What Is USB OTG? 10 Cool Ways to Use It on Android

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What Is USB OTG? 10 Cool Ways to Use It on Android

USB drives are useful, but they cannot be used with your phone. Unless you have an Android phone and understand what USB OTG implies.

USB On-The-Go (OTG) is a defined technology that enables a device to read data from a USB device without the need for a computer. The device itself becomes the USB host when using an OTG connection.

You can attach a USB flash drive or a video game controller to your phone via an OTG connection. We’ll teach you how to utilize it with an Android smartphone in this section.

Check If Your Android Supports USB OTG

The simplest approach to determine if your phone or tablet supports USB OTG is to check the box or the manufacturer’s website. In the specs, you’ll notice a logo similar to the one above, as well as USB OTG. USB OTG information may also be found in the device’s settings.

A USB OTG Checker app is another simple option. It will instantly inform you if the device supports USB OTG and which capabilities will be useful to you.

OTG is enabled by default on Samsung and other handsets. Other manufacturers, on the other hand, may need you to activate it manually from Settings > Additional Settings > OTG.

What Do You Need to Use USB OTG?

Your Android smartphone is equipped with a standard micro-USB or USB-C connector. Many USB gadgets, however, need a full-size USB port. You can fix this by using a converter/adapter.

Look either a micro-USB or USB-C OTG adapter (depending on your phone). Many similar adapters are available on Amazon, including the famous JSAUX USB C to USB converter.

There are other flash drives having both micro-USB and USB Type-C connectors, such as the very popular SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Go USB Type-C.

A world of possibilities opens up once you have USB OTG for your Android handset. Here are some of the most common applications.

1. Connect Flash Drives and External Hard Drives

External storage is, unsurprisingly, at the top of this list. Simply put in your disk and you’ll be able to transfer all types of data in a matter of seconds.

External hard drives may or may not work; flash drives are the simplest to connect. Portable hard drives that take power from the phone may not always function properly, but external drives with their own power source should be alright. These disks must be in FAT32 or exFAT file type.

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If you don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of transferring material, you may just play music or movies from your Android device’s OTG storage drive.

2. Play With Video Game Controllers

The Xbox One controller is natively supported by Android P and later. However, the older Xbox 360 controller is also compatible with Android smartphones over USB OTG. To begin gaming using a controller, just plug it in. Of course, you must play games that are controller-compatible.

PlayStation controllers may be connected if your Android smartphone has been rooted. You may, for example, connect a PS2 controller and transform your Android tablet into a vintage gaming center.

3. Control Android With Keyboard and Mouse

A keyboard and mouse are required if you wish to use your Android tablet as a laptop. You’ll be relieved to hear that Android is compatible with the majority of wireless and wired keyboards and mouse.

Because you only have one USB connection, we suggest obtaining a wireless keyboard and mouse combo with a unified receiver. We have yet to see a functioning USB hub that works with USB OTG.

You should get a basic plug-and-play wireless set that is cross-platform compatible. However, avoid purchasing anything that requires additional software, such as certain Logitech gadgets that need the SetPoint program.

The OS defaults to QWERTY, as indicated in our extensive guide to attaching a USB keyboard to Android smartphones. Other layouts, such as Colemak Mod-DH or DVORAK, will need the use of a dedicated keyboard program.

4. Print Directly From a Printer

Printers with a basic plug-and-play USB interface, like keyboards, function well with Android smartphones. These enable you to begin printing without first needing a wireless connection or transferring anything to a PC.

Since Android 4.0, Android has degraded support for USB Mass Storage mode. If you wish to print images and documents, you must utilize the PTP or MTP USB connection modes. We will, however, suggest that you utilize wireless printers for two reasons:

  • Most printer companies, including Canon, Epson, and HP, offer proprietary programs that will install the drivers and allow you to print directly.
  • They enable mobile printing without the need for an ethernet wire or USB OTG cables.
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If you still have a USB printer, follow our instructions for printing documents or photographs from an Android phone.

5. Control Your DSLR Camera

Photographers will adore this. You can connect your Android smartphone to your DSLR camera and transform it into a big live screen, replete with capture, focus, shutter speed control, and other features.

There are several DSLR controller applications available in the Google Play Store, but it is critical to examine the list of cameras they support before installing them. Helicon Remote and Camera Connect and Control are two popular ones that are compatible with a variety of Canon and Nikon models.

6. Directly Transfer Photos From DSLR to Android Phone

You may use an OTG connection to transfer photographs from your digital camera to your Android without utilizing a laptop or SD card reader. A USB cable to connect to your camera and the OTG adapter are required.

Once linked, you may transfer all of your camera’s photographs to your Android phone. It’s a useful option if you want to edit photographs on your phone or send uncompressed files over email.

7. Connect and Play Music Instruments

You may connect MIDI-compatible music instruments, such as keyboards, to your Android smartphone via USB OTG. When you combine the two with a good music app, you may make music on your mobile device while on the road.

While some MIDI keyboards may be powered by an Android phone, some may need a separate power source. Check the kind of connection your keyboard supports and if it needs an extra adapter to function with your OTG adapter.

8. Record Audio Directly to Your Phone

Aside connecting musical instruments, you may use OTG to record audio from a USB microphone to your Android phone. USB microphones provide stronger recording capabilities than built-in or external microphones connected through a 3.5mm audio port, whether you use your phone casually or as a workstation.

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Although your Android phone has a voice recorder, it is rather rudimentary. Apps like USB Audio Recorder Pro provide extra customization choices for a dedicated microphone, such as stereo playback, variable sampling rate, buffer size setting, and even recording format options.

9. Connect and Access the Internet via Ethernet Cable

The ability to connect an Ethernet connection to an Android phone for internet access is a lesser-known OTG capability. This is useful if you want to lower ping when gaming online or obtain faster internet than your Wi-Fi.

To make this work, you would also need an Ethernet to USB converter, such as the QGeeM USB-C to Ethernet adapter.

Some smartphones may not support Ethernet through an OTG connection. Before you begin, make sure your phone supports this function.

10. Reverse Charge Your Android Phone

By laying it on the glass back of a compatible smartphone, many current smartphones offer reverse wireless charging. If your phone does not support this capability, you may reverse-charge it by using an OTG adapter.

Plug in the OTG cable to the phone that will serve as a power source to reverse charge. Then, using a USB cord, connect your phone to the OTG port. While charging is sluggish, it should come in handy if your main gadget runs out of battery and you don’t have access to a power source.

Know Everything About USB Debugging

Learning about USB OTG and its many applications enables a plethora of new tricks for Android devices. Indeed, if you have an old Android tablet or phone laying around, one of the USB OTG programs listed above may breathe fresh life into it.

Aside from OTG, there’s another USB function on Android you should be aware of. If you’re not familiar, read up on Android USB debugging and why it’s so great.

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