How to Connect USB Storage Devices to Your Android Phone

Many Android phones use micro USB ports for charging and transferring files back and forth with your PC, but what if the files you need to email your boss are sitting on a Flash drive or a full-size SD card?

Fortunately, with an inexpensive adapter cable, you can attach a USB key or card reader directly to your handset. Here's how to connect your Android phone to a USB storage device. If you have a newer Android phone that uses USB Type-C, it's even easier.

An Android phone connected to a USB drive via a USB OTG cable.An Android phone connected to a USB drive via a USB OTG cable.

What You Need to Connect USB Storage to Older Android Phones

  • A USB OTG ("On the Go") cable with a male microUSB connector on one end and a female full size USB port on the other. You can buy the StarTech OTG cable we used for $3.99.
    You'll need a USB OTG cable to plug older Android devices into a flash drive or SD memory reader.You'll need a USB OTG cable to plug older Android devices into a flash drive or SD memory reader.

What About USB Type-C?

Many newer Android devices uses USB Type-C for charging and data. If that's the case with your device, you have it easy. You'll need just one of the  following items:

  • A USB Type-C male to USB Type-A female adapter
  • A USB Type-C flash drive

An adapter will let you use your current flash drives. A USB Type-C flash drive, like this one, will fit directly into the phone without any dongles required. Then you just open your file manager and you're good to go.

MORE: Best USB Type-C Accessories and Cables

How to Connect with a USB OTG cable

1. Connect a flash drive (or SD reader with card) to the full-size USB female end of the adapter.

Your USB drive plugs into the OTG cable first.Your USB drive plugs into the OTG cable first.

2. Connect OTG cable to your phone

Connect your USB OTG cable's microUSB end to your Android phone.Connect your USB OTG cable's microUSB end to your Android phone.

3. Swipe down from the top to show the notification drawer. No need to do this if your file manager automatically appears.

4. Tap USB Drive.

You can now browse the files on the flash drive and copy them to the phone storage. If you want to copy from the phone storage to the flash drive, follow steps 5 to 9.

5. Tap Internal Storage to view the files on your phone.


6. Find the file you'd like to share. Hold down on it to select.
7. Tap the three dots button.
8. Select Copy.

9. Navigate to your USB drive and tap Done to copy the file.

Once the transfer process completes, unplug the flash drive and connect it to your PC.

Photo Credits: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide

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  • Nikit_
    Hey . I have a samsung tab E and when i connect a pendrive to a OTG cable and then coneect it to the tab nothing appearing . and i reqire this thing because i am going out of town tommorow . sp please me