Android 4.4 KitKat limits the access of apps to the microSD card, by only allowing them to write files to their own folders, a problem that causes issues for all kinds of apps, from file explorers, to music apps, and more.
There’s an entire debate to be had about the purpose of this restriction. Some say it’s a thinly veiled move by Google to push users towards cloud services in general, and Drive in particular. Others rightfully highlight the security benefits brought by the measure, and argue that microSD cards are on their way out anyway.
But with memory makers releasing 128GB microSD cards and fast, unlimited connections still relatively rare, it’s clear that microSD cards are not going away soon. It’s probably why only five percent of readers answering our poll said they rely exclusively on the cloud, as opposed to 60 percent for microSD, and 35 percent for a combination of the two.
Google won’t “fix” this issue, and Samsung and other top phone makers are following its lead starting with KitKat. So, what can you do if you want to enjoy KitKat and free access to your SD card?
One workaround is to root your device and run a simple app by Tod Liebeck, the developer of popular File Explorer, one of the apps that are crippled by the newly enforced SD restriction. Available in the Play Store for free, SDFix Beta simply changes a configuration file on the phone, in order to restore the functionality that existed before KitKat.
Liebeck notes that the specific change was used by OEMs as a workaround for the issue on Jelly Bean, and that several other solutions floating around XDA use it as well. SDFix simply makes the solution available as an easy to use app.
As always when operating changes to the file system, caution is advised. SDFix Beta was supposedly tested on multiple devices and should be okay to use, but for your safety, you can use a copy of the original file to restore the original state.