How to Connect USB Storage Devices to Your Android Phone

Connect USB to Android Smartphone

Your Android phone uses its microUSB port 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 some free software and 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.

What You Need to Connect USB Storage to 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 find an OTG cable for under $3 at Amazon.com or NewEgg.
    USB OTG cable
  • A rooted Android phone: If your phone is not already rooted, you’ll need to find specific instructions for your make, model and carrier. The Unlockr.com has easy-to-follow rooting tutorials for most the major Android phones from the past few years. The XDA developer forums have rooting instructions for almost every phone, but many of its posts can be difficult to understand.

MORE: 10 Best Apps for Rooted Android Devices

How to Connect

1. Install StickMount from the Google Play market.

stickmount

2. Connect OTG cable to your phone

Attach OTG Cable

3. Attach a USB Flash drive (or SD card reader) to the OTG cable.

Attach USB drive

4. Check “use by default” and tap OK  when Android pops up a prompt that says “Open StickMount when this USB device is connected.”

stickmount default

5. Grant StickMount superuser access when prompted. Set it to always have superuser access.

stickmount superuser

After your device successfully mounts, you’ll see a notification from StickMount that says something like “Active mounts: /sda/usbStorage/sda1″ to let you know that your USB storage drive is ready for reading/writing.

stickmount alert

6.  Open your file manager. If your phone didn’t come with a file manager preloaded or you’re looking for a better one, install Astro File Manager.

7. Navigate to the USB storage drive. In Astro File Manager, you can get to the USB key by tapping on “usbdisk” from the main menu. 

astro file manager usbdisk

In other file managers, you may need to look under the usbStorage folder in the root directory.

file manager usbStorage

8. Copy, delete, move or open files as needed. Just as with your PC, you can perform any file operation on an external USB drive from your Android phone. We were even able to play video off of a USB Flash drive, but it was a little jerky because the connection isn’t that fast. We’d recommend copying the files to your phone’s internal storage or microSD before opening them.

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Narendra Says:

    Can any android phone which does not support OTG also work after Root an using stick mount app??

  2. Narendra Says:

    Can any android phone which does not support OTG also work after Root an using stick mount app?? My model is GT I 9082 – Samsung Grand

  3. Versatile1 Says:

    Narendra, it all depends on your kernel. However there are apps available that do not require “root” privileges to mount a USB device if host support is present.

  4. imran ali Says:

    Hi..

    Sir is supported to HTC Explorer A310e

  5. Abhinav Says:

    Hi,
    I have a query regarding usb connection to Andriod phone.I have a android 4.0.4,rooted phone but not able to connect pendrive to the phone. please help and tell me the way to connect it as all the steps u hav mentioned have already being used by me.

  6. PATRICK Says:

    TRIED THIS “CONNECT YOUR USB STORAGE DEVICE TO ANDROID”: STAR 9700 “SWITCHED OFF” QUICKER THAN IF I HIT “POWER OFF BUTTON” EVERY TIME I PLUGGED IN MINI USB CABLE.

    RGS
    PATRICK.

  7. bjorn Says:

    is this also possible for the windows phone 8?

    Want to buy the lumia 1020..

  8. uamrjit Says:

    good i lik dis…

  9. Rajan Says:

    I have a problem this program does not install properly on Micromax andriod OS Jelly bean.

    after installing it goes on loop a message keeps on proping up until I delete the installed software

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