Connecting your Android phone to a PC running Windows 10 or Windows 11 is usually a walk in the park. Use the official data cable and, after the driver is installed, you’re good to go. You can use transfer-data modes, USB tethering, or just charging your phone (albeit, super slowly). Most of us don’t pay attention to the top section where you can choose if the USB is controlled by a Connected device (PC) or This device (phone). Unless you need to use the ADB toolkit.
The “This device” option is set by default. Usually, you can switch to a Connected device only if your PC has USB debugging access. Except, some users run into a problem when the Connected device (PC) took the host role and they weren’t able to revert back. They couldn’t transfer data or do anything else except charge their phones. If that’s the case with you, too, check the instructions we provided below.
Table of contents:
- Change the cable and switch the port
- Try in Safe mode
- Uninstall the Android driver on your PC and try again
- Factory reset your Android
How do I change the USB Controlled by the Connected device to This device?
If you made a switch to a Connected device over This device and got stuck, you should probably try alternative data cables and switch USB ports on your PC. If that does nothing, you should give it a try in Safe mode. It seems that your phone or PC remembers the choice you made so make sure to uninstall the driver and get the official one from the OEM’s Windows client. Finally, you just might need to reset your device to factory settings and start from scratch.
1. Change the cable and switch the port
I’ll be honest with you — after reading for a couple of hours about this problem, I barely got any clues about the cause. My phone doesn’t allow switching to a Connected device option at all. Some users say that the OTG adapter was causing problems. They claim that switching to a standard Type C to Type A USB cable (with data transfer capabilities) fixed the problem. However, this doesn’t apply to all because some users had issues switching back to This device from the Connected device even on the bundled cable that came with the phone.
Some suggest switching ports on your PC and a few users confirmed using a USB 3.0 port instead of USB 2.0 solved the problem. Furthermore, you can try navigating to Developer options and disabling everything related to USB debugging. If you have this enabled, it means that you know your way around Developer options so get back to Settings > Developer options and disable all options that have anything to do with ADB/USB debugging.
2. Try in Safe mode
Others suggested entering Safe mode and switching to USB Controlled by This device from the USB Controlled by Connected device option. As you might know, Safe mode loads only essential services and there’s no interference from non-essential services that might be causing the problem.
Here’s how to enter Safe mode on your Android device:
- Press and hold the Power button until the Power menu appears.
- Tap and hold on to the Power off icon until the pop-up appears. It should inform you about the safe mode and offer options to enter the Safe Mode or cancel the request.
- Tap OK to boot into the Safe mode.
- Once the system boots, connect your Android with your PC, select USB options from the Notification shade, and try switching to Controlled by This device.
3. Uninstall the Android driver on your PC and try again
Most users are almost certain that this is an Android problem, a bug of sorts. Although there’s a high possibility that this is indeed the case, inspect your PC, as well. Whenever you have some issues connecting your phone to your PC, first check the driver.
Usually, when you connect it for the first time, Windows installs a generic USB driver that should be good enough to recognize Android as a portable device with storage. However, as with all devices (internal and external), generic drivers often fail.
So, to avoid that, we suggest opening Device Manager on your PC while your Android is connected via USB. You can find it if you right-click on Start. Once there, look under Portable devices. Now, you can uninstall the driver, then plug out and then plug in your Android again so Windows can install the driver anew.
However, we suggest uninstalling the driver and looking elsewhere. Most big OEMs have some companion Windows clients that are used to back up data from phones, interact with storage, transfer Gallery media files, and whatnot.
Therefore, you should look for the likes of Smart Switch for Samsung devices or Xiaomi’s Mi PC Suite as those clients come with drivers, too. Give it a try and see if something changes. If not, we’re afraid the last remaining option is the unpleasant factory reset.
4. Factory reset your Android
If nothing worked, your best bet to get yourself out of this hindrance is another, albeit minor, hindrance. True, you can back up most things but, still, expect a few hours of work to get your device to its previous state after a factory reset. Now, we and many others who know a bit about Android advocate for factory reset after each major Android update. It’s time-consuming for sure, but it’s almost necessary if you want to avoid issues with transitional bugs that will most definitely occur at one point.
Here’s how to perform a factory reset on Android:
- Back up your data from the internal storage (photos can be saved to Google Photos, and other media can be saved to an external storage or a PC).
- Navigate to Settings > System > Reset or Settings > General management > Reset.
- Select Factory data reset (Erase All Data).
- Follow instructions to reset your device to factory values.
With that said, we can call it a wrap. Were the solutions we provided helpful or do you still have the same issue? Tell us in the comments section below. Thank you for reading and we look forward to hearing from you.
If you have a problem that's completely reversed to the one we covered above, you should enable ADB debugging in Developer options, reinstall drivers (get the official ones), or reset your phone to factory settings.
If you don't see any options under the "Use USB for" section, check drivers on Windows (ditch the generic one that installs on its own and get the official driver), switch ports, and definitely stick to legitimate data cables. Not all USB-C to USB-A cables are made to transfer data, some are made just for charging.