure, that's something the app developers should take care of by themselves. But so many just don't do it...

    I see the problems with the new restrictions, too. (For example, 3rd party camera apps as mentioned in the article...)

    Still, for me as an "average" end user, the way Google handles it now is actually an improvement.

  • http://galaxynote3tips.blogspot.com/ Martens Nkem

    There is really no way of saying that an external SD card is difficult to use without sounding like an idiot. I have used it for my years and to me it is the easiest way of moving my data whole whenever i switch devices i have all my photos from 2007 largely thanks to external memory cards.

  • Spiricore

    I was honestly unaware of any great debate about SD Cards until this article. Christ, some people have no concept of the future. I should preface by stating the garbage posted by Wesley Modderkolk is what prompted me to post here, because I've usually learned to stay out of it. Sheer ignorance and selfishness masked by anonymity is, very sadly, makes the world go round.

    Mobile data storage has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Inject new/modified data into system? Insert object A that fits into object B with (hopefully) designate label. Not enough storage? Insert empty object A into object B (which just so happen to fit perfectly... like an 8-Track or VHS or CD/DVD!) This s**t isn't new; if it's been around and a part of everyday life for nearly every person since portable media (film, record, cassette, cd, dvd and every thing in between) was introduced in... the date is flexible depending on when you consider to be 'valid', but at least the 18th century. Hell, even a recording device (rock? paper?) and a writing utensil as an address book, bucket list, or last locations I saw that mammoth herd.

    For me SD cards and storage media are as mandatory as an external monitor will be for any form of computational device, be it a calculator or Google Goggles. If my life were 100% surrounded by 100% stable, stream-capable data so I could enjoy an always-connected, little-to-no-lag environment where I could house my digital movie, picture, document, music, game, project, etc data regardless of my location, awesome! But I'm not, and I don't expect to be for a very long time. And until that day comes I will continue to have to rely on physical media storage to keep those things accessible to me when I want them, where I want them, and how I want them. Having to live in a major metropolitan area to even consider the possibility of no longer needing to carry around my music collection (which is currently around 28GB; yeah, some of us actually need some variety for personal/professional use such as DJ'ing) is not feasible. I cannot drive across town (Boise, Idaho) and not have Pandora buffer at least a dozen times on low stream quality and my S4 mounted for LOS to every satellite and broadcast tower in the hemisphere. I don't have portable wi-fi in my car because I drive a car older than three years old and the cost of at-home internet is expensive enough without attempting to take my portable life into consideration. The whole concept of portable technology is to have access to content without being "attached". Well, about 99.9% of the people I know still have to be attached in some form; the smallest and most convenient being storage media. I can plug my SD card into my computer, throw some music on it for the road trip or event I'm DJ'ing, a couple movies to keep the kids happy when they've earned it, and the data files for a few games, plug it back into my phone and I'm all set. The more storage I have available, the less moving I have to do.

    The idea (and experience) of having to delete something I use to make room for something I'd like to use makes me nauseous - and I am a fine specimen of someone organized and in control of what I need and don't need at any given time. The idea of that previous data now being gone because what I wanted wasn't what I expected sucks as much. And if there's one thing every single person on this planet with their finger in technology - large or small - knows, it's that data space requirements will continually grow and the power to fulfill those requirements will rise in tandem.

    I don't remember any children having a problem sticking a floppy disk into a floppy drive during computer class in the early 90s, and I've never met anyone alive who has a problem figuring out how to insert and play music off a cassette even in 2014. SD is no different; the technology has only evolved (as it has since inception) to become more capacitive in a smaller form factor. Just because you don't need/like having your (insert data type here) available to you when you need it - or your requirements are small - doesn't mean there aren't others that do. Get your ignorant opinions out of the equation and leave the rest of us who aren't content with mediocrity to discuss and choose.

    You don't want to play records? Fine, don't buy a f'ing record player. Me? I'm going to carry around both because I enjoy (and require) access to my content when I need it even if I have to come up with a new invention myself to do so.

    Choice. Heaven forbid we have it (and keep it).

    • Jack

      TL;DR get a life bro

  • Tito

    There is people who hate the sd cards, well then that kind of people should buy a phone without sdcard or buy one with it but simply don't use it.

    And as I we all know, most of people who want to have the option of using and sdcard. Then they will decide whether they use it or not.

    If we take this article as sample we can see that the comments with more positive votes are the ones that speak on favour of the option to have sdcards.
    We also should remember that some people buy one phone and not other because the sdcard feature, but I never saw someone saying "I'm not going to buy this phone because it has sdcard slot and although I never use the sdcard slot I don't like to have an small slot there".

    The cloud services are expensive and unreliable as has been proven with almost every service (NSA and passwords leaks). But still it's good to have the option to save your files in the cloud, but it's not good at all to be forced to do so.
    So please google stop trying to force us to use all your services and get our money spent in your cloud services.

    If they ever decide to remove the option to have sdcards on android phones or if they make it really difficult to use I won't hesitate to switch to WP. And I'm sure I won't be the only one doing it.

  • alamoe

    I think most people are like me: I don't care if a phone has external storage or not, as long as the internal storage is at least 32GB.

  • Obama’s_Tranny_Wife

    They probably want to remove SD cards so they can sell people 8 or 16gb phones that have the OS taking up a good 2-4gb of that space, and then you have to use Cloud services and that helps Verizon and ATT and others who rape you for data charges and they can profit from you using the cloud.

  • Zmaku

    It's obvious Google is pushing its cloud and want all the control over your files by making excuses about user experience and better file management. Maybe the user experience will be a bit easier but thats also possible without restrictions they are doing more and more. I'm not buying it. This is bad. And rooting won't help if most of the apps are made in such way which comply with new android permissions. Android already has 9/10 off the worlds mobile market share so I guess its time for Google to slowly close few remaining doors of free choices for users.

  • Pierre Gardin

    "It’s definitely unfriendly toward many power users, if for no other reason than it the extra hurdles it adds to simple tasks like making backups or cleaning up old files."

    With read-only permission, an app can still backup another app's data.
    And it's not supposed to "clean" other app's "old files".

  • over

    They start restricting it I stop using it. Very simple. This happened for Somesong, Now with this move it's time for another mobile OS. Android is over and out

  • plaisthos

    Samsung has not much choice. This stuff is probably written in the Android CTS.

  • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

    We all know that 640KB should be enough for everyone

  • firesoul453

    not being able to write to external storage is unacceptable!

  • firesoul453

    If google wants us to stop using sd cards then increase default storage to something like 64gbs. and the upgrade 128gb I find it hard to believe it is as expensive as the other companies would like you to believe.

    • Matthew Fry

      Yeah you gotta love that they are in one hand limiting SD usefulness and in the other, still offering a 16GB Nexus 5.

    • TejasEric

      If Google eliminates SD cards completely and doesn't increase storage to MINIMUM 64gb then it'll really make me consider moving to another operating system. I really hate that google won't adopt the SD card and just handle it in a way that fits what the users want and what they want also. After all it SHOULD be about the consumer. But we all know it's not.

  • Matthew Fry

    I haven't gotten around to putting an SD card in my Note 3. Guess I shouldn't bother.

  • kaoruAngel

    Dude, I read your article's explanation for my own knowledge and... there is no reason for this to be seen as anything but a positive. It is simply a seriously late fix to the security model's lack of design with regard to external storage (apparently, according to your article, some of the delay in the delivery of this security hole patch was because it was being delayed by OEM's to give developers more time to upgrade and adjust their apps).

    On any other day of the week, a news writer like yourself might find their self writing a revealing expose on how our security is at risk because of the lacking trust model inherent in Android's treatment of external storage, explaining to the readership that: due to a lack of consideration of external storage by Android's [now previous] security model, some 90% of an average user's apps have global access to any of his stored photos, SMS backups, intellectual property / sensitive documents, etc. and that the most interesting parts of all of our SD cards could very well be cloned to, say, 30 different app-developer's computers at this moment. The hypothetical news article would explain that the amount of granted power just listed wouldn't necessarily be by design, but that because of the all-encompassing Uber-broad strokes Android's [previous] model gave people to work with, in order for an app to enable some of the most basic functionality (SD card access), apps were required to either possess all of that access or none at all, bringing us back to the pre-sandbox'd dark ages and essentially making the entire nicely-presented, confidence-boosting app-based permissions model song and dance just an illusion for users that wanted to actually use their external storage for anything (as, for mostly any app to be useful, it needs network access, and for any app to store anything on your SD card, it also needed to be able to read, analyze, clone and/or secretly make  adjustments to absolutely anything you dared store on that card).

    For one to not just live under an illusion of security under the previous programming, currently one is forced be EXTREMELY careful, anal, and somewhat technically-minded to actually protect their data on any device that has and uses external storage. (I don't have time to explain it's implications, but for an example of the types of painstaking considerations you'd actually have to be taking into account and dealing with under the current/previous system look at the extremely limited path available for someone to perform an OTA update of a third-party ROM without risking getting their entire Android OS secretly hijacked by just about any app they have installed on their system: http://goo.gl/IjI05l , sections 'COMPATIBILITY' and 'SECURITY').

    If I ran a search, I wouldn't be surprised to find an old article complaining about that here at Android Police, my favorite Android news source. They fix it, and you write to complain about the fix?

    Moving on, though:
    I've written spent enough time writing already, but as far as I can tell, just about none of the negative experiences you doomingly present in your article need to happen.
    Also, the intelligent and researched tone your article is written in would have me assume that you know that. As an example, one of the paragraphs you excerpted from the very documents that teach developers how to save to storage actually reads more completely as follows:
    """When the user uninstalls your application, this directory and all its contents are deleted. Also, the system media scanner does not read files in these directories, so they are not accessible from the MediaStore content provider. As such, you should not use these directories for media that ultimately belongs to the user, such as photos captured or edited with your app, or music the user has purchased with your app—those files should be saved in the public directories."""

    It seems clear that you've read that (IIRC, you quote the first quarter of that paragraph, verbatim) and all the related documents I don't have time to list that would make it clear to anyone of intelligence how to go about things - so why do instead choose to hype it up to the contrary when everything you mentioned appears to have a way of being handled?

    • kaoruAngel

      Note: although I have programming skills, Android is not as of this second a platform I program on. a cursory glance through the related materials seemed to easily and simply confirm the common-sense assumption that everything you list are non-issues. if there's something I'm somehow not seeing, just let me know.

  • rickneworleansla

    Pictures and a few videos from a recent one week vacation used up 7gb on my phone. That is with a 8mp camera with mp going up every year. Add another week of vacation or a few large games or some music and I would be above the limit of internal storage. My 64gb sd card keeps me from having to carry a laptop on trips to offload data.

  • fractious3

    As a power-user who loves my "clumps of data loosely organized by a mess of folders", I would stop using Android altogether if it no longer supported a filesystem. The filesystem (and my full control over it) is the main reason I choose android over either iOS or Windows Phone. Not sure I really care about the SD card issue (as root allows access to it for me anyways), but if they want to dumb down Android in the way of iOS/WP it would be a sad day indeed.

  • Marc Edwards

    The free access to their specific folder sounds like a good idea... Beyond that, thankfully cyanogenmod will hopefully continue to fix Google's fuck ups

  • esper256

    Why is everyone reacting as if SD card support is going away? It's just not going to be a free-for-all mess anymore. If you are micromanaging directory structures from an Android device you are doing it wrong but using expandable/removable storage is still fine.

    • Aborto

      You are right, they are not going away. But I suspect this is more a case of everyone's anger at googles constant war against SD cards. They are doing their best to remove them or make them significantly less useful. At least that is the case with me.

      The silly thing is that currently there is not a single app writing to my SD card except programs I specifically directed there. There is NO free-for-all mess, all the mess is in the root of internal storage and this wont do anything to change that.

      Since internal storage was named SDCARD and the SD card was renamed to something else entirely all my apps dump their data all over the internal storage and the SD card is the one place on my phone where everything is perfectly organized, google is breaking useful functionality for a problem that doesn't exist any more.

      • esper256

        If I had to hazard a guess, this might be the trial run for getting a smaller subset of apps and developers prepped for this kind of change, work through the bugs, get more apps using the SAF, to make it safe to roll this change to all storage.

        And on the other hand, if this cuts down on security/privacy issues, and improves UX dealing with SD card, then I think the perceived "war on SD card" will end. Because it's not a war on sd card, it's a war on bad UX. Maybe we'll see a Nexus phone with under the battery SD card in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/shamus_carter james kendall

    That SUCKS. by the sounds of it Google is giving file managers the big fu.

  • MM

    This makes me so frustrated. I switched from iOS to Android (even though I slightly preferred iOS for its low-latency music capability and integration) to get more openness and customizability, and the ability to save to an external card.

    Now Android is just becoming the worst of both worlds. If it's going to be a walled garden anyway, why not go with the nicer one...

    • kaoruAngel

      You're saying you switched to a phone with an SD card slot and you can't save to an SD card?

      Or are you just buying into this newswriter's seemingly misguided implications?

      • Aborto

        The implications are pretty bad if you are a regular user of the SD card. This is a very Apple like move.

        * You download an attachment from an email, you can no longer save that to the SD card.
        * You open a picture in photoshop and edit it, you can no longer save it to the SD card.
        * You run out of internal storage space, you can no longer use a file manager to move files to the SD card.
        * You have a music player that can download album art and edit ID3 tags, it can no longer edit your files or save the art to the music folder.

        You will now have to plug the phone into a computer to do any basic file management on the SD card, this was one of the primary strengths of android, the ability to work without being tied to a computer.

        Meanwhile all your apps will continue to save shit all over your internal storage without any limitation, and this is the thing google is claiming they are trying to stop. The truth is they just don't like SD cards.

  • mldi

    I don't really see what the big deal is. You were already supposed to interact with shared multimedia (such as photos) via intents. All this does is secure things down.

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

    new plan was formed to make the experience as elegant as possible by hiding the filesystem from users.

    If this comes to fruition I might just fully switch to Windows Phone. An non-root exposed hierarchy is one of the reasons I stick with Android.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    The one thing I miss on the Nexus 5 is the SD card (well, removable battery, too, but I've found ways around that).

    For me, the ability to add an SD card completely negates the need for any type of additional music player. The lack of an SD card means I need an additional music player.

    This is frustratingly unnecessary to me. I realize Google wants us to live in their cloud, but carriers clearly do not (read: data caps and throttling). In a world where everyone has unlimited 3/4G, SD cards aren't needed. But we don't live in that world, and this is disappointing.

  • Fellwalker

    I've got a nexus 5. Had it been more expensive, I'd have got a different phone, with removable storage. If have liked an HTC One, but that is stuck without removable storage, unlike my previous HTC HD2.
    At the price, I can live without having any music, but I'm beginning to find that maps and photo storage are eating into my available space. On my nexus 4,only 8gb, I had to delete content and apps regularly.
    I'm in the UK, and however much I paid for a contract, I cannot get reliable 3G. Over half the time I'm lucky if I get phone.
    Looking ahead, I'll not get another restricted phone like this,. I just wish I'd got my Ubuntu edge phone - why didn't more back it? Hopefully Ubuntu phone will replace Android as the power users system.

  • john

    Paid Google 'reputation managers' are active in this discussion.
    -'nothing to see here'
    -'what's the problem?'
    -'Sdcards confuse users'
    -'only dirty pirates want to write to sdcards'
    ''the future is the cloud'
    'Google knows best'
    'Google only has the users best interests at heart'
    'proper file systems are BAD, and the future lies with semantic, app-centric, associated file systems, like those that cursed the early PDAs using Palm an the like'
    'Having Android automatically 'clear up' files used by apps is more important than the user being able to keep app created data, when the app is deleted'.

    You'll know a paid shill when they never stop responding, dominating the thread with nonsense that ignores whatever points those needing proper sdcard functionality raise. Google personnel are very crude and unsubtle when blitzing conversations like this.

  • Robert Castles

    This "apps own files" paradigm is terrible. It makes it extremely difficult for apps like Synology ds file to function properly. On Apple , it creates scenarios of extreme bloat due to duplication of files, e.g. iPhoto. There's always ubuntu mobile, I guess.

  • Skyler

    This is ridiculous, nothing more than a push for google drive. Yeah I want to put my private files on a companies server whose only desire is to make money. Glad I havent upgraded.

    - cloud cannot be accessed.everywhere
    - data is less secure and the storage company is likely not liable for security bugs or hacks that result in data loss.
    - I like owning my storage not renting it, these companies can raise their prices and hold your data hostage if they wanted to.
    - some companies claim that they own.what you.stow on their server.
    - local storage is still way faster and more reliable than cloud.

    I swear if morons take this crap and allow these companies to do what they want to do we are in serious trouble.

    We will be paying 50 a month for 100gb of space with limits of when you can access your data and hell maybe theyll charge you for how much you transfer every month too! Its not like wireless carriers arent robbing americans it looks like tech companies are trying to jump in as well.

    Microsoft for instance has their skydrive as the DEFAULT save spot for documents. I mean you've got to be kidding me.

  • James

    My Galaxy Note 3 on Sprint just received an update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat recently, and I noticed problems copying files between my computer and phone over WiFi using ES File Explorer. Since this only started after the OS update, I looked for info, and sure enough, I come across posts like this saying Google has altered how apps can interact with external memory cards. This stinks. Having to use a USB cable to connect my phone to my computer every time I want to copy files between them is a pain. Using an app to do it over WiFi was much more convenient. Does anyone know of an app or other way of doing such file copying now that Google's changed the rules? Thanks.

  • Robert Littler

    Run into this problem today when my tablet, A Tegra Note 7 updated, broke most of my apps, they seem to have disabled fastboot too, so no way to root and change permissions.

    I finally reached a point last year where I felt a tablet could stand on it's own, so I sold my laptop and purchased a tablet for content consumption while away from home. I now find that I need to hook it up to a PC to modify my media library, so I come full circle, I think the easiest solution is to sell my Android tablet and buy a Windows 8.1 tablet, no need to root to do something as basic as access an external drive.

    Android has committed suicide as far as I'm concerned.

  • KoRRo

    ok, i just can't understand most of the complains. google is not blocking sd cards, they are just changing the way android and applications handles it.
    most of you are saying the most of the times cloud is not a viable way. ok, i agree, but no one is forcing you to use it for all your files.
    you need a big sd card to keep all your music files? what's the problem? you can still use it, you just need to use your pc to sync. how many times per month do you change it? is it really such a big deal? you can't edit tags? really? why the hell should you edit the tags from your phone?! also every app can do whatever it wants it his folder on the sd card. many players can sync to your pc so the player itself can handle all the music in every way, sync, delete, edit, everything... if you use google play music you can upload all your music to the cloud and every time you access a wifi you can choose what to keep on your device, without using a computer. you are on the run and you need some space? you can delete some songs from the app itself and re-download them as soon as you connect to a wifi.
    the same thing applies to videos and most of the other contents.
    games? what is the problem with games? you can have all the games you want, they doesn't need to acces all the sd card!

  • rob

    If they want to get rid of SD cards that is fine but I want at least 128gb on the phone and some free cloud service or unlimited on Google+

  • Rob Taylor

    Easy.. dont upgrade what's the problem?

  • ryan

    Does this mean that stock apps such as my video and music player on my Samsung devices will not be able to access my movies and music files stored on my sd card?

  • Owl

    I changed to android because of the sd card. I used to have an mp3 player as well as a non-smart phone. My Android phone is also my mp3 player, my camera & video camera. I don't want to have to store all my music, photos & videos on a cloud. Google needs to leave us with both options available without forcing us to use the cloud. It's in such bad taste to do that, I'd personally go back to an mp3 player before being pushed to using cloud storage. Personally I doubt this is an original grievance & many more will feel the same way. Bad Google.

  • zoe rich

    Thanks for the informative article explaining the direction Google is headed for external sdcard access. I prefer external SDcard over cloud. I also root so presently Google's direction does not pose a problem for me.

  • Telefunken


  • Cenobite

    I have a Note 3. I just updated to 4.4 from 4.3 and yes Samsung has implemented the SD restriction in this update/version of the OS! 3rd party apps can no longer write to the SD card! Big problem since i cant use ES File Explorer and other apps which use the SD card anymore. Gues i have to root it, wich i hope it can be done without tripping KNOX!

    • mobilemann

      i'm jealous. I'm probably going to have to wait even longer to get the 4.4. update from AT&T because of this nonsense.

  • Mustafa Hakimuddin

    Google is slowly becoming the new apple

  • Mustafa Hakimuddin

    In a bad way

  • BrendEM

    No, you are forbidden from using Tablets and Phones for Anything Useful!

    No, no, no! Just buy our cloud service, so you can pay for the same thing you are doing for free now!

    BTW, external storage, and the bit of autonomous computing was the one clear advantage of android over ios, might as well banish it.


    I am so tired of seeing otherwise powerful computing devices being relegated to pacifiers to the masses. What a waste.

    We are being driven into the computer dark ages where people are being taught to not organize their data, that applications are more important than what we create from of them.

    "Shut up and buy! Spend more money..." James Maynard, Tool

  • Sigma
  • Mattya1989

    I use my SD Card for music, will this affect Poweramp from accessing the files?

    • sounder

      Poweramp works just fine. ;)

      • Mattya1989

        Glad to hear as I will be picking up a S5 in a couple of weeks. Thanks

  • Liam Phoenix

    I get a kick out of them blaming it on messy apps leaving junk all over the card.

    Have they looked at their internal directory structure? There is none. Nothing writes where it should on internal storage and digging through all that mess is a pain.

    On external storage everything is organized exactly how I want it. Easy to find things, easy to clean up the card, and easy to share files between apps.

    Well... it was.

    Now, not only can I not use my file manager, my download manager, my music/photo/video editors, etc., but if apps start making their own folders like they do on internal it will me a horrible mess there too.

    I have eight 64GB cards in my wallet, I tend to swap them for apps, my music/photos and videos/movies/PDFs/backups/disk images/etc. All of them have their own card. Heck, I even have a special one for my kid's cartoons.

    This decision is iOS stupid, and unless they make a way to access/edit/move/delete files without tripping the e-fuse by rooting the thing, well a dumb phone is starting to look like a good idea. Who knows, maybe Microsoft will work on WP and it'll stop sucking while Google is busy making Android as Apple-y as they can, I sure wouldn't even hope for iOS to stop sucking.

  • fuckyougoogle

    fuckin google. either give us 64GB or 128GB of storage on the bloody phones or fuckin make SD slot mandatory. ppl want options for data not just cloud fuckin based storage. not everyone has access to wifi all day long and most of these greedy damn cell phone companies want a mortgage payment for the shitty amount of data you get. ppl have shitty shitty cell phone data plans, you cannot be passing huge amounts of data to this cloud crap over cell radio's costs way to much and ppl don't have the data to do it. fuck off google. I hope ppl start walking from ur shitty russian style governing. fuck you!

  • Mel

    Is Google EVER going to consider the opinions of the customers they are dealing with? The new interface is ugly for one. Secondly, I don't see the point of zooming into my music cover with my lock screen when I can't pull down the music list anymore and have no choice but to rely on the skip button. Thirdly, THEY FUCKED UP one of my all time favourite apps just because I don't use my S4's internal storage. If I did, my phone memory cannot take it (16GB is much too little)! I thought Google employs geniuses? People who are talents? People who got through rounds of grueling interviews? What the hell is wrong with them!?

    Anyway, pardon the rant. I'm no expert. Just experienced difficulties with the new update that has pissed me off to no ends today. Any idea how I can solve this SD card issue without going about the royally pain-in-the-ass way of rebooting my entire phone system?

    • Ricardo Ca

      I agree with you! I hope Google listen to the costumers. That was a bad move. I will not update to 4.4 anytime soon.

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    sex desire due
    to low erraction.
    (11) if your menstruation refuse to come
    out the day it
    suppose or over flows.
    (12) if your work refuse to pay your, people
    owing you?.
    (13) solve a land issue and get it back.
    (14) Did your family Denny you of your
    (15) Let people obey my words and do my
    (16) Do you have a low sperm count?
    (17) bad lucks
    (18) people are jealous of you

  • Mike

    clumps of data loosely organized by a mess of folders

    Music to my ears. I guess we turn to alternative linux flavored devices, maybe another look at what ubuntu's phone plans are.

    • primalxconvoy

      The only time my folders have been a mess is on an android device. Even my PC arranged them better than the mess that is android. I especially love how android sends to dump most files and folders into the root directory, instead of "root/designated folder/insert your folder or file here".

      Anyway, does this mean that I can't copy/cut and paste/delete stuff anymore via a file browser in kitkat devices? That's kind of a big thing for me. I like knowing where stuff is.

  • paranoid

    Google just wants to phase out sd cards so that everyone can use cloud storage instead. That way it will be much easier to see everyones personal stuff with little effort.

  • Oscar

    But SDFIX solves the problem

  • qbi

    So, it's time to finally detach from Android. This is just too much.

    Perhaps Google should remember, they exist to serve their customers - not the other way around.

    Any opinions on Jolla and it's Sailfish?

  • Greg

    Google is getting like Apple- too cocky and a "you WILL have what WE give you attitude."
    My SD card(s) work well for me. So google can go to hell on a hand cart.
    Another thing I don't like is NON removable batteries in a phone- a fresh charged battery put into a hard worked phone COULD be the difference between life and death.
    Oh, and 32 GB should be the internal minimum storage- how much extra will that be to slot in at factory.

  • Nikonulous

    This is some serious fucking bullshit. I'm going to have to read it again, but I'm still not clear on whether 3rd party apps can have their own private folders on secondary storage. If that's the case, then fine, we all just proceed with the understanding that every camera app, music sync'er and productivity suite will become an island unto itself, with all of their content at risk of deletion upon deinstallation. Personally, I can see some value in making apps clean up after themselves on uninstall, but this is a pretty ham-fisted way to go about it. It flies in the face of every data centralization best practice I can think of.

    I'll bet a year's salary they kill the secondary storage read capabilities altogether within three OS updates. Then we'll be in the same shit soup as all those iFad users who have to buy a whole new device every time they run out of whatever pittance of storage Johnny Ive and Tim Cook soldered into it.

    Planned obsolescence was never so blatant.

  • chluke

    I choose android over apple because it was a more open system.

    This idea of moving everything to the cloud so google or the NSA has more control of your entire life is becoming a reality if it isnt already.

  • Zao

    Google's idea doesn't make sense at all. If it is about the user experience, why to distinguish between internal and external memory? Killing local memory is in the favor or carriers (data plans), cloud storage providers (customers and data) and phone manufacturer (insane lift up for a little bit more storage). All the rest is nonsense. A user who has no glue about external sd cards just won't use it or is baffled why he can't move a picture to the desired place. Users who care about their data and looking for none-cloud backup have to find a workaround, which is far more complicated and not user friendly at all.

  • Been There Done That

    One of the fuck ups of iOS is exactly this concept of An app owns it's files and nothing else. As the author says, it makes things like simple photo editing a fucking nightmare because who owns the photo? The camera? Some app? All the apps? Google? I loved android because it operated much like a computer, file system, any app could read any file (assuming the app was intended for that type of file).

    Today, on a new S5, I spent the better part of 2 hour dicking around trying to move photos from the internal SD card to the external card. No deal. Ok, I'll copy them, then delete them with quickpic. No deal. Ok so I'll plug in the USB cable to my PC THEN move them over.

    What I lost in 24 hours going from an s3 to an s5: F-Stop photo editing which allowed one to tag photos (real exif tags) which I would then sync (with cheetah sync) to my PC. Both of these stopped working because they cannot write anymore.

    Dropsync can no longer grab new photos from my phone and put them on a PC then remove them from the phone. I can't seem to delete them either EXCEPT with the crappy shit built in photo gallery.

    This is soooooo bad. For me now, the tide has flipped back to iOS being the less of two evils now. At least on iOS there's a company there trying to make something better. Ok, they failed for me with iTunes and whatnot.

    But google now? They're totally totally screwing up this operating system for absolutely no reason except some stupid ass thinking that we all want could based file storage and a chromebook in outrlaps.

    Actually we don't. Some of us wasnt the power we have on our laptops and PC's in our phones.

    Now we just lost that and Android is another sucky OS forcing us into some master plan at world advertising.

  • Danilo Viana

    SDCard support had major downsides for Android for the past couple of years.

    For starters because an app can write a file without the knowledge of the Media Scanner, you can save a song on your SDCard and lose half an hour trying to make the song appear in your favorite MP3 player.

    Second, because you can arbitrarily write a file, you NEED a Media Scanner on the first place, losing valuable CPU resources scanning the file system from time to time.

    Third, because of this same arbitrariety writing files, Android never had a good interface for searching your files. You had to download file explorers - relics of desktop operating systems.

    Also who remember when we had to unmount our sdcards so we could see the files on Windows? That's because sdcard used simple block level access to read the files and this method of access is not concurrent, so you can't have both Android and Windows reading and writing your files.

    Overall, sdcard support is cool and all, but nobody remembers or even notices the downsides of it's use as a main storage solution.

    • Brian Preble

      All of that is an issue with poor implementation; not a problem with external storage. Every computing device should have some sort of removable storage, with no exceptions. Those that don't are doomed to fail, because cloud storage has never been, and never will be, safe.

      No matter what measures Google, Dropbox, et al add to protect us from hackers, at the end of the day, those same companies can and do steal your data, or at least browse it to sell you cars and perfume.

      And of course, Android devices have little to no internal storage unless you use an SD card. Internal memory is full of bloatware, unless you're lucky enough to live in Korea -- the only country sensible enough to outlaw this practice.

  • Someone_asdf

    THe article is wrong.

    The camera app can still write to the SD card in it's private folder or the public area on internal freely (probably on public though, so uninstalling won't nuke SD)

    The media scanner will pick up the pictures across the whole SD card and internal memory and show them just fine.

    • didibus

      The folder and it's files will be deleted once the App is uninstalled though.

    • CoolRaoul

      According to the article, read access is limited to "*public*" folders.
      I'm afraid that a 3rd part camera app would only able to store it's files in it's *private* folder and thus others apps will be unable to read thoses file.

      Media scanner being a system (built-in) component, it doesnt' suffer from those limitations (the native gallery app would be ok too). But normal (installed) application should be unable to read camera private files.

  • Daniel Collins


  • lickmyassgoogle

    the solution guys SELL your SMARTPHONE and buy a cheap one. 1000% PEACE of MIND!!! ^^

  • Enote

    Congratulations, you broke a bunch of apps which allowed to manage MY SD Card. I want to store PICs where I want, on MY SD Card. Idiots! You've just made another jailed OS!

  • Quintus Maximus

    Winamp pro will sync playlists (you can import them from media player and iTunes) directly to the SD card. Plug your phone into the computer. Allow winamp to manage it as a media player and it will recognize both the phone and the sd card as separate devices. Sync playlists to SD card. It doesn't fix the camera issue though.

  • jones

    This sucks. Kitkat download sucks.. I'm so angry.. everything was cool way change things... If I wanted restrictions I would have iPhone! !

  • rskzazzle


    This is an OUTRAGE!!! I PAID FOR AND OWN MY OWN SD CARD. The SCUMBAGS AT GOOGLE apparently have no respect for private ownership, and in the GUISE of security, they have LOCKED me out of my own property!!!!


    I have filed complaints in the FTC for UNFAIR PRACTICES against Google, because in locking complete, unabated access of private SD cards, it forces users to start saving their private information in Google Drive, which Google mines for commercial purposes.

    The KitKat release is in every way, nothing more than a MALWARE release embedded in the OS!!!

    • Brian Preble

      I couldn't agree more, since this evil decision broke Plex, Camera Zoom FX, and lord knows what else. And to think, just a few days ago I was glad that my Galaxy Note 3 finally had the current OS ...

      • rskzazzle

        Most people see Google intentionally disabling SD cards as nothing more than a nuisance. It is much more than that at its core: what Google has just done, is to take away YOUR RIGHT TO ACCESS YOUR OWN PROPERTY!!

        Google's KitKat Malware Release is an AFFRONT TO PERSONAL RIGHTS! F*CK YOU GOOGLE!!!

        Please do not take this lying down; Google is expecting consumers to just let them run roughshod over users' privacy and rights. It's sad that probably because the majority of users worldwide live in places where individual rights are mostly non-existent that Google is able to get away with this.



  • Gonzalo Narbaiz

    Hello, I've recently bought a SDHC 4GB class 10 card... but my Galaxy S4 doesn't write or delete on it, it just read. But, on a SD Card 2 gb (not hc) it does write and whatever.
    Somebody has a clue on what could be the reason?
    I tested on a Razr I and had the same behavior.

    • rskzazzle

      Gonzalo - This is due to Google's KitKat release, which has a built-in MALWARE that Google calls a "security measure".

      The end effect:

      1. Your ability to have apps write your private into your own SD card will be severely curtailed.
      2. Google is trying to force you to save all your private data instead into one of Google's services, such as Google Drive.

      Why? Simple reason:

      Once your private data is stored in any of Google's services, YOU SURRENDER YOUR FULL OWNERSHIP OF YOUR PRIVATE DATA, as specified in the "Terms of Service".
      There, it's all spelled out in misleadingly simple, but legally-binding terms, such as: "Using our Services does not give you ownership of any intellectual property rights in our Services or the content you access." This means that Google will have full legal clearance to mine all your data, and sell it. For now, it's illegal for Google to directly use your individual data -- Google instead sells the generic data such as demographic information for your region, age, gender, race, nationality, etc. In addition, it sells data that, although demographic in nature, predicts which types of marketing techniques you are most vulnerable to, which health demographics you belong to (eg. if you are possibly overweight, likely to be sufferer of a chronic ailment, etc). Google is an expert on selling individual's data; this is what made them one of the most powerful firms in the planet. Google knows more about you than all of the US "secret" agencies combined.

      And they want to know more.

      • Gonzalo Narbaiz

        Hi! thanks for your time, but my issue is not the one you're refering to, what I'd like to know, if there is any known reason why android (kitkat or not) is behaving differently with an SD card and with an SDHC card. It allows to paste to and delete from one, and it doesn't in the other.

  • CoolRaoul

    Could someone explain what are "public folders" and what privilege is needed for an application to have as write access to a specific one.

    From the article, it seem that write access is possible only for *private* app folders, since "WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" gives only *read* acces to other folders.

    If this is true no app will even be able to create shareable content on the SDCARD (since it car write only in its private folder, which is not readeable by others apps)

  • ChicagoBob

    The reason the SD slot is there is because I WONT buy a phone without one. And many other users make the as a selection choice. Google is foolish and has broken a lot of trust by this move. The more I read about this the more I want to return my new phone S5 I just got yesterday. I had no idea this was an issue until I tried to download stuff from my NAS. Then I could not believe anyone would do this. Now I am just feeling STUPID for ever backing Google as an open OS.

  • Mike

    First, I lost the ability to access my network drives with Chromebook, now I can't write to my SD card in droid. Coincidence or are they going to next offer the ability to write to google drive from my phone apps... Seems underhanded to me (i.e. dumb user).

  • Anonymous

    Goodbye android tablets. Hello Surface Pro.

  • Sweet William

    If Android devices would format the sd card as ext4 and give the end user the ability to adjust file and network permissions. I would be tickled. I bought my S5 because it ran linux. Add a 128 GB sd card, keep 16 GB "internal" storage for app installs and settings or / of the device, and use 128 GB card as /home. Problem solved. If I need access to files from a computer do it any number of ways EXCEPT - taking off the case, removing the back, pulling the sd card, putting it in an adapter and inserting it into a computer. Security and permissions are the same on both 16GB "internal" and 128 GB "external" cards. The user maintains control of their property. Those not so technical will benefit from the "new" security. Those that are more technically inclined, would have more control over the device. Without the need to root it to get the desired functions and features.

  • LoRie

    Really don't like this development... one of the reasons I went with the Samsung tablet is that it is expandable. I don't want my music in the Cloud--unless Google is going to give me free WiFi access everywhere. Even then, a lot of good that does on a plane if it doesn't permit WiFi.
    Gotta give it to Jobs & Co: they started a 'my way or the hiway' trend that seems to be gaining continuing momentum in computing. Very frustrating for users who want to customize their experience...

  • vanghard

    The real reason is where google make profit on android : on play store : if you can let an apk (possibly programed by you ) read an open source book or movies in your environnement you not selling a product,
    example Sade (sorry i'm french so i use a french example) "la philosophie dans le boudoir", cost 9€ (more than 12$) for a book in F****ING PUBLIC DOMAIN. so you can read it LEGALLY on your tablet via an e-book reader, if you pick him on your sd cards from a FREE and LEGAL source.

    "Don't be evil " moto as been forget somewhere on the way.....

  • l0lh4xl0l

    Android just took the biggest step forward possible to becoming iOS with a different ui. Soon we won't be allowed home screen launchers, live wallpaper, applications from other sources, customization of our homescreen, widgets will be gone, sd cards will be gone and the only apps we can use will be made by google, samsung, htc, bell, telus, all pre installed on our phone and we wont be able to delete them. Social networks? Email? That'll be $1.59 at the app store of hell please.

  • sunil chandwani

    See it's we the mass people have made google popular not the handful power users. customization is sole key for this. As now google has taken that key of simplicity away away with kitkat update its time for us to bring google to ground. Let's pledge that we will not buy or update to kitkat ever and will discourage others also. let's prepare ourselves to change the platform to windows, IOS, FIREFOX, or blackberry. Let's see if google doesn't then the competitors must listen users. ATTENTION all Android competitors Kitkat has given you the opportunity . Support SD cards and grab this opportunity get the advantage. Best of luck.

  • Nannette

    I only recently updated to 4.4.2 and really miss the facility of being able to use my SD card and move things around. I'm upgrading this year's and won't buy Android.... there's no point because it forces you to just use the phone as storage, but as a graphics designer I really need the SD card!

    Obviously Google want to lose customers.

  • Psst

    I can see how this might make some sense IF there were no charge for streaming data and every Android device had 24*7 access to the 'cloud', but that completely ignores reality. Tablets are replacing schoolbooks. Many tablets are wifi only, notnall wifi is free public access, and data transfer is limited by internet isps Lock down Android so hacking root access is necessary will drive schools to using more expensive closed products frop crApple, not because it's better, but has a better recognised brand. Train kids from preschool up to drink crApple, and you severely limit Android from being anthing except an embedded appliance OS and Linux is cheaper for that.

    If I'd known of the anal protection scheme and extsd issues of Kitkat, I'd have bought a device with something else installed - like a cheaper, older, expandable model with 4.1 or a used tablet I could install Ubuntu or another shell upon. Didn't expect shovelware locked behind root protection - I mean, sure Google owns Facebook, but why should I have to hack the device I bought to remove an app I'll never use from internal flash?

  • 史朗宮崎


    we need more sign to send the message

  • Google has lost all its honor

    Google fucked up. lost all respect for google after this.
    they are just another "apple" greedy brand trying to sell cloud storage.
    tablets and smarhphones come with sd clots to be used. they are there for a reason!

    if security was soo much of a major problem... sd cards and equipment with sd slots would be ban.

    this is illegal from my point of vie cause its my tablet! its my info! its my sd card!
    its my money!
    google HAS NO business blocking LEGIT apps I NEED to work from writing/saving info ON MY SD CARD i bought!

    they just want to gain more money from cloud storage. Period! this is a move to see if sd cards start to die slowly. only a fool buys into this "user sensitive info security reason" crap.

  • Sports Watch For Running

    Good feature. I couldn't live without my old Garmin Forerunner 305, even though it's so big and clunky it looks like I have a grenade strapped to my wrist. http://goo.gl/axBnJ5

  • George Shaw

    I found the whole idea a low- blow from google. Especially for people who can't afford a high end phone that has a butt-load of storage built in. Yeah, there's the cloud(s) but there's also the added charge of provider data when not at home. Not all of us are saavy on war driving. Change it back google!

  • southbound37
  • kmcmurtrie

    100% fuck Google on this one. I use the SD card for sharing large files between apps and now it's useless.

  • Hard Little Machine

    So we're supposed to dump everything to Google Drive?

  • Una Nelson-White

    It sucks. They are forcing you to buy $600 phones, in order to store 32gb of apps and data. Before you could have cheap phone and expand storage for apps and data with SD card, which is impossible with new android phones. Great way to lose customers to iPhone.