Some apps, like Kodi, cannot write to external storage yet on Fire OS 5 due to missing Android Lollipop support


Fire OS 5, the latest version of the Fire TV operating system, ships on the 2nd-gen Fire TV and is coming to the 1st-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Stick soon. As you probably know, Fire OS 5 is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. With the upgrade comes Androids new tighter restrictions on app permissions. One of those new restrictions in Android forces apps to explicitly ask for your permission before they’re allowed to modify files on external storage devices. Some apps, including Kodi, have not yet been updated to request these new permissions, so are unable to modify files on a microSD card or USB drive connected to a Fire TV running Fire OS 5. This is why you cannot currently fully move Kodi to external storage on Fire OS 5.

Kodi, and all other apps, have no problem reading files from external storage. This means you can play media files, stored on a USB drive or a microSD card, with Kodi without any issues on the 2nd-gen Fire TV. Where you run into issues is if you change Kodi’s advanced settings to use external storage for other purposes, like storing your database or thumbnails. Read and write access on internal storage for all apps is unrestricted in Fire OS 5 and Android Lollipop.

Some apps, like ES File Explorer, are already updated to properly ask for permision and can have full write access to external storage. Kodi’s developers need to implement Android Lollipop’s new external storage access API before some of its advanced functionality will work with Fire OS 5 and any other Lollipop based device. Once that’s done, I’ll update my guide for partially or fully moving Kodi to external storage. These stricter permissions in Android do not affect moving apps to external storage within the Fire TV’s application management settings.

  1. jim says:

    I think that I must be missing out on a lot of things that Kodi is capable of. I mainly just watch movies, and download (to where I have no idea) one here or there to watch without buffering on N***.

    But when you say “This means you can play media files, stored on a USB drive or a microSD card, with Kodi”. Or “use external storage for other purposes, like storing your database or thumbnails”. I am totally lost.

    • natebetween says:

      You’re probably not as lost as you think. Basically you can play media files that you have on a USB or micro SD card just by inserting them, and telling KODI where to find those movies (through the files option). Then, when KODI scans your movies to produce artwork, thumbnails, .XML files etc., this can take some time as KODI is downloading and creating these files. Now that KODI has all of this info, you have the option to export that BACK to the storage where the movies are. Also, if you make any edits to description of a movie, thumbnail, etc., it will edit the .XML file…basically the file that tells KODI what pictures, description, rating, actors, etc. to display.

      This means that if you move your storage from, say your AFTV in the master bedroom to you AFTV in the living room, the box doesn’t have to re-scan and re-download all of that info. This can save you a LOT of time if you have a big movie collection.

  2. Ghislain says:

    The problem is also true for the new fire tablet. 3rd party apps can’t write on sd card. Unfortunately as ES explorer! I hope a progress on this in a short delay.

    Congrats for your website

    Cheers from France.

  3. Grinder says:

    Upgrade to Jarvis. Solved.

  4. Ash says:

    What would the benefits be to put kodi on a storage device? I mean, would it help stop buffering etc if I used like a 128GB USB as apposed to the small fire tv storage memory.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Kodi performance is better on internal storage. The benefit of moving it to external storage is mainly just freeing up internal storage usage. Some people have huge libraries that take up a large chunk of internal storage.

      • Zeke says:

        Agreed, Kodi database is very fast to access from onboard. Only time I ever moved it to an external device was so I could put GTA San Andreas on the internal storage since without root on my AFTV (too new a version from out of the box) it couldn’t run from USB – the app to move it there requires root. The database was on an external USB3 HDD and it was noticeably slow to buffer… I wouldn’t recommend it although a flash memory based USB stick would probably work fine.

  5. Barusch Benitez says:

    I used a USB stick and two different mSD cards and Kodi never recognized them. They weren’t shown on Kodi file browser. I had to dig in to .root/storage/sd1 to move files from my mSD card to Kodi.

  6. Axecaster says:

    I know the gen1 FTV box is jellybean, but why when I mount an external usb HFS+ drive, only ES File Explorer is seeing and able to play back the contents? What would make Kodi, VLC or MX Player not see the drive or accept handoffs from the file explorer?

  7. Dan says:

    Should a networked mycloud work?

  8. Jocala says:

    It turns out that Kodi 15x can write to both /storage/sdcard1 and /storage/usbotg. You have to set up a sandboxed area: mkdir -p /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/ — now Kodi can write to any directory below the org.xbmc.kodi sandbox. It works fine for relocating via the method. Credit to mark7201@xda for the discovery.

    • Phillip king says:

      Worked well for me just created the folder below that level and the backup worked fine on kodi on my fire tv thanks

  9. Alan says:

    Thanks for all the information and effort you put into the site.

    I’ve blocked the updates for my AFTV 1 as I’ve got Kodi using an external USB to store thumbnails.

    Blocking guide:

    I got the perfect setup at the moment and don’t want it to be messed around, unless there’s some worthwhile features coming with the upgrade.

  10. Ian Sutherland says:

    Thanks To Jocala and mark7201

    mkdir -p /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/

    cp -r /sdcard/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.kodi /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.kodi

    touch /sdcard/

    echo > /sdcard/

    Then Run Kodi and repeat

    cp -r /sdcard/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.kodi /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.kodi

  11. Ukie Man says:

    echo > /sdcard/

    Without.kodi just org.xbmc.kodi/files/

  12. Ukie Man says:

    After Fire TV 2 update to and reboot your KODI wont open just Copy and past folder .smb from /sdcard1/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/ to /sdcard/Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/ and add new folder .kodi if you don’t have one and you back in business. I don’t know if it makes any difference but my KODI is installed on Internal Storage in Fire TV Applications but all the files are on sdcard1. P.S. Fire TV 2 KODI 15.3 and 16.A4 no /usbotg

  13. dirk says:

    Can you explain how to do tjis in plain englisch please .
    Looks only for advanced users

  14. Constable Odo says:

    I sure hope Kodi Krypton for Android allows writing to external storage without having to jump through hoops. Is it really that hard for Kodi developers to manage fixing the permissions.

  15. nludian says:

    @Ian Sutherland –

    Your post was about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine. At least for us non-coders who came here looking for help. Would it really be so much to ask for plain English walk-through instructions on how to do whatever you were saying in your post. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate that you made an attempt when @Jocala, the person who presented the idea originally, couldn’t be bothered, but what I got from it might as well have been written in hieroglyphs because that’s how much sense it made to me. Still thank you for trying

  16. Johnny says:

    Any word on when, or if this might get fixed? Any work around at all for the write permission problem?

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