You can connect external hard drives, flash drives, SD cards and other storage devices to iPhone and iPad using
We tell you how to connect and select an adapter for accessing drives from iOS or iPadOS devices.
How to connect an external drive to iPad and iPhone
The screenshots show the connection of the external hard drive to the iPad, but all the steps apply to the iPhone.
- Open application Files on iPhone or iPad.
- Connect the USB drive to the device directly or withUsing the appropriate model of your adapter device. The only device with an USB-C port among iOS and iPadOS devices is the iPad Pro since 2018.
- Click Overviewif you are not on the main screen of the Files application.
- In the list of connected devices on the left, click on the name of the drive you need.
In the Files application, you can create new folders, cut, copy, paste, move and rename files and folders, as well as sort files.
The application supports various file systems, including APFS, ExFAT, FAT32, HSF +.
How to choose an adapter to connect external drives to iPad or iPhone
The type of adapter depends on the model of your iPad or iPhone, as well as the device you want to connect to.
1. For iPad and iPhone (with Lightning):
- Apple Lightning USB-3 adapter (works for iPhone, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, older iPad Pro, for connecting to USB-C)
- Apple Lightning adapter to USB camera (compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad Pro until 2018, for connecting to USB-A)
- Apple Lightning card reader on SD cards (for iPhone, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, older iPad Pro, for connecting to SD card readers)
2. For iPad Pro (2018 and newer with USB-C):
- Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (works with the new iPad Pro for connecting to USB)
- Apple USB-C SD card reader (works with the new iPad Pro for connecting to an SD card)
If your iPad or iPhone has a portLightning, you will need adapters with Lightning (list number 1). If your device has a USB-C port, you will need a USB-C-based adapter (list number 2).
If you want to save, you can order the adapter on AliExpress:
- Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (for connecting to USB-A)
- Apple Lightning USB-3 Adapter (for connecting to USB-C)
- Apple Lightning Card Reader on SD Cards (for connecting to SD Card Readers)
To connect external media to iPhone and iPad, devices must work on iOS and iPadOS 13 - in earlier versions in the “Files” application there is no function of accessing data from an external hard drive.
Using the Files application on iPad and iPhone, you can connect not only to external drives, but also to SMB servers.