Using OTG cable to access external storage and 3G dongle on Nexus 7

In my last posts, I wrote about how to root your Nexus 7 and install Ubuntu Touch. Today I am going to write about how to use an OTG cable to access pen drives and External Hard drives. Also one of the most awesome thing you can do is to use 3G dongle on the Nexus 7. And I am doing it in questionnaire style.
Why use OTG cable?
You can use an OTG cable to attach following devices to your Nexus 7:
1. Pen drives
2. Memory card readers
3. External Hard Drives
4. 3G Dongle
5. USB Mouse and Keyboard
What is an OTG cable looks like?
Shown clockwise from top left: OTG Cable, Card Reader, Pen Drive, an Huawei 3G dongle (with Airtel connection).
Yup, OTG cable is that small. Some other variants of OTG cable also comes with no wire. Refer this.

Can any OTG cable be used with Nexus 7?
I had some worries about this. So I thought to buy this OTG cable from flipkart. Some reviews says it works while others stated it doesn’t. So I went to a local market. Bought the cheapest OTG cable in just Rs 50. And it worked flawlessly.
Requirement of using an OTG cable:
Nexus 7 should be rooted and SU installed. If you don’t want to root your device, there is an alternative available. Goto Alternative.
So, after rooting, just install the following app: StickMount
There, now you are ready to use the features bestowed by a rooted device and an OTG cable. Yes, it was that simple.
Just attach the OTG cable with Nexus 7, and attach a pen drive or external storage to the other end. You should see a pop up about granting SU access to StickMount. Just grant it access, and the external storage should mount, on the location: /SDCard/usbstorage. You can open this folder to view all the files on your external storage, and use them just like it were on your tab.
Using 3G Dongle with Nexus 7:
To use a dongle with the tab requirements are:
1. Rooted with SU app installed
2. This app: PPP Widget
3. A compatible 3G dongle.
As per this post on XDA forum, following devices are confirmed as compatible to N7:

Confirmed Devices
E3131s-2 GSM/HSPA+
EC156 CDMA with a couple of tweaks see this post

But if you already have a 3G dongle then just test if it works on a desktop Linux OS. And if it works then it should work with N7 too.
I was able to get my hands on a dongle model: Huawei E1731. It took a week to activate the 3G sim to start (due to my laziness).
When you have the OTG cable and a working 3G dongle, just attach the dongle to N7 using the cable. PPP Widget should detect it and show you the option to “connect it”. But before connecting I had to set APN. So I went to Settings (from the widget itself). And set as the APN. Your APN vary and you may need to ask the correct APN from customer care. Thats it. I didn’t have to set any other thing.
After that I just tapped, “Connect”, and voila I could surf Internet through the dongle. Click Spoiler to see some states of PPP Widget:

And oh btw, about the last use of OTG cable. I tested a desktop USB mouse and a desktop USB keyboard with the tab. Both worked flawlessly. Using mouse I could click any app using a mouse cursor that pops up. And through keyboard, I could use Alt + Tab to navigate recent application list, Escape to go back and close any app and of course type to type anywhere where a Text field is there. It’s Amazing!
Alternative of rooting and still be able to use a Pen drive:
You can use this paid app (Rs 216): Nexus Media Importer to browse multimedia content from your Pen drive. But it doesn’t give the freedom of using the external drive like it does by accessing it “directly” from a file manager. Plus you may not use a 3G dongle without rooting. As per this page you *can* use mouse and keyboard without rooting. However it doesn’t mention an OTG cable. So I can’t be sure.
Only thing now remain is to buy a USB hub, and I could then use multiple devices, cause you know, there is just one MicroUSB on the device.  I would soon update the post to let my readers know if that’s possible.

31 thoughts on “Using OTG cable to access external storage and 3G dongle on Nexus 7

  1. Using OTG cable to access external storage and 3G dongle on Nexus 7 – Is this trick works with nexus 7 2013 wifi model with kitkat version?

  2. Asus Fonepad (similar build as nexus) detects pendrive/ external HD upto 500GB without nexus media app. 1TB with power works equally well. Although I havent been able to connect tataphoton/usb dongle without rooting(i havnt tried PPP widget)

  3. hello,
    I’m going to buy NEW NEXUS 7 2013 wifi only version and i want to know that does NExus 7 2013 wifi model support 3g dongle and usb without doing rooting on NEXUS 7 2013 wifi??
    plz answer me on my email: manu*********
    *Comment edited to hide email address.

    1. You can’t use OTG cable without rooting. And 3G dongles are not supported on 2013 model of N7. But you can always use tethering from your phone to access Internet.
      Refer my comment which I made in response to aravind.

  4. thank you for your suggestions…. but does that means i can not use 3g dongle in new nexus 7 2013 model ? even after rooting can 3G dongle works on new N7 2013?

    1. I don’t think you can use a 3G dongle in your Lava X5. It should support OTG cable first, which I think it doesn’t.

  5. Hi sir,
    I have problem in ppp widget.I have Nexus 7(2012
    wifi only).I
    have ZTE-Mf190 dongle.When I connect dongle it
    detects but never
    connects.shows dialing out and disconnect.I’m on
    stock rom with franco
    kernel.I’ve tried on stock kernel.Please Help me.
    Thanks in advance!
    Chinmay Patil

    1. I hope you have tested the dongle that it works on a PC first.
      Also you need to set the correct APN in settings before tapping the “Connect” button.

  6. It worked extremely good with windows 7 and linux os.I used correct apn settings before tapping connect.I am on stock rom n stock kernel.Any custom rom or kernel will do the trick?I have latest version of ppp widget!Thanks in advance.

  7. Sir,
    I have Asus Fonepad Tablet 7 inch Model ME175CG, could I connect My Tablet with dongle through OTG cable.
    Root cause: In my village 3G network is not found inside the home. It is possible only above the Roof.

  8. Hi,
    I have nexus 7 tablet and micromax 353g modem.
    I am not able to connect dongle on my nexus7 using otg cable.
    Please help me how to connect dongle to nexus 7

    1. First requirement is that your tab should be rooted. After which you will need to make sure whether the dongle you specified Micromax 353g is compatible with a linux system. If it does then there is a high change that it will work on your Nexus 7.
      All the best.

  9. how do I connect my OnePlus One to reliance 3 net connect ? I really don’t wanna root my new phone. I have tried ppp 2 widget and ppp widget but both require root access. Please help me out !

      1. I took about half of our advise( :-p )…. I’ve got Nexus Media Importer on my OnePlus…….. Now how do I use it ? Help me out, please !

        1. Shouldn’t be difficult. From here :
          Steps are:
          To use:
          -If you are using an card reader, put the flash memory card in the reader first.
          -Attach your USB device to the OTG cable.
          -Attach the OTG cable to the Nexus or other device.
          -The application should launch automatically.
          -The File Manager tab can be used to manage and transfer files.
          -Use the Connect screen to determine the viewed device and the destination device for the Copy/Move operations.
          -The navigation menu to change between Photos, Videos, Document and the File Manager can be accessed by the three lines in the upper left hand corner.

  10. I am using micromax canvas spark. It basically supports otg cable to connect to pendrives. But is it necessary to root it to support a net dongle. I haven’t tested.

  11. iam having yu yureka mobil . it is possible to connect through otg 4g airtel dongle to mobil . can u pls explain how to do.

  12. Vineet, thanks for the post!
    I am using Digiflip ET701 (running Android 4.4.2) and trying to connect to Internet via Reliance ZTE AC2739 dongle. Dongle is detected as USB modem, but every time I try to connect, it shows this error:
    “Turning dongle network on failed, please check Connection Parameters”
    The dongle is working fine on PC! So we can rule out the problem of bad APN etc.
    Can you please help?

  13. Mera intex ka dongle h gionee f103 phone but mai otg se dongle connect nhi kar pa rha hu aur mera phone otg connectivity hai plese help me my whatsapp no. 8051179609 .

  14. Mera phone gionee f103 he. Muje dongal s phone m net chalana h, y connect nhi ho rha h,
    Please give me solutions, thanks

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