Facing issues accessing storage after January Google Play System update? Try this official fix from Google


Google Play System updates are one of the ways that Google delivers security and performance improvements to Android devices, especially Pixel phones. However, sometimes these updates can cause some unexpected issues or bugs that affect the user experience. One such bug that has been reported by some Pixel users is the inability to access their storage after updating to the January 2024 Google Play System Update.

Bug: Pixel users unable to access storage

According to some Pixel users, after installing the January 2024 Google Play System Update, they were unable to access their files stored on their devices, such as photos, videos, music, documents, etc. The files appeared to be missing or corrupted, and the users could not open them or share them with other apps.

Some users also reported that they could not access their files from their PC when they connected their phone via USB. The phone would either not show up on the PC, or it would show up as empty or inaccessible.

This issue seems to affect Pixel devices with multiple user accounts and/or work profiles, as well as some third-party apps that use the MediaStore API to access the device’s storage.


Here’s the official fix from Google

Google has acknowledged this issue and has shared a workaround for the affected users. The workaround involves using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool to uninstall the updates to the Media and Medic Codecs Mainline modules, which are the components that are responsible for handling media files on the device.

To apply this workaround, you will need a PC and a USB cable to connect your phone to your PC. You will also need to download and set up ADB on your PC, which is a command-line tool that lets you communicate with your Android device. There are many tutorials online that can guide you through this process.

Once you have set up ADB on your PC, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your phone to your PC via USB and make sure that USB debugging is enabled on your phone. You can do this by going to Settings > System > Advanced > Developer options > USB debugging and toggling it on. If you don’t see the Developer options menu, you can enable it by going to Settings > About phone > Build number and tapping it seven times.
  2. Open a command prompt or a terminal window on your PC and navigate to the folder where you have installed ADB. You can do this by typing `cd ` and pressing enter.
  3. Run the following ADB commands to uninstall the updates to the Media and Medic Codecs Mainline modules:
  4. “adb uninstall com.google.android.media.swcodec”
    “adb uninstall com.google.android.media”

  5. Reboot your phone by typing `adb reboot` and pressing enter, or by using the power button on your phone.
    After your phone restarts, you should be able to access your files normally.

When this issue will be fixed?

Google says that they are working on a fix for the root cause of this issue, and that they will release it in a future Google Play System update. Until then, the workaround mentioned above should resolve the issue for most users.

However, if you still face any problems with accessing your files, you can try clearing the cache and data of the Google Photos app, which is the default app for viewing and managing your photos and videos on your Pixel phone. You can do this by going to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all apps > Google Photos > Storage & cache > Clear cache and Clear storage.

You can also try using a different app to access your files, such as the Files by Google app, which is a file manager app that lets you browse, organize, and share your files on your device and on the cloud.

As GizmoInsiders' Senior Writer, Ashish is your go-to guide for all things tech. Passionate about Android, especially Pixel phones, Ashish dives into the nitty-gritty of "How to's" and untangles bugs and issues with a smile. Beyond that, he tackles other crucial topics with the same enthusiasm.

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