How to Use USB Flash Drive on Android and iOS.
Managing storage on your smartphone can be challenging, especially if it doesn’t support a micro SD card. And it looks like most flagship smartphone manufacturers are following Apple’s lead these days by not using micro SD on their iOS devices. But luckily, you can use your Android and iOS USB stick to expand it. So this is how it works.
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Why some smartphones don’t support Micro SD card?
All Google smartphones (both Nexus and Pixel) have fixed storage, just like Apple’s iPhones. Even the flagship killer One plus 2 and 3 doesn’t support micro SD cards. So why is this so?
Well, first of all, you can’t compare the storage quality of an SD card to the phone’s internal storage. Not all repositories are the same. The internal storage of the phone offers much better performance than an SD card. Second, people often buy a cheap SD card (class 4 or 6) to save money.
This affects the overall performance of the devices. And then the same people complain that their device is slow, but it’s actually their cheap SD card’s fault. Therefore, in order to maintain the company’s reputation, flagship smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Google, etc. do not support micro SD cards at all.
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Use USB flash drive on Android phone and tablet
Almost all modern Android devices are now compatible with USB storage devices. All you have to do is just insert the USB stick and start exploring its contents. But since your Android smartphone or tablet doesn’t have a USB jack, you can’t just plug a USB drive into it. And to fix that, grab your Android’s USB stick. There is a way to do this.
And to fix that, grab your Android’s USB stick. There are three ways to do this.
1. Use a USB OTG cable. A regular OTG cable is cheap and will suit most of us. Just plug your USB drive into one end of the cable and your Android smartphone to the other. Then open any File Explorer app (like ES File Explorer), go to Local and there you will see your USB drive. There you will have full read and write access, that is, you can play a video file, copy files from your phone to a USB flash drive and vice versa.
If you want to use an external hard drive with your Android phone or tablet, then a regular OTG cable may not work for you. In such situations, instead of buying a powered USB hub, which is quite expensive; You can buy a dedicated OTG cable with an extra outlet that you can plug in an Android micro USB charger to provide the extra power needed to spin the hard drive.
If your phone has a Type C connector (like Nexus 5x or Oneplus 3), you can buy a USB-C OTG cable. They’re slightly more expensive than a regular Micro USB OTG cable, but work similarly.
2. Buy a USB stick that also has a micro USB slot on the other end. They are slightly more expensive (almost double the price) than regular flash drives. The good thing with them is that you don’t have to worry about cables, but then it will only work for one flash drive and not with others, like an OTG cable. So if you want to watch movies while traveling, then this is a good option.
3. Purchase wireless hard drives. It does what the name says, that is, when you press a button on that hard drive, it creates a Wi-Fi hotspot that you can connect to from your smartphone or tablet, and then view the entire contents of the drive using the file manager app … The advantage of a wireless hard drive is that it has a built-in battery and you can connect multiple devices to it at the same time. While the downside is that they are quite expensive, they are almost double the price for the same storage.
What to do if the USB flash drive is not detected?
First of all, to find out if your device supports USB or not, just run a Google search. If they don’t support USB OTG, there’s nothing you can do about it. But if they support OTG, and it doesn’t just work for you. Then there are three things you can check.
1. Compatible file system
If your smartphone cannot detect your flash drive, check the file system of your flash drive. Android only supports FAT, FAT32 right out of the box. So, if your flash drive has NTFS, you need to format it (make sure to make a backup) and then reinsert it. It will work this time. Or you have a high-end smartphone; you can try USB plugin for Total Commander. I wrote a detailed article on this here.
2. Nexus Media Player (no ROOT)
Some devices (like my old Nexus 7) can’t easily detect the external flash drive, but with a dedicated app like Nexus Media Player, you can easily get it to work. The advantage of the app is that you don’t need to root your phone, but you have to pay for it.
3. StickMount (ROOT)
On some devices, you can get USB support over OTG by simply rooting it and using a suitable app to detect the USB partition. So, if you have a rooted Android, or can root your Android, try the Stick Mount app.
Use the iPhone USB flash drive and iPad
Unlike Android, there is no easy way to use external USB storage on iPad and iPhone. You will need to jailbreak your devices and install iFile from Cydia.
So, this is how it works, just like we use an OTG cable to connect a USB storage device to Android; to do the same on iPad and iPhone, you’ll have to buy a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter ($ 30). Then insert the lighted end into the iPad, and plug the other end into a USB stick (must be FAT32 format). If you are using an external hard drive, you may need to use a USB powered hub to provide additional power. After that, you should be able to find your USB drive in the iFile app.
Unfortunately, since we don’t have an iPhone or iPad to jailbreak, we were unable to test it. But from what we learned from an online source, it worked pretty well. But, frankly, jailbreak iPad just for USB connection is not worth it in my opinion. So, I finished streaming video from my computer to iPad via Wi-Fi.
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