Nexus 4 Gets USB OTG (On The Go) Support Thanks to a Modification from XDA

| March 25, 2013 | 5 Replies


Many people won’t buy a Nexus device because of there not being an SD card slot. Well on previous models we had a feature called USB OTG and OTG stands for On The Go. Where you could plug in USB devices to your Nexus 4 with a cable and it would work great. You could use that to plug in a keyboard or a mouse or even more storage. Many people were surprised that the Nexus 4 didn’t support USB OTG, which was due to both hardware and software problems. As we know, software isn’t the biggest problem, but hardware was.

The Nexus 4 doesn’t provide the right voltage required to power USB devices. This solution does lack some elegance, but who cares? It actually works now. By connecting a three-way Y cable, you can then plug in your USB drive, or keyboard or any other device to use on your Nexus 4. You’ll need a USB power pack to carry around as well, unfortunately. Sure it’s not the most convenient way of doing things, but at least it works now.

As we’ve said the hack isn’t the best way to do it. In fact it’s even called a “Dirty hack” on XDA. You can check out Ziddey’s thread on XDA where he explains how to enable and use USB OTG on your Nexus 4. It’s also thanks to CaptainMuon for getting this started for us all to enjoy. Of course you’ll need to be rooted and running CWM or CWM touch recovery to use this. Ziddey has noted that there have been problems with his script and some other recoveries so it’s best to stick with ClockWorkMod. You’ll also need to be running Android 4.2.2.

So there you have it, USB OTG is available on the Nexus 4, at least in some form. So for those that were really looking forward to using it, check out the thread on XDA for the complete instructions. Let us know how it works out for you in the comments below.

Category: Android News

About Alexander Maxham ()

Alex has been an Android user since the Motorola Droid back in 2010. He's been a huge Android fan ever since using many of the most popular flagships. He's currently rocking a Moto X and a G2.
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  • Ganix Trejo

    Thanks for the information about the OTG. It’s a bit dirty, but it’s the only way to get this…

  • anne ritchey

    Well, ziddey does refer to it as a “dirty hack,” and part of that “dirty” is needing power, but for my needs, it works great and was a simple install. I purchased the male/female micro/female usb y cable for <$10. and plug my car charger and my 64GB thumb drive in and can watch movies (with AC battery charge at the same time) while riding in the car. I can also xfer one to the phone to watch if I want to when I leave the car and don't have power (a power bank works great, too!) I had a galaxy nexus before the Nexus 4. That was probably the feature I missed the most when I chose to "upgrade" the gnex because of its cracked screen.

    • ziddey

      The main “dirty” part is that it skirts around the broken ID pin identification by forcing host mode when a certain charger type is detected instead. From there, some code is commented out (entire functions essentially rendered meaningless) in order to simulate ID pin-based charger detection. Ideally, PMIC and ACA based ID pin identification should be fixed, and may be possible. Then, everything would be “working” as it should with the exception of the phone not being able to supply power. Semantics I suppose.