How to fix USB drive or MicroSD card file permision issues caused by Fire OS 5 on the Fire TV

One big change with Fire OS 5, which affects all apps that interact with external storage, is the stricter file permissions that come with Amazon upgrading the core operating system in Fire OS to Android 5.1 Lollipop. With Fire OS 5, an app cannot freely write data to any directory on an external USB drive or microSD card, like it could with Fire OS 3. This change affects both the 1st and 2nd generation Fire TV. Here’s what you need to know about the new restrictions and how to work around them.

There are two methods for an app to have permission to write data to external storage on Fire OS 5. The first method, which is the ideal method, is for an app to ask the user for permission. If an app properly understands the limitation, it will prompt you to select a directory where you grant the app to write data. ES File Explorer is one such app which asks for permission correctly. Before writing files to external storage for the first time, the app will pop up a message informing you that you are about to be asked to grant the app permission to write to external storage. The screen that follows is a bit confusing, but basically you just need to navigate to the root directory of your USB drive or microSD card and select it as the location that the app may modify. If you select the top most directory, then you are granting the app permission to write anywhere on external storage. You can find more details about this directory selection screen in Fire OS 5 here.

Unfortunately, most apps do not properly ask for permission before writing data to external storage on Fire OS 5. If that’s the case, then you must force the app to only use its allocated directory on the USB drive or microSD card. The allocated directory that an app can write data to, without having to ask for permission, is the Android/data/[PACKAGE-NAME] directory on the external storage device. Each app has a unique package name, which you can determine using this guide.

For example, Kodi’s package name is org.xbmc.kodi so the directory that it is allowed to write to, without asking for permission, is /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/ on a microSD card plugged into the Fire TV 2. If you need Kodi, or any Kodi add-on, to modify the files on your external storage, you must tell it to use that directory. This is why my guide for moving Kodi’s database files to external storage uses that exact directory.

Here are the different full paths for the various Fire TV versions and external storage types:

  • Fire TV 1 USB Drive: /storage/usbdisk/Android/data/[PACKAGE-NAME]
  • Fire TV 2 USB Drive: /storage/usbotg/Android/data/[PACKAGE-NAME]
  • Fire TV 2 MicroSD Card: /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/[PACKAGE-NAME]

  1. AFTVUser says:

    Good information, as usual.

    On a semi-related note, I use SFTP to backup (and, if needed, restore) my data to a network drive. With Fire OS 3, restoring data to the Fire TV using an FTP client like FlieZilla was not an issue as I could write to any directory I wished. Now, of course, I am unable to write to any directory under Fire OS 5. Anyone have any ideas about how to get passed this issue?

    • AFTVUser says:

      Well, following up my own question (and thanks, Elias, for attempting to address it during today’s podcast), after having spoken to the author of the FTP server (SSHelper) I use on my FTV, it appears that the problem is not one that will be easily addressed on non-rooted, nor non-rootable, FTVs.

      I suppose the good news is that these are exactly the kinds of issues that cause me to become even more resolute in finding a solution…

  2. crassh76 says:

    Does this apply to newly rooted users that used Kingroot?

  3. Tech3475 says:

    I know back in the kitkat days theres was a fix for rooted devices by changeing a string system file, anyone know if that still works?

  4. DeanR1977 says:

    I’ve done this without any problems, saved me loads of data now on my internal memory! Only thing now is that it still won’t write to the micro sd card? Just tried backing up my Kodi & it just throws a error back? Had to put my backup on my internal sd instead. Hopefully someone will come up with a solution to this? On prerooted 5.0.5 r4

  5. Lisa says:

    Is this why deleting files through KODI doesn’t work any more on the Fire TV?

  6. Christopher Loughrey says:

    Why can’t we use root permission to modify these restrictions like we could on devices that used Android 4.4. with similar write restrictions for SD card?

  7. hari says:

    when i connected my mmx unite 2 lollipop to sony tv through usb the phone files care showing interrupted on tv

  8. Gazdaman says:

    If you are rooted:
    Install Xposed Framework sdk22 – version 86 at time of writing
    (Arm build for Fire TV 1, Arm64 build for Fire TV 2)

    Then install Xposed Installer
    For Fire TV 1 use XposedInstaller_3.0_alpha4
    For Fire TV 2 use XposedInstaller_3.1

    Then install Xposed module “HandleExternalStorage v1.1.0”

    This module fixes the write issue with OS 5 (Lollipop) and grants write access to all apps.

  9. Kazoooks says:

    This works perfect on my non-rooted firetv with kodi.. I was able to set the path from a kodi sdbackup program to my external 128GB MicroSD sdcard1 and then create and send the backup zip file right over to it.. Thank you very much for posting this step by step. Much appreciated. Again, this works perfect. I will note though I got an error pop up within kodi after setting the path but everything worked as normal after that. Zero issues.

    • Dragon Master says:

      Solution for usb external drive for unlimited download space using KODI……. /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/

      1. transfer Kodi add-on to sd card 2. Shut down and remove sd card and stick in pc along with usb hard drive. 3. copy sd card partition to usb drive using a partition software… 4. now copy jump drive files to a temp folder on computer. 5. format usb drive to original fat32. 6. copy temp files back to usb and reinsert to Fire TV. 7. Change download folder to the usb… which will be /storage/usbotg/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/ and now your drive is available for downloads…

  10. Dode Duke says:

    Path doesn’t work for DNLA eternal storage on a wireless network router.

  11. Boosey says:

    Very good solution for kodi write permissions issue,

  12. Donald George says:

    Thanks for a simple fix.

  13. Dave k says:

    If u want to back up your kodi to a external hdd or USB stick via an android box just turn off the box then plug in the storage device (it creates the path mentioned above automatically ) then just navigate to the kodi folder on your storage and save it there no issue with read write then

  14. Tobi says:

    For me this fix worked for an half year. But since some weeks I can’t write on the external device (SSHelpers directory) any more after some time. It works after a reboot for an hour or so. But then it stops. Any idea?

  15. Dave says:

    I am using a media box with Android 7.1.2 OS. I cannot write to either the micro SD card nor to any USB devices connected to the box. I’m almost certain it’s related to this write permission deal. I need a simple fix (if there is one) to allow any app on this box to download to the specified folder on external storage that I assign.
    I’m not a programmer so I do need simple instructions. LOL
    MANY thanks.
    I did try on a whim to insert the micro SD card into my laptop and set the permission on the card itself to allow everyone full control. No help.
    Thanks ahead of time!!!

    • BigMike says:

      I’m having the same issue is my firestick used to be able to download to my SD card no problem I went from a 1 terabyte to a terrorbyte no problem now for some reason I can’t write on anyting it stop me. I’m very frustrated with this whole thing I’ve been looking and researching I can’t find a simple command for remote ADB shell or any simple fix need help… downloading movies videos p*** everything no problems one through advanced downloader to Total Commander move files to external SD hard drive. Even direct downloads from apks. Go to my external USB my choice of which USB all recognized. Now recognize but block need permission Through Fire stick both videos and hard drive is open for shared permission opened fire stick is stopping all transfer to my SD card….HELP!!!! So frustrated really hope I don’t have to root it???

  16. Michael Antonelli says:

    Thank you so much!!! Am now able to write to sdcard thanks to your instructions with the specific directory location needed… you’re amazing! Thank you!!!

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