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Enable "Media device (MTP)" USB mode on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and 5.0 (Lollipop)

Android "Media Device (MTP)" mode notificationSince I only wanted to charge my new Nexus 5 at work rather than having my phone content exposed to company hardware, I disabled "Media device (MTP)" USB mode there. This is actually easy since there is a shortcut in the notifications which let's you do just that.

The tricky part is to turn that back on when you are back home and want to connect your KitKat phone to your private computer. The system won't find the phone unless "USB computer connection" on your Android is either set to "Media device (MTP)" or "Camera (PTP)". The notifiction which used to be there in MTP mode is gone so there is no shortcut to get back to that setting.

Android "Storage" overview screenAfter looking for that setting for ages, going through every possible menu and exploring the deeps of Android 4.4, I was about to give up when I finally found the menu I was looking for, well hidden as a tiny "more options" button within the "Storage" overview screen.

Android "USB computer connection" settingsTouching that will finally bring you to the "USB computer connection" settings where you can choose either one of the available options to make your phone visible to your computer again.

I guess providing a "Select USB connection mode" notification with a shortcut to that screen would have been too easy.

Update 25.11.2014:

This issue is still present in Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and the solution is still the same. I will never understand why they reworked the user experience but didn't fix this annoying usability problem.

Update 15.10.2015:

Almost two years later, this issue has finally been fixed in Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) by introducing the previously missing notification which now allows the user to choose between "Charging only", "Transfer files (MTP)", "Transfer photos (PTP)" and "MIDI".

Samsung / Sony / <insert brand here> phone owners:
Please read the comments if you are having trouble finding the settings on your device. Some manufacturers go their own way in user interface design so everything looks and works a bit different. I cannot cover all those devices in this blog.
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Comments

Just a random user's picture

Thanks for posting this. That was hard to find!

Paco's picture

Thanks!

tabai's picture

I had a problem connecting nexus 5 ART with eclipse solved with this trick.

Thanks

al's picture

they really failed at intuitive and user-friendly for this (and other settings). thanks so much for your posting.

vishal's picture

You saved my life

Karthikeyan V's picture

Thanks a lot. i have been trying to find this setting in all way. But finally found after your post.
Thanks a lot.

Mohamed's picture

thanks aloooooooooooooooooot

you are greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet

Mattinu's picture

Thank you very much, after half of a day searching for that Option. Could there be a more silly Place to hide these Options??

Thanks again

Mattinu

jimmy's picture

thanks for the info
helped a lot

Imam's picture

Oh my god, thank you for sharing.
you save my life, man! :D

TheTechnoToast's picture

I spent ages looking for this setting... turns out both the MTP and PTP were switched off ^_^ Thanks so much!

Chi-Yu's picture

Me too. That's why I wrote it down so people can find it.

Actually, the majority of new blog visitors are coming here to find this answer. Maybe I should place AdSense ads on here so I get paid by Google for documenting THEIR software. =P

Just a random user's picture

thanks!

pous's picture

I never would have found the setting without your help!

Dreyer's picture

To change the usb connection on Z1
Xperia Connectivity - USB Connectivity - USB Connection mode

Just a random user's picture

omg thanks sssssooooo much

torogix's picture

finally after a week of searching, you save my day!!!

Dinesh's picture

2 hours of struggle end here.. thanks for taking time to write post this..

Just a random user's picture

thnks a lot bro

sany's picture

Thanks for sharing, very helpful. My setting got changed to PTP when I used Helium backup and could only see my device as camera and was wondering how I will change back to MTP. Good one!

William's picture

You're the man!

Just a random user's picture

Lost control but now I'm back in power. Thanks!

Richa 's picture

Thank you so much!

Amir's picture

Tricky! Thanks for the tip!

Jeremy Reese's picture

Thank you very much! I've been also struggling trying to find the USB options :P

dhiraj's picture

thanks bro.. cheers

Nihas's picture

You are awsome man....

OZ's picture

thanks alot buddy it really save my day.

Just a random user's picture

Thanks a lot! This placement is so ridiculous. And I feel like it must be a bug that USB Tethering is grayed out when MTP is unchecked.

Chi-Yu's picture

While it might appear a little stupid, I think that there is actually no data connection which could be used for USB tethering unless you check one of the two USB connection modes.

I guess it's safe to say that most USB settings were not designed with usability in mind. From a developer's point of view, making the setting grayed out was probably easier than making it choose a default USB connection mode for the user if Android even allows that.

From my personal experience as an application developer, I can say that it's not easy to create a software design which focuses on usability. Especially when going for a modular software design, developers often seem to forget that users might expect module A to automatically configure module B which it relies on. They expect the user to configure all required settings in the correct order rather than having the software figure this out automatically.

It is sort of a design decision. Do I want to have full control over every setting of my phone or do I want to trade in some of that control for convenience? Maybe the best way to solve this issue would be to just ask the user whether he wants to enable MTP mode since USB tethering requires it.

At least, developers can learn from Android and design their own software to be more user-friendly. =P

Just a random user's picture

Thanks bro, im using razr xt910 with kitkat custom rom from "mokee"
you save my live

Dr. Umair's picture

Thaank you so much bro. i was v much worried abt dat

Anonymous's picture

I was about to format. See with such a small help you saved countless hours of other people.

Jonas's picture

*thumbs up* Thx, man

Luke Duke's picture

THANK YOU, you great genius!!!

Tran Khanh Tung's picture

You save my life!
Thanks alot.

Just a random user's picture

THANKS MAN!!!!!!!!!!

TBolt's picture

Ah, this was driving me nuts this evening. Thank you for the solution I needed.

Cindyleen's picture

THANKYOU!! You saved my life

Just a random user's picture

:) thanks!

Arcp's picture

Many things, few I bought my Nexus 5 to replace my HTC One S (with latest CM11) because the broken usb. Got the same problem on Nexus 5 in 1 day.. Found out, your tip is the solution for both phones, damnnn

Giuliana's picture

Thank you so much, I was trying to connect my device to my computer, and I was fed up of looking for a solution!!! Thank you so much man!

Shakfan's picture

This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks a mil!

Just a random user's picture

thanks.

shardul singh rana...'s picture

Thanks a ton...
Your small observation saved my day...

krunal's picture

thanks man... just bought this one and disabled in office... trying to get it back... was thinking to return the phone

Andrew Jackson's picture

Very helpful, thank you. Other may also be interested to know that this setting determines whether tethering is offered, either via USB or Bluetooth. Picture (PTP) needs to be ticked for tethering to be available.

Chi-Yu's picture

I think PTP and MTP should both work for USB tethering.

I don't see any reason for Bluetooth requiring an USB connection though. Are you sure about this?

Just a random user's picture

THANK YOU!

Paul MG's picture

Thank you so much! :)

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