How to connect a USB flash drive to iPhone and iPad

If you needed to connect a USB flash drive to an iPhone or iPad in order to copy photos, videos or some other data onto it or from it, it is possible to do this, although not as simple as for other devices: connect it via the “adapter “Will not work, iOS just will not see it.

This manual details how to connect a USB flash drive to an iPhone (iPad) and what restrictions exist when working with such drives in iOS

Flash drives for iPhone (iPad)

Unfortunately, connecting a regular USB flash drive to the iPhone through any Lightning-USB adapter does not work, the device simply will not see it. But they don’t want to switch to USB-C at Apple (perhaps then the task would be easier and less expensive).

However, manufacturers of flash drives offer flash drives that have the ability to connect to the iPhone and computer, among which are the most popular of those that can officially be bought in our country.

  • SanDisk iXpand
  • KINGSTON DataTraveler Bolt Duo
  • Leef iBridge

Separately, you can select a card reader for Apple devices – Leef iAccess, which allows you to connect any MicroSD memory card via Lightning interface.

The price of such flash drives for the iPhone is higher than the standard ones, but at the moment there are no alternatives (unless you can buy the same flash drives at a lower price in well-known Chinese stores, but I have not tested how they work).

Connect a USB drive to iPhone

The USB flash drives shown above as an example are equipped with two connectors at once: one regular USB for connecting to a computer, the other – Lightning, which connects to your iPhone or iPad.

However, simply by connecting the drive, you will not see anything on your device: the drive of each manufacturer requires the installation of its own application to work with a USB flash drive. All these applications are available for free in the AppStore:

  • iXpand Drive and iXpand Sync – for SanDisk flash drives (there are two different types of flash drives from this manufacturer, each requires its own program)
  • Kingston bolt
  • iBridge and MobileMemory – for Leef flash drives


Applications are very similar in their functions and provide the ability to view and copy photos, videos, music and other files.

For example, installing the iXpand Drive application, giving it the necessary permissions and plugging in the SanDisk iXpand flash drive, you can:

  1. View the amount of space used on the flash drive and in the memory of iPhone / iPad
  2. Copy files from the phone to the USB flash drive or in the opposite direction, create the necessary folders on the USB flash drive.
  3. Take a photo directly to a USB flash drive, bypassing the iPhone storage.
  4. Back up contacts, calendar, and other data to USB, and, if necessary, restore from a backup.
  5. Watch videos, photos and other files from a flash drive (not all formats are supported, but the most common ones, like regular mp4 in H.264, work).

Also, in the standard “Files” application, it is possible to enable access to files on the drive (although in fact this item in the “Files” will only open the drive in the iXpand proprietary application), and in the “Share” menu – the ability to copy an open file to a USB flash drive.

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