Mobile devices running Android are great, but the internal storage space can fill up pretty quickly if you’re a heavy user. That will leave you with a decision to make, rely on cloud services, or find compatible external storage devices.
If you decide that you need external storage because you don’t want to rely on network connectivity, first make sure your Android device can use the storage you want. Many phones don’t have microSD card slots anymore, and some don’t work with external USB drives without a thing called an OTG adapter.
Even once you get that part right, you might not be able to see your external storage device in your Android File Manager, because Android can’t read some of the file system formats that are used on external drives.
So, what file system types can Android read?
Short Answer: FAT32, Ext3, Ext4, exFAT (on newer devices)
Android has always supported the FAT32, Ext3, and Ext4 file system formats, but external drives are often formatted in exFAT or NTFS if they’re over 4GB in size or use files that are over 4GB in size.
Android can’t run NTFS natively, so it’s not worth the hassle to get it running when you can just reformat your drive into a file system that Android supports out of the box. exFAT is that file system, assuming you have a newer Android device. Then you’ll be able to use larger external drives with your Android, helping you keep your precious files and photos safe.
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