How to Bypass Android 4.4 (KitKat) External SD Write Restrictions Without Root




Android 4.4 (KitKat) has some good and bad sides. Probably the most nasty one is that you are stripped of the possibility to write any kind of data on your external SD card, which limits you only to your internal storage. With 4-8 Gb of internal space this certainly is a problem. You can try rooting your device, but it's not always easy. So, if you want to be able to write on your SD card, here are some tips and solutions.


Wow! I didn't expect so many people to actually read this! Thank you all! I'm happy if it proved helpful to someone. I've noticed that some people say that it doesn't work because they can't find the specific path I've mentioned. So, there is an alternative.

You can download B1 File Manager which has this Sandbox feature. Basically it's your shortcut to the folder where you can place your files. This will probably eliminate the confusion. Good luck!

Step 1: Preparations

What you need is an app capable of moving files. Here we're going to use B1 File Manager and B1 Free Archiver. Both of them have similar file management capabilities (though the first one is actually superior).

They are both free, easy to install and use on any Android device: tablets, smartphones, be they rooted or not.

Step 2: Know the Basics

First of all it should be noted that KitKat does not limit ALL writing operations. Third-party apps can write to their own, specifically designated folders. B1 Free Archiver and B1 File Manager are not exception. In short, you can extract archives and move files to a specified folder created on an SD card after the app is installed.

Step 3: Moving Files to SD Card With B1 Free Archiver

In B1 Free Archiver you can access that folder by going to your external SD card and following this path:

Android - data - - files

Step 4: Moving Files to SD Card With B1 File Manager

The same is true for B1 File Manager. The path looks like:

Android - data - - files

Step 5: VERY Important Notes

So, by moving your files to the respective folder, you can bypass SD card limitation. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

1. If you uninstall B1 Free Archiver or B1 File Manager, the folder of the respective app on an SD card will be deleted and all data will be lost. So, before you do that better copy the content of “files” folder into your internal storage.

2. You can check the storage space occupied by the app inside Application Manager in Settings. This information is shown in SD card data option. Do NOT tap the Clear data button! Otherwise your files stored in the application’s folder on SD card will be deleted.

Otherwise, in case you want to keep your files sorted by folders, like Photos or Music, you can rely on built-in file managers provided by the device manufacturer. Not all of them have such a file manager and, in case they do, their functionality is rather limited. However, you can use them to move files on an SD card.

Certainly it’s just a temporary and, probably, not the most elegant solution, however it works.



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105 Discussions


10 months ago on Step 5

Forgot password in voult


Reply 1 year ago

"Without Root".

1st instructions? MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ROOT.


Reply 1 year ago

"Without Root".

1st instructions? MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ROOT.


2 years ago

This whole KitKat crap is doing my head in. I have a Excelvan BT13 9.6" tablet running Android 4,4,2 and I cannot get ANY of the rooting apps to root the darn thing, in the meantime I downloaded B1 but no sandbox.?? I also have a Vodafone Turbo 4 running Android 4,4,4 and that has always from day one been able to access the SD card, in fact I am screwed without it as the internal memory is quite small. So how come my phone has no problem on 4,4,4 but my tablet/phone on 4,4,2 is a pig?


1 reply

Reply 1 year ago

if you haven't managed to root the excelvan tablet yet you could try kingroot app, it worked for my excelvan android videoprojector

chinese software goes well with chinese stuff


2 years ago

Most often people see the problem for what resolutions they have failed to accomplish. In all reality if you know anyone who can successfully root your S6 or the newest Motorolla to maybe the first gen Galaxy then you will maybe unseratand the lengthy process and the liability that comes with this task.
However don't get me wrong rooting is the way to go. And if you are tech savvy to not destroy your contract with the phone company and make use of a paperweight then I suggest you help all these users who are having a dilemma on how to be able to r/w/h on something as simple as an sd card.
For what it's worth good luck finding anything on your phone.


2 years ago

Unfortunately, the presented workaround has one CRITICAL FLAW which defeats its whole purpose.

The B1 File Manager (at least on my LG H220 Joy w/ KitKat 4.4.x) won't show ANY installed apps and cannot access their folders, most probably due to their root owner/group permissions. This means you won't be able to move ANY installed apps (which are root by nature) to your SD card, in spite of what was suggested.

What you need is a rooted mobile, and when it is rooted - who would need such a workaround? So you can see it's quite pointless.


2 years ago

I HATE the pre-installed 'My Files' app! Whoever wrote that should be fired, and then hung by the .....!

And I hate that, that's the 'only way' to write to the external SD Card.

It's a piece of garbage, and I won't begin to list all the flaws I've found in it. That's not why I Googled this topic.

I just spent '1 hour' on the telephone with Samsung 'trying' to get, One Simple Question Answered.

And, 'of course' they wouldn't get into that question, without the remote access thing, (which really I hate giving to someone!).

Now I know that there has been two updates to Android since the 4.4.2 that's currently on my S4 phone.

My question to Samsung was; In any updated versions of Android, was the issue of writing to the external SD Card, (with anything other than the 'My Files' app), resolved?

In other words, 'I' I updated to a later version of Android, can I use any other file manager, to write to the external SD Card?

I generally use an app that I found in the PlayStore called, 'X-plore', as my main file manager. It's a nice file manager... But I can't write to the external SD Card using it.

I am 'not' going to update to any newer version of Android, unless I'm told that this whole issue had been fixed in a later version.

After that 'hour' on the phone with Samsung, I still don't have a definite answer.

Can anyone here tell me if this issue had been fixed, and in which newer version of Android?

I found out a long time ago about this issue, and that I wasn't the only one complaining about it.


3 years ago

The B1 file manager is the perfect solution. I use it on my KitKat android device to transfer straight from google to my External SD card. Thanks so much for the info!


4 years ago on Introduction

I don't quite follow. Unless an app can take ownership of a file on the other than it's own, designated folder, it will not be able to write any information onto that folder, yes?

Here's an instance:

Using an app like software data cable to transfer a large file onto your external sd card (as one could before this whole thing happened) is now an impossible task and I don't understand how copy-pasting folders will change that.

Google, being Google, decided to revoke en masse write permissions given to third party apps earlier since it allowed any app to read any folder that it was programmed to without restrictions thereby making it a field day for malware. How does copy-pasting folders overwrite that function? Don't file ownership details and permissions have to be changed? How does one bypass that without rooting the device?

Moreover, B1 allows you to move media up and down and into the sd card and one only needs to do that on a regular basis now as compared to before when the app was allowed to do it by itself. But I digress, my point was that I didn't really follow the tutorial;

1) do we need to create a brand new folder for the app somewhere using the b1 file manager or is this simply a way to move files around in b1 itself?

2) "files" the folder you used, was it merely an example or are you referring to that specific folder and are suggesting changes pertaining to it?

3) Is this tutorial to enable a third party app to use the sd card (albeit in it's own folder created using this method) as a storage space as an alternative to the internal memory?

Sorry if I sound stupid, but I really did get lost and didn't quite comprehend the process up there..

2 replies

Reply 3 years ago

Despite the stories I have never found malware to be a serious issue (yet) on android. I've found antiviral software causes more hassle than help and I no longer use any on my Android device. (I also have never had the need to use antiviral on my Linux based Ubuntu laptop. Malware is mainly, as yet an MS Windows issue.)
The security risk I believe isn't a risk for you or I, but a risk for Googles, it's affiliates, and producers of copyrighted material's profits.
To me it implies users having little true control of their devices, with Google taking the rind and acting as God.

To answer your last point, the "files" folder is a path into your sd card, and you can create sub folders within it like "music", "movies", "documents" etc).
It works perfectly well, however it is tiresome and cumbersome.


Reply 3 years ago

hi! i ended up in this thread looking for ways to enable ALL apps to write to external sd on lollipop 5.1.1

With a rooted phone i have found that i can easily move files using the es file manager but what i want to do is to be able to set apps to write on the external sd card by default (i.e torrent app, browser). are you aware of any apps that rid the phone of the crappy new restrictions that android has imposed? also, could custom roms be free of this thing?

i am looking to get rid of this restriction once and for good and have promised to myself to never update again, not until the geniuses at google decide to stop freaking out and acting like they own our lives