Blog/20140308 Storage in Android 4.4

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Storage in Android 4.4

Storage on Android 4.4, KitKat. This is somewhat worrying: [1]. In particular:

Just to sum up, here are the options 3rd-party apps have on KitKat:

An app without any permissions:

  • Automatic read and write for designated private folders on the primary and secondary storage

With WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, they also have:

  • Read and write for any public folder on the primary (built-in) storage
  • Read (not write) for any public folder on the secondary (SD card) storage


Overall, it will probably depend a lot on perspective if somebody will see this as a serious issue, an inconvenience, or completely innocuous. It’s definitely unfriendly toward many power users, if for no other reason than it the extra hurdles it adds to simple tasks like making backups or cleaning up old files. It’s not that these things won’t still be possible through some other method, but they will become tedious and annoying.

These problems become exponentially worse for content creators. Photographers will be the first to run up against these restrictions, especially those that use high-end cameras for shots and then make edits on an Android device. Viewing photos on an SD card might not be an issue, but what happens when it’s time to delete bad shots or save back edited versions? This quickly becomes a painful and confusing experience. These problems will become exponentially worse as Android becomes a viable platform for creating and editing music and video.

So we could still access using our OER4Schools resource on Android 4.4, e.g. access with a browser from the SD card. However, it would not be possible to update the content on the SD card using another app. Putting the content into a private space would not work because you could the only access that content from a particular app. It's of course possible to have different work arounds, but it's not ideal that you cannot have a number of apps share the same area.

2014-03-08 | Leave a comment | Back to blog Share on Twitter Share on Facebook