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Any recommendation for a smartphone which doesn't need to be rooted?

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#1 evilbunny


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Posted 10 July 2017 - 07:37 AM

As no doubt most readers of these forums will know, Android (at least from 4.4 onwards) suffers from the nasty security problem that writing to the external SD card is prohibited, by a setting which is locked against change. This means that if actual work is done on an Android device, and thus needs to be saved, instead of the secure and reliable method of writing it to the SD card (so that if the device fails, any work done since the last backup is not lost but can be recovered simply by swapping the card out to another device), it has to be saved to internal storage (unreliable, for the reason just given) or to a cloud device (unreliable and insecure, even if the device is my own NAS drive back home; due to past experience, I don't trust any other cloud service). To my mind, the fact that this setting even exists is idiocy on a par with Microsoft Windows' "hide extensions for all known file types" (aka "infect me with all possible malware") setting; but at least MS have the decency to make that a user-alterable setting, so sensible users can correct it. The only known way to sort out the Android setting so as to enable useful work to be done is to run SDFix or the like, and SDFix cannot be run unless it has root access.


Unfortunately, none of the Android applications to make the phone act as a duplicate credit/debit card (such as Android Pay or Samsung Pay) will work on a rooted phone; ironically, this is supposed to be for "security" reasons, although, to my mind, as things stand not rooting a device has (as I explained above) worse security implications than rooting it.


So, is there an Android phone available which doesn't have the dumb "prevent writing to SD card" setting, or has it set to "off" by default, or has it as a user-alterable setting, so that it doesn't need to be rooted and can thus run pay applications and be used to do useful work? Preferably a 2015 or earlier model, so that it doesn't have an exorbitant price tag. (I once had a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, cost £500 in 2013 when it was a new model but £115 in 2015 when I bought mine. Unfortunately, that one has been stolen.)


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#2 britechguy


    Been there, done that, got the T-shirt

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:18 AM

Later versions of Android were changed to undo that bit of lunacy.   I am able to have apps write to my SD card (my GPS app puts all its maps there, the built-in camera app is putting pictures on the SD card, I had FX File manager write things to the SD Card [though I had to confirm this each time, never did figure out how to make that "yes" permanent].  This is on an non-rooted Galaxy S7.


There are very few smartphones that you'd buy today that aren't sporting an Android version that came after KitKat.  Read up, carefully, on what the "write to SD Card" permissions and behaviors are for the later Android versions.


I've generally rooted all of my Android powered smartphones prior to the Galaxy S7, and will probably root it at some point in the future.  I just didn't want to do it while the device was still really new and remained under warranty.  I may never do it, though.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763 

     Presenting the willfully ignorant with facts is the very definition of casting pearls before swine.

             ~ Brian Vogel






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