The changes that Google made to the way that Android uses external storage (read: MicroSD cards) in KitKat have been contentious to say the least. A few of the more widely-used file explorer apps have utilized a loophole in the Media Scanner service to restore at least some of the more widely-used functions for accessing and modifying files, and now the popular Solid Explorer has done the same.

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According to the changelog for version 1.6, the work-around should function for Samsung devices that have been updated to Android 4.4, though the new Galaxy S5 is a notable exception. We've had limited success in our own tests: on a KitKat-equipped Galaxy Note 3, Artem was able to rename and copy files on the MicroSD card without any kind of root-enabled trickery, but deleting files on the card didn't work. Of course, with this kind of shoot-from-the-hip workaround, your mileage may vary.

Other changes include a few standard bugfixes, notably SD card detection and a freezing bug. Solid Explorer is still a $2 app with a 14-day trial available for free. You'll need Android 2.2 or higher to use it - which should be just about everyone at this point - and it will work normally for Jelly Bean 4.3 and below.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Ricardo Ca

    Someone in the android discussion forum https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/android-platform/14VUiIgwUjY created a petition:


    Please sign in

    • hesdeadjim

      I will not. SD cards drown kittens, trip grandmas and set your auntie's house on fire. And SD cards fail on you sometimes, too.

      • thartist

        No they don't dude, it's the crap Google wants you believe to turn you into a slave of their cloud services, with the consequence of burning out your data plan when your are on the go and if you even have internet to access them.

        Only crappy development is to be blamed if there are any problems. I don't see the problem in Poweramp acessing my music library offline stored in my SDcard, period. And no, i won't pay a ton more for internal storage, and those models aren't even available in my country. So, no game Google.

        • hesdeadjim

          Except that it REALLY happened to me. Dead SD card, kindly replaced by SanDisk. Blame OEMs for limited internal storage and poor distribution in your country, not Google.
          Now that I gave up on SD cards, I see the benefits of not having them: faster, more reliable, and not a mess to administrate.

          • primalxconvoy

            What do you do when your SD card dies?

            - Buy another one.

            What do you do when your internal memory dies?

            - Wish you'd bought an SD card.

          • hesdeadjim

            You forgot the situation where you're left with a dead device with a SD card in it.
            Having a SD card will not prevent you from buying another device if its internal memory fries.
            Do backups, synchronize your data "manually" (all can be automated), and I swear the SD card apparent strong points will melt away, as it did for me when I left my GS3.

          • My1

            well stream a hellish lot of videos and music AND apps (if you have low int storage with 200MB highspeed traffic, good luck...

          • Ricardo Ca

            Well never happened to me. I had several smartphones with sd cards, never had problems. You see your bad luck as a general problem. I agree that internal storage should be greater, but until the manufacturers get that we should not be punished by Google.

        • primalxconvoy

          Poweramp for the win.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        I just imagined how a small tiny little SD card trips over a grandma... A lold

    • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

      This won't change a thing, this is Google we are talking about, no petition, even with hundred thousand signature will cause a difference. Remember all the Youtube petitions?

      • Andrea Christopher


        ★★★ ★★�★ ★★★ ★�★★ ★★★On the HTC M8 it's a whole different story because HTC forgot one....

      • primalxconvoy

        In case you haven't read, the dipsh1t behind Google Minus recently got the boot and some of the damage he was responsible for is in the process of being repaired.

        Karma does work, sometimes.

        • susan596

          My Uncle Nathaniel recently got a nearly new red Chrysler
          200 Sedan only from working part time off a home pc... find out this here C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

    • palma

      Google only need to add Shared Folder on SDcard.

  • Casin

    Considering the 4.4 update added even more Verizon bloatware, this is a welcome update for S4 users.

    • Leif Sikorski

      People need to stop buying phones from a carrier.

      • Owen Finn

        People need to stop being assholes.

      • ProductFRED

        Unfortunately in the US, the largest carrier is a CDMA carrier (Verizon) who will only activate their own devices.

        • primalxconvoy

          Same in Japan.

        • My1

          so tourists need to buy a new phone just to use it in the US during vacation..

          • ProductFRED

            If they want to use Verizon. But AT&T is about the same size and is GSM. T-Mobile is another option for major cities, but they're still mostly using 1700 MHz, which most non-US/Canadian phones don't do.

          • My1

            so you STILL need an extra phone.
            so why can't they simply use the same standars everywhere, this is annoying as hell...

  • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

    I think there should be a special permission for file explorers...
    Google has to realize that Devs will always find a way to workaround stops like this so they should just have a safe way for everyone to access it.

  • Leif Sikorski

    At least Samsung ships their devices with a file manager which works perfectly fine. On the HTC M8 it's a whole different story because HTC forgot one....

    • shojus

      This is why we have custom roms and kernels that allow access to our sd cards... :)

      • GraveUypo

        that's the only reason i won't keep my sgs3 forever.

    • Nicholas Ruiz

      Yep. As long as a phone comes with a file manager I'll be fine but...

    • Brian Brabham

      I feel like an idiot; I never used stock file explorers because the don't have root access, so I never even thought to try. Love my GS5 even more, thank you!

  • BrandonPKing

    We've had limited success in our own tests: on a KitKat-equipped Galaxy Note 3, Artem was able to rename and copy files on the MicroSD card without any kind of root-enabled trickery, but deleting files on the card didn't work. Of course, with this kind of shoot-from-the-hip workaround, your mileage may vary. http://b54.in/9b1r

  • Eclair Lover

    God Dammit! I can't install this app. I am on 2.1 :-(

    • primalxconvoy

      Still miles better than kitkat.

  • أحمد


  • Garfwog

    Just to make sure, does this mean all my music files will be useless on my 64gb SD card?

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      No, you can play them from SD card just fine, you only cannot delete or move them.

      • Guillaume

        You can if you're rooted

      • Garfwog

        Can I upload them?

  • Az

    On the S5 Samsungs 'My Files' app fully works with SD cards so no need for this app

    • My1

      System app -> no problem anyway

  • Guillaume

    Solid Ex[plorer is a great root file explorer with all the features you can expect, I've been using it for a couple of years it's the best one (and I've tried a lot). FTP server to access your files from a PC, WebDAV / FTP / Gogle Drive / DropBox access, plenty of indexing and search capabilities, etc.

    I haven't had problems with the SD card as I'm rooted and on a custom ROM that tweaked permissions (platform.xml) but this is still a welcome update for those who have problems.

    • Danny Kees

      I tried it a while ago and while I loved it's UI, it had trouble moving and copying larger files. Is it any better now?

      • Guillaume

        Never had any problem... Moved a 3GB file the other day, no problem.

        • My1

          also my problem with transferring over FTP and then putting the phone to sllep and the transfer get canceld isnt a problem anymore...

  • primalxconvoy

    It seems that Kitkat has banished Android back to the dark times of 2.1 (but at least that had "usb hub").

    Why is Google trying to destroy Android? Have they been taken over by Apple, or something?

    Kitkat is THE reason that I won't be updating my phone this/next year. Not until this silly, silly restriction is either removed, or all of the major apps have successfully found ways to banish it to Android purgatory (alongside that awful and official " media scanner ")

    • Ricardo Ca

      Me too friend. Never update or update and root. For now my Android phone will be in 4.3.

      • vgergo

        Same here

    • shonangreg

      I think we may have to actually begin leaving the fold before google would even notice. Tablets have more freedom for OS changes as no cell carrier is required (as long as you have WiFi tethering or pervasive WiFi). With what google has already done with USB mass storage crippling of the Nexus line (there is no "cleaning up the system" excuse for that), and now this sidelining of SD cards to what google allows them to be used as, I don't think I'll be getting another android tablet.

      My next tablet will either be an alternative ROM like CyanogenMod, if I think they can stand up for good -- or Firefox, Linux, Windows, or even an iPad. I'm not going to march down the domineering monopolist line with Google.

      I love Google, but this is ridiculous. They profit most if we use their cloud servers for everything, but I don't have to do that. They are offering to exchange freedom for convenience and novelty.

  • JazzEspresso

    Guys...it is the cloud that's main reason why Google went to this route..remember that Google did a big price cut on Google drive space (?) because they want everyone to use it or go with cloud space instead of microSD on the device. I am not happy with recent 4.4 SD write restriction either, only the best resolution you have is root your device and downlod sdcard fix in play store..done...
    Only problem I have is I have ATT Note 3, which is updated 4.4.2, and so far no one able to come up with root method yet!

  • Fabiano

    I've already signed, and you?


  • BenWeare

    To victims of the DENIAL-OF-SERVICE "KITKAT " MALWARE that Google has just unleashed against SD card users:

    Please file complaints about this OUTRAGE!!! Google's motivations for this act is purely financial. It's all about forcing users to store their private data in Google Drive, where, according to the "Google Terms of Service," you basically reliquish your ownership:

    "Using our Services does not give you ownership of any intellectual property rights in our Services or the content you access." [...And that Google's rights to access your data....] "...continues even if you stop using our Services. ... Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails). ... This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored."

    Please make big stink on the web about this!! Defend your rights to your own property. Today it will be SD cards, but who knows where it will go if behemoths like Google are allowed to intrude on people's lives like this!

    Also, refer to this SD issue for what it is:

  • James McGill

    My vision for mobile devices is all about music production. Not music consumption. That means you should be able to record audio with one app and edit it with another. That also means you should be able to swap media in and out often. To break this possibility is quite rotten.