When talking about transferring data between your Android device and external storage, you may have heard the word OTG being thrown around. Data transfer on PCs is as easy as it gets, simply by using a USB drive. But can you plug and play a USB drive to your smartphone? Most people would say no. Well, not really. With USB On-To-Go (Go) you can directly plug in a USB drive to your smartphone without needing a PC as a buffer. In this article, we explain what USB OTG is and 5 of its best uses on Android devices.
Table of Contents
What is USB OTG?
USB On-The-Go allows you to directly plug in a USB drive to your smartphone and read the data on it. This is made possible by an OTG cable that plugs into the USB Type-C or Type-B port on your smartphone and has a USB Type-A port at the other end. In order to make use of this feature, your smartphone must come with USB OTG connectivity. Perform a simple Google search if your smartphone supports USB OTG or look for the specification on the box it came in.
How to use USB OTG on Android devices
You’re probably wondering how you can use an OTG on your Android device. Since the OTG cable offers 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 Pendrive or an External hard drive
Perhaps the most common use of a USB OTG is directly transferring data 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 contents of the external storage on your smartphone.
The external storage devices need to be in FAT32 or exFAT file format in order to be compatible with your smartphone. If you keep your movies and music stored in external storage, you can play them directly on your smartphone without needing to transfer them first.
Connect a keyboard to your Android device
Modern smartphones and tablets can do just about anything, but if you need to type a document, you’d still prefer a physical keyboard. This is because on-screen keyboards, while extremely useful, aren’t designed for typing a large volume of text. Using an OTG cable you can simply connect an external physical keyboard to your Android device and start typing away. The plug-n-play functionality makes it that easy.
Connect a video game controller
With Android games getting with every passing year, more people want to play them using their console controller. With an OTG cable, this becomes an easy enough task. Xbox controllers have native Android support, so connecting one to your smartphone and tablet is a matter of plug-n-play. For PlayStation controllers, you may have to root your Android devices for basic connectivity.
Connect a printer
Ever wanted to quickly print a document but did not have access to a PC or laptop? With USB OTG connectivity, you can directly plug your printer into your Android device and easily print out any document. To print out a document, you’ll need to switch the USB mode on your smartphone or tablet from mass storage to ‘PTP’ or ‘MTP’ mode. Some printers may not offer plug-n-play functionality, so you will have to download their necessary drivers before using them.
Connect a microphone to your Android device
Yes, most headphones come with an in-built microphone. But it is common knowledge that the quality of audio they record is barely passable for a phone call, let alone a professional recording. If you’re a podcaster or YouTuber and need to record audio on the go, you can easily carry out the task on your smartphone. Simply connect your microphone to the OTG cable and plug it into your Android device. The quality of audio recorded by microphones connected through a USB port compared to those connected through the 3.5mm jack is between night and day.
These are the 5 best ways you can use USB OTG on your Android device. Apart from these functionalities, there’s a lot more you can do with a USB OTG connection. Some people even use a USB OTG to reverse 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.