How to connect a USB stick to an Android phone or tablet

Mobile phones have become a kind of portable mini PCs. We can install applications, write to text processors, watch videos, browse or listen to music, among many other functions. And what about USBs? We can connect a pendrive or external memoryvia USB? The answer is yes, but for this we will need our phone or tablet Android have a USB OTG connection.

The solution is to use an OTG cable

The USB OTG or USB On The Go it is a functionality included in a large number of Android devices.

When a terminal is NOT OTG compatible, the micro USB port of our phone is of the "slave" type. That is to say, it is capable of receiving power (5V), but not of emitting it. This means that no matter how much we connect a USB drive to the mobile, it will never recognize it.

The terminals with OTG, on the other hand, they do allow you to power an additional device through its USB port (micro USB or USB type C). In this way, the phone is capable of recognize and mount external storage drives like a hard disk, a pendrive or any other accessory like a keyboard, a mouse or a gamepad, among others.

A phone with several devices connected by OTG through a HUB | Source: Wikipedia

In order for us to connect the aforementioned pendrive or external device we will need an extra accessory: the one known as USB OTG cable. It is a small male-female cable, with a micro USB connector at one end and one USB 2.0 port in the other one.

It is a very cheap accessory that we can get on sites like Amazon or GearBest for very little money. Normally they are between the euro and 7 or 8 euros maximum, depending on its quality (you can see a few HERE and HERE). There are also adapters for Type-C USB (What THIS other).

How can I know if my device has an OTG function?

To find out if our terminal incorporates this type of technology, the simplest thing is to look at the specifications of our terminal (on the Internet, on the manufacturer's page, etc.). We can also try to temporarily install an app that tells us in a moment if the device is compatible with USB OTG, such as USB OTG Checker.

Download QR-Code USB OTG Checker ✔ - Is USB OTG compatible? Developer: Price: Free

Your phone or tablet doesn't have USB OTG? Try a USB HUB and an external power supply

If our Android phone or tablet does not have OTG we can still resort to a little trick to connect a pendrive or any other compatible device via USB. If our terminal is not capable of “feeding” the pendrive, we can connect a USB HUB or a 3-headed USB to fulfill our mission.

To do this, we will use one of the heads of the HUB to connect an external power supply. In this way, the USB device will be able to receive all the power that the phone's micro USB slave cannot provide. In the following image you can see a graphic example of how "the invention" would look:

As you can see, in this way we can connect more than one device simultaneously, allowing us such interesting pairs as mouse / keyboard, camera / external hard drive and many other combinations.

If you are still having trouble detecting the pendrive, try StickMount

Are you having trouble getting the phone to detect the USB you just connected via OTG? Many times the problem is usually in the cable, but if you have already tried with more cables and the problem persists, you may want to take a look at the app StickMount. An application with an excellent rating of 4.1 stars and more than 1 million downloads on Google Play.

Download QR-Code [root] StickMount Developer: Chainfire Price: Free

This free Android app takes care of mounting USB storage drives connected by OTG in the route "/ sdcard / usbStorage / xxxx /”, Allowing access to its content quickly and easily. Of course, it requires ROOT permissions.

Finally, it must be taken into account that although it works with a large number of phones and tablets, in principle it was created thinking only of Nexus terminals, so it can always be the case that it does not work with our terminal.

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