How to check USB OTG support for your Android phone

Left image
2021-11-17
Carl Paige

Android phone support OTG

One of the greatest, yet nifty features on Android, and probably the one you’ve not been using, is USB OTG. If you’ve ever wanted to connect a USB flash drive, print documents, or connect a game controller straight to your phone, OTG is always there to help you. But sadly, not everyone is aware of this, and if you wonder if your Android phone support OTG, we’ll help you check right here.

It's effortless to check USB OTG compatibility on Android. And when you get its usefulness, I bet you’d use it from time to time when you have to get some things done without using a computer.

Let’s dive in!

How to check USB OTG support for your Android phone

Before trying out a USB device with your phone, it's essential to check if it supports it. While OTG isn't a strange feature on most modern Android smartphones, some entry-level and ancient devices don't support it.

So, to know if you’re on the safe side, here are various ways to confirm if your Android phone support OTG. Perhaps the simplest way is to connect a USB OTG device (and adaptor) to it. If it pops a notification, your phone likely has the feature.

Nonetheless, here are other lenient ways to check if an Android phone supports OTG.

Check OTG compatibility from the device's specifications.

The fastest way to check USB OTG compatibility on your phone is to check its specifications. Usually, you’d want to check the manufacturer’s site or a trusted phone specification website like GSM Arena.

Here’s how:

  • Search for “Your phone + spec” on Google. E.g. "TECNO CAMON 18 specs"
  • Click the first result or any of the links that lead to GSMArena to view the device's spec.
  • Scroll down until you reach the “COMMS” heading, then find the “USB”
  • From there, you'll see your phone's USB type and other functions. If you see "USB On-The-Go” or “OTG” there that means your phone is compatible.

Check compatibility with an app.

Other than that, another straightforward method to check if an Android phone is compatible with USB OTG is using a USB OTG Helper app. Many apps on the Play Store can help you analyze and tell if your phone can work with external devices.

One of those apps is the USB OTG Checker app. You can download it from the Play Store and run it on your phone to know if you're in or not.

Once you launch the app, it tells you straight if your phone support OTG or not.

Check if an Android phone support OTG within the Settings app

Lastly, you can check if your phone can work with the fancy OTG devices within the settings app. Many smartphones support the feature, but it's tucked away and needs to be enabled under the device's settings before it works.

Here's how:

  • Launch the Settings app on your phone.
  • Tap Connections (More connections or Advanced connection)
  • Check for the OTG feature from there.

If none of these three methods hints that your Android phone support OTG, it probably doesn’t support it.

What to do if your Android phone does not support USB OTG

Well, like you can’t manipulate a 4G phone to work with 5G networks, there’s no workaround to make your phone OTG-ready if it doesn’t have the required hardware feature.

The USB OTG feature is built into the phone’s hardware and software, which means you can’t add it to a phone that doesn’t support it natively.

You don't have to worry, though, as many modern Android smartphones support OTG out of the box, but some require enabling it through the settings app first. If, however, your phone doesn't n support it, we're sorry, there's nothing you can do.

How can I make my phone OTG compatible?

Some Android enthusiasts suggest your phone might be compatible with OTG but won't show up if your manufacturer didn't enable it from the factory.

In that case, the only remedy is to root your device with any preferred method you find on the internet. Hence, you could access flash drives via apps like Stick Mount and USB OTG Helper. But once again, rooting your device won’t open it to the wide range of OTG features but only the ability to access flash drives.

Meanwhile, many 2021 phones support USB OTG. So if yours is exceptional, it might just be the perfect time to upgrade.

How to use USB OTG to get more from your Android phone

You probably are familiar with USB OTG now. Isn’t it?

Well, how can you get the most out of it? Perhaps the most popular use of USB OTG on Android devices is accessing USB drives. But it’s more than that.

Think of OTG as a nifty feature that converts your phone’s USB port to a port on a computer. That way, you could attach many useful external devices like a game controller, audio card, printer, wired mouse, keyboard, and a host of other USB devices.

Once you have a high-quality USB OTG cable or adapter, you won't stop trying new devices with your phone.

Use cases of USB OTG

As said above, there are many things you can do on an Android phone that supports OTG, But there are the best ones, and if we can choose only five, here are they.

1.    Access files from external drives and flash drives.

Flash drives are the most essential OTG tools for smartphones. They’ll help you transfer files swiftly between devices without using an SD card.

The most pleasant thing about this is you'll also find many flash drives that don't require a dedicated OTG cable.  You'll find them with the regular type-A socket in one end and another type-C or even micro USB socket on the other end.

That way, all you’ve got is to insert it inside your phone’s USB port and transfer files away.

2.    Print files directly from your phone.

USB on the Go OTG makes it possible to print documents straight from your phone to the printer without transferring anything to the computer first.

Just connect the USB cables to the printer and the OTG cable on your phone, then print away! Anyway, the printer must support OTG printing, and you'll need to download the printer's companion app from the Play Store to set things up.

3.    Turn your phone into a gaming console.

If you play games on your phone and have always wanted to try out a physical gaming controller, it becomes possible with USB OTG!

Sure, many Android gaming controllers have gone wireless. But if you've got an older wired gaming controller at home, the best you can do is connect it to your Android phone with a USB OTG cable. But first, the game you're playing must support external gaming controllers.

Meanwhile, if you root your device, you could take it up a notch and feel nostalgic by connecting your phone to the traditional PS2 gaming controllers.

4.    Do more with a mouse and keyboard.

You could also turn your phone into a tiny productivity machine by connecting a mouse and keyboard to it using a USB OTG adapter.

That's not all. These two USB devices come in handy when your phone screen is cracked or malfunctioning. You may check our comprehensive guide on How to recover files from a broken phone screen and How to access a phone with a broken screen to know more.

5.    Power up other devices

Not only can you connect an external device with your phone; if your friend's phone is running out of power, you can recharge it with your phone using reversed wired charging via a USB OTG cable.

While this won't provide any crazy charging speed, it can be advantageous when you need to sustain a dying smartphone. Other than that, we've seen people powering a small lamp and fan, using their phone as the power source. That's the power of USB OTG!

Final thoughts

As an Android user, one best way to use your phone to its maximum potential is via USB OTG. With this nifty feature, you could carry out many things that might have been impossible without a computer.

And now that you know how to check OTG compatibility on your phone, what of its tricks are you trying first? Connecting to Ethernet when Wi-Fi is unavailable, accessing files for flash drives, printing documents straight from your phone?

You’ve all got it.