What is USB OTG / USB Host Mode on Android? How do I know if my phone supports it?


NOTE: This article is only for users connecting their Backbone One to an Android device.

What is USB OTG / USB Host Mode (with HID support)?

USB OTG / USB Host Mode (with HID support) is required for all Android devices that want to use the Backbone One. But what does that mean exactly?

USB OTG (OTG meaning On-The-Go) allows an Android device to act as a “USB host”, which opens it to be able to control and power USB devices. In other words, an Android phone needs USB OTG in order to send power to the Backbone One so you can use it for all your favorite games! USB OTG is automatically supported by most compatible Android devices and does not need to be activated. If you are not sure, you can try finding out how to activate it on your device by visiting the manufacturer's website.

USB Host Mode (with HID support) is a setup for the technically savvy whose devices do not automatically support USB OTG. USB Host Mode (with HID support) needs to be activated with the use of APIs and code.

NOTE: The Backbone Support team is not able to assist with setting up USB Host Mode. For help setting up USB Host mode check out the device-specific Developer Docs for your Android.

How do I know if my Android phone supports USB OTG?

The simplest way to determine if your Android phone supports USB OTG is to download an app on the Android device in question and check the compatibility.

Download the Easy OTG Checker on your Android device when you're ready to check the compatibility. You will need:

  1. Your Android phone
  2. A USB OTG cable or adapter, which is usually provided in the box when you purchase an Android phone (NOTE: This is not required if your USB device connects directly to your device, such as a duo drive Flash Drive)
  3. Any USB Device (Such as a keyboard, printer, camera, etc.)

Connect your USB device to your Android and use the app to check if your device is compatible. If you get a green checkmark ✅ your device is compatible with the Backbone One!


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