The External SD Card and Android 4.4.2 - KitKat

Several articles have appeared online after the release of the newest version of Android, KitKat, that pointed out the problems with accessing the external SD card in Samsung and other phones. Many were very critical of Google's intention to discourage their use in phones.  In addition, phone users chimed-in with their displeasure about having to ditch external storage that they extensively used. Overall, everyone complained vociferously, lamenting the demise of the SD card slot that added significant extra storage to the phone.

I have closely followed the events occurring after the initial fiasco and I found something quite the opposite of what was initially reported.  Initially, Google apps like Camera had read-write access to the micro-SD card, something that led me to believe that the online reports weren't necessarily accurate.  Since that time, many apps have changed the way they access and write to the card, and are now able to write to the SD card without any problems.  Apps also now have settings that allow us to select the storage we want the app to use.  This is especially useful for navigation apps that store maps locally.  In fact, apps like MapFactor Navigation and Navfree USA provide an option to store downloaded maps on the micro-SD card.  Then there apps like ES File Explorer that have, like always, read-write access to almost the entire SD card.

From what I have gathered, and it was confirmed by a few online articles and technical documentation from Google, apps have to take "ownership" of their folders on the SD card.  Once they do, they can write to that folder but to no other on the SD card.  Thus, it does not seem that reports of the demise of the external SD card in Android phones are true, at least not yet.

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