How to read USB drives on your Nexus 7 without rooting

USB OTG: Does it really work on the Google Nexus 7?

YES it does!  But before we go any further, just what does USB OTG stands for and how can it be useful for Nexus 7 owners?

“œUSB On-The-Go is a specification that allows USB devices [such as the Nexus 7] to act as a host allowing other USB devices like a USB flash drive, [USB card readers], mouse or keyboard to be attached to them.” Source: Wikipedia

Since the Google Nexus 7 doesn’t come standard with SD Card slots to expand their storage capacity, being able to plug in your flash drives or USB memory card readers is the next best thing to having every other thing you want to consume on your Nexus 7 without using the cloud. And you can do this without having to root your device.

Think it can be useful for you? Ok here’s what you need to do:

Now once you have the cable and the app installed, simply plug the USB OTG cable onto your Nexus 7’s microUSB port and plug your USB Flash stick or memory card reader on the other end. The Nexus Media Importer app will prompt you to launch the app and BAM you now have access to your files on your disk.

A shot of LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon at Legoland, CA

A caveat:

This app only lets you read/stream/copy files from your USB Flash drive or memory card onto your Nexus. Certain actions will require you to copy the files first to your Nexus such as uploading photos to Facebook or Instagram.  And other actions will require other apps such as watching movies in AVI format using a media player.

Isn’t this neat?  I hope future updates will eventually allow writing functionality so we can truly manage our external media on-the-go!

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  • jtreyes

    The OTG cable isn’t as hard to find anymore. And it’s also not as expensive. i got mine from the ever famous cdrking…

    For the price of….

    Wait for it……

    30 pesos! Boom!

    • eZMe

      30 pesosesoses! time to visit the nearest cdrking branch! haha

      • Ryan S.

        haha.. i like the “BOOM” part..

        wait 4 me nexus 7..

      • jtreyes

        When i bought it from their megamall branch, the sales ladies were wondering why a number of us were buying the same cable.

        It’s dirt cheap and it works. It has never failed me yet. I can even hook up my dslr to my nexus so that i could use the dslr controller app. Hehe.

      • jtreyes

        By the way, what you would need to tell them is that you’re looking for a USB AF to USB cable. The won’t know what an OTG cable is.

    • fdmagalued

      sir panu mo napagana yung cdrking otg cable para sa nexus 7 1st gen? kasi di pwede sakin. stock and not rooted nexus 7 1st gen po gamit ko.thanks

  • eZMe

    i need one of those!

  • John G

    I got mine from Amazon months ago – can’t find it anywhere here. I was refunded because I didn’t receive it on time, so ok lang din no cost. I can swear by the Nexus Media Importer app, btw. Works well.

  • lccph

    I didn’t just buy one, but two of these. in case masira yong isa. alam mo na, pag maubos na ang stock ng isang item ng cdrking, rarely mg restock ang cdr king.

  • John

    Sir Calvin, do you know of a connector available for Nexus 7 that can connect it to an LCD projector coz I plan to use my nexus as my source when I do a powerpoint presentation. Does CDR king have it and what’s the name of the connector? Thanks. The nexus 7 does not have an HDMI port sadly.

    • no… i don’t think there’s such a thing. stream mo na lang siguro. i’m sure there’s an app that allows you to stream content from the nexus to a bigger display as long as both are in the same network.

      • john

        Sir Calvin, is there an adapter that connects a micro USB to VGA for nexus 7?

        • nope, don’t think so.

        • Taylorsamy

          you could try a usb otg cable with a usb to vga cabel

          dont know if it ill work but its worth a try

  • Ivan

    Is it possible to connect an external hdd to this device without using an external power source?

    • if that drive doesn’t require too much power then yes.

      • john

        Sir Calvin, my western digital external HDD worked on my nexus 7 using OTG cable and nexus media importer.

  • john

    Sir Calvin, I went to cdr king, which has a micro USB to HDMI adapter. I tried it on my nexus 7, which unfortunately did not read. The sales personnel stated the cable only supports Samsung galaxy s3 and and note 2. Do you know if there’s an app that supports this just like the nexus media importer? I unfortunately bought a more expensive Samsung OTG cable at 540 pesos as cdr king has no more stocks and it worked on my nexus using nexus media importer. I hope you can help me. Thanks.

    • nope… the google nexus 7 usb is not MHL capable so hindi mo pwede kabit sa HDMI in.

  • john

    Sir Calvin, is it possible to connect a 3G dangle to wifi only version of ASUS Google Nexus 7?

    • leepink

      Oo nga sir Calvin, I like to ask the same question.
      And if it is possible, is there any way to connect it without rooting the nexus 7?..coz we know that if we rooted the nexus7, the warranty will be void

      • nope… i dont think it’s possible without rooting.

  • Mehdi A.

    Please someone email this app to me. [email protected]

  • franciselmer

    Will a generic keyboard work with this? Hehe

  • jazxr

    Weew dahil sa demand grabe ang price 250 young iba discounted na daw ang 150. Wlang stock ang cdrking. Fortunately I got mine for a price of 130. Patayang tawaran na yan ,,,,

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  • nick

    When I plug an OTG cable into my rooted nexus 7 to watch movies, I get the message "google play won't allow 290".

  • Dennis Mac

    On Nexus 7 2012, use Android app "ES Explorer" file manager with OTG cable. Does NOT require rooting. ES Explorer will read my non-powered 500 gigabyte usb hard drive! Curiously, "Nexus Media Importer" will no longer work since the system upgrade to Android 5 Lollipop. ES is also FREE!