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Android 4.4 SD card problem

April 10, 2014

With the release of the latest version of Android OS 4.4 (KitKat), our support team started getting emails from B1 Free Archiver and B1 File Manager users complaining about a specific problem: they receive error messages while attempting to delete files or unpack archives on the external SD card.
The beginning of this issue dates back to Google and the release of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) which placed permission controls on the microSD card. While it’s still possible for such apps to write to their specific folder on an external SD storage, writing data to any other folder is restricted. In terms of file and archive management, this means that user can not move, rename, delete files or to create and unpack archives on the SD card. The permission to write to any folder in the external SD storage is now limited to system applications only.
Most of the third party apps have suffered from this update, especially file managers and the apps that heavily interact with the external SD storage. It’s not yet clear, whether it is a bug of the latest Android operating systems or an attempt to increase the security level of the data stored inside external storage. The problem remains and it’s up to Google to solve it.
Meanwhile Internet is getting flooded with tweaks and hacks to overcome this limitation, but, in most cases, they come down to rooting the device or installing some additional apps. It’s not a universal solution, but if a user is ready to take risks, it might work. Alternatively, we just have to wait until the problem is solved with the future Android updates from Google.
It should be noted that despite such limitations, B1 Free Archiver and B1 File Manager can still be employed for their original tasks. For example, if you’ve downloaded an archive to your SD card, you won’t be able to unpack it to the same location. However, you certainly can change the destination folder to your internal storage and unpack it there.