The Files app has been extensively updated in iOS 13. It used to be limited to local and cloud-based files, but now you can access data from external storage devices, including SD cards and USB drives. However, before you try to connect your favorite card or drive to your iPhone, you need to know a few things first.
Although the file app now works with external USB drives and SD card readers, support is limited due to two factors: iOS and the Lightning connector. The former affects which file system a drive can use, as iOS only reads from ExFAT, FAT32, HSF + and APFS drives. The latter limits some drives based on the power they consume. Due to these factors, not all external storage options can be used.
However, we have a comprehensive overview for you. After some research and testing, we found some of the best external storage options for the Files app on your iPhone with iOS 1
. 1 Lightning Flash Drives
Most iPhone plug-and-play storage options are Lightning-based flash drives, also known as thumb drives. A Lightning-based flash drive does not require a USB to Lightning adapter, so it works just fine. Just plug it into the Lightning port, open files, select the drive, and access all the files on it. The best options are MFI (Made for iPhone) flash drives that should meet all file system and power requirements.
HooToo 128 or 256 GB Flash Drive
One of the best options we've found is from HooToo. While HooToo is not a household name, it does offer 128GB and 256GB flash drives and Lightning ports. They also have a USB 3.0 port on the other end of the drive. So you can use one on both an iOS device and a computer with a USB port. Newer MacBooks from 2015 but need a USB-C to USB Type-A adapter.
The flash drives also support biometric encryption so that content can not be accessed without having to access your fingerprint (Touch ID) or face (Face ID) or password to decrypt the content , With USB 3.0, you do not have to wait long for the files to be transferred to your computer. However, transferring from your iPhone to the drive is still slow, as Lightning is based on USB 2.0. It also has a key ring that allows you to attach it to your keys and take it anywhere without (hopefully) getting lost, as well as a cover for the Lightning end to protect it from damage.
iDiskk 4-in-1 Flash Drive
Another good option is iDiskk's four-in-one flash drive with Lightning, USB Type-A 3.0, USB-C and micro-USB ports. As with HooToo drives, you can connect it directly to your iPhone and access its contents in the file app. With the same drive, you can then transfer files to another MacBook (before and after 2015), an Android device, a Windows PC, or other device that supports one of the four ports.
It is available in 64 GB. 128 GB and 256 GB each with 18 months warranty. They all support Touch ID, Face ID and passcode encryption for additional security.
Another exciting option is LIY7 , His flash drive is actually built into a pen. But let me be clear (because I made the mistake myself): It is not an Apple Pencil that you can use on your display. Instead, it is a writing instrument for paper. You know, those thin sheets of pulp and whatever else they turn into paper.
The top half of the pen (the half where the tip is not included) contains a Lightning port that you can connect to your iPhone and access with the file app. The connector is protected when you let it snap back into its full pen shape. It comes with a Type-A Lightning-to-USB adapter that lets you connect it to your desktop so you can transfer files there as well.
Buy LIY7's USB Flash Drive: 16 GB | 32 GB | 64 GB | 128 GB
2. USB sticks
What if you already have a USB stick? Because Apple iPhones do not use the USB standard, the only option is an adapter that allows you to connect your Type A USB flash drive to a Lightning port. Unfortunately, the only options I've rated as 100% functional are Apple's own camera adapters. All other third party options are not MFi certified. This can damage your iPhone.
The option you need depends on the type of USB flash drive you are using. If it is USB 3.0 or later, you will need the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter. If it is USB 2.0 or older, you can save some money and use the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. If you are not sure what standard your USB stick uses, look at the connection. All USB ports of type A 3.0 are blue inside. You can also opt to purchase the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, no matter what you have, as it is also suitable for USB standards older than 3.0.
3. SD Card Reader
Another external storage option that iOS 13 opens for files is the SD card, which requires an SD card reader to read. SD cards are the storage option for most digital cameras. Professional photographers and even beginners often publish their pictures on social media sites like Instagram. If the camera does not provide the ability to wirelessly transfer photos, a card reader is more than adequate.
While it was possible to transfer photos to a website SD card (or even CompactFlash cards) in iOS 12 via the Photos app, iOS 13 opens the interaction in the Files app.
Apple Lightning to SD Card Reader
If you prefer someone's Apple accessories, then you can opt for the Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. At the time of writing, the Reader costs $ 29 and allows you to connect an SD card or microSD card (via an SD card adapter) to your iPhone. On iOS 13, you can then interact with the content using the Files app, just like a flash drive.
SmartQ Lightning MicroSD Card Reader
If you do not mind, there are cheaper options from third-party manufacturers that are MFi-certified for compatibility. For microSD cards I found an option from SmartQ. It's one of the smaller readers we found without a cable dangling from your iPhone. It currently costs $ 19.99 and supports up to microSDXC.
] Faracent Memory Card Reader
For those of you who use older digital cameras, a CompactFlash reader may be required. Compact Flash is older than SD cards as the memory card of choice for DSLR cameras. If you use CF cards, you're in luck. Faracent has a 3-in-1 reader that lets your iPhone read CompactFlash, SD, and microSD cards from an adapter. And it's $ 10 cheaper than Apple's official card reader.