HOW TO Connect external items to iPhone or iPad
01 ERASE YOUR USB
If you’re starting with a blank USB drive, it may not be blank: many manufacturers include utility apps. You can delete them manually or you can erase the drive in Disk Utility (it’s in Applications ≥ Utilities on your Mac).
02 CHANGE THE FORMAT
Many USB sticks come formatted for Windows in FAT/ExFAT formats, and while they should work on your device it’s prudent to format them as Mac OS Extended in Disk Utility unless you need to use the drive on non-Apple hardware.
03 DRAG YOUR DATA
You can save files to your drive or card from inside apps or you can drag and drop them in the Finder, as shown here. One of the quickest ways is to open the external device, then open a new tab for the folder you’ll drag and drop from.
04 GET CONNECTED
Connect the adapter (if needed) to your Apple device and your USB stick or SD card to the adapter. If you’re using a USB stick, you’ll probably see this. USB drives need power to operate and your iPhone or iPad may not provide it.
05 A HUB HELPS
If you have a mains-powered USB hub, you can put your USB stick in that then connect the hub to your adapter (as we’ve done here). If you open the Files app on your device, you should now see your USB device in the list of locations.
06 EXPLORE YOUR USB
Navigating around your external storage is no different from any other location: you can move from folder to folder, change the way files are displayed and so on. You can also use the search bar if there are lots of files in a folder.
07 INTERACT WITH ITEMS
If you long-press a file icon, you’ll see the context-sensitive menu shown here. This enables common file operations, such as duplicating and deleting, and you can also use it to rename or tag files and compress them.
08 ENJOY THE AUDIO
Provided your USB device is reasonably recent you should be able to play media directly from it without having to copy the file(s) to your iPad or iPhone first. High quality audio is usually fine but HD video can be a bit hit and miss.
09 ACCESS ON YOUR IPHONE
The Files app is on your iPhone too. It looks slightly different because of the smaller space but it works in exactly the same way: as with the iPad, it’s just a matter of ensuring your USB device has a power source.