21
Mar
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Last month we posted an article examining some very significant changes to the way SD cards could be accessed and how Google's partner OEMs had begun enforcing these restrictions with Android 4.4. There can be no doubt, a lot of people were displeased to see their expandable storage crippled. While some have vowed to never update to KitKat, and others have turned to custom ROMs that don't enforce the same rules, there are still many people that still want to have the best of both worlds. Thanks to SDFix by developer Tod Liebeck, it's possible to restore the SD card to its former glory on a rooted stock ROM in just a few seconds.

sdfix_welcomesdfix_readysdfix_waitsdfix_complete

SDFix is a very quick and painless app. Simply install, tap through a couple of screens, and reboot. It works by modifying the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission in platform.xml so that apps with this permission automatically become part of the media_rw group, which has write full access to the entire SD card. This workaround may already look familiar because it's the same thing many OEMs and custom ROM developers have been doing for a few years. Of course, you could manually make the same change on your own, but the app is probably a bit more convenient.

Note: apps that write to their protected folder on the SD card will lose the small amount of security that they might have expected. (Hey, it had to be mentioned.)

Once SDFix has finished making its changes, a backup is created with the name platform.xml.original-pre-sdfix. Reverting to the stock behavior can be achieved by using a file manager with root access to replace the modified platform.xml with the original. Since these modifications are otherwise permanent, the SDFix app can be safely uninstalled after it is finished.

If you're dying to get back some of the flexibility of your SD card after updating to KitKat, grab SDFix for free from XDA or the Play Store. Remember, root is mandatory.

Thanks, MJF.

[XDA, Tod Liebeck]

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.

  • Matt Dowdy

    Used this app yesterday and it worked a treat for me (note 3) especially as I like flashing different roms And manually editing the file each time was becoming a bit of a chore. This app for its usefulness should be a paid app in my opinion but I'm not complaining over the free price tag. Thanks dev. Much appreciated

    • http://aurielle.cz/ Aurielle

      I don't think you should get paid for modifying one file. Sure, the developer made it much easier to achieve it, but the idea of paying for this is ridiculous in my opinion.

      • Matt Dowdy

        Where I say that it should be a paid app is just me voicing my gratitude to the developer for making it as I will use it each time I Flash a new rom until it gets included and it will save time looking up the line of code to be inserted etc, we all love anything that makes life that little bit easier don't we

        • Guillaume

          Well I'm sure there's a way to donate (PayPal) if you really want to

          • Dario · 753 a.C. .

            in fact i think the best bet is to give possibility to donate, or add ads in the app if we wanna thank the developer.

            but i don't think that turning that app in a paid app is a good way

      • didibus

        Why not, he took time to make this app, and it's convenient and useful. Why shouldn't he be allowed to ask for a bit of money. It's nice that he isn't, but I also wouldn't have thought he was a crook if he had asked for a buck.

      • AndroidUser00110001

        If you go to the doctor for one shot you still have to pay. You are paying for the knowledge of what the person is doing.

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      Not all devs care about the money, or for that matter not all want to bother to set up their Google Play Store accounts to accept payments.

      Some devs have a "free" version of an app and a "donate" version, I've also seen a "buy me a beer" type app which doesn't actually do anything but you buy it to support the dev for the other apps they make.

      It used to be pretty common for you to be able to donate to devs using PayPal but I suspect Google Play Store policies don't allow for that anymore. You may be able to spontaneously send a donation though, check the dev's web site.

      I remember when I first bought Titanium Backup it was before the Play Store (then called the Android Market) did not yet accept payments (no paid apps at all) so I bought a license key via PayPal.

      There are a couple app devs out there I'd like to give money to but they don't have any donation process at all.

  • Nick Cannon

    Bring back apps to SD! Why does Google want to limit my game purchases?

    • Guillaume

      Use FolderMount (that is, if you're rooted)

      • Nick Cannon

        I flash nightlies every day, how does FolderMount handle that?

        • Blake Forehand

          It doesn't seem like you are a developer, why are you flashing nightlies every day?

          • Nick Cannon

            How else do I get new omnirom features? There's not a stable channel for my device.

          • Blake Forehand

            They release nightlies but don't release stables for your device? Or they just haven't released a stable yet?

        • Christopher Mason

          Pretty well. I flash nightlies and never lose my mounts.

        • Guillaume

          FolderMount does not flash anything, it only applies a Unix mount command at boot every time you restart. So if you have a new ROM or anything else (even a new phone!), as long as you rerstore your FolderMount settings, everything should work fine.

          • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=177413 Mr. Andrew Shepard

            no not true ive used the walk throughs and tutorials, depending on the file system, how your device is partitioned by the manf, and how your card is partitioned determine the accessibility. foldermount is not designed to take into consideration all of these variables. it will lose your apps. it will send to usb storage app then device says not installed, you CAN NOT move back to tablet bc even though it sees the data files it will lose the main file. dont even try and tell me otherwise bc you're wrong.
            im a professional coder and developer im not going to give u my googleusername, but i bet u have something of mine on your android device. and everything i write works. many things i download confuse the permissions and access of other apps. Keep it simple. i reccommend switching the internal memory with the external memory in the actual mount code using terminal emulator or external to internal (switch) PEACE.

          • gwn

            please help me fix the problem with my samsung galaxy s2, suddenly won't recognize sd card, can't access music, pictures, or even camera. I'm on cyanogen 10.2

      • Jon

        Any alternatives to FM? It won't work in my version (i9505 Dandvh's GE).

        • Guillaume

          Funny, I have the exact same ROM and default kernel that goes with it (ktoonsez), FM works like a charm... (By the way, this ROM is THE BOMB - I rediscovered my S4)

          • Jon

            Which version are you using? Running ART? I'm on Feb 27th, Ketnel Ktoonsez 3.4.81 Feb 24th. Running Dalvik and Xposed. FM says the obb folder is mounted now to the SD, but it didn't mount. The pni goes green, but it doesn't really do anything, and the files remain on the internal memory. Ktoonsez said that fixing the FM issues would mess with Danvdh's ROM a lot, if I remember correctly.

          • Guillaume

            No ART, I'm still on Dalvik, and running version from 27/02/14 with latest KToonsez kernel (but it was working fine with previous kernel too). Rock solid and stable, no issue whatsoever. Xposed, GravityBox. I don't know what the difference is, I don't think I've done anything specific to my system...

          • Guillaume

            Kernel version is 3.4.83

          • Guillaume

            Maybe it has to do with the system/etc/permissions/platform.xml file, I don't remember if I did some modifications to it (I know in some roms I had to do it to enable write access to the SD card...). Here is the relevant part of mine, check if you have some difference:

          • Harold McKinnon

            These changes are in the file but still not able to write or delete from sd card. Any ideas?

          • Guillaume

            Weird, it should work. Have you rebooted your phone?

          • Harold McKinnon

            Yes several times

          • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=177413 Mr. Andrew Shepard

            ^^AS EXPLAINED B4 YOU DONT KNOW WTF YOU'RE DOING OR TALKING ABOUT. SO STOP GIVING ADVICE

          • Jaydee

            Me either, I have rebooted and double checked changes are in place. Still same issue

          • ustjayenjay

            My permissions are identical without altering the originals. However when I do try to alter anything it continues to result in error and changes are not saved. galaxy s5, rooted. Any ideas?

          • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=177413 Mr. Andrew Shepard

            THIS IS WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT. HOW CAN YOU TELL PPL THAT SOMETHING JUST WORKS WHEN YOU'RE RUNNING CUSTOM. YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT.

          • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=177413 Mr. Andrew Shepard

            ^^IDIOT

      • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=177413 Mr. Andrew Shepard

        fuck foldermount total waste and going to lose your apps

  • Jean-Francois Messier

    My two KitKat devices have no SD card slot, but one of them can uses this little dongle to connect a USB disk. Can this patch also allow better access to other external data storage, such as USB disk, or is this limited to the internal SDcard ?

    • Christopher Mason

      Should work on USB too.

  • Pikaboo

    Google should just let us format sdcard using ext4 filesystem. No need for those stupid sdcard permission.
    Ext4 allow better file permission, Symlinks, less wasted space, No stupid 4gb filesize limit. Fat32 sdcard really sucks hard.
    If other device want to access my sdcard, they can always use phone mass storage interface.

    • Christopher Mason

      I agree. Especially since they included that new sdcard over mtp thing, which makes filesystems not matter when connecting to a computer. The ability is actually in android, but they never put it in settings. Probably cause of all the windows users. There are a few Roms that have it there, though.

  • Dan

    Every worthwhile dev has an email address listed and you can send money through paypal to any email address; ergo you can send a thank$$$ to any dev you like through paypal regardless of how Google feels about it. Receiving random money along with a thank you note for free apps is a HUGE kick in the motivation for most devs. It's mostly not even about the money, just the fact that you took the time to do something more than hit reply on a discussion thread or review the app.

    • John Smith

      I think if I found random $2 from people I didn't know, I'd cream my jeans.

    • Mike Reid

      Yes.

      And I've noted that most people sending me Paypal send more than the Play store price for my apps, sometimes double. :)

      • Guillaume

        Yes, same here. That's why all my apps are free with a donate button :)

    • primalxconvoy

      How can i do that without using PayPal? I've actually wanted to send money to devs, either to buy apps WITHOUT using Google Play or to just send extra money as a thank you for extra free content.

  • TSON1

    Windows Phone, is that you?

    • Calvin Uijlen

      Still nope.

    • TY

      Don't you remember the colours of Holo?

  • Bretton Key

    I'm using IAOSP ROMs, so could I use this for those ROMs or just only stock TW based ROMs?
    I really dislike that my browser cannot save files to Sdcard and other apps don't recognize my sd card like it should.

    • Christopher Mason

      It should work on All Roms, except those that are already fixed.

  • irishrally

    You'd think they would have automated the revert while they were at it too.

  • Cerberus_tm

    With Xprivacy, you can give each application access to only specific files or folders on the SD card (root required). A superior solution.

  • Nickie Redshaw
  • Ethan Beck

    doesn't work for the HTC One M8, and yes, it's rooted.

  • Jotrho Finch

    I can't even reformat my microSD card now cause BITCHKAT write-protected it. Is there a way to remove that write-protect? I'll just use it on my other tablets and am selling my BITCHKAT PHONE.

  • Maxy

    Perfectly works on Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (CWM for 757, SU rooted).
    Phuck, I am glad again!
    Many thanks to Tod, Cody!

  • Ricardo Ca

    There is a petition about the sd card problem:

    http://www.fixkitkat.com/

    Please sign in

  • Harold McKinnon

    I ran the app and it did not fix it. Yes I am rooted. Any ideas?

  • Kurt Fitzner

    Does this work on Samsung Galaxy S5s without Knox deactivated? I have rooted mine but not deactivated Knox as this also destroys privacy mode.

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

    Thanks, just installed and used this.

  • Steve White

    Use Link2sd available on the Play Store, works great for me on my Galaxy S3.

  • Matt Hickling

    Can I unroot afterwards

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Yes, the modification is permanent. Once it's done, you are free to unroot, and you can also uninstall the app if you like.

      • Matt Hickling

        Is there an easy way to unroot afterwards

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          I don't have a Note 8.0, so I can't really say. It's probably best to check XDA.

    • Matt Hickling

      Is there an easy way to unroot my note 8.0 wifi ?

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