How to Allow Apps To Write Files to USB Mass Storage Devices in Android

When you’ve got an Android media player or mini PC, you may want to connect an external USB drive and allow write access to this drive to some applications. However, this is disabled by default in Android, although file managers appear to allow copy/paste of files to those drives without issue. Some applications may even refuse to install if they can’t find writable SD card or USB mass storage  device. I’ve tried to install the latest version of aTorrent (version 1.7.6) in my Mele A1000, and it could not install at all and returned a message like:

Can’t install on SD card or USB device

The solution below is adapted from a solution on XDA Developers Forums. Some instructions tells you to use an app such as Root Explorer to edit the files in Android (ES File Manager will also do, after allowing “Up to Root” option), but I personally prefer to run Dropbear SSH server, connect via SSH and edit text files with vi. After login to the system via SSH or adb, remount the system partition in read/write mode:


Go to /system/etc/permissions/, make a backup of platform.xml and edit it:


Add a line with <group gid=”media_rw” /> to WRITE_EXTERNALS_STORAGE, so that the section looks like:


Save the file, and reboot your device.

After following these steps, I was able to complete the installation of aTorrent, and download some files via Bit Torrent to my USB drive (in /mnt/usbhost1).

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16 Comments
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nklh
nklh
8 years ago

thanks for the tips

Andrea
Andrea
8 years ago

Thanks!!!

jm
jm
7 years ago

Thanks, very useful. I make me remember the vi commands like
“i” enter edit mode
“:” quit edit mode
and
“wq” write and quit vi

Fabian
Fabian
7 years ago

Sadly, this didn’t work for me, the file has changed and I can check it after the reboot, the permissions are set correctly, but I still can’t write on my USB drive. 🙁

arielle
arielle
7 years ago

hello, where can i find this “/system/etc/permissions.”?i dont know where it’s located.help please. 🙁

jeblister
jeblister
6 years ago

hello,

thanks a lot for the tips.

umut
umut
6 years ago

Thank you. I used es file manager but editing media_rw permissions did the trick

Nidhin Augustine
Nidhin Augustine
6 years ago

thanks bro

bobbit
bobbit
5 years ago

worked a charm for my android tv box

gergo
gergo
5 years ago

Not optimal, but works for me.
Have searched long time for other solution until I found this simple solution.
Thanks

r k
r k
1 year ago

WARNING: This may make your phone unbootable or cause a boot-loop!
So, ONLY do this after a full backup and after being prepared to re-flash your phone!

(If it does cause a boot-loop, you may try to boot into TWRP and revert the change (mv platform-old.xml platform.xml), and if you’re lucky, your phone may boot again.)

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