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Thread: Simple solution for external sdcard write access on Android 3.2...if you're rooted

  1. #1
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    Simple solution for external sdcard write access on Android 3.2...if you're rooted

    I've found a simple solution for gaining write access to the external sdcard (/mnt/sdcard2) on Android 3.2. The sdcard is mounted r/w, but the owning group is media_rw which is linked to the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission. Unfortunately, this permission was not required for access to the external sdcard prior to 3.2 so most file management utilities do not request it when they run...meaning they only have read access to the card.

    The simple solution, if you're rooted, is as follows:
    1. Using a root-enabled file manager, navigate to /system/etc/permissions and make sure you have mounted the file system r/w.
    2. Edit platform.xml and find the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission.
    3. Add an additional group definition for this permission...<group gid="media_rw" />
    4. Save the changes to the file.
    5. Restart your tablet.

    After this change, any apps that request the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission (which includes almost anything that access either of the sdcards) will gain group membership in both sdcard_rw AND media_rw, giving them r/w access to both sdcard filesystems.
    dalepl, Boriquaman, hlb3 and 11 others like this.
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  3. #2
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    Great find. Just tried this and it worked great.
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    So, i have to ask because i'm not aware of the problem you've mentioned...your post made me wonder if i had this problem after updating to 3.2. I have NOT performed the fix you mentioned above.

    Here is what is did to test this issue with 2 different cards - an sdxc card and a micro sd card....

    i have used the stock toshiba file manager, i have copied a file from internal sdcard, pasted to the external sdcard2, then deleted the file. I used root explorer and copied from internal sdcard and pasted onto external sdcard2...

    Due to the fact that i could paste the file onto sdcard2, this tells me i have both read and write permissions on my external sdcard2 doesn't it?

    Does this fix something else? or did i get lucky and not have the problem you've mentioned? If this fixes a different problem, what is it?

    Thanks for your help in understanding this.
    Last edited by dandroid7; 11-19-2011 at 09:31 PM.
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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarageOffice View Post
    I've found a simple solution for gaining write access to the external sdcard (/mnt/sdcard2) on Android 3.2. The sdcard is mounted r/w, but the owning group is media_rw which is linked to the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission. Unfortunately, this permission was not required for access to the external sdcard prior to 3.2 so most file management utilities do not request it when they run...meaning they only have read access to the card.

    The simple solution, if you're rooted, is as follows:
    1. Using a root-enabled file manager, navigate to /system/etc/permissions and make sure you have mounted the file system r/w.
    2. Edit platform.xml and find the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission.
    3. Add an additional group definition for this permission...
    4. Save the changes to the file.
    5. Restart your tablet.

    After this change, any apps that request the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission (which includes almost anything that access either of the sdcards) will gain group membership in both sdcard_rw AND media_rw, giving them r/w access to both sdcard filesystems.
    It works. Thanks

    Sent from my AT100 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by thesithlord; 11-19-2011 at 11:12 PM.

  6. #5
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    You are awesome! It was driving me crazy that Titanium wouldn't let me write backups to the external card anymore.

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandroid7 View Post
    So, i have to ask because i'm not aware of the problem you've mentioned...your post made me wonder if i had this problem after updating to 3.2. I have NOT performed the fix you mentioned above.

    Here is what is did to test this issue with 2 different cards - an sdxc card and a micro sd card....

    i have used the stock toshiba file manager, i have copied a file from internal sdcard, pasted to the external sdcard2, then deleted the file. I used root explorer and copied from internal sdcard and pasted onto external sdcard2...

    Due to the fact that i could paste the file onto sdcard2, this tells me i have both read and write permissions on my external sdcard2 doesn't it?

    Does this fix something else? or did i get lucky and not have the problem you've mentioned? If this fixes a different problem, what is it?

    Thanks for your help in understanding this.

    It is a different problem. The built-in file manager already requests the correct permission, and I assume root explorer must do the same. However, if you use ASTRO, AndroZip, or Ghost Commander (as examples) it does not work. Also, and more importantly, some document editors do not work correctly. For example, Documents to Go can't save a file onto the external sdcard and can't update an existing file on the card.

    I assume it's a hit-or-miss issue. Any app that requests the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission will have write access to the external card, while those that don't will only have read access.
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  8. #7
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    Nice. I'll have to try this out, thanks

    Sent from HTC Evo 3D using Tapatalk
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarageOffice View Post
    It is a different problem. The built-in file manager already requests the correct permission, and I assume root explorer must do the same. However, if you use ASTRO, AndroZip, or Ghost Commander (as examples) it does not work. Also, and more importantly, some document editors do not work correctly. For example, Documents to Go can't save a file onto the external sdcard and can't update an existing file on the card.

    I assume it's a hit-or-miss issue. Any app that requests the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission will have write access to the external card, while those that don't will only have read access.
    Thanks for the explanation, now I'm tracking what this does... Root explorer does not seem to want to let me edit the file... what app can i use to edit the file?
    THRiVE 16gb
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  10. #9
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    Root Explorer should. Did you make the direcory read/write with the button at the top?
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  11. #10
    Thrive Conveyor
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalepl View Post
    Root Explorer should. Did you make the direcory read/write with the button at the top?
    Paul, i did mount it as rw, but was having issues editing it... so i dl'd the app Script Manager, opened Root Explorer, mounted system file as rw, followed the path to the file, long pressed the file, opened with Script Manager, edited the file as noted above with script manager, saved the changes, remounted system file as ro, closed Root Explorer, rebooted.

    THANKS to both you and GaragOffice for clarifying this for all of us.
    THRiVE 16gb
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