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Android 11 microSD card storage new restrictions break some apps

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 6th, 2021 11:14 pm
[OP]
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Jan 21, 2018
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Android 11 microSD card storage new restrictions break some apps

I just got a new Moto G Power that updated itself to Android 11. I've plugged in a 128 GB microSD card, and Android says it's available for photo and media storage and transfer. No formatting or usage options are offered.

I want to install the HERE WeGo app with maps for offline navigation, and put the bulky maps on the microSD card as I did with previous phones.

Problem: the HERE setting for map location offers only "Internal storage". It apparently doesn't see the microSD card on Android 11.

I checked some online sources that attempted to give instructions for moving app storage to the microSD card on Android 11. No such options appear on my phone.

I know Google has made frequent changes to how microSD storage is handled in Android, including new changes in Android 11, and they've generally made a confused mess of things. Maybe I'm missing some new secret formatting option that nobody has mentioned? Or Google has managed to cripple Android 11?

Any suggestions how I might solve this problem?

Update: probably not solvable until app developers deal with the new restrictions in Android 11.
Last edited by Scote64 on Aug 6th, 2021 11:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Jan 16, 2011
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Doesn't Android 11 (and 10 I think) treat sd cards as an extension of the internal storage now?

Android 11 Storage
Scoped storage
To give users more control over their files and to limit file clutter, apps that target Android 10 (API level 29) and higher are given scoped access into external storage, or scoped storage, by default. Such apps have access only to the app-specific directory on external storage, as well as specific types of media that the app has created.

Note: If your app requests a storage-related permission at runtime, the user-facing dialog indicates that your app is requesting broad access to external storage, even when scoped storage is enabled.
Use scoped storage unless your app needs access to a file that's stored outside of an app-specific directory and outside of a directory that the MediaStore APIs can access. If you store app-specific files on external storage, you can make it easier to adopt scoped storage by placing these files in an app-specific directory on external storage. That way, your app maintains access to these files when scoped storage is enabled.

To prepare your app for scoped storage, view the storage use cases and best practices guide. If your app has another use case that isn't covered by scoped storage, file a feature request. You can temporarily opt-out of using scoped storage.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jan 21, 2018
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Vancouver
kr0zet wrote: Doesn't Android 11 (and 10 I think) treat sd cards as an extension of the internal storage now?

Android 11 Storage
No, the "formatted as an internal storage extension" was an earlier debacle that Google decided to drop at some point.

This new "scoped storage" restriction is an attempt to copy one of the most annoying features of iOS, that apps only have access to their own files in storage, can't see other apps files.

My fear is that many apps written to use external microSD storage for their files may now need an update to work with Android 11.
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Scote64 wrote: No, the "formatted as an internal storage extension" was an earlier debacle that Google decided to drop at some point.

This new "scoped storage" restriction is an attempt to copy one of the most annoying features of iOS, that apps only have access to their own files in storage, can't see other apps files.

My fear is that many apps written to use external microSD storage for their files may now need an update to work with Android 11.
Thank you for the clarification.
[OP]
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Jan 21, 2018
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Didn't find much online, but this post in German in a Samsung forum confirms the problem: https://eu.community.samsung.com/t5/gal ... -p/2818018

It appears that yes, Android 11 does break some apps that formerly could store data on microSD card, including HERE WeGo, and that nothing has been done to fix it in the last 6 months.
Newbie
Aug 11, 2021
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Reviving this thread Electric Light Bulb

I also have the problem with a new Samsung phone with Android 11 (as of 08/11/2021 with the latest app & Android patch level 07/01/2021): the Here WeGo app cannot find / let me select the SD card (external storage), while various other apps (Google Maps, OSMAnd, camera app) can easily find and use the SDCard.

A workaround: download and use the beta version of Here WeGo instead of the normal / old version. (Slightly different GUI, but same key features.) The beta app _does_ find the SD card and maps can be stored there. My first online / offline tests looked OK. But I haven't tried the beta version "in the wild" yet.
Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... e.app.wego

(From a software development point of view, such a long living bug (?) surprises me - on the other hand it does not: if the old app version is obsolete/deprecated, improvements there will drop to the bottom of the developer's todo list.)

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