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I have a Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD 500 GB. It works fine with Windows 10 but it cannot be detected by any of my Android devices. I tested with an Nokia 3.1, Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and a Sony Xperia 10 Plus, both with and without a Transcend OTG adapter. As well, I reformated it with exFAT and NTFS. What could be wrong?

The tablet runs Android 6 while the two phones run Android 9.

Other USB memory sticks work fine with the OTG adapter on all devices.

  • What's the power rating of SSD? Did you check kernel log (requires root) if something gets detected on USB? – Irfan Latif Oct 5 '19 at 17:14
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There are one major differences between an USB stick and an USB SSD: power consumption

As SSDs usually down't have the possibility to use a separate power supply you have to place a active USB hub (a hub with an own power supply) between the phone and the SSD.

The SSD is optimized for high performance and therefore requires much more power than a simple USB stick.

The Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD 500 GB requires about 4 Watt. Usually smartphone only support USB 2.0 and therefore the output is limited to 5V at 500 mA = 2.5 Watt. Only a very few smartphone support USB 3.0 or USB power delivery in OTG mode which would make it possible to use an SSD via OTG.

On a regular computer the SSD works because USB 3.0 allows 900 mA (5V at 900mA -> 4.5 Watt) and therefore it can power the SSD correctly.

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  • I have Xiaomi RN4, originally released with Android 6, officially stating USB 2.0 support but it supports USB 3 (xhci-hcd driver). So I can run my old WD 500GB HDD on it which won't be drawing amperage less than a SSD. Also many SSDs claim to be drawing less than 2W though there could be high ampere surges depending on how efficient internal circuits and silicon cells are. So I think it's hard to define a thumb rule w.r.t. power usage. – Irfan Latif Oct 6 '19 at 12:49
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    @Irfan: I think it is more the question if the used USB device implements the USB rules in a strict way or just uses as much power as it wants. Especially HDDs without extra power supply often work on USB2.0 ports even though this should be impossible. – Robert Oct 6 '19 at 14:03
  • @Robert Thanks, that makes sense! Nowadays you take it for granted that USB always delivers enough power, but of course mobile devices may be limited. – craesh Oct 6 '19 at 19:55
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I had the same issue before. Android doesn’t recognize the NTFS file format but some phones can read exFAT. You can try the app “Total Commander” and the “exFAT/NTFS for USB by Paragon Software”

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ghisler.android.TotalCommander&hl=en_CA

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.paragon.tcplugins_ntfs_ro&hl=en_CA

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