Update: you can change USB options from developer options if you cannot access notifications. Please refer to the added section.
What are USB options in Android Marshmallow? Why it matters?
For all Android phones and tablets, you can connect them to your PC so that you can transfer files between the PC and the Android devices.
You can also charge your Android devices through USB ports on the PC if you have no chargers around. The charging can be very slow if you are using the USB 2.0 port.
Thirdly, for advanced users and developers, USB debugging can be an indispensable tool to run some ADB (Android Debug Bridge) commands on the Android device from the PC.
Some of these functions need special USB options. For example, if you need run ADB commands from the PC, you need enable USB debugging in the developer options.
So, to use the USB related functions properly, you need understand and choose proper USB options.
USB options in Android Marshmallow is significantly changed, compared to the feature in Lollipop or older versions of Android:
- the default USB option is charging only, not MTP+charging.
- MIDI devices are supported.
This is the reason many Android users get some problems with USB connections after updating the device to Android Marshmallow or when getting a new Marshmallow device.
Please note, to use USB features except charging only (and MIDI), a proper USB driver for your Android Marshmallow device must be installed on the PC. You need get the USB driver from manufacture’s website.
How to switch USB options in Android Marshmallow?
When your Android Marshmallow device is connected to the PC with the USB cable, you should get a notification as shown below.
You can tap USB for charging as shown below to get more USB options.
In Android Marshmallow, as shown above, the USB options include:
- Charging only (default, new in Android Marshmallow).
- Transfer files (MTP). The MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) option is for you to transfer files between your Android devices and the PC. All files types are supported.
- Transfer photos (PTP). The PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) option is for you to transfer photos and videos. Once this USB option is selected, only photos and videos in Android devices are listed on the PC.
- MIDI (new in Android Marshmallow). You can connect a supported MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) device to Android device. This is implemented through USB OTG. Some Android manufacturers may disable this feature.
You can tap any of these options to switch to it.
What are the default USB options in Android Marshmallow?
As mentioned, the default USB options in Android Marshmallow is charging only.
This means if you want to transfer files through USB cable between the PC and the Android device, you need change the USB options to MTP or PTP as mentioned above.
Although you can set USB option to MTP through Select USB configuration under developer options, the selection is not persistent.
My phone is not recognized by my PC, what should I change for USB options?
If your phone is not recognized by the PC (but it is being charged), it means you need install the USB driver for the phone/tablet.
For Samsung Android devices with Marshmallow (or Lollipop), you need install Smart Switch on the PC.
For Motorola Android devices, you need install Motorola Device Manager. You may follow this guide on how to install Motorola Device manager and connect your Moto devices (Moto G, Moto X, Moto E …) with the PC.
For LG Android devices, you need install LG PC Suite or LG Bridge.
For Nexus devices, you need install Google USB driver.
For HTC Android devices, you need install HTC Sync Manager.
For Huaiwei Android devices, you need install HiSuite.
Please note Android Marshmallow itself does not require a new/updated USB driver. This means if you already installed the USB driver for your device before, it is not necessary to re-install the USB driver after updating to Android Marshmallow.
My phone is recognized by my PC, but phone storage and SD card are empty in Windows Explorer, what’s wrong with USB options?
You need unlock the phone screen, and set USB options as MTP.
If your phone is not being charged, you may need change the USB cable.
If you use micro SD card as internal storage, you will NOT see the SD card on the PC as explained in this guide.
If you use micro SD card as portable storage, and you can only see files under phone storage on your PC, you probably need format the micro SD card after updating to Android Marshmallow.
Update: After updating my phone to Android Marshmallow, I cannot access notifications. How to enable MTP in USB options to backup my files to PC before I reset the phone?
If Android Marshmallow update stopped prematurely, the phone may have a lot of issues. You should backup the phone as early as possible. Then you can try a factory reset to correct the problems.
However, one possible issue after Android Marshmallow update is that you cannot access notifications (and quick settings as well). This will prevent you from changing USB option to MTP to backup files to the PC when the phone is connected to a PC.
One solution for this issue is to access USB options in developer options.
Start Settings app, tap Developer options. In Developer options page, as shown below, tap Select USB configuration (under Networking group).
You can tap Charging only, then tap MTP as shown below. Your PC should now be able to read the phone storage.
Do you understand USB options in Android Marshmallow? Can you switch USB options in Android Marshmallow to meet your needs?
If you have any questions or problems when using USB options in Android Marshmallow, please let us know in the comment box below.
The community will help you.
For any questions or problems with Android Marshmallow, please check our Android Marshmallow Guide page.
If your question is about Android Lollipop, please check out Android Lollipop Guide page.