Introduction: Connect External Hard Drive to Android Smartphone

About: Make you happy

Nowadays a lot of Smartphones with Android OS supports "OTG " and it is possible to connect a lot of different hardware, but not all as easy, as it looks at the first glance.

Sometimes, even USB Thumb Drive won't work with smartphone, reasons for that is lack of power, which can provide smartphone and inappropriate file system. In this Instructable I show you, step by step, how to solve all of this issues.

Let's go begin.

Step 1: Necessary Components

First of all we should have all necessary components:

  • Power Bank or Wall Charger

Power bank or Wall charger should provide at least 1 Amp at 5V

  • Two USB cables

Majority of the USB power cables and hubs have Micro B port one cable should be with micro B male connector. Second cable is USB A Male to whatever your Storage Device port (USB Micro B, Type C etc.).

  • USB OTG Hub

Here we have few options: USB OTG Hub with a bunch of USB A inputs and one micro B Input or special USB OTG Cable with additional power input.

Step 2: Backup Data

If you have important data on storage device (usb flash drive or HDD/SSD) it is necessary to make backup of those storage devices because next step requires complete erase of them.

For Backup we can use simply copy and paste commands or use additional software.

Step 3: Format Storage Device

Android based devices, like other portable devices, which can record and read large files uses exFat file system. Most “small” storage devices uses FAT32 as default and NTFS for HDD’s.

In this step I show how to appropriately format storage device using most popular Operating Systems.

Windows: Because exFat developed by Microsoft it is quite easy to do under Windows OS.

Simply open file manager find your Storage Device, Right on them, choose Formatting, and follow steps on the image above.

For Mac and Ubuntu process more complicated and requires a little bit of instructions, with do not fit in this topic, and I decided provide links on them:

Mac OS: Follow this: Mac OS
Ubuntu: Follow this: Ubuntu

After formatting is done, recover your data back, from the backup in Step 2.

Step 4: Connect All Parts Together

Now connect HDD or USB Flash Storage Device to the OTG Hub, after to the Power Bank (HDD or USB Flash Device should start working) and last one Smartphone.

Step 5: Check Connected Devices

In drop down menu you should see your Storage device, if it’s not appearing repeat Step 4.

Step 6: Access Files

  1. Open File Manager, you can can use built in or instal third party from PlayMarket.
  2. Choose your External Storage Device.
  3. Access your files.

Step 7: Conclusion

If you want share data between different devices and OS’s it is good idea to use exFat file format system as default across all external storage devices: SSD’s, HDD’s, USB Flash Drives etc.

Not all Android based devices (Smartphones, Tablets etc.) have support for OTG protocol.

You can still run NTFS, but this is not natively, not free and not safe.
Have any question? Leave them in the comment section down below.