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Android devices have come such a long way that they’ve all but replaced the laptop and desktop for everyday tasks like taking notes. But even after all this time, with improvement after improvement, they still lack in one critical area: typing.

Believe me, I’ve tried all kinds of alternative keyboards for Android. My favorite is Gboard with gestures (around 50 WPM), but even at my best, it’s still significantly slower than the speed and comfort of an actual keyboard (around 140 WPM). When you need speed, “thumb typing” isn’t enough.

Fortunately, you have options. Bluetooth and NFC keyboards Turn an Android Device Into a Laptop With Four Keyboard Technologies Turn an Android Device Into a Laptop With Four Keyboard Technologies Quite frankly, software keyboards just don't cut it for hardcore productivity. You should get a hardware keyboard -- and we'll help you decide which kind is right for you. Read More are convenient and easy to set up, but did you know that USB keyboards are viable too? All you need is one accessory that you can buy off of Amazon for under $5.

You Need USB OTG

Keen readers will note how Android devices are thinner than the connection bit of a USB cord. So how does one actually connect the keyboard to the device? With an adapter! In particular, one that adapts USB to Micro-USB (the same port used by most Android devices for charging 5 Sturdy and Long Micro USB Cables to Charge Androids and Other Devices 5 Sturdy and Long Micro USB Cables to Charge Androids and Other Devices Looking for sturdy and long Micro-USB cables? Moe Long covers the five most durable, and long, cables on the market. There's nylon sheath, kevlar sheath, fabric, and more! Read More , except for newer Type-C devices What Is USB Type-C? What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More ).

This adapter is called USB On-the-Go (OTG) and comes in several different shapes and sizes. The one I have is similar to the UGREEN 6-inch USB OTG Cable (UK), but if I could do it over again, I’d probably get the Ksmile Cordless USB OTG Adapter (UK) instead. If you prefer a cable, you might also consider the Cable Matters 6-inch L-Shaped USB OTG.

UGREEN Micro USB to USB, Micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable 2 Pack On The Go Adapter Micro USB Male to USB Female for Samsung S7 S6 Edge S4 S3 Android etc 6 Inch Black UGREEN Micro USB to USB, Micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable 2 Pack On The Go Adapter Micro USB Male to USB Female for Samsung S7 S6 Edge S4 S3 Android etc 6 Inch Black The most practical&necessary on the go micro usb cable: Enabled android or windows micro usb phones or tablets work as PC host by connect female usb connector devices such as keyboard,game controller,flash drives,SD/TF card reader,wireless mice and more Buy Now At Amazon $6.99 Ksmile® 2 Pack USB 2.0 Micro USB Male to USB Female Host OTG Adapter for Adroid / SamSung S7 S6 S4 S3 i9100 i9300 Note 2./ Google Nexus HTC LG Sony mobile phones or smart tablets Ksmile® 2 Pack USB 2.0 Micro USB Male to USB Female Host OTG Adapter for Adroid / SamSung S7 S6 S4 S3 i9100 i9300 Note 2./ Google Nexus HTC LG Sony mobile phones or smart tablets Connect your USB On-the-Go capable tablet computer or Smartphone to USB 2.0 devices (thumb drives / USB mouse / keyboard... etc.) Buy Now At Amazon $4.99 Cable Matters Micro-USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) Adapter 6-Inch, Black, Pack of 2 Cable Matters Micro-USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) Adapter 6-Inch, Black, Pack of 2 2-Pack USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapters transform USB OTG enabled Android or Windows smartphones and tablets with Micro USB port into a host for connecting USB peripherals such as keyboards, mice, flash drives, external hard drives, USB card readers, game controllers and more Buy Now At Amazon $4.50

Regardless of which kind you get, they all operate the same way: plug the Micro-USB side into your Android device, then plug your keyboard into the USB side. Connection established! You can also play around with other USB-related uses, like tethering a DSLR camera 6 Creative Uses for Your Android Tablet 6 Creative Uses for Your Android Tablet Have an Android tablet? You'll enjoy these creative uses for it! Read More .

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Setting Up Your External Keyboard

Once your keyboard is connected, you should take two minutes to set it up properly. It will work right out of the box, so this step isn’t strictly necessary, but it won’t take long — and you might as well tweak it to your liking from the start.

  1. Pull down the notification drawer.
  2. You’ll see a new item called Select keyboard layout. Tap on it.
  3. In the Choose keyboard layout prompt, you can keep it as Default, but I recommend tapping on Set up keyboard layouts to see what else is available.
  4. Scroll through the list and select the layouts you think you’ll use. If you type in non-English languages, be sure to select them. For me, I just disabled the traditional English QWERTY layout in favor of English (US) Colemak style. (Why do I use Colemak? One Simple Change Can Boost Your Typing Speed by 50% One Simple Change Can Boost Your Typing Speed by 50% Your keyboard could be slowing down your typing speed, so here's a simple change you can make to unlock your true typing speed. Read More )

Don’t see the notice in your notification drawer? Just go to Settings > Personal > Language & Input > Keyboard & Input Methods and you can change it all there.

Things may look different depending on your device model, manufacturer, and Android version, but the general steps should be similar. For example, on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S, the notification drawer items and settings pages are different but the functionality is all the same.

Now open any app and start typing. It should work. Congrats!

A Few Tips You Should Know

One thing I found surprising is that Android actually supports most of the special keys on a keyboard. Seeing as how touchscreen keyboard apps aren’t one-to-one replications, I didn’t think this would be true. But it is.

For example, the Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, and Delete keys work just fine. This is so useful when typing longform, such as when recording notes or writing up a paper. The Enter key also works as expected, inserting new lines or submitting forms as appropriate to the context.

Print Screen also works, which triggers the screenshot action at the operating system level. Since taking screenshots on Android can be a pain 6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android 6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android This is how to take a screenshot on Android -- no matter what version you're running. Read More , this is an amazingly simple workaround that’s peculiar yet convenient.

Image Credit: OPOLJA via Shutterstock

The Windows key (if using a Windows keyboard) and the Command key (if using an Apple keyboard) will trigger special functionality depending on your version of Android. On my Moto E, the key brings up a simple Google search overlay. On my Samsung Galaxy Tab S, the key brings up Google Now on Tap.

Media keys are hit or miss. When I plug in my CM Storm QuickFire Rapid, the keys for volume control and playback control are functional. But when I plug in my Apple Magic Keyboard, none of the special keys register. That’s probably an Apple-only issue, and I fully expect most keyboard media keys to work fine.

I’ve only encountered two downsides: one, there’s no quick way to switch keyboard languages or layouts, and two, you lose access to things like emojis and special symbols that aren’t typable with a physical keyboard.

Why Not Just Use a Laptop?

Don’t get me wrong — I have a laptop that I love and use daily. But I can think of a few occasions when an Android device with a keyboard can prove a better fit than a proper laptop.

  • Android devices and keyboards can often be acquired for cheaper than the price of an entry-level laptop.
  • You have greater flexibility in that you can detach your keyboard at will and use the device on its own. (2-in-1 laptops exist but are expensive What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? 2-in-1 laptops combine the portability of tablets with the ergonomics of a laptop, but are they any good? Is it better to get a tablet and a laptop separately? We explore. Read More .)
  • You can keep all of your work on the Android device instead of syncing it with a laptop. This is also useful if you like a certain Android app that isn’t available on your laptop.
  • Android devices have much longer battery life than laptops.

Once everything is setup and working, you can even take it a step further by mirroring your Android screen to a computer Mirror Your Android Screen to a PC or Mac Without Root Mirror Your Android Screen to a PC or Mac Without Root Looking to share your Android phone or tablet's screen to your desktop? It's easy, and your phone doesn't even need to be rooted. Let us show you how to do it. Read More . You probably won’t want to work like this 24/7, but if you occasionally need a bigger screen, try this method.

How do you like using an external keyboard on your Android device? Are there any other keyboard-related tips that we missed? Let us know in a comment below!

Originally written by Erez Zukerman on November 27th, 2012.

Image credit: bambambu via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Jacob W.
    July 12, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I think that USB keyboards that work with Windows computers and with Android phones are awesome.

    If you have a problem with certain keys (such as the SHIFT, ALT, and CONTROL key) when you have a USB keyboard plugged into your Android device (phone or tablet), like I did, you may be able to solve the problem by doing the following:

    *For the SHIFT, ALT, and CONTROL key problems, here is the USB Keyboard Shift, Alt, Control key solution/fix that I found: If you want your USB keyboard plugged into your Android device to be fully functional (and get the SHIFT key to work properly, allowing you to capitalize letters and type symbols such as the exclamation mark symbol !, the 'at' symbol @, pound/number symbol/hashtag symbol #, dollar sign symbol $, percent/percentage sign symbol %, carrot symbol ^, the 'and' symbol &, the asterisk/star symbol *, the question mark symbol ?, the colon symbol :, the quotation mark symbol ", etc... as well as get the ALT and CONTROL keys to work so you can do things such as CTRL-C, CTRL-X, CTRL-V, etc.)::
    *Make sure to download the "GO Keyboard" free app from the Google Play app store! When I first bought my USB keyboard and plugged it into my Android phone (a Samsung Galaxy S5), the keyboard worked, but not completely. The shift key and control key didn't work (when I held down the shift key and then pressed letter keys & number keys to capitalize letters & access symbols, it didn't capitalize or type symbols; when I tried to hold down CTRL or ALT and press another key, it didn't do the things that those keys normally do on desktop or laptop PC computers). I tried other keyboard apps (the Samsung keyboard app and Swiftkey Keyboard app), but they didn't allow the Shift key or ALT key to work properly when I plugged in the USB keyboard to my Android phone. After trying to get the keyboard settings to work on my phone (and trying various apps such as the Samsung keyboard/typing app and the Swift Key keyboard/typing app), I finally found that the GO Keyboard app allows everything (including the Control and Alt keys) to work on my USB keyboard when is hooked up to my Android phone. I was so happy that I purchased the "GO Keyboard Pro" app (which is the same exact app as the Go Keyboard free app, just without ads) in the Google Play store for 3 bucks, and it also works great! I have no problems with the shift key, control key, or alt key now! Problem solved! Issue fixed.

    The track pad on USB keyboards is really cool is really cool (it not only allows you to control the cursor on your PC desktop or laptop computer, but it ALSO allows you to have a mouse cursor on your Android phone or tablet! How awesome is that?), but a word of caution: If you are like me and accidentally rest the palm of your hand on the track pad (& accidentally brush your hand/palm against the trackpad, making the cursor move without you wanting to move it), don't worry! You can fix this 'hand touching the track pad' problem too! Just hold down the blue "Fn" function key, just to the right of the left-side "Ctrl" control key (located at the bottom left corner of the keyboard) and then click on the right-side "Alt" key (just to the right of the Space bar key at the bottom of the keyboard, which has a 'mouse/cancel sign on top of a mouse' blue symbol right above the "Alt" key letters). This will activate/deactivate the track pad, which is very useful. I have used this feature many times to turn on & turn off the track pad, depending on if I want to use it or not.

    USB keyboards like the one I purchased are perfect for those like me who want a portable keyboard for both their Android phone (or tablet) and their Windows/PC desktop or laptop computer. You can get an excellent, high quality, great product that is thin, lightweight, super portable, easy to put in your laptop bag or other carrying bag/case, easy to transport, made of good quality materials, lies flat on a desk/table/surface, is comfortable to type on, doesn't feel too small or cramped, types well, the keys type smoothly, the keys don't stick, is very durable and types quietly, doesn't beep or make noises, is quiet, and overall a has great price for the quality - you can get a lot of value for the price.

    I love my USB keyboard (that works with my Android phones and my Windows computer) a lot, but just know that USB keyboards can have quirks (e.g. the problem of shift, ctrl, & alt key not working properly on Android devices, which you can easily solve by downloading the Go Keyboard app for free; the problem of the track pad being easy to press accidentally, which you can easily solve by turning off the track pad).

  2. Lalit Kumar
    July 7, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    hello sir my MOBILE is
    Karbonn k9smart
    Android version 6.0
    Kernal version 3.10.60
    I connected the extranal keywords
    But I couldn't
    Please give me solutions

  3. Kunal
    January 24, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I am unable to connect keyboard to my le 1s , plz give me some advice about it

  4. Uzma
    July 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    i read ur informative article while searching help for my android fone. its been a week that keyboard on the screen of my fone is missing, the fone is locked and i am unable to unlock it since the keyboard is not showing. i suppose i have deleted some google file that is now misbehaving and not letting the keyboard showing. touch-pad is ok as i am able to attend calls but cant read msgs without unlocking fone, more over emergency calls can be dialed and it also shows numbers keyboard for tying sim pin code but not showing english keyboard. i want to unlock my fone without loosing my any of my data. the fone is Oppo Neo 3 R831K. how can i connect the usb keyboard without installing any software in my fone
    looking forward for a helpful answer.
    thanx

  5. Anonymous
    June 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Easy fix-all solution:
    Windows phone.
    I can literally connect just about ANY USB peripheral to my Lumia 950. It has a USB type-C connector, and finding a type-C male to type-A female adapter was cheap, even supporting 3.0 SuperSpeed. The phone also runs Windows 10, making it compatible with almost everything. Keyboard? Mouse? They just work, no fiddling. Thumb drive? Plug it in, go to File Explorer, and have a look around. Need more USB things connected? Any USB hub will work too.
    Why would you want to use all these peripherals with a phone? Well, Windows 10 has Continuum, which means the phone goes into "Desktop Mode" when it detects normal desktop PC peripherals, making it work very much like a traditional computer. Even the usual Windows keyboard shortcuts still work.
    So, yeah…Windows phone FTW.

    • Nemacol
      August 11, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      But on the other hand, once you have a keyboard, thumb drive, or any other USB device connected, you are still left with a Windows Phone.

      I am sure it will be fun to use your keyboard those tens of apps you have available.

  6. Rohin
    June 25, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I got the OTG, can type and stuff. But i am also looking for a way to play games using this.

    Just looking for
    tap, tap on specific location on the screen
    swipe
    tap and hold

  7. Kasper Kure Olsen
    June 23, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    My friend can't speak, and has great difficulty typing out sentences on a tiny phone, i'm using an old phone and keyboard to juryrig something that allows her to communicate better.

  8. Shripad Rajaram Halbe
    May 20, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I have purchased Micromax Canvas P 290 Tab and am trying to connect an external keyboard embedded in the cover through the OTG cable received alongwith the Tablet. The same is not detected. What could be the reason?

  9. A S. Bhasker Raj
    May 5, 2016 at 4:04 am

    I have OTG cable for my Asus Fonepad tablet. You said you can connect external keyboard through the OTG cable.

    Most of the keyboards used for desktops or Laptops are Windows compatible.

    Can these keyboard be attached or keyboard which is compatible with Android OS.

    Bluetooth keyboards are available are these keyboards easy to use?

    A. S. Bhasker Raj
    Bangalore
    India

  10. Jassi
    March 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    hi

    I also have the same issue with my tab 4 7 inches, nd I bought external use keyboard from eBay. In

    Key board is getting connected with my phone but not with my tab.

    Pl help if we can resolve the issue

  11. Tuck9117
    March 3, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Didn't have a problem connecting my san disk cruz 16gb thumbdrive to my samsung galaxy s3 and having it work. I didn't even need to install a third-party app for it to work... plugged it in and it popped up my files menu and it showed ot there

  12. Robert
    January 29, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    The OTG cable(male Microusb to female usb) on samsung tablets and newer phones works for external HDD. I can connect upto a 2TB hdd, a key board and mouse.

    I actually have a special adapter as well (male microUSB to 3 female USB ports and 1 male USB port). Remember some things that you want to connect require power above what the device can provide and thw device battery will drain fairly quick and the male USB port is useful because you can have it permanently on charge.

    Some items that I connect require the connection to a power source to work
    The other item that is handy to get is a similar to your normal thumb hdd, that is it has a male usb connection, but it has a male microUSB connection on the other side. You can get these that are the size of a cigarette butt.

    Samsung has truly made there devices able to connect to anything. Apple have very limited capacity for this type of connectivity or they make it difficult to do this.
    I am currently working on connecting my Casio digital piano to my tablet. I will try this in the next day or two and see if I can get my IPADs to do the same.

    My current laptop recently died (Needs reformating), but I looking at using my tablet instead. I connect everything to my TV screen anyway, so screen size doesn't matter.

    Samsung just need to have additional ports built in and I will be a happy camper.

  13. Raven
    January 13, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Thanks for this article. I will order the OTG plug- in adapter from Amazon. I could not find it in San Antonio, Texas anywhere, not at Best Buy, not even at Staples or other office supply stores. I couldn't even get the store sales person to understand what I wanted. Sheesh! Maybe you can publish a short book on "USB for Dummies".Thanks again for the article.

  14. Asik
    January 11, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I have Huawei Ascend Mate 7. I bought OTG cable to connect keyboard with smartphone. When i plugging into my mobile suddently switchedoff or continuously restart. Please give me any solution to connect keyboard with my mobile

  15. Anonymous
    November 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    People need to say something about the filesystems they attempted to mount, for these reports to be useful.

    And what filesystem does Android want to see?

    Has anyone experimented?

  16. Anonymous
    June 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I am srinu. I am using lenovoa6000 model but I can't able to connect otg. And it is not detecting can u help me , what is the problem.

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      If you've a laptop/desktop and a broadband connection , then I'll solve your problem via teamviewer

  17. Franz
    May 1, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I have a Samsung N8000 tablet and I bought the otg cable from a vender at our local fleemarket where I stay. I stay in Johannesburg, South Africa. I bought akeyboard with usb cable and plugged it into the otg cable and worked right from the start. On the screen after plugging the hardware in it showed on screen thata usb device is plugs in and I opened Polaris and started typing. The usb thumb if plugged in will show in All Files section under " USB A Drive". Thanks and have a wonderful and blessed weekend.

  18. ifti
    May 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    no work kind my Samsung galaxy fame gt s 6812. plz help me

  19. ifti
    May 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    no work kind my Samsung galaxy fame gt s 6812. plz help me

  20. ALBERT SMITH NUJ IRISH INDEPENDENT
    April 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    albert smith scumbag tried to steal another mans laptop i bet you he tried to steal hais android keyboard aswell.

  21. ALBERT SMITH NUJ IRISH INDEPENDENT
    April 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    ALBERT SMITH IRISH INDEPENDENT alleged mi6 agent according to other sites,scumbag tried to steal another persons laptop and also beat a man up...scumbag i bet you tried to steal his android keyboard aswell.

  22. ALBERT SMITH NUJ IRISH INDEPENDENT
    April 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    ALBERT SMITH IRISH INDEPENDENT alleged mi6 agent according to other sites,scumbag tried to steal another persons laptop and also beat a man up...scumbag i bet you tried to steal his android keyboard aswell.

  23. ALBERT SMITH NUJ IRISH INDEPENDENT
    April 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    ALBERT SMITH IRISH INDEPENDENT alleged mi6 agent according to other sites,scumbag tried to steal another persons laptop and also beat a man up...scumbag i bet you tried to steal his android keyboard aswell.

  24. ALBERT SMITH NUJ IRISH INDEPENDENT
    April 23, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    ALBERT SMITH IRISH INDEPENDENT alleged mi6 agent according to other sites,scumbag tried to steal another persons laptop and also beat a man up...scumbag i bet you tried to steal his android keyboard aswell.

  25. albert smith irish independent
    April 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Albert smith irish independent journalist attempted to steal a writers laptop last year,bad man albert,also appears on david irwings banned aite promoting anti islamic books david irwing got 3 yeats as anti jolocausr denoer

  26. albert smith irish independent
    April 16, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Exposed mi6 agent albert smith quizzed by irish police over anti muslim web site dpp files forwarde

  27. syeve
    March 9, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Ive tried usb sticks on about 10 phones . It worked on 8 of them . An adapter using sd cards was less likely to work than a stick

  28. Kenneth North
    February 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Will the OTG work on a kindle fire HD fourth generation tablet? I need it for: #1 school and #2 science fair project. Please respond!!!

  29. Matt
    February 13, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    My wife really needed a keyboard and mouse to make working on her tablet easier. Bought a USB OTG cable, plugged in the Logitech Universal receiver and BOOM, both the mouse cursor appeared on her tablet screen (Sony Experia Z2) and the keyboard worked too. Simple as that, very easy, plug and play! Nothing to install or any settings to change! Awesome!

    • Kenneth North
      February 21, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Where did you purchase the OTG cord?????????????

  30. alyss
    January 1, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    I have a samsung galaxy ace. Just tried this and unfortunately it doesn't work. Is there some software I might be able to download?
    Thanks

  31. Huzefa MS Shakir
    May 14, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I ordered for and got this OTG cable online for around $5. I was very excited as it meant I could watch videos directly from my flash storage on my phone. However it turns out I had the same fate as Erez. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get it to work. A little researching told me that my phone doesn't have the necessary module in the device kernel. Others may try this app called "USB OTG Helper". Like Erez said, your mileage may vary. I haven't tried connecting a USB keyboard though. Will try now.

  32. Ted Leonard
    March 7, 2013 at 4:14 am

    I connected an OTG device and a USB keyboard first to my Samsung Prevail and then to my sister's Samsung Galaxy S2. Neither would recognize the keyboard or work at all. Anyone have and idea why?

    • erez
      March 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

      One option could be due to the keyboard's voltage draw. Is it a completely regular, garden-variety keyboard? Or is it fancy/unique in any way?

      I would suggest trying with a different keyboard. I don't know if the Prevail supports OTG but I'm pretty sure the S2 does.

    • Tim
      March 28, 2013 at 5:30 am

      An obvious question would be whether you are using a genuine OTG cable. In a post on 28 November, Drew Butler suggested, "The Galaxy Tab 2 has a proprietary usb connector so what you need to do it would be a usb male to female converter used in conjunction with the usb data cable that came along with your tablet." That is initially what I had thought also, but was unsuccessful. As soon as I got hold of a genuine OTG cable (ordered online for under $2.00) I could connect both the keyboard and the thumb drive to my Galaxy S II - although obviously not at the same time. Incidentally, hitting the back button did not get rid of the Swype keyboard, but I did find that if I rotated the phone the Swype keyboard would disappear and I could still type on the USB keyboard.

  33. Frimpong kwasi
    February 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I like it, it was amazing to hear that, thanks to you all.

  34. Sanjay Kumar
    December 20, 2012 at 7:08 am

    that was amazing, but not available in india

  35. Sonia
    December 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I bought a keyboard/case for my gingerbread tablet but sadly it didn't work. I tried the keyboard on Icecream Sandwich and Jelly Bean devices and it works.

  36. Sebastian Hadinata
    December 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I have an OTG cable but I never know that you could plug in a USB keyboard nor the thought of plugging in a USB keyboard came into my mind before. Nice article!

  37. Gerald Huber
    December 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    i would do this just to show my friends what a total geek i am. I can just see their faces when i tell them I need to send a text message and get out my phone. THEN a regular keyboard and spend a minute getting it going. HA

  38. ardie
    December 1, 2012 at 6:01 am

    WiFi Keyboard @ play store http://bit.ly/YA24zJ

  39. Anonymous
    December 1, 2012 at 3:39 am

    wow.. nice post!! :D

  40. Abba Jee
    November 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I'm going to try it :D, will feed back later only in case i get failed, thanks for sharing though :)

  41. lance burn
    November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    am going to try and get a lead. I dont put my bank details into any computer so a shop has to do

  42. Jim Spencer
    November 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Well, a nice article, but it would seem to me that someone would have developed a plug in keyboard by now, designed to mount right up to the micro USB port. Maybe articles like this will spur interest in doing just that!

    • Kenneth North
      February 21, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      That is what I am working on for this year's science fair at school, I will let y'all know if it is successful.

  43. bushra
    November 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I've been using an OTG cable for Samsung Galaxy Note to access USB drives for quite some time now. Sadly my keyboard was not detected so I figured it doesn't work for keyboards. I should probably check again!!!

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      It might also be the specific OTG cable you're using -- try with another cable, or try another keyboard (some keyboards need too much power).

      • bushra
        November 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

        Probably, I suspect my keyboard because I could use a mouse on my phone with the cable as well. In any case, it's a much cheaper solution to bluetooth keyboards (which I was planning to buy).

  44. Rick Puleo
    November 29, 2012 at 6:32 am

    When I connect a thumb drive to my non-rooted, AT&T Galaxy S3 (ICS, no Jelly Bean, yet) using a Samsung branded and inexpensive USB OTG cable the thumb drive is instantly recognized as an external drive via the default MyFiles application which opens on screen. I'll connect a USB keyboard next, just to see if it works.

  45. sam michaels
    November 29, 2012 at 1:50 am

    One of my class mates has something like this that I saw him use on his HTC tablet with a USB thumb drive. I don't know what he was doing, or what HTC tablet it is, I just know that it wasn't much larger than 8in.

  46. Yuja
    November 29, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I'll wait till the price drops. Its a bit expensive here. I mean, still not worth buying it unless its ultra cheap.

    • Din One
      December 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Haha its great if we can get this too... :)

  47. Jared
    November 29, 2012 at 1:09 am

    You can also connect a wired 360 controller, and a wireless 360 controller dongle to your phone as well. Lets you navigate your phone and great for games.

  48. Mark Ryan
    November 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I tried an OTG cable with my Nexus S phone and it did not work. I have Gingerbread however so ICS or JB may produce a very different result. Whenever AT&T gets around to updating its base of Nexus customers, I hope to see better results.

  49. Jeff Brown
    November 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I got a thumb drive to work with my phone using this set up. Found the drive using @jrummy16 ROM Toolbox Pro
    VZW GNex Liquidsmooth RC9 ROM, Trinity Kernel

  50. Drew Butler
    November 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    +Erez Zukerman.. Nice article :). This requires ICS or newer to work and will not only allow keyboards but also other peripherals such as game controllers, usb thumbsticks, external hardrives etc. For pretty much any device other than a keyboard or controller it will require that you connect the OTG cable to a usb hub that is powered. If you or anyone else on here have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at drewbutler44 at gmail.com or read about it further by searching http://www.xda-developers.com/ .. sorry its been a while and I don't have time to look up exact links right now.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks for offering your expertise, Drew. Much appreciated! :)

  51. Mark
    November 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    BUYER BEWARE: read the Amazon reviews!!!
    Several buyers report defective products shipping, including some that ruin your device! I thought this sounded neat, but now, I think I'll pass.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Mark,

      Which item are you referring to?

      The good thing about ordering through Amazon, is that you can easily return or exchange goods. They usually extend the exchange period over the holidays.

      • Mark
        November 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

        The link below is the first product listed when you click the Amazon link in the text of the original story. Overall, user ratings appear to be high, but if you scroll down about 3-4 reviews, one review said it bricked his Nexus 7 tablet. Like I said, buyer beware.

        http://www.amazon.com/eForCity-Micro-USB-OTG-Adapter/dp/B005QX7KYU/

        • Tina Sieber
          December 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm

          Thanks for the heads-up, Mark!

      • Mark
        November 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        Tina, another comment: I like your articles on MakeUseOf. Keep up the good work!

  52. Ms Hanson
    November 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    It's called AirDroid.

  53. Anonymous
    November 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Hey Erez, I was able to get StickMount working successfully on my 4.1 tablet but you may have to download it on another device and pull it out of TitaniumBackup (I could even email it to you if you want). Then the other thing you could try is reformating your thumbdrive to fat32. I know that alot of thumbdrives are exFat these days and that can be incompatible with some tablets/versions of Android.

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks Ben, I appreciate the tip! Maybe my thumb drive was NTFS, that could be actually.

      • Hans
        November 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm

        I can confirm that USB drives work with the S2 and OTG, but only FAT32 formatted drives are supported. Works with Gingerbread as well.
        The mount point(s) on my ICS S2 are located in /sdcard/usbStorage/
        e.g. /sdcard/usbStorage/UsbDriveA
        On Gingerbread an USB mouse also worked, but did not work for me after upgrading to ICS.

      • Anonymous
        November 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm

        No problem! I hope you get it working because that would be a helpful article for a lot of people. I know that since I got a Nexus 7 without a microSD card slot getting this to work was very important to me. Fortunately it is working with me. I even got a nice little add-on for this project that makes the OTG cable with attached storage smaller than a thumb drive. I bought a USB adapter for a microSD card that is just the nub of the USB and the microSD goes inside the front of the USB adapter. Well take a look for yourself. It works well for me. It is the "elago Mobile Nano II USB 2.0 microSDHC Flash Memory Card Reader" on Amazon.com

        • Erez Zukerman
          November 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm

          That's such a brilliant little device! So cool!

        • Anonymous
          November 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

          Isn't that cool? And it works perfectly with my Nexus 7 and my OTG cable. I was thinking about doing some DIY hacking to make this into an even smaller/flat cable that would plug into the Nexus 7, lay flat on the back of the device and provide another port to connect to power simultaneously.

  54. Ron W.
    November 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I've been able to connect USB drives to my Galaxy S2 SGH-T989 via OTG - when it was running stock, unrooted (for T-Mobile) and now CM10. But the mount points are at different locations (I can't recall what they are). I also may have been lucky with the cable - it's an inexpensive one but maybe the capability depends on the cable.

    • Anonymous
      November 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      True, I connected a thumbdrive to a Note 2 and a Nexus 7 using the OTG cable but I did buy one of the more expensive $7-$10 cables, so that may be the problem if people are unable to connect to USB drives.

  55. JC
    November 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I had a wireless (not Bluetooth) keyboard laying around, worked instantly on my Nexus 7.
    Nice for long emails, thanks.

  56. Ellen Quinones
    November 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I will have to try this with my LG phone as soon as I can buy the cable for it :)

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Actually, even before you buy the cable, you can Google your phone's exact model together with "USB OTG" just to see if people have it working. It's also hardware-related so not all phones may work -- search before you buy. :)

      Good luck!

  57. Anonymous
    November 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Wow, this is really cool! I love my iPhone but Android based phones seem extremely versatile.

    • Anonymous
      November 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Most bluetooth keyboards will still work for your iphone :)

  58. Prasanth Mathialagan
    November 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I'm thinking about buying it. Will it work with Samsung Galaxy tab 2?

    • Anonymous
      November 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      The Galaxy Tab 2 has a proprietary usb connector so what you need to do it would be a usb male to female converter used in conjunction with the usb data cable that came along with your tablet. Have a good one :)

  59. Anonymous
    November 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    If you bother to bring a keyboard, why don't you bring a laptop?

    • Kan Cacham
      May 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      This is a relatively OLD post, but anyways, some people don't own a laptop, but a tablet only, or have a desktop and happened to find a extremely cheapo tablet, or got one as a present, etc, etc....

      Having a OTG cable means going mobile, even tossing a small little wired keyboard, etc, into your travel bag and getting some serious typing done while OTG(on the go)...

  60. Matjaz Mirt
    November 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    That's good one. Must try!

  61. John Vale
    November 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Works great on my Sony S tablet. Nice tip.

  62. brawdon
    November 28, 2012 at 6:22 am

    First, why not try a bluetooth keyboard? Second, not a problem with windows 8 devices! windows phone 8 also supports most devices via usb otg!

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Bluetooth keyboards are more expensive, basically. That's the only reason I think.

  63. Jorge Yort Rosal
    November 28, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Nice info. I better have one of those connectors. Can anyone help me where I can find those? thank you.

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Ebay or Amazon (I've linked to it in the post).

  64. Achraf Almouloudi
    November 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I think OTG does not work on too many phones, actually only a very limited set in which Samsung Galaxy s2 is the king. Do anyone with the cheaper/lower end Android devices got it working .

    • Anonymous
      November 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      For this to work it requires ICS or newer. that is pretty much the only hitch.

      • Achraf Almouloudi
        November 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm

        No. I have seen it working on Samsung galaxy s2 with Gingerbread even before ICS came .

        • Drew Butler
          December 1, 2012 at 5:50 am

          To elaborate. My comment was wrong to a degree, Android has supported standard HID devices since froyo but to an extremely limited capacity. Only a handful of devices will work with keyboards or mice without having ICS and my comment was an attempt to steer people away from spending money on something that wouldn't work for them right out of the box. ICS brings the capability to use all sorts of peripherals and plug and play use for keyboards, mice, and game controllers on all devices running 4.0+
          A lot can be done too mod anything, I modded my last Moto Photon 4g so that I could dual boot Ubuntu or an unofficial version of Jellybean. When you used that with a usb hub and an hdmi cable I always had a pc with 1 terra of storage wherever I went...My backup Photon is completely Gingerbread and will not run a KB or mouse via USB but will using Bluetooth Anyways... I have pretty much gotten out of the scene, too busy working and that phone was submerged in a 5 gallon bucket of water by my 3 y/o son("It was dirty daddy!!").LOL Anyways.. not trying to argue with you or rant on and on.. just sharing some of my experiences. Again I want to encourage anyone interested in android development or that just has questions about their specific device to checkout http://www.xdadevelopers.com. It's been an extremely long day, everyone have a great night.

        • Achraf Almouloudi
          December 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

          So if you could get an unofficial ICS or Jelly bean on any of those normally-not-supporting devices, they will start supporting OTG feature ? what about their hardware USB charging port, does all of them provide output voltage and current to power the connected device up ? please clarify .

        • Drew Butler
          December 1, 2012 at 5:52 am

          stock Gingerbread* 2.3.5

        • Achraf Almouloudi
          December 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

          What does this comment mean ? lol .

        • Drew Butler
          December 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

          1. The above comment was a correction to my previous comment.(it just means my Motorola Photon 4g is the stock version of android that my phone came with which is Gingerbread version 2.3.5)
          2. I first want to warn anyone without extensive knowledge to read about the processes of rooting and installing a custom ROM onto your specific device before attempting it. THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY and if done incorrectly can "Brick" the device(turn it into an expensive paperweight LOL). This is partly why I didn't bring this all up earlier. I don't want to be responsible for someone messing up their phone. If you are still interested you will need to go to the site mentioned above and search for your device and see what is available in terms of custom ROMS & Kernels for the device in question, pretty much any question that you can think of will be answered in the forums. I am here to help if you or someone else is stuck on a specific part of the process but I do have a busy schedule so you will need to do the research.
          3. To power most devices besides keyboards, mice or game controllers you will need to connect the devices to a powered usb hub and then connect the hub to the phone. Basically even though/if the phone/tablet can communicate with the device it cannot power them.

          I hope this comes across correctly. While I am here to help people must be willing to take time to learn. I do not know everything but am pretty good at figuring things out. I just use past experiences, deductive reasoning & google and youtube to fill in the gaps LOL hope I don't sound like a jerk :D. As I offered earlier if anyone needs help shoot me an email at drewbutler44 at gmail.com In order to help I need details for example: Device make and model and OS version. I can help with PC issues as well as Android issues just please be patient because I have a pretty hectic schedule. Have a great day

  65. Anonymous
    November 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    It would be good to try it with a phone as you did. With many Android Tablets, OTG Cable is almost standard and yes, most of them support both the keyboard and USB Drives. A few support hard disks also when the tablet is connected to the AC mains power. A few Tablets come with a regular USB port and the connection becomes straightforward...

  66. Julian Altshul
    November 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Why not use a bluetooth keyboard for this?

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      1) Price: The cable costs $1, and many people already have a regular keyboard lying around somewhere.

      2) Battery (although that's not such a sure shot, depends on the keyboards really).

      • Julian Altshul
        November 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Fair points!

    • Shmuel Mendelsohn
      November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      It's not just tablet + keyboard; it's smart phone + keyboard which = doubly awesome!

    • David
      December 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      I know this is old but I am going to reply. On my Samsung Galaxy Pro 12.2, my blue tooth keyboard will sometimes lag, bring up language select, type 7 copies of a letter, lose connection with my tablet, and I type 85 wpm with about 90-95 percent accuracy. Blue tooth keyboards for REAL uses suck. Same with my blue tooth mouse. This could be due to crapy Samsung drivers, don't care. Want a physically connected keyboard so I won't have these problems. Sick and tired of dealing with and correcting typing errors I didn't cause when taking notes in fast paced college classes.

  67. Austen Gause
    November 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    that is the coolest thing ever TABLET + KEYBOARD = AWESOME

  68. Nohl Lyons
    November 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    This is awesome! What phones has people tried?

  69. juan david gil
    November 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    "As you may recall, I use an alternative (read: better) keyboard layout called Colemak" thank you sir that made my day. colemak users unite!