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I have a SanDisk 32GB external flash drive I bought six years ago which I used to back up files from my PC. At the moment I no longer have access to as PC, but would like to mount my USB drive and use a file manager app to move my pictures, videos, WhatsApp files and browser files to the external mass storage.

The mass storage device (USB flash card) comes with a standard full USB port. The device, has a standard micro USB port, where I usually plug my charger.

So, do I need an OTG (on-the-go) cable? Would this work as a physical adapter? Would the OTG cable do anything else besides convert micro USB to standard USB?

Do I need an app to do the mounting or does the OS do everything? Can I install apps on the external USB flash drive. I ask because on android 4.4 there was a limitation and many apps could not be installed on an external micro-SD card plugged into the back or side of the phone.

I am running Android 6.0 on a cheap Alcatel phone.

2 Answers 2

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Do I need an app to do the mounting or does the OS do everything?

No, you don't need any extra app to connect the USB drive, the OS will detect and mount the USB drive automatically, if the file system is compatible. In case your file manager fails to detect the drive, you can use apps from Play Store that come with this feature.

Would this work as a physical adapter.

Yes, a USB-OTG cable is merely an adapter to connect the pins of micro-USB to ordinary USB.

Would the OTG cable do anything else besides convert micro USB to standard USB?

No, but keep in mind that unlike PCs, your phone might not provide enough power to drive hardware that requires that power (like hard drives), so you might need to use a powered USB hub for such applications.

Can I install apps on the external USB flash drive.

No, unfortunately you can't. Just like with external micro-SD cards, support for installing apps on external media is best described as "non-existent" (there is adoptable storage, though). Installing app on SD card often just moves the app to the user's data partition which has been originally provided by an SD card but was later integrated into the storage of the device itself.

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  • You've given a better and full answer than mine. I'll edit yours to incorporate mine, and then delete mine, so that the OP can accept one answer. Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 10:34
  • @WrichikBasu I have accepted the edit after improving it a bit to fit my experience (I regularly use USB-OTG).
    – GiantTree
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 12:19
  • Thanks for your answer. If you could improve the last part on installing apps on external cards I will accept your answer. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 6:40
  • So I guess its best to purchase an OTG cable which can be powered individually. Thanks. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 6:41
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If your device supports otg then plug it in ...it is very simple just plug your usb into otg then otg into device.. Have fun..

Note: some ntfs device doesnt work with otg...so you have to format your usb with fat or fat32 ...

Good day

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  • Good point with format type! Thank you!
    – RamoFX
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 22:01

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