[Solved] “You must let us know why your app requires broad storage access”

Message below popped up today in Google Play Console. The app uses local data source and App Variables. Will this issue stop the app working? @domhnallohanlon @jane

'Starting 5 May, you must let us know why your app requires broad storage access

We’ve detected that your app contains the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag in the manifest file of one or more of your app bundles or APKs.

Developers with apps on devices running Android 11+ must use scoped storage to give users better access control over their device storage. To release your app on Android 11 or newer after 5 May, you must either:

  • Update your app to use more privacy-friendly best practices, such as the storage access framework or Media Store API
  • Update your app to declare the All files access (MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE) permission in the manifest file, and complete the All files access permission declaration in Play Console from 5 May
  • Remove the All files access permission from your app entirely

For apps targeting Android 11, the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag will be ignored. You must use the All files access permission to retain broad access.

Apps requesting access to the All files access permission without a permitted use will be removed from Google Play, and you won’t be able to publish updates.’

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Thanks for flagging this @martint - will do a bit more digging now to see what action is required here.

The message you’re seeing is due to an update in how Android handles File access/storage from SDK 30 (Android 11) onwards.

It depends on what SDK level you’re targeting, but ideally we’ll be able to resolve this on advance of the May 5th deadline.


This is helpful - does your app have any other components that might access locally stored files?

The Photo Library seems a likely candidate, but maybe the PDF reader or Web Viewer too?

Thanks

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Thanks @domhnallohanlon

Just uses 4 local data source tables and several App Variables of which a couple contain objects and all data stored contains only text.

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Hi @domhnallohanlon I received the same notification as well today. The app does not have a local DB component (Firebase is used as the cloud DB), nor does it require access to images/gallery. There is a Web Viewer component in it, and it does use Stored variables, if they matter.

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I was also notified with the same message from Google Play Console . In my case, I use Photo Library component.

Hi, I received the message below from my Google Play Console account. Can anyone advice any actions need to be done for apps deployed to google play? Thanks


We’ve detected that your app contains the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag in the manifest file of 1 or more of your app bundles or APKs.

Developers with apps on devices running Android 11+ must use Scoped Storage to give users better access control over their device storage. To release your app on Android 11 or newer after May 5th, you must either:

  • Update your app to use more privacy friendly best practices, such as the Storage Access Framework or Media Store API
  • Update your app to declare the All files access (MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE) permission in the manifest file, and complete the All files access permission declaration in Play Console from May 5th
  • Remove the All files access permission from your app entirely

For apps targeting Android 11, the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag will be ignored. You must use the All files access permission to retain broad access.

Apps requesting access to the All files access permission without a permitted use will be removed from Google Play, and you won’t be able to publish updates.

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Same as this

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Thanks for flagging this @gobassky - we discussed this at our engineering meeting yesterday and Wei and Jose are taking a look at it.


I’ll need to double check this for you but my understanding is that our APKs currently target Android 10 (anyone else remember all the SDK 29 threads a couple of years ago? :rofl:) and this may not even affect your apps.


We’ll have a better sense next week of what, if anything is needed by May 5th and will make sure that if any update is needed on our end that it gets done and that it get communicated back to the community!

cc: @martint @Ivan_Gonzalez @secondharitcdml

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Hello @domhnallohanlon ,I have received the same message below in my Inbox of the Google Play Console… Can you please tell me the steps to prevent my app from being removed in Google Play Store.
My app uses Firebase Realtime DB, Local DB, Text to Speech, Web Viewer, Airtable and PDF Reader

I am getting this error for all my apps published in Google Play Console. Request you to fix this issue or tell the necessary steps/actions before May 5th.

The error message is as follows:
We’ve detected that your app contains the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag in the manifest file of 1 or more of your app bundles or APKs.

Developers with apps on devices running Android 11+ must use Scoped Storage to give users better access control over their device storage. To release your app on Android 11 or newer after May 5th, you must either:

  • Update your app to use more privacy friendly best practices, such as the Storage Access Framework or Media Store API
  • Update your app to declare the All files access (MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE) permission in the manifest file, and complete the All files access permission declaration in Play Console from May 5th
  • Remove the All files access permission from your app entirely

For apps targeting Android 11, the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag will be ignored. You must use the All files access permission to retain broad access.

Apps requesting access to the All files access permission without a permitted use will be removed from Google Play, and you won’t be able to publish updates.

Thanks @aditya.paul ,

We did some research here and I can confirm that your Thunkable apps will not be affected by this.

Thunkable apps do not target Android version 11/SDK level 30, so this rule won’t affect your published apps. At some point in the future, it will be mandatory for published apps to target Android version 11.

Thunkable will be compliant with this rule before this point, so your apps will not be affected, though Google will show you this message as they want developers to make the transition to targeting Android version 11 as soon as possible.

cc: @martint @Ivan_Gonzalez @secondharitcdml

2 Likes

Okay @domhnallohanlon So, as of now, we developers and the Thunkable staff has nothing to do regarding this…

Hello,

Did anyone receive this message in google play console?

Blockquote

Starting 5 May, you must let us know why your app requires broad storage access

14 Apr 2021 20:26

We’ve detected that your app contains the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag in the manifest file of one or more of your app bundles or APKs.

Developers with apps on devices running Android 11+ must use scoped storage to give users better access control over their device storage. To release your app on Android 11 or newer after 5 May, you must either:

  • Update your app to use more privacy-friendly best practices, such as the storage access framework or Media Store API
  • Update your app to declare the All files access (MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE) permission in the manifest file, and complete the All files access permission declaration in Play Console from 5 May
  • Remove the All files access permission from your app entirely

For apps targeting Android 11, the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag will be ignored. You must use the All files access permission to retain broad access.

Apps requesting access to the All files access permission without a permitted use will be removed from Google Play, and you won’t be able to publish updates.

Blockquote

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See this post

We have a pending release which will remove the requestLegacyExternalStorage warning. We expect to roll it out soon, within the next couple days.

Wei

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The change is released. You can rebuild your app and submit the apk file to Google play console. Please let me know if you have any issue!

Wei

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I’ve uploaded a new version after the release but the message keeps appearing…

Same… I have downloaded the app after the Thunkable Team told that they have solved the issue and uploaded the new version in Play Store. The update is live but the message still shows the same error.

Hi @oreeldadln and @aditya.paul ,

Did you both download a new APK after seeing Wei’s message above?
Do you see exactly the same message as above? If not, could you paste the warning you see here?
Have you previously published other apps built with Thunkable to the Play Store?

@martint, @secondharitcdml, @Ivan_Gonzalez, @gobassky, did any of you publish an app to the Play Store since this update went live? Did you see this message?

Hi @jane I published an update to one of my apps after Wei’s message. I have not recieved any new warning message although the original warnings continue to show until dismissed.

Just for clarity is ther a specific permission that should have now disappeared if I compare to other not updated apps?

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That is great to hear! You may have to update your other apps to make the warnings disappear entirely.
The specific permission was the requestLegacyExternalStorage flag.

You can read more about this flag here: Android storage use cases and best practices  |  Android Developers

You can read about Google’s new Play Store policy relating to this permission here: Preview: Use of All files access (MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE) permission - Play Console Help

And you can see other announcements in this policy update here: Updates to Google Play Policies - Play Console Help. These are mostly related to in-app content rather than permissions and such.