HomeTechnologyNewsHow to use a USB flash drive with your Android phone or...

How to use a USB flash drive with your Android phone or tablet

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Justin Duino / Instruction Geek

To use a USB flash drive with Android, you will only need a simple USB adapter. The adapter allows you to connect a USB drive to your Android phone. You can then browse the drive’s contents and move files from a file manager application.

Android devices have USB ports for charging, but they can also be used to transfer files. You can use a USB flash drive with your Android phone just like you would with a computer. It is easier than you think.

We usually think of transferring files to a phone using a physical USB cable or sending them over the Internet. Those methods work fine, but there are advantages to using a USB flash drive. Think of it like a mini external hard drive for your phone.

How to connect a USB flash drive to Android

android usb adapter
Joe Fedewa / Instruction Geek

Android phones do not have full-size (Type A) USB ports. “Dual drive” USB sticks with Type A and Type C connectors are becoming more popular, but chances are you have an “old school” USB Type A drive lying around.

Fortunately, virtually every Android phone and tablet on the market has a USB-C port. All you need to use a USB Type-A drive with a USB-C port is an affordable adapter. Pick up a two-pack for just $10 and you’re all set. Simply plug your USB drive into the adapter, then plug the adapter into your Android phone’s USB-C port.

How to Access a USB Drive on Android

Now that we have your USB drive connected to your phone or tablet, we can access the contents. After connecting the drive, a notification will appear with the message: “To transfer photos and media.”

USB drive notification.

The notification has two options: “Explore” and “Eject”. Touch “Browse” to browse the contents of the drive.

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You will be taken to the default file explorer on your Android device. If it doesn’t open directly on the USB drive, you may need to browse to the directory first.

Select your USB drive.

Now you can explore all the folders and files found on your USB drive!

Folders on the USB drive.

RELATED: How to set default apps on Android

How to Transfer Files from Android to USB Flash Drive

Transferring files from your Android device to USB drive can be a bit tricky. Some file manager apps don’t support it. We’ll be using an app called “Files,” which is really just a shortcut to Android’s built-in file manager.

With your USB drive connected, browse for a photo, video, or other file to transfer. Select the file, or multiple files, by touching and holding.

Select a file.

Tap on the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner and select “Move to”.

Next, tap on the hamburger menu icon at the top left and find your USB drive.

Open the sidebar menu and select your USB drive.

Open the folder on your USB drive that you would like to move the file to, then tap “Move.”

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That’s all about it! You can also use this same method in reverse to move files from your USB drive to your Android device.


Many Android devices no longer come with SD card slots, but all you need is a handy adapter and a good USB drive to regularly move files off your phone for more storage space. If you do this frequently, it’s probably worth buying a “dual drive” USB stick to make your life easier.

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