Samsung Galaxy S, USB mass storage mode, and the Mac

In the last few days, I’ve been experimenting with a Samsung Galaxy S GT-I9000 phone, to assess its compatibility with Salling Media Sync.

It appears to work fine, but I found the phone’s ability to work as a disk drive (USB mass storage mode) to be flaky. Basically, I’d connect the phone, select “Connect USB storage”, and… nothing.

Checking for connected USB devices in System Profiler showed no Samsung device connected, even though it is.

Sometimes, however, it’d work.

I googled this, and popular belief on the internet says you should enable Developer USB mode. For me, this never worked.

Instead, a trick that works most of the time (for me anyways) is this:

  1. Configure the phone so that it’s automatically using USB Mass Storage mode. Do this in the phone’s Settings under Wireless and networks (assuming your phone is running Android 2.2 Froyo).
  2. Disable USB Development mode, if you have enabled it.
  3. When you connect the phone, you’ll get a screen “USB Connected” with a button “Connect USB storage” on your phone. Quickly tap this button. I mean very quickly (within 0.5 seconds of the screen appearing). If this doesn’t work, reconnect and try again.

Obviously, this is not satisfactory, and one can only hope that Samsung fixes this problem for us Mac users. In the meantime, I’m reluctant to add a number of Samsung Galaxy devices to the list of supported phones, as I fear this would lead to a barrage of support inquiries and accusations of malfunction in my application.

What’s your experience with these Samsung devices?

One Response to Samsung Galaxy S, USB mass storage mode, and the Mac

  1. JA says:

    Here’s the procedure for my Galaxy S Captivate. OSX 10.6.6, Android 2.1.
    Works every time.

    1. As a base level set-up, hit the menu button on the phone, then “Settings”, then “Applications” then “USB Settings”. Set it to “Mass Storage”.
    2. Connect the phone to the Mac with the USB cable. The phone should beep and the info banner at the top of the screen should scroll “USB Connected”.
    3. Now swipe the pulldown window down from the top of the screen to pull it down. Tap the entry that says “USB Connected”. A screen pops up with 2 buttons, “Mount” or “Don’t Mount”. Hit the “Mount” button.
    4. Within a few seconds, your device will show up in the finder window on the computer, and you’re ready to rock.
    5. When you’re finished, unmount the phone from the computer first as you would any drive (there’ll be 2 instances if you have an SD card mounted in the phone), then repeat #3, and choose “Unmount”.

    Alternately, in step #1, you can set it to “Ask”, then when you plug the cable in, it’ll ask you how you want to connect the phone, then choose ‘Mass Storage”. I only ever use the USB connection for data transfer, so I leave it set to “Mass Storage”.