Using your fingers to control everything on your smartphone or tablet isn't ideal for everyone. Texting and browsing is usually not a problem. But if you want to draw, edit, and do other things that require extreme precision, using your numbers isn't easy.
While young smartphone users have grown 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 like? The mouse gives you a level of control that touchpads just haven't yet achieved.
If you are using an Android device, you can use a mouse with your device. Here are some tips and tricks to achieve this.
Problems with connecting a mouse directly to Android devices
What's the biggest reason 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 have a standard or full-sized USB connector that fits most laptops and computers.
Connect a mouse to an Android device with an adapter
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 has a female USB connector. This is where you can plug in your mouse or keyboard.
But unfortunately, not all devices support this hardware. Before buying an OTG adapter, search your phone model on Google and find out if it supports the connection.
Devices supported by some Android devices
When you connect a mouse via OTG, you can use the cursor as a digit replacement and navigate the Android interface by clicking instead of pressing. There's usually no waiting period for drivers to install, and you probably don't need to bother with the root directory.
The same goes for connecting a keyboard to your phone using the adapter. This is very useful if you like to work on the road but don't like to carry a big laptop with you. A small keyboard can increase your words per minute speed.
What's interesting is that when you connect a mouse or keyboard to an Android device, you can still use your finger and the touchpad if you want. As a side note, some gamepads and controllers can also be used to navigate an Android interface, even outside of gaming apps.
How to establish a connection
The steps to establish a correct and working connection via an OTG adapter are simple:
- Connect the OTG to your Android device.
- Now plug in your mouse/keyboard/controller.
- Wait for the “New Hardware Found” notification.
- Start using the device.
You can tell your mouse is working if a pointer appears on the screen. For keyboards and controllers, you will need to press certain buttons to determine if the connection is working properly.
Use a mouse on an Android device with Bluetooth
Given the prevalence of Bluetooth, it's no surprise that you can use it to connect a mouse to your Android device. If you haven't already, you'll need to enable Bluetooth on your Android.
- Open your phone Parameters menu.
- Now long press Bluetooth or open the menu, varies by Android version.
- Then press Pair a new device, if you don't see it, you may need to press Find devices.
- Next, make your mouse discoverable, this usually involves hitting a Twinning button, but may differ for your model.
Use an app to connect a mouse to Android
If your device does not support a direct connection via a USB OTG adapter, there may still be some hope left.
You can use an app like OfficeDock, which is available on the Google Play Store. The application is available both for free and as a paid version. If you want to use it for free, you won't be able to use a keyboard with your mouse.
But this app doesn't do exactly what an OTG connection does. Instead, DeskDock lets you use your computer and its peripherals to control various applications and interfaces on your Android device. This means that you will not be able to use it when traveling.
Remember to reduce clutter
If you plan to do on-the-fly editing for work or for your hobby project, try carrying a wireless mouse with you. Adapters for wireless devices these days are the size of a fingernail or less. Setting up a Bluetooth connection is a convenient choice because you won't have to worry about carrying cables, large peripherals, and controllers with you.
Finally, many OTG adapters have a microSD card reader feature installed. This allows you to watch movies on your smartphone or tablet without negatively affecting your storage space, so it's a good idea to keep it handy all the time.