Computer cannot recognize or file transfer with USB device: Android

Understanding the Issue

Related errors


  • 'USB not recognized'


Possible causes


  • Device not connected to computer via USB cable
  • Malfunctioning USB cable
  • The default profile set incorrectly
  • USB cable connected to the wrong USB port on computer
  • USB cable onyl allows charging
  • Device software malfunction

Note: Having corrupt memory or having no SD card (in devices that require it) only effects the option to transfer files, not tethering or charging. Only one function is allowed at a time.




Resolution Steps

To resolve this issue, use the following steps:


  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the computer and the device.
  2. Check that an SD card is inserted in the device, if it takes one.
    Note: Some devices require an SD storage card, but others have internal storage instead.
  3. Confirm that you are not using a work computer and that you are signed into the Administrator profile for the computer.
    Note: Some computers will only connect to USB drives if you are the Administrator of the computer.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. Restart the device at the same time.
  6. When both are turned on again, plug the USB cable in to the device and computer again.
    • Use the USB cable that came with the device.
    • On the device, verify the plug is inserter completely. Remove phone cases may block the plug.
    • On the computer, plug the cable into a USB port on the back of the computer.
  7. Verify the device shows charging within 1-2 minutes. If not, see: Cannot turn on or charge device.
  8. Touch the Notification bar, and pull it down to view the connection type. Touch Select to change USB connection type to change it to the desired connection.
    • Do not use a charging-only connection.
    • If you select USB tethering, you can share internet but not transfer files.
    • If you select Disk drive, Mass storage, etc, you can transfer files but not share internet.
  9. Test the computer connection to the device.
  10. If the problem continues, remove the battery while the device is plugged into the computer.
  11. Put the battery back in the device. The device will automatically turn on. If necessary, change the connection type by dragging down the Notification bar.
  12. If the issue recurs, try all of the following:
    • Use a different USB cable.
    • Use a different USB port on the back of the computer.
    • Use a different computer.
  13. Check the device for software updates and the computer for Windows updates. Install any available.
  14. Turn off USB debugging. This is a developer option you may only want to leave turned on if using the Android SDK or other developer tools.
  15. Test the computer connection to the device.
  16. If problems continue after all the above, perform a master reset.
  17. If the issue recurs, further testing is needed at a T-Mobile store. Locate the nearest T-Mobile store and refer to DOC-14782.