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I have a Samsung device and I want to connect an external hard drive to it with OTG but the problem is the hard drive isn't readable om my phone. I searched the internet for a solution and I found a tutorial that says I have to convert the filesystem of the hard drive from NTFS to FAT but the problem is there is no tutorial for converting NTFS to FAT (not FAT32) because FAT32 isn't readable on my Android device either.
So can you please help me to make my external hard drive readable on my Android device?

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  • Why do you believe your device doesn't support FAT32? I ask because FAT32 is quite old and widely supported at this point. Dec 10, 2018 at 17:44
  • This will show you how to convert NTFS to FAT32 Dec 10, 2018 at 17:46
  • Most of the newer Android devices (and even some older) support NTFS, FAT(32/16), exFAT and vFAT. You can check by 'cat /proc/filesystems' or the *_FS= entries from your kernel source. I have been using Western Digital 512 GB USB hard drive with NTFS on my Android phone. Dec 10, 2018 at 22:18
  • Please edit to mention device and Android version
    – beeshyams
    Dec 11, 2018 at 6:35

2 Answers 2

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Android recently got support for NTFS

Ok, for all my HDD partition work, i use a Windows PC and a free program called AOMI Partition Assistant Standard

Using Part'Assist' is very straight forward and has heaps more control over the ordinary formatting support of Windows.

You can convert, clone, format, move, repair & resize drives & partitions.

How to format using the software.

  • Install & Open Part'Assist'

  • Place your HDD into your PC usb port

  • Select the HDD in Part'Assist'

  • Select your desired action

Reformatting will be the quicker option, however it'll erase everything.

I personally use exFAT on my HDDs, however i believe it should support FAT or ( VFAT is what terminal emulator throws out )

Android will power your HDD if it is self powered, and doesn't take Two Usb Cables ( 5volt + 5volt = 10v ) .. Androids that support OTG ( On The Go ) provide 5v power to the micro usb port and this is enough to run a very large 5volt portable HDD ( 2 TB Etc... )

You may need an extra power supply if your device doesn't handle OTG properly ( some tablets and older devices ) and requires an adapter to supply the 5 volt power ( can be built by soldering the ground wire to the micro usb sleeve on the jack to provide 5v power on some models ).

Once formatted as vfat ( FAT ) you shoul be able to get it to work just fine.

I'd just like to mention that i think it's amazing how far this hack has come... In the beginning, Android never supported usb devices using the micro usb, some hacker decided to give it a go years back and found out that all it needed was power to run a usb memory stick, mouse or keyboard... or any device with a driver that could be built....

After the hack became a part of many custom ROMs like Cyanogen Mod ( CM ), Manufacturer's and someone at Android HQ noticed !! it soon became known as OTG ( On The Go ) - This hack now has hardware support to supply 5volt power because someone else looked at the micro usb cable diagrams and said hey, let's just ground the shell on the usb and we'll have a 5vlt supply from the battery ... Genius...

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    I think Android supports NTFS. It's a part of AOSP now. Check vold source. Also, /system/bin contains fsck, mkfs and mount binaries for NTFS. For r/w access on NTFS, fuseblk device is used because it's not directly supported by Linux kernel so far. Dec 10, 2018 at 22:15
  • Your answer is a bit unclear about powering the USB device. I'm sure that most smartphones will not provide more than standard 500 mA to OTG devices, which is NOT sufficient for many older 2.5" HDD to start up, it won't work with 3.5" HDD (maybe it works with USB-SSD). Maybe you edit your answer that the HDD should be self-powered. Alternatively a self-powered OTG-HUB can do the trick also.
    – datenheim
    Jan 2, 2023 at 13:07
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Your device doesn’t recognize your hard drive because your hard drive need a electronic power to work not because of your hard drive format. The only way to use hard drive in your android device is using hard drive with less down 512GB capacity, or using hard drive with separate power wire and data wire.

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    Can you add a citation about the 512GB capacity and if the limit is for all Android versions or only some. Jan 3, 2019 at 23:07
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    not true. I perfectly read 4Tb external drive via OTG connection without any external power, and my phone was released in 2018, just when you wrote this answer
    – Suncatcher
    Jul 17, 2022 at 22:00

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