How to Check Your Phone for USB OTG Support to Connect Flash Drives, Control DSLRs & More « Android :: Gadget Hacks

Compared to Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets are very flexible devices. For example, you can set a new home screen,, change the lock screen, or even send files using NFC – but this is only the software side of things and the flexibility goes beyond that.

Due to a technology called USB On-The-Go (USB OTG), your Android device may be even more powerful than you thought. This allows you to connect other devices to your smartphone or tablet using a $ 5 adapter that plugs into the charging port and the possibilities are almost endless. But not all phones support USB OTG and there is little more to learn about the technology, so we’ll look at everything below.

What is USB OTG?

USB OTG is a hardware and software standard that allows you to connect a device to your smartphone or tablet via a USB Type-C or micro USB port. Almost anything that uses a USB connector can be plugged into your Android device with USB OTG, at which point you will be able to control the second device using your smartphone or vice versa.

Some good examples of using USB OTG include plugging a flash drive into the phone for extra storage, connecting the phone to a DSLR camera to serve as a viewfinder or shutter button, or simply plugging a mouse or keyboard into the tablet to get a working countertop – as an experience.

A typical USB OTG cable used to connect a flash drive to a smartphone. Image via Amazon

To achieve this, you will need a special type of adapter called a USB OTG cable. They come for less than $ 10 and generally have a smaller end that plugs into your phone, with a larger end that plugs into the second device.

However, not all Android devices are compatible with USB OTG. So before you run away and buy a USB OTG adapter, I’ll show you how to make sure your phone or tablet supports the standard.

Step 1: Install USB OTG Checker

To find out if your Android device supports USB OTG, start by installing a free app called USB OTG Checker.

Step 2: See if your device supports USB OTG

Then just launch the app and you will get an instant report of the status of your USB OTG. What you’re hoping for here is a message labeled “USB OTG compatible with Android.” Either way, you can learn more about your result by tapping the “Details” button.

Step 3: Purchase an OTG adapter to connect other devices

Now that you are sure that your phone or tablet can benefit from USB OTG technology, it is safe to continue buying a USB OTG adapter. There are two main types of OTG cables, one is powered and the other is not. Most uses will not require a USB OTG cable with external power, so a regular OTG cable should meet all your needs.

OTG cables (devices with micro USB ports)

Here are some regular OTG cables with good reviews from Amazon for devices that have a micro USB port.

Powered OTG cables (devices with micro USB ports)

If you want to be able to charge your phone while another device is connected to it, you will need a USB OTG cable with external power. It’s basically a splitter that connects to three things at once: your Android device, the external device, and the power cord. If you connect a device that needs power to function (for example, a A teenager programmable board), the external power supply is the path.

OTG cables (devices with USB Type-C ports)

If you have a newer Android device that uses the USB Type-C port, you need to make sure you get an OTG adapter that fits your phone or tablet. Here are some of Amazon’s best options.

What devices have you connected to your Android phone or tablet via USB OTG? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Cover image and screenshots from Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks