How To Use a Mouse with Your Android Device
Using your fingers to control everything on your smartphone or tablet is not ideal for everyone. Texting and browsing is usually not a problem. But if you want to draw, edit, and do other things that require pin-point accuracy, using your digits isn’t easy.
While young smartphone users grew up in the era of touchpads, there are still plenty of people used to the trusted keyboard and mouse combo. And what’s not to love about it? The mouse gives you a level of control that touchpads simply haven’t caught up to yet.
If you’re an Android device user, you can use a mouse with your device. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to do that.
Issues with Direct Connectivity
What’s the main reason why you can’t use a mouse just by plugging it into your Android device? The answer is simple – incompatibility.
Smartphones and tablets come with micro-USB ports, but your standard mouse will feature a full-sized or standard USB connector that matches most laptops and computers.
The first thing you can try is a USB OTG adapter. OTG stands for On-the-Go, and it’s especially useful for frequent travelers who keep valuable data on their phones.
Because it acts as a bridge between two devices, a USB OTG adapter will have two ends. One plugs into your Android device’s micro-USB port, while the other features a female USB connector end. This is where you can plug your mouse or keyboard.
But unfortunately, not all devices support this hardware. Before you buy an OTG adapter, Google your phone model and find out if it supports the connection.
Peripherals Supported by Some Android Devices
When connecting a mouse through OTG, you can use the cursor as a digit replacement and navigate the Android interface by clicking instead of tapping. There’s usually no waiting period for the drivers to install, and you also probably don’t need to mess around in the root directory.
The same applies to connecting a keyboard to your phone using the adapter. This is highly useful if you like working on the road but you don’t like carrying a large laptop with you. A small keyboard can boost your word per minute speed.
What’s interesting is that when you connect a mouse or a keyboard to an Android device, you can still use your finger and the touchpad if you want to. As a side note, some gamepads and controllers can also be used to navigate an Android interface, even outside of game apps.
How to Establish a Connection
The steps involving establishing a correct and working connection via an OTG adapter are simple:
- Connect the OTG to your Android device
- Plug in your mouse/keyboard/controller
- Wait for the “new hardware detected” notification
- Start using the device
You can tell that your mouse is working if a pointer comes up on the screen. For keyboards and controllers, you will have to press some buttons to figure out if everything is ok with the connection.
What About Apps?
If your device doesn’t support a direct connection through a USB OTG adapter, there may still be some hope left.
You can use an app like DeskDock, which is available on the Google Play store. The app is available both free and in a paid version. If you want to use it for free, you won’t be able to use a keyboard along with your mouse.
But this app doesn’t do exactly what an OTG connection does. Instead, DeskDock allows you to use your computer and its peripherals to control various apps and interfaces on your Android device. This means that you won’t be able to use it when traveling.
Don’t Forget to Reduce the Clutter
If you plan on doing some on-the-fly editing for work or for your passion project, try to carry a wireless mouse with you. These days, adapters for wireless peripherals are the size of a fingernail or smaller. Setting up a Bluetooth connection is a convenient choice, as you won’t have to worry about carrying cables, large peripherals, and controllers around with you.
As a final note, many OTG adapters have a microSD card reader function installed. This lets you watch movies on your smartphone or tablet without negatively affecting your storage space, so it’s a good idea to keep it at hand all the time.