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    What is USB OTG and how to use it

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    Valery Aloyants
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    What is USB OTG and how is it used? What is USB OTG and how to use this technology on Android. The USB port of our mobile has many uses. We know the basics - we use it to charge the device, but it can offer us so much more if we have the right OTG cable or adapter. Starting with the transfer of files to connected devices, this connector can help us in difficult times.



    What is USB on the go and how to use it with the Android smartphone. In many Android devices the USB connector (regardless of whether it is micro USB A or USB type PC) supports “on the go” or OTG its acronym in English.


    This means we can use it to connect other devices as well do the job the same way we connect them to a USB port on a computer. These are functions are very useful and make our smartphone more independent from a PC and turn it into a more versatile tool.

    USB meaning

    From Wikipedia: What does USB OTG mean and how is it used? USB OTG is a specification that allows any device capable of acting as a host to communicate with USB peripherals such as external HDDs, flash drives, keyboards, mice or joypads through a USB interface cable.

    USB OTG is a technical feature of devices that are able to connect and control external USB peripherals or connect to another device and act as the peripheral itself. You can use this feature using a single USB port, according to USB.org.


    This is easier to understand with a clear example. In general, USB connections start at a computer (the host) and connect to another device (the peripheral), such as a printer, mouse, keyboard, or USB flash drive. A device that supports USB OTG can function as both a host and a peripheral.



    A common implementation of USB OTG is on Android smartphones. If you connect one to your computer, your computer will be the host and your phone will be the peripheral. You will be able to use your computer to manage files on your phone, but with USB OTG, you could also connect the same Android phone to a USB flash drive and the phone would then act as a host and control the flash drive as a peripheral.

    How do I know if my Android has USB OTG support?

    When you read the technical specifications of your terminal in the typical product sheet you can find the details of the processor, the camera, how much RAM it has, the version of the operating system ... but it is normal not to find specified if the USB port IS OTG or not.


    At first glance it is not something that can be identified, because physically a port with USB OTG support does not differ in anything from one that does not.

    Doing a specific search with the name of your Android phone and the term USB OTG could help you, but if we don't want to complicate our life, the simplest thing is to install Easy OTG Checker which will tell us as soon as we open it if the mobile we are using is compatible or less.

    Many popular Android phones support USB OTG. So, if you have one of the best Samsung phones, you are probably in luck. If you're unsure, there are a couple of ways you can check if your device supports USB OTG.



    If it says yes, and most likely it will, we can use our connector for everything we'll see below. If there is no OTG support there is nothing you can do.

    What can I connect to the mobile via the USB OTG port?

    At the beginning of the article we talked about that what is USB OTG and how to use it, in summary we use this USB port just like we use it on a computer. Yes, but there is an important difference: a PC has full (large) USB connectors and a mobile phone typically has a micro USB Type A or the new USB Type C.


    In our case, we need a USB OTG cable or an OTG adapter that it is male at the end. It will connect with our cellphone and the female in which we will insert new devices.

    How to use USB OTG on Android

    1. Connect a USB flash drive or hard drive

    The simplest and fastest way to use the USB OTG connector of a mobile phone is to use pendrives. Any USB stick will be detected as an external storage drive and we can interact with it from any file search application.

    We don't have to install anything in particular. In my case I use Solid Explorer and is perfectly compatible with reading any USB drive.

    Once connected, we can do everything: copy and paste files, open documents directly. For example, if you have low memory and go on a trip, you can carry the videos on a pendrive and play them later from your mobile without compromising the internal memory we have available.


    It is also very useful if you work in a group and cannot share documents in a virtual cloud, with a USB OTG adapter and a pendrive we can copy or insert files on the USB drive in a few moments.

    2. Connect a USB keyboard and mouse

    If you have a USB keyboard or mouse, you can plug them in to use them in the same way you would use them on your PC. Connecting the former is very useful if we don't have a Bluetooth option and need to write long texts without depending on the virtual keyboard, not always precise that we have in the mobile.

    Think that everything we are explaining also applies to any tablet, so if we use it for work or study, it can be very useful.


    3. Use a controller to play

    Other accessories such as gaming controllers also work well. If they are consoles, we have the ability to sync them wirelessly as they are all Bluetooth, but if we have one with USB cable, we just need plug it into the adapter and it will work right away. Android already has all the drivers ready so that we can use it without having to configure anything.

    4. Internet connection via Ethernet cable

    A very curious option, and for which we will need to have at least an Android with Marshamallow 6.0 or higher, is that of connect our cellphone via ethernet cable. Yes, it is possible and in this case we will need a specific adapter that converts the USB of our mobile into a female connector for this network cable.

    5. Print documents

    If you have a printer with a USB port, you can also use this adapter to print documents via USB OTG cable, a good alternative if you are unable to connect with this peripheral via WiFi, Bluetooth or simply if you don't have these two options available.

    What you will most likely need is to install the printer manufacturer's app as documents usually need to be transferred.

    6. Send photos from camera or use it to check manual settings

    For photography there are different possible uses: from transferring images directly from the camera (when we connect it to our Android it will recognize it as if it were a USB memory) to being able to use the mobile phone as a tool to control manual camera settings and make changes in exposure, aperture, ISO and others values.

    7. Use a microphone or audio recorder

    If you are using Audio RecordingFrom recorders to microphones, you can use them as peripherals without major problems. In my case I use a Blue Yeti sporadically and to be able to record from my mobile phone, although later it has to be edited on a PC, it is very convenient and useful when the microphone supplied with the mobile phone does not offer sufficient quality.

    We hope we have been clear on what is USB OTG Android and how to use it. If you have problems write us on our Facebook page.

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