USB On-The-Go (OTG) allows a device to read data from a USB connection without requiring a PC. The device is basically becoming a “USB Host”, which isn’t an ability every gadget has.
Not every Android device supports USB OTG, it’s something the manufacturer has to enable. This setting is in the phone or tablet’s kernel, the conduit middleman software that lets your hardware talk to your operating system and apps.
To check if your phone or tablet supports USB OTG, check the box it came in or the manufacturer’s website.
If you can’t find the information there, try checking for your device on GSMArena.com. In the specifications list, scroll down to where it says “USB” and check if the entry lists “USB Host” — those are the magic words you’re looking for.
Another method is to download USB OTG Checker from the Play Store; it’s a free app that you can run to get a quick answer on whether your Android supports the feature or not.
Once you’re ready with USB OTG for your Android, a world of opportunities opens up. Here are some of the most popular and funky uses.
Connect Flash Drives and External Hard Drives
Just plug it in and you’ll be ready to go. USB drives are the easiest to connect, while external hard drives may or may not work. Portable hard drives that draw power from the Android won’t always work, but external drives with their own power source work just fine.
You’ll need these drives to be in FAT32 format, as NTFS doesn’t work perfectly every time. To quickly mount and unmount flash drives, download StickMount from the Play Store.
USE EXTERNAL GAME CONTROLLER
You will need to be playing games that are made to be used with a controller, like the Asphalt 8: Airborne racing game or Modern Combat 5. The Xbox 360 Controller works perfectly with Android devices with USB OTG. It’s literally as simple as plug-and-play to start gaming with a controller. You can also connect your PlayStation 3 controller or your old PS2 controller.
Control Android with Keyboard and Mouse
Android’s open nature makes it easy to connect just about anything to it. If you want to use your tablet as a laptop, a keyboard and mouse is integral to the experience. You’ll be happy to know that Android works well with most wireless and wired keyboards and mice. Keyboards short codes (like; ctrl + c, ctrl + v, etc.) can also be used.
Print Directly from a Printer
If you want to print photos and documents, you will have to switch to PTP (Photo to Photo) mode in your USB connection. Printers with a standard plug-and-play USB work well with Android devices, so you can start printing without requiring a wireless connection and without transferring anything to a PC first.
Transfer Between Two (2) Devices
Direct connection between two Android phones/tablets to transfer files between Android A and B is possible via USB OTG. Android phones when plugged-in can communicate with each other without the need to be connected to a computer. USB OTG are best for transferring heavy files in the quickest of time.