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External Storage (SD Cards) in Android L

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by RajCaj, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. RajCaj

    RajCaj Well-Known Member
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    My understanding is that there have been some restrictions placed on storing data on external SD Cards since the KitKat update.

    I take lots of photos and having the ability to have pictures I take save to a SD Card is an attractive feature...but seems this restriction would require me to first save the pictures internally and manually move those files to the SD card after the fact.

    I've read that this has caused a lot of heart-ache with many developers & Android users.

    Has anyone heard anything about Google changing their mind on this with the release of Android L?
     

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  2. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    As I understand things, although we haven't heard too much yet, there's not going to be any major changes to the way that external storage is handled with Android L, over what's already in place with KitKat 4.4.

    The major change for KitKat over previous Android versions, was that apps only have write permissions to the data that they create, they can read everything else on external storage. So say a camera app, can store its photos to the DCIM folder, but it can't write, modify or delete things from say the music folder, and nor has it any business doing that anyway. This was done to increase the security of SD storage. Previously any app could read, write and delete everything on the SD, even if it had no business doing so.
     
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  3. Nidstang

    Nidstang Newbie
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    I think there is a possibility that things will be more flexible or at least less restrictive in Android L. See this post from an Android dev, and see also this topic on XDA as further reported here.
     
  4. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    I don't understand everyone's problems. i am using 4.4.2 on my Note 3 and i can access the SD Card perfectly fine, have moved many files to/from it, no problem. are people still buying into this myth or FUD?
     
  5. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    @nick it's not a myth. The thing is, the My Files app by Samsung is ROM level, which gives it full access to read and write to SD card. However, should you try a third party app, it won't work. I have a Galaxy Note 2 on 4.4.2, but Helium can't create a backup on external SD card anymore, just internal SD card. It used to have that capability on my phone at Android 4.3. I have to manually move the backup files using MyFiles. Other third party file explorer apps have also lost this ability.
     
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  6. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    ES File Explorer worked fine, so does root explorer so yeah, myth.

    If you're speaking of losing Apps2SD, that has been gone since Jelly Bean.

    My first experience with Kitkat was on my Galaxy S3 via Cyanogenmod 11 so unless custom ROMs have fixed this issue then I'm lost. ES File Explorer worked there too.
     
  7. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    ES Explorer actually lost this ability early on when 4.4.2 was initially released. They just found a workaround and used that.

    Helium backup however, so far on the latest update I acquired (haven't checked if there's a new one for a while now), is still incapable of writing to SD card. Some apps were able to work around it, some weren't. Samsung also altered their stock ROMs to still allow moving some parts of apps to SD card.

    Rooting AFAIK also allows you to get around this limitation since it gives you admin access anyway, and each app with root permission is granted admin access.
     
  8. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    Either that or custom ROMs removed said limitation.
     
  9. John Bean

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    I'm not clear why other apps can't just do the same thing; the "workaround" clearly works.
     
  10. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    Probably depends on what they are trying to accomplish, or they're just waiting for the next Android version which supposedly alters this again.
     
  11. mrsmumbles

    mrsmumbles Android Enthusiast
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    It was a very unpopular move by Google. I'm glad my oldest phones which have external storage were never updated to KitKat. When you think of lower priced phones which shipped with KitKat, many having sdcards, that was just a bad move by Google, IMO, no matter the security benefits. I am skeptical Google will reverse this though.
     
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  12. John Bean

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    Depends on the implementation. I recently bought a Lenovo Yoga 10" tablet (love it btw, using it now!) and it came with 4.2. It has a SD card slot as well as an internal "SD" and after an OTA update to 4.4.2 everything still works fine.

    The tablet allows me to choose which SD is to be used as the default for older apps, but "KK aware" apps have no difficulty using either.
     
  13. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    It's actually an expected move by Google given their total vehement hatred of SD cards. they are relentless with their intent on making all new Android products SD slot free. my only question is why? i mean having an option you might never use is better than not having it at all, right?

    It's like having A/C on your car. some might not need or use A/C so should some car company decide that since say 65% don't want A/C that all the rest of us should live without A/C in our cars because a few say no? that's the same thing. an option that has no impact on anything but just because a certain percentage never uses it the company assumes we all should live without it. makes no sense.

    The only sense i can make out is that Google is pushing their cloud so hard they assume that everyone has perfectly stable, 4G LTE mobile data everywhere, so having expandable storage isn't needed and everyone should be on the cloud. they apparently can't see the forest through the trees at Mountain View. I mean look at their official reasoning behind the omission of the slot in the Nexus line? it might make sense if everyone in the world had perfectly affordable unlimited data and could do without internal storage capacities over a few dozen gigabytes, but in the real world, there's a ton who can't go too far from their homes before Google Music decides to cut out to rebuffer due to low signal. right now the 'cloud' is a pipe dream.
     
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  14. mrsmumbles

    mrsmumbles Android Enthusiast
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  15. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    FTFY :p



    Can be like A/C in a car, manufacturer A doesn't put A/C in any of their cars, if you want and use A/C then you buy your car from manufacturer B or C or D, etc. Would make no sense to do otherwise.

    Yeh Google is pushing their cloud for their Nexus, Google experience devices. If you're on a limited data plan or you do a lot of (international)travelling or something, and want to play a lot of music or movies wherever you go, then you don't buy a Nexus, makes sense, yes? You buy a Samsung or an Oppo or something, or anything that has an SD. Or if it doesn't have an SD, you make sure you got enough internal storage for whatever you want to store, like say a 64GB OnePlus One.

    It would be stupid for me to buy a Google Nexus device, and then whine because Google's cloud is unavailable, because I'm in China and not the United States. So I use a KitKat 4.4.4 phone that has a 64GB SD, plus 16GB internal. And I wouldn't expect to see any change with Android L.
     
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  16. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    Actually they got Motorola in the no SD game too. They would like to see the feature vanish entirely, what better way than to limit the access to the handsets which have the option?

    Sadly Nexus provides certain benefits which others do not

    1. Super easy to root and ROM

    2. Fast OTA updates

    3. Low price

    4. No skinned Android or bloatware
     
  17. mrsmumbles

    mrsmumbles Android Enthusiast
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    The OPO has that also and at least a 64 GB option. It takes a little longer to get and may be bigger than some want, though.
     
  18. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Remember Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, pending approval, and of course Google doesn't exactly carry much weight in Lenovo's home country. Like all their services are completely blocked by Beijing govt. censoring, except for Maps and Translate on google.cn
     
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  19. Slug

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    I'm sure we've been here before, but whatever...

    External storage support is decided at the OEM level. A few examples;

    Samsung: the Galaxy Alpha is their first Android that I can remember without microSD support.

    HTC: used to include microSD, then did away with it, reintroduced with M8/Mini 2.

    Sony: very few recent devices have lacked microSD support. Also include USB Host Mode (OTG) for even more storage options.

    The story is similar from other OEMs. If they want to include microSD support they can do.

    The situation regarding read/write access to external storage under Android 4.4 was explained succinctly by Mike in post #2.
     
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  20. mrsmumbles

    mrsmumbles Android Enthusiast
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    I keep saying I won't buy another phone without a slot, but then I did. Oh well.
     
  21. Nidstang

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    The Moto G (2nd Gen) and Moto E both have microSD slots. Granted, the X (2nd Gen) does not.
     
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  22. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Android Expert
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    When I had my Captivate, I would tell my iPhone-owning roommate that I would never switch because I enjoyed my SD card slot and my removable battery. Then I bought a Nexus 4, LOL.

    I think SD card may be making a resurgence, with the M8 now including it. If we're loud enough, they will hear. It's happening with update timing, it can very well happen with SD cards.

    I know I would be angry as hell about the SD card slots if my personal requirements dictated the use of one. Fortunately I sit at a desk for most of my time and have a strong WiFi connection, so I stream most of my music, don't record videos, and upload all my pics to dropbox.
     
  23. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    I live in an area with only 3G service, drive where I have no service, and walk in the woods during weekends with no data, and visit a deer in November where there is no data or service. The cloud is a failure. I need my SD card.

    Nothing is worse than constant rebuffering or having your favorite song simply stop playing and you pull your phone out to see the no service or 1x icon.

    At home I have a 4G hotspot for internet, and only 30GB of data. If I streamed everything from the cloud I'd be paying a ton of overages.
     
  24. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    "It's like having A/C on your car.", you need A/C in your car, so that's what you buy, and not the one that doesn't have A/C. ;)
     
  25. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Android Expert
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    Don't get me started on that. My family has rotten luck with buying cars just to have the A/C go out. Fortunately I bought new enough this time that my A/C should work for a while.
     

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