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External Storage

Willster

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I have both USB and SD card adapters for my iPads and noticed that USB memory sticks always seem to need external power. The SD card reader works fine without. Is there a downside to using SD cards for external storage via the files app? I’ve only tried photos and video so far so I don’t know if it will work with other file types?
 

twerppoet

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Third party USB and SD card adaptors can be hit or miss when used with older lighting port iPads. Apple's own adaptors or third party adaptors that have Apples MFI certifications should work, though you'll occasionally hear a report where someone has trouble with them as well.

The only major advantage of using USB drives over SD cards is that most computers don't have SD card slots. That means you need the adaptor for both the computer and iPad. There are also situations like using a document or photo printer at a retail outlet (Staples, Walmart), which may work with the USB Drive but not an SD card. Not all of them have both ports.

Newer iPads with the USB C port don't have this problem. Of them the most convenient choice is a USB Drive with both USB A and C ports. Easy to use on the iPad, and easy to use on other computers and devices with USB A ports.

There are also USB Drives with a Lightning port (in additions to the USB port.) Most of these need an app to work with the iPad. Sadly all of them that I've seen so far.

Combination USB C, USB A, and Lightning port drives do exist. If you find one that works directly with the Files app, please share. These would be the ideal portable external storage, allowing them to be used on all iOS and most other devices.
 
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Willster

Willster

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Both my adapters are current Apple ones. Not cheap but they work fine with everything I’ve tried so far including external hard drives. I’ve now tried copying other file types other than pictures to an SD card using the files app and all good so far.
 

twerppoet

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USB drives vary a lot more in design and capabilities than SD cards, which might explain why you are having more issues with them. That's my only guess if the adaptor itself is eliminated as a cause.
 

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