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What is USB OTG and what can you use it for? Features and use cases!

What is USB OTG and what can you use it for? Features and use cases!

#USB #OTG #Features #cases Welcome to Alaska Green Light Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:

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In fact, if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, you can do so much more with it than you can imagine. You can connect game controllers to play your favorite titles and you can even connect peripherals like a full keyboard and mouse and actually use your device like a computer and get your work done. Many accessories can now be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but it’s also possible to use your smartphone’s charging port to connect wired accessories using a technology called USB On-The-Go (USB OTG). This allows you to connect peripherals through your phone’s charging port.

USB OTG is a specification built into the USB port that allows your device to act as a host and provide power to external devices connected to it. There are multiple use cases of OTG, like some we mentioned earlier. While just a few select smartphones supported OTG a few years ago, pretty much all modern phones, from affordable to top-rated smartphones, support OTG connections. This article explains how OTG works, what are some good uses of OTG and how you can enable it on your smartphone.

What is USB OTG?

As mentioned, OTG stands for On-The-Go, which suggests you can use your USB-powered accessory with your Android smartphone or tablet while you’re on the go. It’s part of the USB 2.0 specification and essentially allows your smartphone’s charging port to function in a similar way to the USB-A port on your PC or laptop. Just like you can connect flash drives, keyboards, webcams and other peripherals to your computer, OTG allows you to use the same accessories on a portable device like a smartphone or a tablet.

OTG connected to a phone

Each USB device can have two roles – host and device. Generally, a gadget like a smartphone takes on the device role, which means if you connect a smartphone to a computer via USB, for example, the computer is the host while the smartphone is the device connected to the host. The host provides power to the external device, in this case a smartphone, and can transfer data to and from it.

However, with OTG, a smartphone can also behave as a host when you connect external peripherals. This allows your smartphone to provide both power and data to the connected device.

Top five uses of USB OTG

OTG can be used for a variety of purposes, from something as simple as plugging in a flash drive to copy some photos to plugging in a dongle that lets you plug in a LAN cable to access super-fast internet on your smartphone. Here are the best use cases of OTG that can extend the functionality of your smartphone.

Connect flash drives, external hard drives or even an SSD to transfer data to and from your smartphone or tablet. With modern smartphones equipped with fast UFS storage, copying large files like movies and games is just a matter of seconds when you connect an external SSD via OTG. However, some of these devices require an external power supply, so be careful.

OTG pen drive connected to phone

If you have a keyboard that you use with your computer or you are looking for the best mechanical keyboard for longer typing sessions, you can connect it to your smartphone via OTG and type articles or long emails. Especially if you have a foldable phone like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, you can connect your keyboard and use the phone’s screen as a monitor while typing. In addition to a keyboard, you can also connect a pointing device such as a mouse or trackpad to replicate a full PC-like experience. Android smartphones are powerful enough to get most tasks done, and if you don’t have your computer with you on the go, you can easily create presentations, type documents, or even edit photos and videos on your Android smartphone and tablet. If you are a passionate gamer and have a wired gaming controller nearby, you can also connect it to your smartphone via OTG and enjoy games without your fingers blocking your screen view.

Controller connected via OTG

If you want to experience lossless audio on your smartphone, you can do it with the help of an external DAC connected to your smartphone via OTG. If you have a USB-A-DAC, all you need is an OTG cable or dongle to connect it to your smartphone and enjoy crisp sound.

There are just a few of the most common use cases of OTG. You can connect an external webcam for your online meetings, or even connect a DSLR camera if you feel like it. You can also charge other smartphones with OTG if your phone has a large battery.

Best USB OTG Cable to Buy

Depending on how your Android smartphone or tablet is connected, you can get an OTG cable or dongle quite cheaply. While many modern devices like thumb drives and other peripherals have a USB-C port that plugs directly into your smartphone, keyboards, mice, and some other devices may require USB-A ports. This is where a USB OTG cable or dongle comes into play. If you have a Google Pixel smartphone then you already have one of these as Google still includes them in the box.

Here are some options to consider.

This is a cheap but reliable USB-C OTG cable.  Good enough for most people. Amazon Basics USB-C OTG Cable Amazon Basics USB-C OTG Cable

This is a cheap but reliable USB-C OTG cable. Good enough for most people.

This one from Anker is of slightly better quality and would have better longevity. Anker USB-C OTG Cable Anker USB-C OTG Cable

This one from Anker is of slightly better quality and would have better longevity.

This one is for those of you who have an older or entry-level phone with a micro USB port. Ugreen Micro USB OTG Cable Ugreen Micro USB OTG Cable

This one is for those of you who have an older or entry-level phone with a micro USB port.

With the advent of USB-C, is OTG still relevant?

OTG with USB-C

OTG is still very relevant with the advent of USB-C, as this is the specification that allows external devices to be connected to your smartphone, even via USB-C. Although quite a number of external devices have migrated to USB-C, certain older devices or even some newer devices like hard drives, USB mice and keyboards still have USB-A connectors, so OTG is still responsible for connecting to your smartphone .

How to enable OTG support on your Android phone

Most Android phones these days support OTG. On some devices it is disabled by default for security reasons and needs to be enabled via the settings menu. While the option to turn on OTG is present in different places on different phones, the best way to find it would be to go to the Settings app on your phone and type “OTG” in the search bar. It should then show the option to activate. If there isn’t an option (e.g. on Samsung or Google Pixel phones) then you can assume it’s on by default.

For example, I was able to connect my Sennheiser Momentum 4 wireless headphones to my phone by connecting the USB-C cable to my headphones, the cable to a USB OTG adapter, and then the adapter to my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. These Sennheiser headphones can play music via USB, which my Z Flip 4 recognized immediately and was able to use without my intervention.

OTG activation options

USB OTG isn’t a complicated standard, but it’s one that not everyone knows their phone can use. Your phone isn’t just a smartphone, it’s an entire computer with the ability to accommodate peripherals just like your computer can. You can even connect a USB hub and connect multiple devices to your smartphone. There are many ways you can do with your phone if you find that OTG is an option and be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any specific uses for USB OTG!

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