OTG Cable Explained: Do You Need One?

In this guide, we will discover: OTG Cable Explained: Do You Need One? – Easy Beginners Guide 2023
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Wondering if you need an OTG cable? Read this article to find out everything there is to know about this USB accessory.

By Oluwaseun Bamisile | Updated May 4, 2023 | 9 minutes read

To make this article more organized and engaging, I have structured it into several sections. Firstly, the overview section will provide a detailed explanation of what this accessory entails.

Next, I will highlight and discuss five major features of the cable. Following that, I will provide some of its advantages and disadvantages.

Lastly, the article will include an FAQ section, where I will address some common questions about the cable.



An OTG cable, a.k.a on-the-go cable, is a type of USB cable that enables mobile devices to function as a USB host. Basically, the cable allows a device, like a tablet or a smartphone, to communicate with USB devices, such as a flash drive or keyboard.

This completely eliminates the need for a computer as an intermediary between the mobile device and the USB device.

The concept of an OTG cable was originally introduced by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) back in 2001. However, during its initial release, it wasn’t widely adopted, as few devices supported it.

However, the need for connectivity with USB devices grew as mobile devices became more powerful and feature-rich. Therefore, most modern smartphones and tablets support the OTG cable.

Gladly, OTG cables are widely available and accessible today.

That being said, OTG cables come in various shapes and sizes. However, they typically feature a standard USB Type-A connector on one end.

Meanwhile, on the other end, they feature either a micro-USB or USB Type-C connector. The USB Type-A connector is used to connect to the USB devices.

The micro-USB or USB Type-C connector, however, is used to connect to the mobile device.

Features of an OTG Cable

Now that we know what an on-the-go cable is, this section will explain some of its major features.

It Offers Bi-directional Communication

One of the major features of an OTG cable is bi-directional communication. This means the cable enables data to be transferred to and from the mobile device and connected USB device.

For instance, if you use the cable to connect a USB flash drive to your tablet, you can transfer files from the flash drive to your tablet and vice versa. This bi-directional communication is a crucial feature of the OTG cable as it makes it a versatile tool for mobile device users.

Compatible with Several USB Devices

On-the-go cables are developed to be compatible with a wide range of USB devices. These include keyboards, mice, audio interfaces, game controllers, external hard drives, and flash drives.

However, it’s important to know that not all USB devices support all mobile devices. Therefore, it is ideal to check the compatibility of the USB device with your mobile device before making a purchase.

It Has Several Brands

Many companies started manufacturing OTG cables as they became widely popular in recent years. Therefore, users now have the option to select from a variety of OTG cables with distinct features from various brands.

However, it’s essential to note that not all on-the-go cables are created equal. Basically, some may not be compatible with the latest standards for USB communication.

Hence, when purchasing an OTG cable, it’s important to choose a reputable brand that has good reviews and meets your specific needs. A couple of OTG cables from reputable brands include Amazon Basics OTG Cable and UGREEN Micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable.

It Comes in Various Sizes and Lengths

Another major feature of an OTG cable is that it comes in various sizes and lengths. This allows flexibility and convenience when using USB devices.

Moreover, the length of this cable can vary from a couple of inches to several feet. However, that depends on the manufacturer and intended use.

For instance, if you desire to connect a USB flash drive to your smartphone, a shorter OTG cable might be better. This is because it allows you to keep the two devices close together.

Meanwhile, if you wish to connect your smartphone to a USB printer across the room, then a longer OTG cable might be necessary.

Supports Different File Formats

OTG cables can transfer a wide range of file formats between devices. This includes documents, images, music, videos, and more.

Hence, users can easily transfer files between devices by connecting a USB device to their mobile device using an OTG cable.

Pros and Cons of an OTG Cable

Pros And Cons Of An OTG Cable

In the last section above, we discussed a couple of major features of an on-the-go cable. This section will explain some of its benefits and limitations.

Pros of an OTG Cable

  1. Easy setup. An on-the-go cable is very easy to set up or configure, even if you’re not tech-savvy.

    Specifically, the cable offers plug-and-play functionality. This means you just have to plug the cable into your mobile device and a USB device; then, you’re good to go!

    In fact, in most cases, you don’t need an additional driver or software to use an OTG cable.

  2. It is portable. OTG cables are designed to be small and portable, making them a convenient tool for mobile device users.

    As a matter of fact, some OTG cables are small enough to be carried in your pocket or purse. Besides, some cables may come with a storage pouch or a carrying case for added convenience.

  3. It is durable. On-the-go cables are developed to be durable and long-lasting.

    Moreover, most OTG cables feature reinforced connectors and cables that prevent damage from bending or twisting. In addition to that, some cables might have high-quality materials like braided nylon or TPE, which provide added durability.

  4. OTG cables are inexpensive. Thereby making them an ideal cost-effective solution for users who need to connect USB devices to their mobile devices without a computer.

    Although some high-end OTG cables may be more expensive, plenty of budget-friendly options are available.

  5. It improves productivity and functionality. With this cable, mobile devices can use a wide range of USB peripherals, such as keyboards, mice, and game controllers.

    This increases the device’s functionality, making it easier to use and more versatile. Also, it improves your productivity.

    For example, a keyboard can make typing easier and faster on your mobile device.

Cons of an OTG Cable

  1. It drains your mobile device’s battery. Using an OTG cable to connect USB devices can drain the mobile device’s battery more quickly.

    This is because the mobile device supplies power to the USB peripheral, which can consume significant energy.

  2. It can be easily stolen. Due to their portable size, an on-the-go cable can be stolen easily.

    In fact, you can easily misplace it.

  3. There are lots of counterfeits. Because OTG cables are manufactured by several brands, it is easier for people to make counterfeits.

    These counterfeits might pose security risks or not even work. Therefore, when looking to buy this cable, it is recommended you buy from a well-known brand.

    You can also check out user reviews before purchasing.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is An OTG Cable Used For?

Using an OTG cable, you can connect USB peripherals to your mobile devices, allowing you to expand the functionality of your device.

2. How Do I Use An OTG Cable?

To use an on-the-go cable, connect the USB device to one end of the cable and your mobile device to the other end. Once connected, your mobile device should recognize the connected USB device and allow it to be used.

3. Do I Need To Enable Any Settings On My Mobile Device To Use An OTG Cable?

Some mobile devices may require users to enable the USB debugging feature or similar settings to use an OTG cable. You can check your device’s settings to see if additional configuration is needed.

4. What Does OTG Stand For?

OTG stands for On-The-Go.

5. Can I Connect A USB Drive To My Mobile Device Using An OTG Cable?

Yes, you can connect a USB drive to your mobile devices using an OTG cable. This allows you to transfer files and access data stored on the drive without the need for a computer as an intermediary.

My Final Thoughts

My Final Thoughts

An on-the-go cable is a versatile and handy tool for mobile device users who need to expand the functionality of their devices. It enables users to connect USB peripherals to a mobile device.

Thereby providing users with a wide range of options for data transfer, input/output, and more. Moreover, this cable can connect various USB devices to your mobile devices, including keyboards, game controllers, flash drives, external hard drives, and more.

Besides, OTG cables are often portable, meaning you can carry them around easily. Little wonder they are called “on-the-go” cables!

Although it has a lot of benefits, this cable also has a couple of drawbacks. These drawbacks include lots of counterfeits and vulnerability to theft due to its portability.

Overall, an on-the-go cable is a helpful accessory for users who want to improve their productivity and expand the functionality of their mobile devices.

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References and Further Reading

  1. thepodcasthost.com – What Is an On-The-Go Cable? And Why Might I Use One?
  2. coolblue.nl – What is USB OTG and what do you use it for?
  3. en.wikipedia.org – USB On-The-Go
  4. samsung.com – What is an OTG cable and what is it used for?
  5. makeuseof.com – 10 Cool Ways to Use USB OTG on Android
  6. Itechguides Community


is Senior Writer DZ-TECH, where he covers the world of technology, hacking, cybersecurity, surveillance and privacy.

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