Supplemental Storage for iPad


Today’s Question: Is there a way to transfer images from my iPad Air 2 directly to a thumb drive without using a computer? I own a desktop PC and do not have access to a laptop when traveling.

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are options, but they will generally require the purchase of special hardware. These include battery-powered hard drives with a WiFi connection, as well as specialty storage devices. You will need to use a special app on the iPad (or iPhone) to make use of these storage options.

More Detail: The best solution for you depends upon how much storage you need and your preferred workflow approach.

One option is to use a hard drive that supports a WiFi connection, using a special app to enable the transfer of files to or from that hard drive with a local WiFi network. An example of this type of hard drive is the Seagate Wireless Plus, available with storage capacity of 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB. You can get more details here:

Another option is to use a device that provides a WiFi connection to your iPad with a connector for a USB flash drive or storage card (such as an SD card). One example of this is the Kingston MobileLite device. With this type of device you would provide your own flash drive, for example, simply using the MobileLite as a way to connect that storage device to your iPad. This provides greater flexibility in terms of being able to make use of multiple flash drives, for example. You can see the Kingston MobileLite here:

Finally, you might consider a storage device that connects directly to your iPad or iPhone. One example is the SanDisk iXpand. This device contains two connectors along with the internal storage. The Lightning connector allows you to connect the device to your iPad or iPhone to transfer images (or other data), and the USB connector enables you to then transfer those files to your computer. Storage options range from 16GB to 128GB. You can find the SanDisk iXpand here:

It is worth noting, by the way, that these limitations regarding supplemental storage are primarily an issue with Apple devices such as the iPad and iPhone. With most Windows or Android devices you have much greater flexibility in terms of adding supplemental storage, including in many cases being able to simply connect a USB storage device.