Which file systems and protocols does the Samsung Galaxy S5 support over USB OTG?

The Samsung Galaxy S5 supports USB OTG, but with only 2 filesystems.

The other day I was trying to find out exactly what file systems of attached USB OTG drives my (Verizon) Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900V) supports, but couldn’t find anything on Google. Therefore, I decided to buy an inexpensive USB 2.0 OTG adapter cable from Monoprice* and do some testing myself.

The drives I used were a SanDisk Cruzer Mini and a Sony Microvault for USB 2.0; and an ADATA DashDrive for USB 3.0.

FAT32 and exFAT formatting were done using Storage -> Disk Management in Computer Management on Windows 8.1 Update 1 Professional 64-bit, while ext4 formatting was done using Linux Mint 17’s USB Stick Formatter.

The results are in, and they’re not that great:

Pretty awful OTG support here.
Pretty awful OTG support here.

Basically the S5 refuses to mount anything that isn’t USB 2.0 AND FAT32 or exFAT.** If you have any comments, counterexamples, or ideas please be sure to share.

*I didn’t buy a USB 3.0 OTG cable as I couldn’t find one online that was guaranteed to even fit the S5. I’ve never encountered that issue with USB before, so I have no idea if the fault is with the cable OEM or Samsung.

Also, part of my motivation for getting an OTG cable is to facilitate Sneakernet file transfers while out of the house. Since very few phones support micro USB 3.0, I decided to go the 2.0 route.

** I don’t own a Mac and so couldn’t try HFS Plus, sorry.

Learn how Windows (& OEMs) handles USB devices at Microsoft’s USB blog

I'll take "Universal" things with not so universal implementations for $400, Alex
I’ll take “Universal” things with not-so-universal implementations for $400, Alex

If you’re a hardcore tech user, more than likely you’ve run into a few USB troubles here and there, such as this one afflicting my Mac OS X Mavericks using DJ friend:

I’ve had a few issues myself over the years, ranging from printers suddenly vanishing from the OS to mice that refuse to wake when the PC is resumed from sleep. I once returned a Belkin hub under warranty 3 times in a row because devices connected to it would disappear after the PC had been running for over a day or so.*

Fortunately, Microsoft has an entire blog devoted to USB and its attendant issues. Unfortunately, like most good things at Microsoft, it isn’t promoted at all. The blog is great for troubleshooting, but it’s also highly informative for power users who want to know how Windows handles USB under the hood.

*The root causes of the above issues are Link Power Management & Selective Suspend (and their equivalents on other desktop OSes). Both features allow the OS, the host device, and/or the client device to move to very low power states so as to save energy. Apparently, their implementation can vary at the OS, host, and client levels, resulting in odd behavior.