How to grant apps Special Access to Android DATA and OBB directory files in Fire OS 8 on the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K & 4K Max

Part of the additional privacy and security updates in Fire OS 8 on the new Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max that were inherited from Android 11 include very tight restricted access to certain /sdcard/ directories, such as Android/data and Android/obb. For apps like the file managers Total Commander, X-plore, and AnExplorer to access these directories, they must request special permission. Granting that access permission is very cumbersome but can be done if you follow the steps in this how-to guide.

Before following this guide, you should probably first grant the app you are using full storage access by following this other guide. That access is sometimes referred to as “Allow all the time” storage permission. Some apps, like Total Commander, don’t work at all without first granting full access, which is currently missing in the Fire TV interface. Once you’ve granted full storage access, you can return to this guide to then grant the additional special access needed to view protected directories.

  1. Initiate the special access permission request from the app that needs to access protected files. This is usually done by navigating to /sdcard/Android/data/ or /sdcard/Android/obb/ within the app. The apps Total Commander, X-plore File Manager, and AnExplorer File Manager for Fire TV are three such file explorer apps that can access these protected directories.

  2. The default “Files” app made by Google that comes pre-installed on your File TV will launch. Unfortunately, this app was not designed to be used with a remote, so you must follow the next steps exactly and not press any remote buttons except for the ones mentioned below. If the “Files” app gets stuck in an unusable state, you can reset it by selecting “Force stop” under Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications > Files. You can tell that the “Files” app is in a good state if the grid icon on the far right has a grey circle around it when the app launches.
  3. Press DOWN once on your remote and then press SELECT once on your remote to enter any directory that is on the screen. It does not matter which directory you end up selecting.
  4. Once you have opened a directory, press BACK once to return to the previous screen. Even though this seems like a meaningless step, it is necessary to get the proper button highlighted.
  5. Note that the “USE THIS FOLDER” button along the bottom of the screen is now a lighter blue color than it was the first time you saw this screen. (Compare the image below with the one in step 2 for reference.) This means the button is now highlighted. You may now press SELECT on your remote to select the “USE THIS FOLDER” button.
  6. Press RIGHT on your remote twice to highlight the “ALLOW” button in the confirmation prompt that appears. Press SELECT on your remote to select the “ALLOW” button.
  7. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should be sent back to the original app you were in with access granted.

  1. Barnie says:

    “2. The default “Files” app made by Google that comes pre-installed on your File TV will launch. Unfortunately, this app was not designed to be used with a remote, so you must…”

    Did you mean keyboard, instead of remote?

  2. Keith says:

    A very well detailed guide involving adb was posted here years ago. It showed how to move all kodi data onto external drives. I believe at some point it stopped working. Probably due to kodi updates?
    Itd be great if we could get that again. If in fact we can do that. Im fairly certain the old guide wasn’t working .And since Amazon is so stingy with storage it’s kind of a necessity.
    I switched to Plex because of it but always preferred kodi.

  3. Bob says:

    I’m having trouble using this method for /storage/emulated/Android/media because it is empty. I therefore have nothing to go to in order to get the cursor in the right place to turn the button light blue. Suggestions? Maybe a legit default app that has permissions already and would create something there?

    • Bob says:

      I think this was me. If there is nothing below to select, your cursor should already be in the right place.

      • Bob says:

        Suddenly this is no longer true. If you come to an EMPTY protected folder such as Android/media it stays dark blue now. Any idea how to get the context correct for /media?

  4. Bacon says:

    Doesn’t work

    • Boayn says:

      I read all three of the pages and I understand it but is there a way for kodi

    • Jag Mann says:

      I’m just returning my fire sticks and buying older ones. Meh.

      • Patrick says:

        I managed to get it working properly with Xplore, nothing else so far. It’s not really a problem tho,I can move files to other areas with Xplore to allow other Apps access. The tutorial was really helpful, took a couple of tries tho.

  5. Cabito says:

    Does not work. Cursor will not move down to filelist area.

  6. Patrick says:

    Question? Is this permanent or will I have to go use the same method every time I want to access the files with Xplore?

  7. Marco Silvestrini says:

    No work anymore…. after last update

  8. Chris says:

    Thanks to the information above I can get into the Android Data folder on a Firestick 4K Max and I can add files at that level but I’m not able to add files under the .kodi subdirectory. I’ve used all 3 apps, followed the process to allow system picker to run but they all fail with permissions issues. When trying to add access using sysmte picker to the lower leve directory it briefly flashes up that Read access was granted but not Write access. Anyone know how to allow write access to the lower level directories?

  9. Jeff says:

    Is it possible yet to use subtitles in movies or TV shows with, example, MovieHD, CinemaHD, etc? I have not been able to use subtitles at all with the new 4K Max/4k Firesticks

    • Patrick says:

      I have had some success with subtitles on CinemaHD, when I get the open with option and select VLC player. It is hit or miss depending on the program.

  10. Samuel Pidale says:

    Thank you for this information. But for some reason it no longer works. I have just about had enough with the firestick. But I am looking into a class action law suite against Amazon. Because they have sold us a product that originally had capability that were taken away. Limiting users abilities to navigate properly to use legal functions in apps like Kodi to access personal media library. Rendering the app useless. But these features where availble at time of purchase. This should be a simple win for the plaintiffs involved.

  11. D says:

    Now it just says “Can’t use this folder. To protect your privacy, choose another folder. If I manage to click “Use this folder” at the bottom with a mouse, it just repeats the message. F amazon. Yeah, I’m sure it’s for “my privacy.” F amazon

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