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9 ways to make the most of your Android device

JR Raphael | June 2, 2015
Your Android device is a mighty computer -- so isn't it time you start tapping into its PC-like powers?

The same concept works with text: You can highlight text in an email or on a Web page, then tap the share command to send the snippet to any other relevant app -- a note-taking service, a messaging service, or even to Google itself to initiate an instant Web search.

Think of Android's share command as connective tissue that ties everything on your device together. Get in the habit of embracing it, and it can change the way you think about and use your phone.

9. Plug 'n' play with external storage

Many Android devices support the use of external USB drives like thumb drives, which makes it really convenient to expand your storage potential and/or access external data on the go.

The best way to find out if your device supports USB storage is to head into the Storage section of your system settings. If you see an option at the bottom of that section to mount USB storage, you should be good to go. If you don't see any such option, your device likely doesn't support the protocol required to act as a USB host.

That protocol is called USB OTG, or USB On-The-Go. In order to utilize it, you'll need a USB OTG adapter, since most USB drives don't have micro-USB connectors and thus can't plug directly into Android devices. You can usually find a variety of those adapters for less than five bucks on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can look at a USB drive like the SanDisk Ultra Dual, which contains both regular USB and micro-USB connectors for easy universal access. Those drives currently start at about $13 for the newer USB 3.0 models or a little less if you don't mind going with the older USB 2.0 variety.

Either way, once you plug your USB drive into your phone, you'll be able to access its contents via any file manager app (including the aforementioned Cabinet). If you don't see an obvious option in the file manager for external storage, simply navigate to the root directory, open the Storage folder, and look for a folder named "usbdisk" within it. There, you'll find all the contents of your external drive and be able to open or manipulate files as you wish.

As with using USB storage on a regular computer, it's advisable to unmount your drive before unplugging it from your Android device. You can do this by heading into the Storage section of your device's system settings. Anytime an external storage device is connected, you'll see an option at the bottom of that screen to unmount the drive.

 

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