What Is USB OTG? 5 best ways to use It on Android devices


When talking about transferring data between your Android device and external storage, you may have heard the word OTG. Transferring data to PCs couldn’t be simpler, simply via a USB drive. But can you connect a USB drive to your smartphone and play it? Most people would say no. Not really. With USB On-To-Go (Go), you can connect a USB drive directly to your smartphone without the need for a PC as a buffer. In this article, we explain what USB OTG is and 5 of its best applications on Android devices.

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What is USB OTG?

With USB On-The-Go you can connect a USB drive directly to your smartphone and read the data on it. This is made possible by an OTG cable that plugs into your smartphone’s USB Type-C or Type-B port and has a USB Type-A port on the other end. To use this feature, your smartphone must have USB OTG connectivity. Do a simple Google search if your smartphone supports USB OTG, or look for the specs on the box it came in.

How to use USB OTG on Android devices

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How to use USB OTG on Android devices

You are probably wondering how to use an OTG on your Android device. Because the OTG cable offers the ability to connect any USB device to your smartphone, the possibilities are endless. Here are the 5 best ways to use a USB OTG on your Android device.

Connect a USB stick or an external hard drive

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Connect a USB stick or an external hard drive

Perhaps the most common use of a USB OTG is to transfer data directly between external storage and your smartphone without using a PC. Simply connect the USB drive or external drive to the USB end of the OTG cable to access the external storage content on your smartphone.

The external storage devices must be in FAT32 or exFAT file format to be compatible with your smartphone. If you store your movies and music on external storage, you can play them directly on your smartphone without having to transfer them first.

Connect a keyboard to your Android device

Connect a keyboard to your Android device

Modern smartphones and tablets can do almost anything, but when you need to type a document, you still prefer a physical keyboard. This is because on-screen keyboards, while extremely useful, are not designed for typing large amounts of text. With an OTG cable, you can simply connect an external physical keyboard to your Android device and start typing. The plug and play functionality makes it so easy.

Connect a video game controller

Connect a video game controller

As Android games are increasing year by year, more and more people want to play them with their console controller. With an OTG cable, this becomes an easy task. Xbox controllers have native Android support, so connecting to your smartphone and tablet is a matter of plug-n-play. For PlayStation controllers, you may need to root your Android devices for basic connectivity.

Connect a printer

Connect a printer.  what is usb otg

Ever wanted to quickly print a document but didn’t have access to a PC or laptop? With USB OTG connectivity, you can connect your printer directly to your Android device and easily print any document. To print a document, you need to switch the USB mode of your smartphone or tablet from mass storage to “PTP” or “MTP” mode. Some printers may not offer plug and play functionality, so you will need to download the necessary drivers before you can use them.

Connect a microphone to your Android device

Connect a microphone to your Android device.  what is usb otg

Yes, most headphones have a built-in microphone. But it’s common knowledge that the audio quality they record is barely passable for a phone call, let alone a professional recording. If you are a podcaster or YouTuber and need to record audio on the go, you can easily do this task on your smartphone. Just connect your microphone to the OTG cable and plug it into your Android device. The audio quality of microphones connected via a USB port falls somewhere between day and night compared to those connected via the 3.5mm jack.

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Conclusion

These are the 5 best ways you can use USB OTG on your Android device. Aside from these features, you can do a lot more with a USB OTG connection. Some people even use a USB OTG to charge a smartphone or connect to the internet via an Ethernet cable. If you’re a DSLR user, you can connect your camera directly to your Android device and transfer photos, much like any other mass storage device.

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