USB OTG stands for USB On The Go which is a transfer protocol which allows for the connection of USB devices to the mobile phone or tablet. Using this technology you can connect virtually any device to your smartphone with a compatible adapter if your phone supports USB OTG. Every smartphone has a USB Slave mode which lets the device act as a client and connects to the PC or any other device. However new devices even feature a USB host mode which lets other devices connect to the phone just like they’re connecting to a PC or laptop.
The possibilities are endless with support for external Keyboards, Mouse, Joysticks, USB Flash Drives and even cameras. In fact, a DSLR or any compatible camera can be connected to the smartphone using OTG and with a third party app, you can even control the camera directly from the smartphone and even the images can be streamed directly to the phone from the camera.
Also read: What is USB OTG and how does it work
USB OTG mode needs both software and hardware compatibility, On the hardware terms the device needs to support the reverse flow of charge and should support USB host mode for other devices to be able to connect to the device. On the software end, Android introduced native compatibility for USB OTG in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, it should be noted that the right kernel is required for the USB OTG feature to work and this could be a reason why some devices do not have USB OTG enabled on the software end despite having hardware support for.
For these devices, there might be custom 3rd party kernels which can enable the USB OTG functionality. We have a guide which you can use to find out if your device has software and hardware compatibility for USB OTG, also we’ve compiled a list of apps which lets you make the best use of USB functionality.
This app is one of the best apps for testing USB OTG functionality for the device, the app interface is very straight forward and it lets you know if the test device has hardware and software support for USB OTG functionality. It does not show you the contents of the device, however, it does tell you if the connected device is detected and if the connection is stable. To use this app, disconnect the USB Device and reconnect it when the app prompts you to and the device should show 4 ticks if the device is connected successfully. The first green tick is to acknowledge the fact the device supports OTG functionality. The second green tick is to show that OTG is detected on the device and the third and fourth ticks represent detection of the USB mass storage device on the Linux kernel end and Android end respectively. If the app gives you all the 4 green ticks this means that the device is fully compatible with USB OTG and you can go ahead with one of the apps given below to test the functionality.
This app is used to test if the device has hardware support for USB OTG, it checks and verifies if the device has USB OTG and USB Host functionality on the hardware end. However, before using this app, it is recommended to fully charge the device.
ES File Explorer
ES File explorer is perhaps one of the best apps to make use of USB OTG if the native file manager of the device. However for this app to work the device hardware should still support USB OTG and USB Host functionality. ES File explorer has an extremely easy to use user interface and is a great choice as the primary file manager.