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In the past, mobile devices did not have wireless connections such as Wi-Fi or even Bluetooth, so it was quite difficult to manage all those files that we had, as images, in addition to their reduced memory also complicating our existence. The task to connect mobile to an external hard drive seemed impossible without using a computer as an interface. However, with the arrival of the new smartphones these problems were solved, and even more with the arrival of cloud services. Something that has helped with the task of transferring the files from the terminal as a backup, to have them accessible on any other device.
However, there is still something that many users are completely unaware of and are still wondering. We are talking about how to connect mobile to external hard drive or USB memory through its USB port. Indeed, the same port we normally use to charge it. We will explain how to carry out this task and the different alternatives at our disposal.
For Android mobiles the OTG cable will be the key
It was not until 2011 when we were able to see the technology that currently allows us to connect our terminal with external storage. It was from the arrival of Android 3.1 Honeycomb. Originally created for tablets, Google’s operating system integrated native support for OTG for the first time. But what this really meant? This technology, which is also known as USB On The Go, is basically an extension of USB 2.0 that allow us to have better flexibility in interconnection.
Therefore, before proceeding to connect our terminal to this peripheral, we must check if the mobile is compatible with OTG (On The Go) technology, something that you can check in the specifications offered by different manufacturers or by making sure your mobile has an equal or greater system version. In addition, this extension will not only allow us to link the smartphone with this external hard drive, but also offers us the possibility of connecting a keyboard, mouse and other devices to the port of our mobile, to be able to control it with them. How cool is that?
Nowadays, the vast majority of devices have this feature among their specifications; not long ago it was an almost exclusive function of the highest-end phones. But, over time, it has become a well deserved and expected feature allowing us to be able to make the most of the different capabilities that our mobile device has, through external storage units, peripherals and many other devices.
Is my mobile OTG ready?
A few years ago, when all Android phones had the famous microUSB it was mandatory to have an adapter, in order to hook our device to the OTG cable. In some cases, there were even smartphone companies that included this accessory in the box.
Everything changed when the terminals began to have USB Type C, with which we put aside that need to have such an adapter, thanks to the fact that both smartphones and peripherals can make use of OTG technology. If you have USB type C mobile and still don’t have that capability, we have bad news for you, since there are no ways to manually enable the support to OTG.
Now the final task: Connect mobile to external hard drive
After you have verified that your mobile device is fully compatible with OTG, we will have to get an adapter that allows us to connect this to an external memory, either through the most traditional connector, the Micro USB or, with the latest to arrive, the USB Type C, which are pretty common right now among devices.
When looking at the OTG cable you have to make sure that at one end it has a female connector and at the other a micro USB or USB type C connector. This way we will be able to connect our external storage unit to our terminal without too much hassle.
Once we have connected the mobile to a hard drive, we can explore all the files within and copy the content from our mobile device. We must bear in mind that in some models it will have to be done through a file explorer on Android. But, don’t worry, because there are different apps that you can easily find in the Google Play Store.
Is this possible to do with Apple Iphone?
Apple Iphone is a little bit more finicky when it comes to connecting to an external hard drive. Although it is true that in this case it will be a bit more complicated, you can link your Apple terminal to an external disk. This greater difficulty is due to the connection that Apple devices have, the Lightning Port.
To achieve this we will have to look carefully for an accessory that is exclusive for these devices. The most advisable thing to do is to get one that is certified by the company itself because you will make sure that you do not get any type of failure. In addition, we must also take into account that we must install an exclusive app to be able to manage the different files that we want to copy or transfer.
Can I connect a pen drive using the same method?
The answer is yes. The answer to this question is a resounding yes, you can. In addition to hard drives you can also connect pen drives to your devices. Any USB stick will be detected as an external storage drive. So we can interact in the same way with it as with any other peripheral, using of course, any file browsing application.
Why would I want to connect mobile to external hard drive?
One of the most straightforward applications is that we can transfer files to our mobile devices or vice versa, and without having to have a computer at hand. So we can make use of an external hard drive to save different files, images or movies. Although, as we mentioned earlier, in some cases it will be necessary to have one of the existing applications to be able to explore files.
Among others, these are the most common cases for using this method:
- Transfer images
One of the most common uses of this connection with our mobile is so we can save and archive all the images we want. Either with the goal of storing those we might think are important or simply because we don’t want to erase them forever.
- Watch movies and video
Connecting a mobile to an external hard drive or memory, we can play videos or movies that are stored inside without the need to have those files stored in our trusty smartphone. So it will come as a life saver at any time when we go on vacation to places where we do not have WiFi connection.
- Allocate more space in the unit by moving unused files
Finally, another possibility with this connection is that we can completely empty our terminal of everything we do not want. An option that will avoid headaches when choosing which files to delete. So, by linking our mobile device to an external memory, we can save everything we want, since they have a much higher storage capacity than mobile phones.