Have you ever found yourself in a sticky situation where you need to access the content on your USB storage device but you do not have a computer on hand ? Perhaps you are running out of space on your device and desperately need to transfer some content. A USB OTG (On The Go) adapter is a small yet versatile and handy contraption to effortlessly solve these problems and many more, provided that your device contains OTG capabilities.
This little tool has a micro-USB pin on one side and half a USB connection on the other. It is able to slot into any device, cord or peripheral that has a male USB connector. This enables you to plug the accessory into any device which has a micro USB. It largely extends the usability and versatility of your mobile device and can make it more suited to different scenarios.
How do I know if my device supports OTG functions ?
Many devices are advertised with the capability mentioned in the specifications or with the OTG logo on the packaging. In the event that it is not mentioned, all hope is not lost. Some device manufacturers do not feel the need to advertise this function however, the downside to this is that you are unable to deduce whether a device is OTG compatible before you test it out. It is possible to do research and find out if other users have tested the device to be OTG compatible.
If you already own a device and are unsure whether it supports OTG, the simplest way to check is to plug something into your device with an OTG adapter (if you own one). If your device recognizes that something has been plugged in, it is compatible. In another scenario, if you do not own an OTG adapter, there are applications on the Google Play Store which are able to test your hardware and software to see if your device can support OTG functions. If it is found that it does not support the “On The Go” function, it is possible to download applications which enable OTG functions after one roots their device.
Why use an OTG adapter ?
Connect external storage drives
This is possibly the most popular function. All one needs to do is plug the adapter into the flash drive or hard drive and into the device. It’s as simple as that. Most storage devices will work, although some may not as they are probably in the wrong format. A FAT32 format must be used on the storage medium, as NTFS is not one hundred percent reliable and may not work sometimes. Your device may give you the option to format your storage drive in order to convert it to a usable format.
Hard drives that use an external source for power will indefinitely work while ones which draw power from the device may not. It depends
on how much power the Android device is able to feed to the hard drive so it will vary from device to device. This functionality is not limited to set drives like hard drives or USB pen drives. You are also able to plug in a card reader and access content on SD cards. Almost everything can be transferred and stored on the external storage device and retain its usability, meaning that it can be utilized without transferring it back onto the device. Some exceptions are documents like Word and PDF documents as well as applications, which cannot be opened and used via the external storage.
Control your device with a keyboard and mouse
It is possible to transform your Android device into an acceptable work device. If your laptop or desktop is inaccessible, by plugging in a mouse and or keyboard, you can control the device via these peripherals. The mouse, much like on a computer, shows a cursor on-screen which you may move with the mouse to navigate through and control your device. The keyboard is helpful if you need to compile or create documents which involve large amounts of typing. Yes, this can be done on a touchscreen with the keypad provided but the process is arduous and is made easier with the help of a keyboard.
Connect game controllers
Find yourself gaming on your device for substantial amounts of time? Perhaps your screen has become a little insensitive and unresponsive or there are many virtual, on-screen buttons that cramp the display. You can connect certain gaming controllers to the device. The Xbox 360 controller seems to work perfectly with OTG functions. It is however limited. The controller will only become active and may be used when playing games that support its use. Examples of these games are Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt 8. It is possible to connect other controllers such as Playstation 3 controllers or Wii remotes but this involves rooting your device.
Print content directly through a printer
There is no need for a wireless connection, no need to transfer your content to a computer in order to print. All that is required is for the printer to have a standard USB connection and voila, the OTG adapter comes into use. Once plugged in, it will pick up your device as a mass storage unit. You may then, depending on how advanced your printer is, either select the files which you wish to print via the screen on the printer or via your device file manager, where you will have to browse for and select the files for printing. If this option does not work, you will have to change a setting on your device to set the USB mode to PTP (Photo to Photo). This will now enable the printer to recognize your device and its content.
Control a DSLR camera
You must have an application downloaded to use this function. Arguably the best application out there for this use is DSLR controller. It is however, a paid application so if you are a hardcore photographer, it would be wise to invest in it to add some extra functionality that may come in handy.
When plugged it, a prompt will pop up on your device asking whether to open and connect to the application you have downloaded for this
purpose. Once you agree to open the application, a live feed of everything seen by the camera will display on your device. From here, you may access your camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO settings, zoom and all the other basic camera functions in order to take the perfect shot. The only limitation is that the livescreen display on your smart device is limited to 15 frames per second.
Charge another device
Perhaps the coolest function is the ability to charge another device with your own or vice versa. All you need is the OTG adapter, the two
devices and the charger cable. The device with the original micro-USB connection will be charged, exactly as if it were plugged into a power supply, whereas power will be drawn from the device plugged into the adaption, which will now act as the power source. Charging will be slow but this is expected when supplying a low current in the attempt to charge your device. It would be wise to use this function in case of emergency only.
USB OTG functions definitely open up a large range of new possibilities and capabilities for your device. It should, without a doubt, be taken into consideration when making a decision about what device you want to purchase. The OTG adapter enables all these uses and many more. It aids in releasing the latent potential in your device and is an essential tool for any device that supports the technology. You can find them on virtually any technology based store. They are insanely cheap and are a great value for money.