In Short: Why Your Phone Does Not Recognize Your Portable Hard disk?

Almost all the handsets being launched in the recent past support USB OTG, whether they are from iPhone or Android or even the infamous Windows platform. In spite of the marketing around how pendrives and memory cards can be connected through this functionality, there are still some specifics which are never mentioned.

If you have bought a phone specifically for the USB OTG functions, there are chances that you’ve most likely tried to mount your Portable Hard disk onto it and majority of you would be been greeted with disappointment. The phone simply refuses to acknowledge the connection with the hard disk even though the hard disk flashes its LED symbolising a positive output. Don’t panic, your hard disk, your phone and the OTG cable are absolutely fine.

So, What’s the problem?

To put it simply, there is an incomparability in the storage types. Your pendrives and memory cards use FAT32 system of storage while your Portable hard disks are equipped with NTFS storage format. However, there are a ton of devices which can operate on both of these formats, for example, your shiny new HD TV.

How do I fix it?

There are two ways to fix this, let me explain it as short as possible:

A.  With ROOT

  1. Root your device if you haven’t (No, it doesn’t void your warranty on most devices.
  2.  Connect your portable hard disk to the phone. (Optional)
  3. Install applications like “Paragon NTFS and HFS”. (At your own risk, don’t worry it works)
  4. Disconnect the Hard disk and reconnect it again.
  5. Open the Paragon application and check if it detects the Hard disk, for the most part it will.

Bingo! You can now use you hard disk to read and write whatever files you want to.

Applications like Paragon can be installed or add the NTFS read and write plugin to your handset, which lets the Operating System recognise that a storage device is mounted.

B. Without ROOT – Option 1

  1. Connect your portable hard disk to the phone.
  2. (Optional) Install the application like ” Total Commander”. (At your own risk, although it’s pretty good)
  3. Disconnect the Hard disk and reconnect it again.
  4. Open the Total Commander application and check if it detects the hard disk, for the most part it will.
  5. Click on the “Mount” option.

Its done! Your hard disk is now available for use.

C. Without ROOT – Option 2

  1. Connect you Portable Hard disk to your computer.
  2. Take a back up of all the data in the portable HDD.
  3. Format the Portable HDD to become a FAT32 drive.
  4. Now you connect and use it with your phone like a normal pendrive.


It’s pretty simple, you just changed the storage system of the portable hard disk to fit the requirements of you handset. In other words, the portable HDd now speaks you phone’s language making a communication between the two possible.

What do we Recommend?

It really depends on the users, but we highly recommend the first and the second option with the ROOT and without ROOT, respectively. This is because NTFS is vastly superior to the FAT32 storage format, in fact the NTFS storage system was invented to overcome the shortcoming of the FAT32 system.

Advantages of the NFTS system include Hugh read and write speeds which is noticeable over USB 3.0 and the support for single files over 4 GB of size. In the early days, support for file sizes over 4 GB seemed laughable, but by today’s standard, anything less than 4 GB would render watching movies on-the-go impossible.

This is just our suggestion and you may have your own fair share of complications, like difficulty in finding a reliable ROOT solution, etc. It is recommended to go with the second option in such circumstances.

What did you feel about this write up? Did you find it interesting? Did you try it out? Did it work? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below!