How to fix SD card writing issue on the Galaxy S4 GPe running Android 4.3


A couple of weeks ago, Google started rolling out the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition. While the update bought with it a lot of under-the-hood enhancements and some minor new features, it also introduced a serious bug on the S4.

Galaxy S4 Google Play edition owners have been unable to write anything to the external microSD card either by using a File manager or via apps. Trying to write anything to the card will just throw up a weird error. Until and unless, Google and Samsung roll out another update to fix this issue, there is not much Galaxy S4 GPe owners can do.

There is, however, a workaround to this bug. If you only want to copy files to the microSD card, use ES File Explorer. The app was recently updated to work around this issue, and can easily write or read from an external microSD card on the Galaxy S4 running Android 4.3.

You can also squash the bug yourself, if you are too impatient for Google to roll out an update for this. However, for this you will need root access for this. If you have root access, proceed to the steps below to fix the bug.

Step 1: Using a file explorer with root access capabilities like Root Explorer, navigate to /system/etc/permissions folder. Make sure you have r/w access

Step 2: Find the platform.xml file and open it using a text editor. If you are using Root explorer, long press on the platform.xml file and select Open With -> Text editor to open the file in a text editor. Now, find the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission in the file.


Step 3: Add the following line on a new line under the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission without the quotes – “<group gid=”media_rw” />”.

Step 4: Save the file and restart your device, and the bug will be solved.

If the above steps are too tedious to for you, wait patiently for Google (if they ever) to release an OTA update to fix this issue. Until then, use ES File Explorer to copy files to the external storage on your Galaxy S4 GPe.

Credits to the Android Central team for the fix!

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  • truewords

    I was so happy with my samsung s4 after moving from iphone 5 over.
    I have to say the latest storage issues which even not fixed moving all the stuff to sd just kills it for me. I was only able to get the 16GB version of the device which after installing a few apps renders it useless due to the samsung bloatware not being able to be moved to SD card. This is not right Samsung should be forced to pay compensation and this is also fraud you are advertising 16gb but the OS and bloatware consume 70% of the device internal storage.

  • Laurie Dunnett

    Hi I have just updated to 4.3 via Samsung kies3 and the writing to the sd card has now been fixed.

  • Vraagbaak

    Just one note as most file systems are not allowing write actions (save changes).
    Copy the file to “/”, edit the file, save it, check the permissions (rw-r–r–) and copy the file back to the original location.
    After checking if everything works like expected, don’t forget to remove the file from “/”

  • Ron Simon

    Help. I did not make a copy of the platform.xml file first. I made the change indicated and now nothing can see either the internal or external sd card. Which means I can’t restore my backup. Almost every app is now failing. BTW I am running kit Kat

  • UlrichV


    Since android 4.4.2 on samsung s4 I have this problem
    directory-explorer can read and show the extsdcard and also every other
    mediaplayer which does not navigate over the directories and shows only
    the last directory can also show the extsdcard. Only player which can
    navigate over the directories (like the vlc-player) have this problem

    I need help because for a classic-musik-fan with a lot of music (I have
    64 gb) it is necessary to navigate about directories, so I need vlc-
    what can I do

    • Chris Lickorish

      See my reply above! Use MX player or Real Player. Fingers crossed.

  • Chris Lickorish

    Just bought a 64 gig card for my new 8.4 tab and realised the problem when using VLC (as VLC seems to cope with playing any format!). But both the stock player, MX player and Real Player CAN cope with accessing both storage areas (this applies to my Note 3 running Kitkat as well). As an interim measure the few videos that only VLC would play (2 so far) I have converted to mp4 using Freemake Video Converter.

  • Adrian Ph

    thank you so much! work very well for me, let me pay you some beer man