Android smartphone does not see the flash drive through the OTG cable

Updated: May 11, 2023
6 min read
Android smartphone does not see the flash drive through the OTG cable
by Andrew Cheberiak
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Modern Android smartphones support a very useful technology – OTG cable. Its essence is to provide an opportunity to connect various peripherals to the phone without using a computer. This opens up wide horizons for the user. However, it happens that the smartphone does not see the OTG cable connection. What causes such a malfunction, and how to fix it? Let's see below.

Before we start

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Exploring the causes

Using an ordinary flash drive, as a rule, does not cause any problems. The smartphone always finds the device and works properly. But things are different with portable hard drives. Even a perfectly serviceable device can fail. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The phone does not support the OTG option at all – modern models of devices support this technology almost 100% of the time. However, before buying a cord, it is recommended to read the documentation for your smartphone and make sure that your gadget will be compatible with the interface used. In some documents, the manufacturer may specify a USB host instead of OTG cable technology;
  • Incorrect formatting – often, the default settings of the phone do not allow it to read the file partitioning of the flash drive. There are two ways to solve the problem. In the first case, you can format OTG to an understandable version for the gadget. In the second case, you need to "teach" the phone to see the file system of the portable cable;
  • A portable hard drive needs too much power – as a rule, OTG technology is much more power-consuming compared to a conventional flash drive. The smartphone simply does not have enough power to run the drives inside the HDD. As a result, the cable will not work. To solve this issue, you need to use an external power supply for the Android;
  • Hardware malfunctions – there may be factory errors and defects in the smartphone itself. The cause of failure may be damage to the gadget.

Traditional solutions

  • Using applications that allow your gadget to open flash drives of similar formats. There are quite a few variations. One of the most popular versions is OTG Disk Explorer Lite;
  • When using a cable to watch movies, you may also encounter problems. This is due to the lack of special players designed for OTG technology. Other versions simply can not fully open the audio tracks, as they do not have built-in codecs;
  • Sometimes problems occur when working with documents. To maintain normal functionality of your device, you will also need additional programs. One of them is Polaris Office.


Android smartphone does not see the flash drive through OTG cable

The main problem of the cable malfunction is the mismatch between the file systems of the gadget and OTG. Phones are likely to support the FAT format. You can check what format is represented on the portable flash drive using a PC. Click on the category "properties" in the appropriate explorer. After that, a window will open with information regarding the file systems and the size of the drive.

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Commonly, portable devices work with the NTFS file system. Change the system to one that your smartphone understands. You can do this by formatting and erasing all data from the device.

Note, however, that such manipulation has one significant disadvantage. The technology will not be able to work with files larger than 4 GB. This is not critical but may cause inconvenience for fans of watching movies in high quality. The NTFS file system has no such flaws, so many users prefer to teach their Android to read this system.

To do this, you only need to download the appropriate program that allows you to mount the file system to recognize Android. Such programs are usually free and very easy to install.

How to solve problems with high power consumption – options:

  1. Using a USB hub. It is an ordinary USB, but it has an external power supply. This makes it possible to connect several gadgets at once. There is no loss of speed. The disadvantage is the use of an additional socket and the risk that your device does not support the USB hub;
  2. The use of HDD with an external power supply. The model has two USB connections (one for the Android, and one for the charger).

An alternative to the OTG system is flash drives with built-in WiFi. They are self-contained and communicate with the phone device through a wireless network connection system. This system is a full-fledged analog of OTG cable. Thus it can help you connect several gadgets simultaneously. This does not significantly affect the speed of the Internet and the functionality of Android.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Android problem


MJ Magic
Invalid Date
Hey, if anyone's in the same boat, try updating your Android phone's software. It did the trick for me, and now my phone recognizes the flash drive via OTG.
Invalid Date
Tried everything mentioned here, but no dice.
Invalid Date
Got a burning question: Is there a limit to the storage capacity of the flash drive that my Android phone can handle when connected through an otg cable? Any tech gurus know the answer?
Emily Johnson
Invalid Date
Just a friendly tip from my own experience: A powered OTG cable did the trick for me when my Android phone played hard to get with the flash drive. Give it a whirl!
Harper Thomas
Invalid Date
Well, I tried the suggested methods, but no luck. My Android phone and flash drive still don't seem to vibe together. Oh well, the search continues!
Selena Stardust
Invalid Date
I'm stuck! What can I do if my Android phone recognizes the flash drive, but I can't access any files through the cable?
1 reply
  1. J.Lo Jet
    Invalid Date
    Selena Stardust, Try updating your phone!
Olivia Smith
Invalid Date
Hey, has anyone else experienced compatibility issues between certain flash drives and Android phones when using a cable? Need some insights!
Invalid Date
Woohoo! Finally got my flash drive working on my Android phone! Thanks for the awesome guide! 🎉

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