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Having to use File Access Legacy Mode to read file list

Stuart Bruce
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I had an unusual Poweramp issue over the last few days. A full rescan of my Music folder would look like it was running (detecting hundreds of files and hundreds of folders), but when it was finished, it would suddenly declare there were 0 files, 0 folders, and only the playlist files were found. But the files were definitely there, and they were being counted while the scan was proceeding.

Based on this thread 

I went into Settings -> Misc and turned "File Access Legacy Mode" to "on", and rescanned, and then it worked. It did the full scan and found all my music files and playlists.

I'm a little concerned by this, because it says "the file access legacy mode won't be supported in the future versions of Android". Which versions? If I get an Android update, is music scanning going to suddenly stop working for me? Is there anything I can do about this?

Somebody in the previous thread suggested that a rogue special character like "á" might be causing the problem. It's possible a file with a special character is now in my library, but I've got over 10,000 files in there so... how might I find it?



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You don't say what device or Android version you are using, but it's generally recent Android versions which cause this sort of issue. Google has been getting more and more determined recently that all Android apps should use its new - somewhat slow and heavily restricted - 'Storage Access Framework' instead of the straight-forward method of simply opening files from directory folders (which is what PA does when Legacy mode is selected). At some point in the future it's possible they may shut down legacy access completely, but as that would break any older apps that don't support SAF at all, they thankfully seem to keep delaying that decision indefinitely.

To use SAF, you will need to enable access permission for the specific folder or folders that contain your music. You can't grant access to the whole root level of a storage area, such as allowing access to all of an SD Card for example. Neither can you use certain system folders such as 'Download'. So it's generally best to create your own top-level folder - for example 'My Music' - and store all of your audio files within subfolders there. Then you only need to enable access to that one folder.

If you can, I would suggest moving all your music files into one master folder, then disable any locations currently shown in the Music Folders selection screen (resulting in zero files/folder) then use SAF (not Legacy) to grant access to that one folder. It would be worth making a backup of your PA Settings first, as this may lose some stored data such as Play Counts, Ratings, internal Playlists, etc.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the response, and apologies for the delayed response, January is very busy for me and I haven't had the time to try moving all the media to a new folder and changing the share yet.

I'm on Android 12 on a Samsung S10, if that makes a difference.

Is the "Music" folder on the internal storage of an Android device counted as a system folder, like "Download"?

What I don't quite understand is why the scanning process shows a valid number of files and folders being counted while the process is continuing, but then only when it's finished, it suddenly pops back to 0 and 0. It must have read access to the folder to be able to scan it. So I wonder whether there's a particular file in there that's tripping it up, rather than the general access overall? Is there a log somewhere that I could dig into to see if I can see a reason why the scan comes back with no results?

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@Stuart Bruce  While it should work for storing music, I tend to avoid using the system 'Music' folder because there are some limitations on how it works. For example, you can't place a .nomedia file inside it to prevent the Android system scanner from also cataloguing your whole music collection (which is redundant and wasteful and I don't want it to do that).


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  • 4 weeks later...

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