6 Cool Things You Can Do on Android with an OTG Cable

android-otg-cable-featured

A USB On The Go (OTG) cable is a very useful tool that enables devices to communicate with each other. You can use it to do so many cool things to extend your device’s functionality. It’s also cheap; you can get one for $3 or less.

I’m going to highlight a few uses for a USB OTG cable on Android devices in the paragraphs below; feel free to add some more in the comments section.

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Playing games with a touchscreen is, in most cases, not as intuitive as using a dedicated gamepad, so it is often necessary to find a way around this especially when playing racing, shooter or sports games.

Many Android games support the use of an external gamepad, and one such way to take advantage of this is to connect an external game controller to your device using an OTG cable. Some devices support game controllers out of the box, but others may require your phone to be rooted.

android-otg-charging

One of the most common uses of a USB OTG cable is for charging one device with another one. The process is very simple; all you need to do is plug the OTG cable into the host device and then use a regular USB cord to connect the other device with the OTG cable.

For this to work, though, the host device needs to have a higher battery capacity compared to the secondary device.

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You can easily connect a USB flash drive to your Android phone using an OTG cable. All you need to do is plug the flash drive into the secondary port of the cable, and use any of the many file manager apps for Android to access your files and folders.

android-otg-mouse

Writing on an Android device is really tedious, as on-screen keyboards can barely achieve the same level of speed and accuracy that people have been accustomed to on their computers. But, with an OTG cable, you can easily connect a keyboard to your device and configure it using Android’s built-in settings for external controllers. Connecting a USB mouse is also possible which could be handy if you have calibration issues with your device.

android-otg-modem

If you think your WiFi-only device is useless for browsing the Internet without a WiFi connection, think again. With a USB OTG cable, there’s a decent chance that your modem may just work with your device.

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While your phone’s built-in mic is sufficient in most cases, a real microphone is essential if you want to deliver a high quality recording. There are many microphone models which have a USB cord, and with an OTG cable coupled with a dedicated app (such as USB Audio Recorder PRO), you can easily make your external mic work with your Android device.

A USB OTG cable can greatly extend your Android device’s functionality to a large extent. There is much more you can do with it apart from those uses highlighted above, but those six are a good place to start.

If you know any other things you can achieve with a USB OTG cable on Android, feel free to tell us about it in the comments section below.

Image credit: N800 Packet Injector

6 comments

  1. Thanks for those tips.

    I use my cable to connect a card reader to my Tablet to download photo’s from my camera to view them a bit larger. For this I bought a set of a card reader with a USB OTG Cable.

  2. My Android phone’s touch screen doesn’t work. (The touch screen is broken)
    Can I use this OTG cable and USB mouse to control my phone ?

    • Since you can get a USB OTG cable for $3 or less why not buy one and try it. If it doesn’t work you can still use the cable for all the other uses as shown in the article.

  3. When voice to text doesn’t work, and I have a looooong msg (pages), I use a standard keyboard. You need a female usb to male usb micro cable. Buy 3. DX, very inexpesive. Tap spacebar twice and you’re in. This wakes up my s3, however not in numlock, my default keyboard config. I need my number pad, so I press numlock. Keyboard then works like on a desktop. Type away.

    A warning: on apple phones, samsung tablets, or any device with “non-removable by user” battery, unplug keyboard/phone when done. I didn’t do this on my samsung tablet/external keyboard overnight. Tablet battery dead, wouldn’t charge. Luckily, a warranty repair.

    • I did the same when working with remote desktop sessions, only with a wireless keyboard/dongle. Until the dongle got lost anyway :( . Was lost before I could try the matching mouse.

      I did use a Logitech performance MX mouse successfully though. With the combo of many buttons and perfect fit in my hand, that mouse was best I’ve ever used. Took about 8 years for some of the extra buttons to fail, but I opened it and disabled them. In the end it was the damn “unifying” dongle that spit the bit. Mouse still sells for full retail even though there is a replacement, and the unifying dongles are hard to get and only work with higher end products.

      Takeaway:. When buying your cheap OTG cables also pick up some short extensions. Plug your near flush mount dongles into the extensions, and plug/unplug the extension. Your wallet will thank you.

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