How to Connect a Hard Drive to a Smartphone
Most Android phones are sold with up to 64 GB of internal memory. Given the amount of data that users generate each day, this amount is not enough. To increase storage, usually use additional memory cards, USB flash drives and even SSD. I will talk about how to connect a hard drive to a smartphone on Android, as well as methods for solving problems.
Connection methods for 3.5 and 2.5 inch HDD
Direct connection of the hard drive to the phone is not possible. This is due to the wide variety of smartphones on Android, OS versions, drivers, and other differences. For synchronization, the device must support:
- On-the-go technology, which is designed to connect peripheral devices via a USB interface. Some budget and more expensive phones support OTG. To find out if a feature is available, use the USB OTG Checker or USB OTG Helper.
- FAT32 or NFTS file systems, which allows you to connect the HDD without additional software. Thanks to simple manipulations, such phones make it easy to manage disk space in HFS and exFAT systems.
In the case of connecting the HDD to a phone with the Android operating system, the form factor of the hard disk does not matter. 3.5 or 2.5 inches. The difference is only in the power of the equipment and the supply voltage. 2.5 inch drives require 3V to 5V, and 3.5 inch drives require 5V to 12V.
The HDD is connected to the phone directly using the USB OTG adapter or through additional devices. I note that the disk can be connected to a smartphone directly, but with an additional power source. At the same time, no problems are experienced during operation or with data transfer. As an alternative, use special docking stations with a convenient output for connecting voltage.
Reference! To connect the HDD, you must use an adapter from USB to SATA, as well as a power supply for the hard drive.
Ways to connect a USB-HDD to the phone
Suppose you need to connect a 3 TB HDD from Toshiba to an Android device. This internal drive, like most others, is equipped with a SATA data exchange interface. Therefore, to connect you will need:
- The adapter from micro-USD to USB Type A is a special OTG cable. If the device is powered using USB Type-C, like my Samsung A5, you need an appropriate adapter.
- USB Type A to SATA cable for connecting directly to the hard drive.
- A power supply that connects through an adapter.
The process of connecting the elements is quite simple and does not require additional explanations. After connecting the hard drive to the phone, you can manage it, but for this you need to install special software. Details of the software are described below.
Plus HDD compared to SSD Is the price. SSDs are more expensive.
Docking stations are sold for connecting hard drives via USB. Their important difference is the power requirement. The source can be a shared network or a portable battery. As in the case of direct connection, an OTG cable with a switch to USB is required to connect the HDD to an Android device.
SSD with SATA interface
Solid state drives have gained great popularity due to the increased speed of writing and reading information. Despite the power and the required voltage, the SSD does not need an external power source when connected to a mobile phone and does not bind the user to additional equipment. To connect you need:
- OTG adapter with Mirco-USB to USB 2.0 or 3.0;
- USB to SATA or mSATA adapter.
Reference! The requirements for the adapter are put forward based on the phone and solid state drive. Each equipment supports a unique set of standards and technologies.
To understand the difference between an HDD and an SSD, see the hardware test results:
- power usage. For SSDs, direct connection via adapters is sufficient. Even the most powerful and demanding SSDs do not require an external power source, but cope with the work using the phone’s internal battery. In the case of the HDD, you cannot do without a power supply network with adapters or a docking station. The option is not mobile and compact.
- Connection interface. There is no difference with SSD power supply, both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables are suitable. Tests also showed that both interfaces applied to the SSD and HDD operate at the same data rate. Therefore, USB 3.0 technology for mobile phones in 2019 does not make sense, but changes are possible in the future.
- Battery charge. HDD connection is only possible using an external power source, so the phone’s operating time is close to the usual parameter. In the case of using SSD, the device’s battery powers both the internal iron and the drive. Therefore, the battery runs out faster than with the most demanding games.
To increase the battery life, it is recommended to use Power Bank to charge the battery after the data transfer procedure.
Software for Android (with and without ROOT)
An adapter is not enough to connect external drives to Android. The phone will not see new equipment without additional software.
Total Commander App. One of the most popular freeware programs for managing the file system of Android phones. To interact with external devices, a special USB plug-in must be installed in the application. With it, the program will begin to detect all devices connected via OTG, including controllers, card readers, flash drives and hard drives. Advantages of the application:
- ease of installation;
- convenience of the control interface;
- support for FAT32, HFS and NTFS systems.
Automatic Root Retrieval allows you to browse system folders and access hidden files inside Android.
Paid Nexus Media Importer. The program without Root is designed to expand the functionality of Nexus phones, including the ability to connect USB flash drives and portable hard drives. After installing the application, you need to connect an external drive through the adapter, and the phone will detect it. Media Importer works in only one direction and allows you to read recorded files. Data transfer from Android to disk is not available.
Stick mount An alternative for working with most file systems. After connecting the hard drive, the program automatically recognizes the device and mounts its image, creating the usbStorage folder. To access files, you must use the file manager. Out of the benefits of Stick Mount, support is provided for many file systems, as well as minimal delays in reading information. And of the shortcomings. the inability to write data to disk and the requirement of Root rights.
The recording function is not available when using these methods, they are intended only for reading information.
Paragon UFSD Root Mounter. Program for reading and editing files on external devices. The application requires Root rights to ensure the functionality of all functions. After connecting the disk, the phone automatically finds the equipment and prepares it for reading data. If necessary, you can specify the type of file system yourself. Paragon application benefits:
- allows you to read, copy and modify files;
- supports HFS and NTFS, exFAT and FAT 32;
- automatically installs drivers.
Wi-Fi Hard Drive. Wireless
There is an alternative method for phones that do not support OTG technology. To transfer data, just connect to your home or public network. The device works autonomously because it contains a built-in battery with the ability to charge during operation.
Different manufacturers can use USB 2.0 or 3.0 interfaces to transfer data through a wire, as well as battery indicators and Wi-Fi connection. I’ll tell you about five shortcomings of such a drive:
Expensive devices have a wireless charging function.