Android 4.3 breaks SD card writing on the Galaxy S4 GPE, but here’s a fix

August 12, 2013
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Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 owners should all be enjoying the latest version of Android by now. If there’s one little niggle with the GPE handsets, it’s that updates aren’t provided directly from Google, and that may be one reason to blame for the SD Card bug which has appeared after the latest Android 4.3 update.

Users have been reporting that apps are failing to write data to the handsets external storage card. The reason for this is that most apps haven’t been updated to work with a change in app group permissions related to writing to external storage. As this is a problem which really only affects this particular handset, I wouldn’t count on app developers fixing the issue themselves any time soon, and it could be a while before Samsung released a fix as well.

Fortunately, there is a temporary work around, but it involves messing around with a system file and you’ll have to have your handset rooted before you begin. If you’re in need of the fix, then follow the steps below.

Firstly, grab a file explorer app from the Play Store, like Root Explorer or ES File Explorer, so that you can access your system files. You’ll then need to locate the platform.xml file in the system/etc/permissions folder. Create a backup of the original file before you go any further, then either open this file up on your phone or copy it to your PC for editing.

Next up, scroll down until you find a row beginning name=”android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” >, I believe this is the 71st line in the file. Once there, on a new line under ”<group gid=”sdcard_rw” />“, add <group gid=”media_rw” />, then save the file. Here’s a screenshot to show how the file should look after editing.

s4-4.3-sd-card-issue-fix

All done, now simply save the changes, or copy the file back to from your PC, and overwrite the original version. Reboot your phone and the fix will be applied.

It’s likely that this line was simply missed while Samsung was rushing to push Android 4.3 out the door. Hopefully, an official update to address this problem will arrive quickly, especially for those who don’t want to mess around with these sort of fixes.

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