When KitKat was released it felt like a fairly significant update. Not enough to deserve being called Android 5.0 but it brought not insignificant features nevertheless. Some of the most important features were security ones. Android’s openness had led it to become a security risk, a problem that was exasperated by the fact that the vast majority of mobile malware targets Android.
And so, Google did something that pissed quite a few people off, they restricted App’s access to SD cards. At first glance, this seemed like the perfect solution. Apps are allowed to read and write within their own folder, but they can’t write to any folders outside of their designated folder on the SD card.
The problem was that a lot of apps had already put files and folders all over users’ SD cards, and now couldn’t access the files that they in some cases needed to run. It also crippled certain apps that had a legitimate need for access. Apps like File Managers that were built for the sole purpose of exploring the phone’s internal and external storage, and third party cameras who don’t want to save photos and videos in their own folder (uninstalling would mean losing your media if they were).
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It certainly caused some problems for both developers and users, but Google felt that preventing a malicious app from say, installing malware into a folder used by your banking app, was worth the trade off.
Those who wanted to go back to the old way of things, had only one solution, installing a custom ROM. It isn’t a hard thing to do, Cyanogen makes their installation painless for most devices, but it is still less than convenient, wipes all of the user’s data and some users may prefer the version of Android that came installed on their phone.
Now, Chinese developer Geeksoft, the creators of File Expert, claim to have a fix. They haven’t updated File Expert with the fix just yet, it is currently in beta, but they assure us that it does work. Better yet, they also have an easily applicable patch that will allow third party applications regain external SD card write access.
The big piece that makes this news? Geeksoft claims that their fix can be implemented without rooting, giving access of external SD cards back to the mainstream, Android loving public. Of course, giving too many third party apps access to all of your files may open up a security risk, but a careful Android user should be fine.