The Google Play webpage for the Stack Exchange Android app shows that it requires permission to modify or delete USB storage content.

a screenshot of the Google Play webpage for Stack Exchange showing the modify SD card permission highlighted


Modifying and deleting contents of USB storage

Could this permission be removed? Since you get access to your own subfolder under Android/ for free, it seems rather unreasonable.

If not, please give good explanation why (including, why couldn't a specific feature be implemented without using that permission).

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  • Caching. 15 chars – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Jan 31 '14 at 6:53
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    Don’t you get access to your own subfolder under Android/ for free? – kinokijuf Jan 31 '14 at 6:57
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    If I understand the Android developer documentation correctly, this permissions is not needed to access your own folder in 4.4, not needed at all before 4.1, but it is needed in 4.1-4.3 if the user checks the "protect USB storage" option. – Mad Scientist Jan 31 '14 at 7:02
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    After a closer look at the permission I actually think you have somewhat of a point, the permission seems to be not needed if you ignore users that check a specific developer option. But you're making your point in a really bad and not-constructive way. – Mad Scientist Jan 31 '14 at 7:10
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    Dude I don't do eastern European... translate the screenshot into the language of the platform in which you are requesting assistance. – mattdlockyer Jan 31 '14 at 8:54
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    @mattdlockyer Sorry, i can’t. Google does not respect the Accept-Language browseer header and instead guesses the language based on IP. – kinokijuf Jan 31 '14 at 16:47
  • @kinokijuf wow that's a major block. Sorry. – mattdlockyer Jan 31 '14 at 18:57
  • @mattdlockyer I once had an IP that Google thought was in Germany. I don’t speak a word of German. – kinokijuf Jan 31 '14 at 19:43

As I stated in the permissions FAQ thread, this is so we can write a cache to your SD card.

As stated in the comments, you do get that for free, but only starting in API level 19 meaning if we didn't have this permission and tried to write anything to a cache on anything below KitKat the application would crash.


Could this permission be removed?

Possibly, but they've chosen to use it for a reason apparently. According to What are the permissions the Android app needs? it's kind of important.

Modify or delete file contents of your USB storage

We use this to cache data onto your phone's external storage (normally an SD card) per Google's standards

They're not going to wipe your SD card.

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    Don’t you get access to your own subfolder under Android/ for free? – kinokijuf Jan 31 '14 at 7:03
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    I'm not an Android developer, so I can't tell you. I just quoted the reason why they chose to have this permission. – doppelgreener Jan 31 '14 at 7:03
  • hmmm it seems you answers why without actually knowing why... – Danubian Sailor Jan 31 '14 at 10:24
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    It shouldn't seem that way, because I just now explicitly said it was that way. :P – doppelgreener Jan 31 '14 at 10:32
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    @ŁukaszL. if we had to know why without guessing or quoting other sources, no one on MSO would answer except for SE employees. I think this answers the question as asked. Of course, it doesn't answer the follow up comment though. – psubsee2003 Jan 31 '14 at 12:46

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