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No access to Android/data on Android 11+

Since Android 11, it’s not possible to open these folders in Internal storage or on memory card:

  • Android/data
  • Android/obb

This is part of Android’s increasing security, and is also mentioned on Android developer site.

X-plore tries to solve this by asking for special access as written here. You have to choose Android/data folder on device’s Internal storage, then X-plore should be able to read and write to these protected folders.

For memory cards, opening these folders may not work at all.

On various devices, accessing these folders doesn’t work for variety of reasons, such as modifications of Android made by manufacturer, missing system components, etc.
Often this won’t work on Android TV devices.

Solution with Shizuku

Since X-plore 4.36, it’s possible to overcome these limitations by using Shizuku tool.

Android 13+

Since Android 13, X-plore will ask permission for opening each individual sub-folder under Android/data
Folders can’t be created or deleted under data folder.

Android 14+

Since Android 14, X-plore can’t even know if some folder exists under Android/data, so all installed apps are presented in Android/data, but some of the folders may not exist.

Technical details

On most (or all) Android devices, the app responsible for getting access to these sensitive folders is called Files (this name may be localized to actual device language), with package id com.google.android.documentsui.
This app is a simple file manager that is pre-installed on Android device, and has special permissions to access protected folders. It’s also a gate for other apps to ask access to special folders. Interestingly, the Files app doesn’t exist on Android TV devices, so there’s no way to ask for the access on TVs.
This Files app is typically installed as part of Android system. On some devices, it can be updated to a newer version with “security patches”, what usually means that newer version blocks more apps trying to access sensitive Android folders. On some devices, a newer version of this app can be uninstalled, thus letting user to gain access to protected folders, while on other Android devices there’s no way to go back to previous version.
From reading source code of the Files app, it’s apparent that Android developers try hard to further patch holes in their system, in order to enforce their intention to block 3rd-party apps from accessing sensitive folders under Android folder in the Internal storage.
Some Android devices (Samsung being an example), Android system may be shipped with older Files app, which allows access to choose data or obb folders without problem even on Android 13 or 14, while on other devices the access is blocked by patched Files app (observed on Android 13 on a Redmi device, but also on others).
The conclusion is that this is a fight between app developers and Android developers, where one side is trying to find holes in the system in order to provide functionality that users ask for, while the other side is trying to patch holes in order to block what they planned to be blocked.
X-plore tries to do whatever is possible in order to let users to access their files, but sometimes there is a technical blockage that cannot be overcome.