We are going to investigate the reasons and find out what to do in a situation where your Android does not detect a USB stick or a hard disk through a USB OTG cable.
A USB stick or even an external hard disk can be connected to an Android powered device through an OTG adapter but it may not always be successful at the first attempt. There may be different reasons: from an incorrect file system to a partial damage of the smartphone connector.
A user is normally able to solve the problem himself but in some more serious cases you have to contact a service center.
Reasons Why Android does not Detect Drives Through an OTG Adapter
When trying to figure out why Android does not detect a USB stick, first of all you should make sure that your smartphone is actually able to work with USB flash: it has to support the USB On-The-Go standard. It implies that micro USB supplies power to an external memory through an OTG cable so that it can be recognized by Android just like under Windows 7/10/XP.
In order to make sure that the hardware specifications allow connecting a modem, a USB stick, a keyboard or any other USB device to your phone, install USB OTG Checker application on your Android. If the software shows that your phone is ready to work with external devices through the hub, you can attach an OTG cable and use it to connect a USB stick.
Apart from the fact that USB On-the-Go standard may not be supported, there may be some other reasons why Android does not detect a USB stick through a cord even if the indicator is on:
- An unsuitable OS version. Android 3.1 or higher is required to deal with appliances supporting USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
- Excessive capacity of connected storage device.
- If there is a sound of connection but the equipment cannot be recognized (or is only charged), make sure that its file system has a suitable format: Fat32. NTFS and ExFat cannot be read by Android.
- Defective USB stick. Try to connect it to a PC to check that it works.
- Damaged connector on the phone/ tablet. Even if the device is charged, it does not mean that the connector is in good condition: its contacts responsible for data transfer may be damaged.
- Damaged OTG-cable or adapter. In order to check if it is in good order, connect another USB stick to another phone which is known to be suitable for the operation.
In some cases a device cannot be connected without root. This is the case when a particular phone model is not able to mount an external memory automatically. In order to fix the problem third party software is required such as StickMount, an application which can deal with USB sticks, modems, cameras and other devices.
When connecting some equipment through an OTG cable, the software will detect and mount it automatically. You can then find the content of the storage device at /sdcard/usbStorage/sda1. In order to remove the memory safely, select “Unmount” in StikMount.
How to Connect a USB Stick to Android Through USB Correctly
What should you do to avoid any extra difficulties and errors when connecting a USB stick to your phone? You should abide by the following instructions:
- Make sure that your phone’s specifications allow connecting an external device to it. Check the Android version in the settings and check your device in USB OTG Checker.
- Insert your OTG cable into the microUSB connector.
- Connect your USB stick to the USB connector on the OTG cable.
- Run any file manager to get access to the content of the connected storage.
If the device cannot be recognized or mounted, use StickMount. Do not forget to unmount before removing the media to avoid damaging its file system.