Android devices come with a range of features that offer incredible functionality to users. One of the most sought after functionalities is USB Host Mode. This feature enables your Android device to act as a host and supports external devices like game controllers, keyboards, and USB storage devices that can be connected via a USB cable. Enabling USB Host Mode on your Android device gives you increased functionality and the ability to connect external devices to your phone or tablet. The following guide provides a comprehensive tutorial on how to enable USB Host Mode on your Android device.
The Challenge of Enabling USB Host Mode on Android
It’s worth pointing out that not all Android devices support USB Host Mode. If the manufacturer hasn’t included this feature as part of the device then it won’t be accessible. That’s the challenge most users facing when trying to enable USB Host Mode on their Android devices. However, with some devices that do support USB Host Mode, the feature is usually not enabled by default. This means that you have to undertake a few steps before you can gain access to it.
Things You Should Prepare for
Before you enable USB Host Mode on your Android device, there are a few things that you need to prepare:
- A USB OTG (On-the-Go) cable. This cable allows you to connect your external device to your phone or tablet. You can buy the cable online or at a tech store.
- A compatible external device. This could be a keyboard, game controller or USB storage device. Ensure that your device is compatible with your Android device.
- Make sure your Android device is fully charged. Enabling USB Host Mode requires some power from your device, so it’s essential to have enough battery life.
Method 1: Enabling USB Host Mode on Android via OTG Cable
This method is the most common one for enabling USB Host Mode on Android:
Step 1: Find and purchase a USB OTG cable that matches the USB port on your Android phone.
Step 2: Connect one end of the OTG cable to your Android device.
Step 3: Connect the other end of the OTG cable to your external device, such as a game controller or keyboard.
Step 4: Wait for your Android device to detect the external device. A notification should appear once the device has been detected.
Step 5: Click on the notification and select "USB Connected".
Step 6: Choose "Enable USB Host Mode" from the list of options that will appear.
Step 7: Your Android device will now be in USB Host Mode, and you can use your external device as if it were connected directly to your phone.
- Relatively easy to understand and implement, especially for those who are used to using USB devices on their computers.
- Does not require users to be tech-savvy. Most Android devices can detect and set up to support external devices with minimal manual intervention.
- Sometimes the connection between the phone and the external device may suffer from a lack of stability.
- Compatibility issues: Not all Android phones support the use of external OTG cables. It is important to check whether your device supports OTG connectivity before making any purchase.
- You can’t use the external device interchangeably with your computer unless you reformat it to be recognized in USB Mass Storage Mode, potentially experiencing data loss.
Method 2: Enabling USB Host Mode on Android via Rooting
Rooting is a method that involves unlocking your Android device to gain access to functionalities that are not easy to enable. Enabling USB Host Mode on Android via Rooting is a risky and invasive method, and it should only be attempted by those who are tech-savvy and familiar with the risks involved.
Step 1: Unlock your Android device, if it’s not already unlocked.
Step 2: Install a file manager app that is compatible with root permissions.
Step 3: Navigate to the root directory, and search for a file called "build.prop".
Step 4: Open "build.prop" file with the file manager app.
Step 5: Scroll down and look for a line that reads "persist.service.adb.enable=0".
Step 6: Change the value to "persist.service.adb.enable=1", which will activate USB Host Mode on your Android device.
Step 7: Save the changes you made to the "build.prop" file.
Step 8: Restart your Android device, and you should now have USB Host Mode enabled.
- You get full control over your Android device.
- You can install custom ROMs, kernels, or apps that can make your phone more customizable.
- You can enable certain features that wouldn’t typically be available on your device.
- The process is very risky, and if you’re not careful, you may brick your Android device permanently.
- Lack of support: If you root your device, manufacturers may not support it.
- You may lose the phone’s warranty. Most manufacturers do not support rooted devices and, therefore, void the warranty when rooting.
Method 3: Enabling USB Host Mode on Android via Custom Kernels
Some developers create custom kernels that enhance the functionalities of Android devices. Some of these custom kernels contain the option to enable USB Host Mode. Here’s how to do it using a custom kernel:
Step 1: Perform a Google search to find a custom kernel that matches your device’s model number.
Step 2: Install the custom kernel that you downloaded.
Step 3: Restart your device.
Step 4: Navigate to the settings, and you should see an option that enables USB Host Mode.
Step 5: Toggle the switch to enable USB Host Mode.
- Custom kernels have features that aren’t present in stock kernels.
- Additional features offer more customization on the device, enabling users to tailor their device’s functionalities.
- Stable and reliable; no risks involved compared to rooting.
- Requires technical knowledge to install custom kernels, which could expose devices to risks.
- Limited support. Manufacturers do not support custom kernels, making warranty coverage void when custom kernels are used.
- Not all devices have compatible custom kernels available.
Method 4: Enabling USB Host Mode on Android via ADB Code
Finally, you can enable USB Host Mode on your Android device via the ADB (Android Debug Bridge) code. ADB is a developer tool that can help users interface with Android devices.
Step 1: Activate developer mode on your Android device.
Step 2: Enable USB Debugging mode.
Step 3: On your computer, open an ADB terminal.
Step 4: Enter the code, "adb shell".
Step 5: Enter the code, "setprop persist.service.adb.enable 1" and press enter.
Step 6: Restart your Android device.
Step 7: Navigate to, and toggle the USB Debugging switch to On.
Step 8: Connect the external device using the OTG cable.
Step 9: Your Android device will detect the device, and you can use it as intended.
- Easy to follow, with steps explicitly labelled and specific instructions.
- Uses developer tools that are readily available on most Android devices.
- ADB activity can be risky, especially when the user lacks technical knowledge.
- USB Debugging Mode on Android devices is used primarily for application developers, and enabling this mode may void the device’s warranty.
Why Can’t I Enable USB Host Mode on Android?
There could be several reasons why you are unable to enable USB Host Mode on your Android device. Some of them are:
1. Unsupported Android Device
2. No OTG Cable Detected
3. Insufficient Battery Charge
Here are some additional tips that can help you enable USB Host Mode on your Android device.
1. Get an OTG Cable That Fits Your Device
2. Use a Powered USB Hub When Needed
3. Keep Your Android Device Up to Date
5 FAQs about Enabling USB Host Mode on Android
Q1: How can I know if my Android device is compatible with USB Host Mode?
To find out if your Android device is compatible with USB Host Mode, look for its specifications on the manufacturer’s website or contact the manufacturer themselves. Alternatively, you can perform a Google search for your device’s model number to confirm compatibility.
Q2: Will I be able to charge my device while in USB Host Mode?
Q3: Can I use any cheap OTG cable from an online store or must it be a branded one?
You can buy any OTG cable from online stores, even cheap ones, as long as they are compatible with your device’s port, and they fit perfectly. Note that some devices may require OTG cables with specific pins configurations that some cheap cables lack, and if they don’t work properly, you may have to use a branded one.
Q4: Can I revert the changes made if something goes wrong?
Some methods are easily reversible, such as disabling USB Debugging mode in developers’ options, while others, like rooting your device, could put it into a permanent phone brick if they go wrong. It’s essential to be careful and remember any lists of instructions or all the steps taken before making any changes to the phone’s roots or firmware.
Q5: Will enabling USB Host Mode damage my Android device?
Enabling USB Host Mode on your Android device offers an extensive range of possibilities regarding usability and functionality. This article aimed to provide you with a comprehensive tutorial on how to enable USB Host Mode on your Android device via various methods. Always remember that some methods may harm your device permanently, and it’s essential to follow the instructions carefully and to maintain great care. With the right OTG cable, you can connect your external device to your Android device and enjoy the extra functionality offered.