How To

How to Connect USB Storage Devices to iPhone & iPad

iPhone is available in a variety of storage capacities ranging from 64GB to 1TB. Most people prefer to opt for 128GB or 256GB variants as they are sufficient for average usage. No matter how much storage you choose, it will eventually get cluttered. Although there are many ways to Free up space on your iPhone but they only work up to a certain limit.

Unfortunately, iPhone does not have expandable storage media and for this reason, you cannot insert an external memory card on it. There is no SD card slot available on iOS devices. In the name of extra storage, the only thing Apple offers you is their iCloud. You get 5 GB of free storage with your Apple ID. After filling up this storage, you can upgrade to iCloud+ by purchasing their premium plans.

Connect USB Storage Devices to iPhone & iPad

In this article, we are going to show you an easy method to connect external USB storage devices (such as USB flash drive, thumb drive, memory card reader, etc.) to your iPhone or iPad. This will be useful in several ways. For example, if your iPhone memory is full, you can immediately transfer media and files to your backup device.

On the other hand, you can also transfer data in the reverse direction i.e. from an external storage device to your iPhone. This can be useful for importing photos and videos from a digital camera or GoPro to your iPhone. Using this method will save you the time and effort of copying and pasting data from your PC or MacBook twice.

Let’s see how your iPhone can be connected to an external USB storage device. We will also discuss how you can access files from your USB flash drive and import them to your iOS device.

What do you need?

Before you start, you need to purchase a Lightning to USB Adapter which will allow your iPhone to connect to the USB storage device. This Lightning to USB adapter is similar to the OTG connector used on Android smartphones. The Lightning connector will connect to your iPhone’s charging port on one end, while on the other end the USB port will allow you to insert a thumb drive or card reader.

Some third-party manufacturers make this Lightning to USB adapter. Below we have listed some of the best products from Amazon –

Kanget USB OTG for iPhone/iPad

It is one of the most popular Lightning to USB adapter for iPhone. It is compatible with all iOS devices (including iPad) running iOS 13 or later. Besides USB drive, it also supports keyboard, mouse, gamepad and other devices. This adapter has no physical cable, so it is very easy to plug in and handle. With USB 3.0, you can get data transmission speed up to 600Mbps.

Cezo MFI Certified Lightning to USB Camera Adapter

This adapter also comes with a charging port, so you can keep your iPhone connected to an external USB drive and charge it at the same time. On one side, it has a Lightning connector that will go inside your iPhone’s charging port. At the other end, two ports are available: one for charging and another for inserting a USB storage device.

Apple Lightning to USB Adapter

Apple also offers its own Lightning to USB camera adapter that supports standard photo and video formats. If this product is available for purchase, you should go there instead of buying a local product from a third-party manufacturer.

To note: If you want to connect an SD card to your iPhone or iPad, you also need to purchase a USB card reader. It will act as a normal USB storage device like a thumb drive when connected to the Lightning to USB Adapter.

How to Connect USB Flash Drives to iPhone/iPad

Once you have purchased the Lightning to USB Adapter, it is very simple to connect your iPhone or iPad with an external USB storage device (USB flash drive or SD card reader). Here is what you need to do –

  • Plug the adapter’s Lightning connector into your iPhone’s charging port.
  • Insert a USB key (or SD reader with memory card) on the other side of the adapter with a USB port. That’s it!
  • To check if it has been successfully connected, open the Files app on your iPhone and go to Browse Tongue. Here you will find USB STORAGE mentioned in the Locations menu.

How to Transfer Files from USB Flash Drive to iPhone

You can access all the files and folders on your USB storage device with your iPhone’s native Files app. There is no need to install any third-party app or file manager. Open the USB STORAGE location on the Files app. You can browse the files and folders on your connected USB flash drive just like on a PC or any other file management application.

All sorts of actions can be performed on these files and folders, including copying, moving, deleting, or renaming. If you want to transfer data to your iPhone, open the folder where your files are stored. Tap on three dots at the top right corner and then click on the Select option. You can now select specific files or tap the Select All option to select all items in the folder at once.

From the menu at the bottom, choose the action you want to take (i.e. move or copy), then select where you want to save these files on your local storage. You can also directly transfer media to your iPhone library. To do this, tap the share icon in the lower right corner and then choose the Save X image(s)/video(s) to share sheet option.

How to Transfer Photos from SD Card or USB Flash Drive to iPhone

There is another way to import photos and videos from an external USB storage device (flash drive or SD card) to your iPhone library using the Photos app. This step by step guide will show you how to do that –

  1. Connect your iPhone to USB flash drive or SD card via Lightning to USB adapter.
  2. Open the Photos app on your iOS device. If the USB storage device was successfully connected, you will see a new option at the bottom named Import.
  3. Go to this new Import tab and you will find all the media in your USB storage there. You can select specific photos and videos you want to import or choose Import all option in the upper right corner.
  4. After the import is complete, you will be prompted to delete the imported media files from the connected USB storage device. If you want to delete them, choose Wipe off option, otherwise select dungeon.
  5. You can search for imported photos and videos in your iPhone library or access the Albums tab and scroll down. There you will find an option called Imports under Utilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What USB storage devices are compatible with iPhones?

You can connect any type of USD storage device including USB flash drive, thumb drive or card reader with SD card. Besides these USB storage devices, some other devices can also work with your iPhone, such as mouse, keyboard or gamepad.

Can you also connect USB storage devices to iPad?

Yes, it is possible in the same way. Fortunately, iPads also have the same Lightning charging port as iPhones, so you can easily plug a Lightning to USB adapter into this port and connect any USB storage device to your iPad.

Can you connect an SD memory card with your iPhone?

The iPhone does not have an SD card slot, but you can still connect an external SD memory card to your iOS device. This was made possible by the Lightning to USB adapter. Along with this, you will need a card reader to insert your SD card.

What is the storage limit of the USB flash drive you can connect to iPhone?

Fortunately. there is no storage limit. This means you can connect any size USB storage device to your iPhone, whether it’s 64GB, 256GB, or more. This applies to both flash drive and SD card.

How does this affect your battery usage?

When an external device is connected to your iPhone and you are performing heavy operations like data transfer, you will probably consume more battery than usual. If your iPhone starts to overheat, eject the Lightning to USB Adapter and wait for your device to return to its normal temperature. To Prevent overheating do not transfer a large number of files at once.

Expand Your iPhone Storage Capacity Beyond Limits

Through this article, we have shown you how to connect your iPhone to an external USB storage device such as a USB flash drive (or card reader with SD memory card). You don’t have to worry about your iPhone storage anymore. Whenever you feel your storage is full, you can transfer data to your backup storage device (e.g. USB flash drive) and it will allow you to create free space on your iPhone instantly.

Apart from that, you can also import photos and videos from your digital camera directly to your iOS device without using PC or MacBook. With the Lightning to USB adapter, it is possible to connect your iPhone/iPad to other USB-enabled devices, such as a keyboard, mouse or gamepad. It will make your office work and games more efficient.