For as nice a phone as it can be, the Nexus 4 isn’t without its share of problems. It can be incredibly fragile, could use a larger battery, and doesn’t support microSD expansion. That lack of microSD support might be mitigated a bit if you could plug in a flash drive, but the phone also doesn’t support USB on-the-go. Luckily, there’s a work around for that last one, and though it’s not the most graceful solution, can get your Nexus 4 working with USB accessories in a pinch.
The Nexus 4’s USB OTG problem is two-fold: the phone lacks both hardware and software support. Software isn’t the biggest problem; considering how resourceful Android devs are, it was only a matter of time before someone got everything enabled, and sure enough, a functional patch is available.
Hardware is the trickier problem, since the Nexus 4 doesn’t provide the voltage required to power USB devices. The solution lacks some elegance, but by connecting a three-way Y cable to your phone, rather than a simple micro USB to full-sized USB adapter, you can manually introduce the needed power. Sure, a USB power pack is one more thing to carry around, but if you wanted to do USB OTG you’d need to lug around an adapter and whatever USB device you were going to use, anyway.
This hack isn’t perfect – we’ve heard of issues getting gamepads to work properly – but it seems to get the job done for mice, keyboards, and flash drives, no problem.