iPhone External USB Storage: The 5 Best Flash Drives for iPhone
By Dan Price
Searching for the best flash drive for iPhones? Here's what you should know about iPhone flash drives and the best options.
Wouldn't it be great if you could use a flash drive with your iPhone? You'd be able to access all your documents on-demand without worrying about internet connectivity and excessive data charges.
It is possible to use USB storage on an iPhone, despite some restrictions imposed by Apple's iOS operating system. Keep reading if you want to learn about the best flash drive for iPhones.
iPhone USB Stick vs. Regular USB Stick
In theory, it's possible to connect a regular USB drive to your iPhone using Apple's in-house Lightning to USB Adapter. It works with an array of USB peripherals, such as microphones and digital cameras.
But if you try to connect a regular USB drive to the port, there's a high chance you'll see a "This device is unsupported" message. This means that either the drive has not been certified as "Made for iPhone" (MFi) and there are compatibility issues, or the drive is trying to draw more power than the Lightning port can provide.
A flash drive made for an iPhone will have a regular USB connector on one end of the stick and a Lightning connector on the other.
Before You Buy a Thumb Drive for iPhone
Wait one moment, however. Before you decide which iPhone thumb drive you want, there are a few points you need to consider:
- Charging: Because all the iPhone flash drives use the Lightning port, you cannot charge your device while a thumb drive is in use. That means especially large file transfers, like backing up your entire Camera Roll, might not complete before your battery depletes.
- Third-Party Apps: iOS flash drives rely on proprietary third-party apps to interface between the phone and the USB device. If the developer stops updating the app, you might experience compatibility issues with your drive and future versions of iOS.
- There are also issues around usability. As you might expect, the quality of third-party apps varies considerably. Some don't even let you export files to other apps on your iPhone, thus limiting the drive's usefulness.
- DRM Content: If you've bought content on iTunes, then transfer it onto a flash drive, it will not work.
The Best Flash Drives for iPhone
With the above considerations in mind, take a look at these iOS flash drives for the best experience.
1. SanDisk iXpand
The SanDisk iXpand is unquestionably the best thumb drive for the iPhone X and iPhone 8.
The device is available in four different capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. It can transfer data to your phone at 13MBps and supports USB 3.0 when connected to a computer.
The iXpand also has the most feature-rich app; it's capable of backing up all your photos every time you connect the flash drive. It even has an in-app camera that can save your photos and videos directly onto the drive, rather than into your iPhone's Camera Roll.
SanDisk has also come up with one of the most intelligent designs you'll find. The Lightning connector end of the stick is in a flexible, rubberized sheath that can bend to fit through most iPhone cases.
(Note: The SanDisk iXpand is also compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro.)
2. Leef iBridge
Not all USB flash drives for iPhones use the dongle approach; some have a curved design and thus sit out of sight at the rear of your phone. This is a preferable solution if you find yourself needing to use your flash drive for prolonged periods. Using this form, the drive is less likely to get dislodged during usage.
If you'd prefer an iPhone USB drive that sits behind the phone, check out the Leef iBridge. It is available in a 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB version. The passcode protection is particularly impressive; it links the drive with your phone's credentials, meaning no one else can see the drive's contents, even if it's lost or stolen.
3. OLALA ID200
You'd be forgiven for thinking the highly flexible OLALA ID200 flash drive looks more like a charging cable than iPhone external storage.
That's for good reason---in addition to providing either 32GB or 64GB of storage, the device also doubles as a power cable. You can plug one end into your Mac and the other into your Lightning port to give yourself a power boost while on-the-go.
The regular USB connector supports USB 3.0 connections. That means you get 10MBps of writing speed and 30MBps of reading speed when it's connected to your computer.
4. JOHAKU Card Reader
One of the frustrating aspects of using external storage is all the different types of connectors you have to deal with. USB-A, micro-USB, USB-C, Lightning, and SD card connections are all commonplace. (We've explained the different types of USB cables if you need some help with this.)
For iPhone users, the JOHAKU Card Reader is the solution. Shaped like a cross, it has four connectors, so you'll always be able to access your various flash drives. Impressively, the USB port doubles as a microSD card slot. You can use it to pull files off digital cameras and video recorders.
You can even use this card reader to connect an Android device to your iOS device and transmit data between them. The JOHAKU Card Reader is compatible with the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini, and more.
5. EATOP iPhone Flash Drive
The EATOP iPhone Flash Drive is another one of the best flash drives for iPhones.
Like the JOHAKU model, the EATOP device has come up with an ingenious design solution to give you as many connectivity options as possible. You can flick up the USB connector to reveal both a slot for a microSD card and a micro-USB connector.
The USB connector is USB 3.0 compatible. It has read speeds of 85MBps and write speeds of 35 MBps. However, only one version is available, with a 32GB capacity.
Do You Even Need an iOS Flash Drive?
The concept of using a flash drive with iOS is an interesting idea, and one that certain people will find incredibly useful. Remember, however, for quick file transfers, AirDrop between iOS devices and macOS is usually sufficient.
If you would like to learn more, make sure you read about the best USB 3.0 flash drives and how to manage the storage on your iPhone.
We hope you like the items we recommend and discuss! MUO has affiliate and sponsored partnerships, so we receive a share of the revenue from some of your purchases. This won’t affect the price you pay and helps us offer the best product recommendations.
Want immediate access to a distant computer over the internet? Check out these five remote desktop apps for your Linux system.
Read NextAbout The Author
Dan joined MakeUseOf in 2014 and has been Partnerships Director since July 2020. Reach out to him for inquires about sponsored content, affiliate agreements, promotions, and any other forms of partnership. You can also find him roaming the show floor at CES in Las Vegas every year, say hi if you're going. Prior to his writing career, he was a Financial Consultant.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Join our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free ebooks, and exclusive deals!
Click here to subscribe
Western Digital has made dual Lightning and USB flash drives with its SanDisk iXpand lineup for several years and now it’s launching its first one with Lightning + USB-C. The new SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe features a metal enclosure, storage up to 256GB, and the convenience of working across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more. Read on for a hands-on look at this new flexible flash drive.
The iXpand Flash Drive Luxe is a great way to transfer files between iPhone, iPad, and Mac (Android and Windows too) without needing to use any adapters.
But you can also use the iXpand iOS/iPadOS app to automatically back up photos/videos and contacts when you plug in or choose to shoot photos and videos with iPhone and iPad directly to the external storage when internal storage is running low.
We were able to check out the iXpand Flash Drive Luxe ahead of launch and it has a really solid metal construction with a nice swivel design to easily switch between Lightning and USB-C along with a cap for the exposed side (fits on either end) and a keyring hole.
When plugging it into iPhone or iPads with the Lightning side, you get a prompt to download the free SanDisk iXpand app.
It’s really straightforward to get set up and as part of the process, you can choose whether or not you want to use the auto-backup feature for your photos and videos whenever you plug it in.
The app’s main screen offers a quick look at your internal and external iXpand storage, options to back up contacts, view/copy files, and, more.
In the top left corner, you can use the built-in camera to shoot and save photos/videos directly to the flash drive. At the top you’ll also see a status for your current backup.
You can also manually choose to back up your iPhone/iPad with the iXpand app. And another handy feature is the ability to password protect/use Face ID to lock files from the iXpand app. You just head to settings in the app > Security > Enable Security > then set a password and turn on Face ID.
After the iXpand app security feature is enabled you can lock folders and files by tapping View Files > Select > pick a folder/file(s) > choose Secure in the bottom left corner.
For iPad Pro and the latest iPad Air with USB-C and external storage compatibility in iPadOS 14, the Luxe shows up right in the Files app. And it’s plug and play ready for Mac.
The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe uses USB 3.1 which offers speeds up to 5Gbps. It comes in 64, 128, and 256GB storage sizes and goes for $44.99, $59.99, and $89.99, respectively.
You can pick up the new SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe now direct from Western Digital as well as from Amazon and other retailers.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channelSours: https://9to5mac.com/2021/03/17/sandisk-dual-lightning-usb-c-flash-drive/
Of all the email I’ve received about iOS 13 from readers of Take Control of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, questions about using external USB drives with the Files app have been the most frequent. Here are answers to common questions I’ve received, and to other questions I expect many users to have.
Can I use external USB drives with an iPhone, or does the feature work only on the iPad?
Although Apple has marketed this feature primarily in relation to the iPad—specifically the iPad Pro—it works just the same in iOS 13 on an iPhone as it does in iPadOS.
What types of storage devices can iOS 13 read?
iOS 13 can read any standard USB storage device as long as it has been formatted with a compatible file system and has sufficient power provided (see the next two points). In short, most storage devices should work.
Niles Mitchell made a series of YouTube videos in which he connects obscure storage devices—including an Iomega Zip disk!—to an iPhone running iOS 13.
How do I connect a USB storage device to my iPhone or iPad?
It depends. Most iOS 13-compatible devices have a Lightning port, while 2018 iPad Pro models have a USB-C port:
- Lightning options: If your device has a Lightning port, you’ll need a Lightning-to-USB adapter. I strongly recommend Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter because it supports USB 3 and offers a Lightning passthrough port for power, which will be necessary for some devices (see “Buy the Best Lightning to USB Adapter for iOS 13,” 12 August 2019). If you have the older USB 2 adapter without power passthrough, you can use a powered USB hub to power your storage devices. You can also buy Lightning-based thumb drives that eliminate the need for the adapter and passthrough power.
- USB-C options: Your best bet for USB-C-equipped iPads is either a USB-C–based thumb drive or one of the multitude of USB-C hubs that offer a USB-A port.
What file systems does iOS support?
As far as I can find, Apple doesn’t document what file systems iOS 13 can use: not in the support documents, nor in the most recent iPhone and iPad user guides. So I took matters into my own hands, repeatedly erasing and reformatting a thumb drive and plugging it into my iPhone to see if it would work. Long story short: iOS can read all non-encrypted file systems supported by the Mac’s Disk Utility.
How should you format a storage drive for use with iOS? Here are my recommendations:
- MS-DOS (FAT): FAT is the most compatible file system if you need to share your storage drive between iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux. However, it comes with some irritating limitations: files must be smaller than 4 GB, filenames must be eight characters or less, and all filenames must be in capital letters with no spaces.
- exFAT: exFAT is a newer form of FAT and has fewer limitations. It’s a good choice for portability between iOS, macOS, and Windows. Linux can also use exFAT, though you’ll have to install some system extensions. (Microsoft has promised exFAT support in the Linux kernel but has provided no firm commitment to when that will happen.)
- Mac OS Extended (Journaled): The classic Mac file system, also known as HFS+, works fine if you plan to share a drive only between iOS and macOS.
- APFS: There isn’t much point to formatting a drive as APFS unless you’re planning to boot from it or want to play with containers and volumes.
How do I access my USB storage from Files?
On the iPad in landscape orientation, the drive appears in the sidebar automatically.
On an iPhone or an iPad in portrait orientation, tap the Browse icon on the bottom of the screen to jump to the Browse screen, which lists all of your locations.
How do I copy files to and from USB storage?
The easiest method is to tap and hold a file until the contextual menu appears and choose Copy. Then navigate to the destination, tap and hold a blank spot in the directory, and choose Paste from the contextual menu. To move a file, choose Move instead of Copy and choose a destination from the browser.
On the iPad, you can use drag-and-drop to copy the file where it needs to go. The easiest way is to split the Files window, pull up the location in the split, and then drag the file from the original window (see “Here’s What Sets iPadOS Apart from iOS,” 25 September 2019). You might find this handier than the above method if you have a lot of files to copy.
Can I play media from USB external storage?
Yes, you can, which is an effective way to store movies without taking up valuable on-device space. I tested media playback with the open-source VLC, but other apps might work too. Tap and hold a media file until the contextual menu appears, tap Share, and then tap VLC or your desired app. VLC appears in the second row of the activity view—you may have to swipe left and tap More to reveal it.
If you plan to do this regularly, you can pin VLC to the Files activity view. On the rightmost screen pictured above, you can tap Edit in the upper-right corner and then tap the plus button to the left of Open in VLC.
When you tap the VLC icon in the Files activity view, be patient since it may take a few seconds before the video or other media file starts playing. I found that sometimes it didn’t play on the first try, requiring a second pass at opening the file in VLC.
Do I have to eject a drive before removing it, like on the Mac?
No, and in fact, that’s not even an option. Just use common sense and don’t pull a drive when it’s reading data or having data written to it.
Can I ask another question?
Absolutely. Post it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
The world is full of USB drives, from portable thumbdrives to full external SSDs. Happily, you’re not closed off from these just because you use an iPhone or iPad. All you need is the right adapter.
And you’ll have full read/write access to everything on the drive. You won’t even need to install any software, as the app you need comes preinstalled on your device.
This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.
Some of you might be confused because iPhones and USB drives couldn’t really work together for far too many years. You could get around the limitation, but it took effort and money. That all changed with iOS 13/iPadOS 13.
iPhone and iPad users need a Lightning-to-USB adapter
The drives you want to connect with have a USB-A connector. Your iPhone or basic iPad has a Lightning port, so you’ll need an adapter. Fortunately, Apple makes just the one you need.
Plug the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter ($39) into your device, then plug the USB drive into the USB-A port. It’s not rocket science.
Many drives take more power than your iPhone or iPad alone can provide, but Apple’s adapter also includes a Lighting port. Plug a charging cable into it, and it’ll provide all the power the drive needs. As a bonus, it’ll also charge your handset or tablet.
I’ve tested Apple’s Lightning/USB adapter with plenty of drives. I tested a bunch is thumbdrives from different companies and a range of capacities. And I tried the adapter with a Samsung T7 solid state drive. It worked perfectly with all of them.
iPad Pro users a need a USB-C-to-USB adapter
iPad Pro uses have it even easier. This computer has a USB-C port, and you can get a drive that uses that same format. That extends from thumbdrives all the way to external SSDs.
But that doesn’t help with all the legacy drives out there with larger USB-A ports. You’ll need an adapter. Fortunately, there are a plethora. The iPad Pro can use almost any USB-C accessory designed for laptops, and that includes multi-port hubs with USB-A ports.
Take a simple example, the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter ($69). Plug this into your iPad and then plug the drive and you can read the contents of the drive.
But there are so many other options. One of my favorites is Sanho’s HyperDrive iPad Pro ($89.99), but you might also like the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter V2 ($69.99), which can be used with your iPad Pro and your MacBook.
I’ve tested my iPad Pro plenty of these hubs with loads of USB drives. I’ve never had a problem.
The Apple Files app is all you need
Whether you have an iPhone, iPad or iPad Pro, the only software you’ll need to access the contents of USB drives is Apple’s Files application. Plug in the drive (with the appropriate adapter) and it’ll appear in the this app, which comes pre-installed on every iOS and iPadOS device.
If you’ve accessed a drive on your Mac then you should be familiar with this process. To see the contents of the drive, go to the Browse screen in the Files application. In a list of available drives, like your local iPhone or iPad, you’ll see the name of the USB drive you’re trying to access. Tap on it and you’ll open a window with all the files and folders.
From there, you can do whatever you want. Open files. Move them around. Put them on your iPhone or iPad. Copy files from your device to the drive. Whatever.
How accessing a USB drive with iPhone or iPad is useful
Even in the world with iCloud, there are still plenty of reasons to use USB drives. If you want to carry around a couple of terabytes of pictures, work files, movies, etc., and be sure you always have access to them, get an external dive and connect it to your iPad, iPhone or both.
With your files stored locally, you don’t have to worry about the vagaries of internet access. Even on a plane, you can always pop in the drive and access your files. Plus, a thumbdrive can hold proprietary files that you don’t want to risk sharing with anyone else.
And consider removable memory cards. Apple won’t build SD or microSD card slots into its devices, but card readers all use the USB format. If you have a drone, it probably has an SD card full of images. You can easily move these pictures over to your iPhone or iPad.
Memory iphone usb
We get it, the cloud isn’t for everybody. It can be a little unnerving thinking about all of your photos and videos floating around in internet space. Some people like to have a physical storage device they can see, touch and feel, and the peace of mind of knowing that they are the only ones (physically) that can get to it. That’s the beauty of an iPhone USB drive.
There’s a good chance that if your phone is over a year old, you probably have thousands of pictures and videos on there. Before you know it, your phone is completely maxed out on storage. An iPhone flash drive is one of the most convenient ways for non-cloud believers to transfer photos from their iPhone to another device. One end goes in your phone to quickly dump your photos and videos, and the other end — usually a USB 3.0, USB-C or both — connects to your computer. See, pretty simple, and 100% tangible.
Today's Top Deals%title%List Price:%original_price%Price:%price%You Save:%discount_amount% (%discount_percent%)Shop NowCoupon Code:%coupon_code%SPY may receive a commission.
These little iPhone USB drives can be especially useful if you have an iPhone, but your computer or laptop is a PC, since you don’t the ability to Airdrop your photos or video from device to device. Plus, these flash USB drives are relatively inexpensive and travel well.
No matter how advanced and protected the cloud is, the best way to keep your stored files safe is on a physical drive. It’s that simple.
Here are our recommendations for the best iPhone USB drives:
1. SanDisk 32GB iXpand USB Drive for iPhone
The SanDisk iXpand is available in a wide variety of storage options including 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Its flexible connector makes it protrude a little less when connected to your phone as you can fold the USB end around the back, which is kind of nice. It’s compatible with iPhone 5, 6, iPhone SE as well as iPad Mini 4, Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 9.7.
2. iDiskk Apple USB Drive 128GB
This versatile iPhone USB drive has four different pin connectors to easily transfer what is on your iPhone to newer and older computers. The pins include two USB type-C connectors, USB 3.0 and a lightning connector for your iPhone. There’s a wide variety of storage options ranging from 32GB all the way up to 512GB. And there’s a wide variety of file formats it is compatible with making it an overall well-rounded iPhone USB drive choice.
3. HooToo iPhone USB Drive
Available in both 128GB and 256GB capacity, this iPhone USB drive is MFI certified to work with your iPhone. But this flash drive goes beyond drag and dump storage. You can password protect the contents of the flash drive with iTouch encryption and your pin code. The other end is a USB 3.0, so if you’re looking to transfer photos and videos to a new MacBook, you’re going to need a USB-C dock.
4. Eatop USB 3.0 128GB USB Drive
With a lighting connector for your phone, as well as a USB 3.0 and USB-C connector, you can transfer photos and pictures from your iPhone to both new and older computers. It writes relatively quickly too with 30MB of writing speed at up to 80MB of read speed (when connected to a computer). And it includes encryption software to password protect anything you store.
Eatop USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive
5. iDiskk 512GB Photo Stick for iPhone
In that rare occasion when you max our the storage on your new iPhone, a large capacity iPhone USB drive such as the iDiskk 512GB can be a game changer. It encrypts your files, so the contents on your flash drive will remain safe and secure, and it has enough storage to completely wipe your phone of all its photos and videos. Big things come in small packages.
6. Babggu iPhone Flash Drive 128GB
Although it’s only a flash drive, this one actually sports a little style in its design. A slider moves the pin you want in and out of the body making it a rather compact drive. And it comes with a USB-C extension for newer computers. If you have a rose gold iPhone or Mac, you’ll appreciate the matching finish on the iPhone USB drive.
Babggu iPhone Flash Drive 128GB
7. Sunany Flash Drive 128GB
MULTIPLE DEVICE COMPATIBILITY
We know this is a roundup for iPhone flash drives, but even if you decide to make the switch down the road from iPhone to Android, this flash drive has you covered. It has multiple pins including one for your iPhone, Android, USB for your PC and even a USB-C pin. And the pins slide into the body of the flash drive making it extra compact when not in use. It comes in both 128GB and 256GB storage capacity to fit your storage needs.
8. Apple MFI Certified 128GB Photo Stick for iPhone
BEST FOR KEYCHAINS
This MFI certified iPhone USB drive has read speeds up to 80MBPS, and supports all Apple devices that have a lightning port. It has a protective casing that shields whatever end is not in use. The shield has a little ring at the top which lends itself to quickly snap onto your key ring so you have this trusty iPhone USB drive whenever you need it.
Then, to enjoy what was happening a little, I inserted two fingers of my left hand into her vagina, and with the thumb of my. Right hand began to caress the clitoris, after 5 seconds my wife was pierced with convulsions. A second later, once again, realizing that the orgasm of my bitch was close, I pressed my lips to the clitoris and began to suck greedily, from which Lilya began.
To moan, wriggle and sit with her mouth so that she beat her nose on my balls, after 10 seconds such an oral fuck, she just collapsed on my face and squeezed me, forcing me to inhale and literally drink her juices, she finished, but Im not a robot either, I pressed her right hand on the back of her head and began to cum right down to her throat without giving me the opportunity to pass a drop by.
You will also like:
- Easy guitar painting
- Aep ohio outages
- R tropical weather
- Upcoming funeral services
- Borderlands custom maps
- Naruto opening 5
Slit. She sniffled loudly and breathed quickly. Having exposed my dick, I easily introduced it to the very balls of her big pussy.