Android 4.3 on Galaxy S4 Google Edition breaks SD card writing for apps, here’s a fix

While owners of the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition may be merrily reaping the benefits of the latest version of Android, some of you might have noticed that many apps are failing to write to the external storage post the Android 4.3 update. It’s an issue that Samsung seems to have overlooked when pushing out the update, leaving many apps with the inability to write any data to the SD card.

The reason for this is a bit technical and is related to how Unix handles write permissions. Basically, there’s a special group that apps must be a part of to be able to write to the external storage, but most apps are yet to be updated to adapt to this change. ES File Explorer is one app that has the correct permissions, and while an official fix might not come any time soon, a temporary fix is available to take care of the problem.

You’ll need to be rooted in order to fix the issue, after which you can follow the steps below to let apps write to the SD card again:

  1. 1. Use an app like Root Explorer, Solid Explorer, Root Browser, or any other root explorer app to access system files. 
  2. 2. Go into the system/etc/permissions folder, then edit the platform.xml file on the phone itself or copy it to the PC and edit it there.
  3. 3. Look for the line that says name=”android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” >. Under this should be the line <group gid=”sdcard_rw” />.
  4. 4. Now, under “<group gid=”sdcard_rw” />“, add <group gid=”media_rw” />, then save the file. The screenshot on the right shows how the final text should look like. s4-4.3-sd-card-issue-fix-1
  5. 5. If you edited the file on the computer, copy it back to the phone and replace the original file, but not before backing up the original file somewhere.
  6. 6. Now, reboot your phone to make the changes take effect.

Your phone should now allow apps to write data to the external storage. It’s not the solution we would like, but unless Samsung and Google push out an update to fix it themselves or apps are updated accordingly, it’s a solution you’ll have to live with (tough luck if you’re not rooted).


Phones 5
Related newsLatest news

Leave a Reply

1 year 1 month ago

I edited this as described, but it still doesn’t work. My Samsung Galaxy S5 is rooted and has CM13 Marshmallow.
I had this working correctly on my Stock S5.

3 years 5 months ago

I had to add to both the read & write storage for my kids’ Bell&Howell C714 tablets to get plex to store the sync’d files on the sdcard.

Thank you for providing the info!

3 years 8 months ago


BTW, is Sammobile going to host any Firmware for the Google Play Edition GS4? It’s been a couple of weeks since the 4.3 update came out for it but I haven’t seen anyplace to get a factory image. I’ve only seen system dumps and pre-release leaks. Since Google isn’t hosting firmware for the GPe phones, where can we get them?

3 years 8 months ago

Fws are by Google. SamMobile wont host. Sorry.

3 years 8 months ago

Google has said they are not responsible for the GPe firmware and won’t host it, you say Google is responsible and Sammobile won’t host it. The firmware doesn’t appear to be available from Samsung either. So basically there is no official support for this phone at all if you want to return your phone to stock. Why should anyone buy this phone at all then?