I understand the main difference between a USB and USB-OTG cable is that the latter has an ID pin which is grounded.

Does this mean I cannot use a regular USB cable in an OTG (micro-B I believe) port instead of a regular USB cable with the same connector? Will any damage occur? Also, can I power a device from an OTG port like you can with regular USB devices?

2 Answers 2


Having turned a regular USB cable into an OTG cable myself, the answer is no. The only difference is that the SENSE or ID pin, pin 4, is connected to the ground (GND, pin 5). This is purely used for the device to detect which type of cable is connected so it can behave according.

It's possible the device might misbehave if it doesn't detect the ID pin, but that is almost certainly going to be on the software side. And unless it's relying on pin 4 to be the ground instead of 5 — which is absolutely wrong no matter how you look at it — and the need for grounding actually arises, it's pretty much impossible for connecting a regular cable to result in any damage.

TL;DR: If the device follows any semblance of the USB standard then this cannot be an issue. Any Android device that supports USB OTG will support normal USB connections.

  • 1
    The information here feels..incomplete. Sure, you're not going to burn anything out on the SENSE/ID pin, but nothing said here excludes the possibility of both devices trying to act as the host and, during the initial handshake, trying to drive the data pins to different levels, which would almost certainly burn out one of them.
    – Codebling
    May 30, 2019 at 3:39

Does this mean I cannot use a regular USB cable in an OTG (micro-B I believe) port?

The USB-micro ports (A and B) always have 5 pins so there is no "regular" (4-pin) cable with a micro connector. Any micro USB cable can be used to power the device and no damage will occur.

This means every micro USB connector does physically support OTG. However, this does not mean that the controller or the software will support it (you cannot assume that every micro USB device will support OTG).

  • Pin 4 is disconnected in ordinary cables, so it's not true to say that every connector supports OTG. If you're referring to device-side connectors, maybe, but I wouldn't be surprised if many that don't support OTG in the software leave them disconnected as well. Jan 18, 2017 at 16:28
  • Yes I'm referring to the devices connector and they physically have the 5th pin. But as I said it's up to the software and controller to make use of it. Jan 21, 2017 at 10:28

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