What Is USB OTG? 5 Cool Ways to Use It on Android
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USB drives are convenient, but you can’t use one with your phone. Well, unless you have an Android phone and know what USB OTG is.

USB On-The-Go (OTG) is a standardized specification that allows a device to read data from a USB device without requiring a PC. The device basically becomes a USB host, which isn’t an ability every gadget has.

You can do a lot with this, For example, you might connect a USB flash drive to your phone, or use an old video game controller with a tablet.

USB OTG is not an Android-specific feature. But since that’s its most popular use, we’ll focus on using it with Android.

Check If Your Android Supports USB OTG

usb otg logo for android phones

The easiest way to check if your phone or tablet supports USB OTG is to look at the box it came in, or the manufacturer’s website. You’ll see a logo like the one above, or USB OTG listed in the specifications.

Another easy method is to use a USB OTG checker app. There are plenty of such free apps on the Google Play Store, but some are loaded with ads. Easy OTG Checker is a reliable app for this. Download and run it, and you’ll know if your phone supports USB OTG.

Not every Android device supports USB OTG; it’s something the manufacturer has to enable. If you find out your phone isn’t compatible when you use USB OTG Checker, this unfortunately won’t work for you.

What You Need to Use USB OTG

USB-C to USB-A Adapter

Your Android device has a standard micro-USB or USB-C port (our guide to USB cables). However, most USB devices require a full-size USB port. You can resolve that with a converter/adapter.

Specifically, look for a micro-USB or USB-C (depending on what your phone uses) male to full-size USB female adapter—those male and female designations are essential. Amazon carries many such adapters, like the popular Anker USB-C to USB adapter.

Anker USB C to USB 3.1 Adapter (Female), Type-C Adapter with Data Transfer Speed of Up to 5Gbps, Compatible with MacBook 2016, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 S8+ S9, iPad Pro 2018, Nexus, and More Anker USB C to USB 3.1 Adapter (Female), Type-C Adapter with Data Transfer Speed of Up to 5Gbps, Compatible with MacBook 2016, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 S8+ S9, iPad Pro 2018, Nexus, and More Buy Now At Amazon $9.99

It’s also possible to buy flash drives with both micro-USB and standard USB ports, like the super useful Kingston Micro Duo. It doesn’t cost much more than a regular USB drive either, so it’s a pretty sound purchase.

Kingston Digital 32GB Data Traveler Micro Duo USB 3.0 Micro USB OTG (DTDUO3/32GB) Kingston Digital 32GB Data Traveler Micro Duo USB 3.0 Micro USB OTG (DTDUO3/32GB) Buy Now At Amazon $11.00

Once you’re ready with USB OTG for your Android device, a world of opportunities opens up. Here are some of the most popular uses.

1. Connect Flash Drives and External Hard Drives

standard usb flash drive

Unsurprisingly, external storage is at the top of this list. Just plug a drive in and you’ll be ready to go. You can then transfer all kinds of files.

Flash drives are the easiest to connect; external hard drives may or may not work. Portable hard drives that draw power from the phone won’t always work, but external drives with their own power source should work just fine.

You’ll need these drives to be in FAT32 format, as NTFS doesn’t work properly with Android. For more, we have a full guide on how to get extra storage on Android from flash drives Get Extra Storage On Android With A USB Flash Drive Get Extra Storage On Android With A USB Flash Drive Want to add more storage to your Android device using a USB flash drive? We can show you how to do that, step by step. Read More .

2. Play With Video Game Controllers

Xbox 360 controller via USB for android

Android Pie and newer natively support the Xbox One controller. But the older Xbox 360 controller also works with Android devices via USB OTG. It’s as simple as plug-and-play to start gaming with a controller. Of course, you need to play games that compatible with a controller.

If you have rooted your Android device, you can also connect PlayStation controllers. With this, you could connect a PS2 controller and turn your Android device into a retro gaming hub!

3. Control Android With Keyboard and Mouse

Android’s open nature makes it easy to connect just about anything. If you want to use your tablet as a laptop Can You Use a Tablet as a Laptop? The Essential Apps and Gear Can You Use a Tablet as a Laptop? The Essential Apps and Gear Want to use your Android tablet as a laptop replacement? Here is your comprehensive guide to the necessary hardware and software. Read More , a keyboard and mouse is integral to the experience. You’ll be happy to know that Android works well with most wireless and wired keyboards and mice.

We recommend getting a wireless keyboard and mouse set with a unified receiver, since you only have one available USB connection. I haven’t seen a functional USB hub working over USB OTG.

You should buy a standard plug-and-play wireless set that is compatible with all platforms. However, make sure you don’t buy something that requires accompanying software, like some Logitech devices that require the SetPoint software.

As noted in our detailed guide to connecting a USB keyboard to Android devices How to Connect a USB Keyboard to Your Android Phone How to Connect a USB Keyboard to Your Android Phone Ever wanted to use a real keyboard on your Android device? Lucky for you, it's actually pretty easy to set up. Read More , the OS defaults to QWERTY. You’ll need a special keyboard app for other layouts, like Colemak or DVORAK.

4. Print Directly From a Printer

standard printer

Much like keyboards, printers with a standard plug-and-play USB work well with Android devices. These let you start printing without requiring a wireless connection or having to transfer anything to a PC first.

Android hasn’t supported USB Mass Storage mode for some time. Thus, if you want to print photos and documents, you’ll need to use the PTP or MTP modes for your USB connection.

Of course, it’s easier if your printer has Wi-Fi support. If it doesn’t, it might be time to upgrade to one of the best printers for homes and small offices The Best All-in-One Printers for Homes and Small Offices on a Budget The Best All-in-One Printers for Homes and Small Offices on a Budget Printers are amazing tools that don't get much love. But when buying budget printers for a home or small office, how do you choose the best? What are the features to look for? Read More .

5. Control Your DSLR Camera

Photographers will love this one. You can wire your Android device up to your DSLR camera and turn it into a giant live screen, complete with the ability to capture, focus, control shutter speed, and much more. It’s one of the most creative uses of an Android tablet 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 .

You will need the DSLR Controller app, and ideally a Canon camera. It works with some Nikon and Sony cameras, but they aren’t officially supported. It’s a hefty $8 for the app, but quite useful for enthusiastic DSLR owners.

The Other Big Android USB

Learning about USB OTG and its many uses opens up a host of new tricks for Android devices. In fact, if you have an old Android tablet or phone lying around, one of the USB OTG applications above can give it a new lease of life.

Apart from OTG, there’s another USB feature on Android that you should know about. If you aren’t aware about it already, read up on Android USB Debugging and why it’s awesome What Is USB Debugging Mode on Android and How Do I Enable It? What Is USB Debugging Mode on Android and How Do I Enable It? USB debugging allows you to send commands from your computer to your phone with ease. Here's how it works, and why you should consider using it. Read More .

Explore more about: Android Customization, Android Tips, Storage, USB, USB Drive.

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  1. a
    February 14, 2018 at 12:54 am

    i was able to follow this until i couldn't fi d weather my device was compatable then this
    site has completely baffledme talking about recovery and rooted and kernals .
    can someone please explain in simple English ( aka laymans terms)

  2. Sadiq Bilyaminu
    January 28, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    TECHNO L5

  3. jen
    January 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

    vivo y69

  4. jen
    January 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

    yes vivo y69

  5. AUGUSTA STEPHENS
    January 3, 2018 at 1:21 am

    Wiil my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 work with USB OTG?

  6. AUGUSTA STEPHENS
    January 3, 2018 at 1:20 am

    Will my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 work with USB OTG?

  7. Imran murtaza
    December 26, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Hello I have a Samsung galaxy s 7 edge mobile i want to come know that have a system of USB O T G in it. Thnxu.

  8. Gopinathan K
    December 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I have a honor 6 Android phone, does it have otg capabilities

  9. Julian Tol
    November 19, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Can USB-OTG be used to transfer POWER (battery charge) from one phone to another?

  10. Rob Tyrer
    November 3, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Hi there. I have just bought the Maze Alpha smartphone which has the Type-C USB port.
    Will this be OTG compatible or not? I would love to use the Flur thermal camera on my new phone.
    Would it be possible?

  11. Ranga Rao
    September 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Can my mobile Honor 8 be used with OTG?

  12. Stan
    September 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Currently using htc one m8 and i want to use my ps3 controller to pkay hkwever sixaxis enabler says "firmware not updated" how and what firmware to update? Thanks

  13. Hafeez Mir
    September 5, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Hello there ,actually I want to transfer my pics and videos from my digital Sony camera to my android phone with otg cable will it work ,and do I have to download any app for that ,thanks....waiting for your reply

  14. Omotayo Ajaka
    September 2, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Good morning. My phone is an itel 1556 plus. The otg cable came with the phone and I was told at the place of purchase that with the cable, I can use my phone to charge another phone. I tried it but not functional as expected.
    Kindly put me through. Thank you

  15. Vilas Khare
    August 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Respected Sir, I am having Micromax Canvas Blaze 4 G Mobile and One 32" Toshiba LED T.V. Since I am having cervical spondilysis and low eye sight, I want to see my mobile screen on LED Tv. can it be possible and if possible which cables I have to purchase from local market please advise me. Awaiting your favorable reply

    Regards
    khare vilas

  16. tripp culbreth
    June 22, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I have a Samsung galaxie express prime....OTG CAPABLE?? I DONT KNOW

    HELP ME. T.C.

  17. Steve C
    June 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    To the OP:
    Re your statement: Weirdly, the “Mass Storage” mode didn’t work for me, but your mileage may vary.

    You probably figured this out already, but OTG will not see an NTFS drive. I had the same problem and the solution was to format a drive to Fat or Fat 32 and it worked.

  18. jessica saberon
    April 26, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Samsung Galaxy A5
    does it work for otg?

  19. jessica saberon
    April 26, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Samsung Galaxy A5

  20. Miklos
    February 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

    What do you know about OnePlus 2

  21. James Cabañas Lingao-lingao
    February 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Samsung Grand 2 it posible for my android cellphone can read the dou USB?

  22. surinder kumar
    February 10, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Intex cloud jewel mobipe

  23. Jack Everett
    February 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    There are ways to to do this with Apple Devices too, they may not call it OTG but same features for the most part.

  24. Gara cayetano
    January 31, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Samsung note4 iphone6plus oplus velocity

  25. Muhammad Rizwan
    January 19, 2017 at 2:45 am

    QMobile i6 metal HD support usb

  26. Sarah jane
    January 10, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Can I use otg to my Disney mobile?

  27. ryan
    January 1, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Redmi 2

  28. bharat
    December 6, 2016 at 8:11 am

    lyf wind 7

  29. George Nezlek
    November 26, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    SO, support for the Logitech Unifying receiver does not depend solely on USB OTG functionality. Have a keybd mouse combo that works FLAWLESSLY on kit kat devices as well as Cyanogen Mod 12.1 but forget about it when attached to Android 5.1 devices that have NO PROBLEM when accessing a USB storage device, for instance.

  30. Shelia Starks
    November 8, 2016 at 1:05 am

    I'm trying to get the internet .from my phone so I can't up my new table

  31. Santosh
    October 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I have vivo v3

  32. Mohd Zain
    October 17, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Samsung Galaxy J7 6 (2016)

  33. Lana
    October 10, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Can you just use any mouse or does it have to be one that supports OTG?

  34. nelly
    October 4, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I use samsung galaxy v....did my phone had an otg?

  35. souvik
    October 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Samsung grand max sm-g7202

  36. piyush kaurav
    September 28, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    micromax q340 ,canvas selfie

  37. shamiul
    July 17, 2016 at 12:56 am

    My phone model Lava Iris 505

  38. charles
    June 19, 2016 at 2:03 am

    i use my mobile phone's otg feature and a scanner (the laser scanner of some grocery stores that have usb end) to scan barcodes when im encoding some of our products on google spreadsheet. very convenient when im on the go cause i cant carry the desktop computer on the selling area.

  39. Jo
    May 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I bought one to plug a mouse into my android phone because my screen was cracked. I couldn't enter my password and get into my phone without that mouse. I'll be waiting 5 days until a new phone Is shipped out. What a little life saver the OTG adapter is!

  40. Sarnlack
    May 9, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Can usb otg use as audio output ? because headset nowadays using usb cable than 3.5mm cable

    • Mark
      July 26, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Just plugged in an old Plantronics Gamecom 777 headset and the audio came through just fine :)

  41. Ankur Aswal
    May 6, 2016 at 6:44 am

    I have a Xolo one black android phone can my phone support OTG if possible

  42. Raj
    April 12, 2016 at 8:19 am

    My phone is lenovo a2010 does it supporting otg connection

  43. amit
    March 20, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I have a micromax android phone can my phone support otg if possible model no- E311

  44. Squalle
    December 6, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    GSMArena says nothing about the Note 4 having it, but I use it all the time. I have a flash drive just for my phone. I backup some pics, I have some music on there. In this day, you really can never have too much storage. ; )

  45. Susan
    November 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    My Moto G has no micro sd card slot so I picked up one of the OTG gadgets for music and pictures. Great idea except for the fact that I have a thingy dangling from my phone when I use it.

    • Andy
      April 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Some of us live with the dangly bit permanently, it's not that much of an inconvenience.

  46. Mike Rogers
    November 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    With regards to using a flash drive, I bought one with a standard and a micro end from Tesco. Sandisc I think. Not that obscure surely

  47. Anonymous
    November 11, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I have a lenovo yoga tablet. I use it with an Android Endoscope Micro USB Inspection Video Camera. I lost a screw while replacing the alternator on my car, the screw didn't fall to the ground, and I couldn't see it. So I stuck the endoscope video camera down and I found it. Camera's like these used to cost hundreds to thousands of dollar's. My endoscope has a 3m long cable and cost $20. It's amazing.

    • Fik of borg
      November 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      That is almost the exact example I was going to comment.
      Alternator belt adjustment and a socket loosening from the wrench but not reaching the ground, and no-name chinese tablet and generic bullet webcam (should work with my phone, come to think about it)

  48. Anonymous
    November 11, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Used a mouse to recover as much as possible from a phone where the touchscreen was broken.

  49. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Would this work with HTC one m9? If so what are its capabilities?

  50. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I don't have a USB to go, but since Samsung nixed the micro SD card slot so I bought a mini micro SD cards reader, which comes with a micro USB adapter. This allowed me to transfer my files, music, and pictures to my new phone and my computer. Perfect.

  51. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    No, My phone doesn't have USB OTG option but my phone's motherboard has. SameSung wanted to make my S4 mini unique. And you know the rest. :(