Best external storage for an iOS device
Boost your storage capacity of with Cliff Joseph’s guide to the best external Wi-Fi drives and Lightning-enabled flash storage devices
Running out of storage space is often an issue for iPhone and iPad owners. There is, however, more you can do to fix it beyond freeing up some space by deleting rarely used apps, moving files to the cloud and generally optimizing the way storage is handled.
If you bought a device with a low capacity the problem is likely to recur, because you can’t upgrade
an iPhone or iPad to have more storage: a 32GB iPhone will be a 32GB iPhone forever.
But wait a second before you rush off to buy a new phone. You might not be able to upgrade an iDevice’s internal storage specifications, but you can add more storage with external accessories. And there’s plenty of them out there.
Leef iBridge 3 Price: £44.99 from fave.co/2vtLAij
The original Leef iBridge (pictured opposite) was one of the first dual-interface devices that included both USB and Lightning interfaces so that you could easily transfer files between Macs, PCs and iOS devices.
It’s been updated since then, with the Leef iBridge 3 the latest addition to the family. It features Lightning and Touch ID protection too, providing speedy, secure transfers. It also boasts a 256GB option – which is as much as many of the MacBook laptops these days, and more than most of its memory stick rivals.
Using the iBridge 3 app, you can access all your photos, movies and music (apart from DRM-protected files) without taking up any storage on your iOS device.
With the iBridge Camera, a feature built into the iBridge app, you can take photos and directly save them to the storage device. If you want to clear space by transferring photos from your iOS device, that’s also available via the app – you can then copy/move these by plugging the iBridge into your Mac or PC.
The iBridge 3 weighs just 12g, so it’s easy to carry around in your pocket, and the silicon and aluminium
case can cope with being banged about in a backpack when you’re travelling.
Connectivity: USB 3.1, Apple Lightning
Leef iAccess iOS Micro SD Price: £34.99 from fave.co/2OWpm0p
As well as the dual-interface iBridge, Leef offers another storage option for your iOS devices. The iAccess looks very similar to the iBridge, but instead of having its own built-in Flash memory it allows you to insert an SD memory card for storing your files. It was primarily designed so that you could transfer photos and videos
from an action-cam or drone on to your iPhone or iPad, but the transfer process works both ways so you can just as easily copy files from your iOS devices onto a memory card for safe-keeping. The other advantage of the iAccess is that you can just keep adding memory cards to give you all the extra storage you need.
Connectivity: Apple Lightning, microSD card reader
PKparis K’ablekey Price: £35.16 from fave.co/2AXUjye
K’ablekey is the product of Paris-based company PKparis, and offers a slightly different design to others mentioned in this round-up. It has a brushed aluminium look with built-in magnets that keep the two semi-circle halves stuck together for easy transportation. When you want to use the cable, simply pull off the orange rubber ends and pull the two sections apart. When you want to use the cable, simply pull off the orange rubber ends and pull the two sections apart.
The device offers three functions: the ability to store and access media on your iOS device, easy transfer of files from PC/Mac to iOS and charging capabilities when plugged in to a charger/computer/powerbank.
It’s ideal for those with low storage as the iOS app offers the ability to not only copy but move all your photos and videos to K’ablekey, freeing up muchneeded storage and making your entire library accessible via USB storage.
The K’ablekey also provides a simpler way to watch movies on your iPhone or iPad: it’s easier to transfer a movie to the drive and watch it in the Pk Memory app, rather than converting and uploading it via iTunes.
Our only issue is with the Pk Memory app itself: it’s poorly designed and fairly confusing to use as it relies heavily on icons that aren’t always self-explanatory.
It’s easy enough to transfer your entire media library to/from the storage device, but other aspects are a little more confusing. Oh, and there’s no way to tell how much storage is used/left in the app – an important feature if you opt for the lower storage option.
Connectivity: USB 3.1, Apple Lightning
Verbatim 49304 16GB Dual USB 3.0 Lightning Drive Price: £31.30 from fave.co/2vzCIYB
In common with the other USB flash drive-type accessories in this round-up, the Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go is a flash memory stick with a full-size USB port at one end and a Lightning port at the other, but this is a fast USB 3.0 port that’s backward compatible with USB 2.0.
This makes it easy to share, copy or move files between Macs, PCs, laptops and iDevices, or use the stick itself to back up content on your iDevice or play back media stored on the Verbatim on your iPhone or iPad. The Verbatim’s connection is a fast USB 3.0 port, which is backward compatible with USB 2.0.
We like the small, compact design of this USB/ Lightning stick, but only one of the two clear plastic
end caps are tethered so the other could easily become lost. A lanyard allows you to connect the Verbatim to a keychain.
You’ll be prompted to download a free companion app from the App Store the first time you connect the Verbatim to your iPhone or iPad, and can then use this to play media stored on the stick, back up content or save camera photos directly to it.
The Verbatim is compatible with iPhones and iPads running iOS 7.0 or later, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and Windows XP or later. It’s available in 16-, 32- and 64GB capacities.
Connectivity: USB 3.0, Apple Lightning
Leef iBridge 3
Leef iAccess iOS Micro SD
Verbatim 49304 16GB Dual USB 3.0 Lightning Drive