Support for the NTFS format may finally make its way to Android 14

File formats are not a problem that really bothers you until you find yourself in a situation where your flash drive is not recognized by a multimedia device for some reason, or you are unable to open some files on your external hard drive. While there are countless file formats in the wild, the most common are the FAT32 and NTFS formats

The FAT32 format has been around for a long time and is what most multimedia devices support right out of the box. On the other hand, NTFS is relatively new and offers several advantages over FAT32 format, but its adoption is still to the extent that it is extremely difficult to copy files from your Android device to a flash drive which is formatted in NTFS.

Some of the advantages that NTFS has over FAT32 include the ability to support files larger than 4 GB without limiting the maximum partition size, better security for files and folders, and faster read and write speeds.

You may be wondering, despite all these advantages, why is NTFS not widely used by Android? The answer is simple, it has to do with licensing. NTFS is a proprietary file system from Microsoft, made to work with Windows and not integrated into the Linux kernel.

With Google happy to work on devices with large form factors, including tablets that regularly connect to external drives with different file formats, it makes more sense to have NTFS work natively on Android.

Android watcher, Mishaal Rahman, reported that read/write capabilities in NTFS were already included in version 5.15 of the kernel. This was again in August. However, there were still limitations that would prevent full compatibility from being initiated via a future update, the main one being that the volume daemon, Android’s storage device, had to be updated to support NTFS, something only Google can do.

The positive news, however, is that Google has developed a utility that fixes the common NTFS issues, which is a sign that the tech giant is actively moving towards a more extensive rollout of NTFS support on the platform.

When this will be ready is impossible to say at this point unless Google provides their timeline. However, if you’re running Android 13 or older, it’s unlikely you’ll benefit from this. All signs point to Android 14 being the first Android version to get full NTFS compatibility, especially if Google keeps up with the pace of development.

Header image source: Tom’s Guide

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