Connect external storage devices to iPad

Connect external storage devices to iPad

You can use the Files app and other supported apps to access files stored on external devices, such as USB drives and SD cards, connected to your iPad.

Connect a USB drive or an SD card reader

  1. Attach the USB drive or SD card reader to the charging port on your iPad using a compatible connector or adapter.

    Depending on your iPad model and external device, you may need the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, USB-C to SD Card Camera Reader, or Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader (all sold separately).

    With iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) or iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation), you can connect multiple USB drives and other Thunderbolt devices to each other, then connect the chain of devices to the charging port on your iPad.

    Note: A USB drive must have only a single data partition, and it must be formatted as FAT, FAT32, exFAT (FAT64), or APFS. To change the formatting of a USB drive, use a Mac or PC.

  2. Do any of the following:

    • Insert an SD memory card into a card reader: Don’t force the card into the slot on the reader; it fits only one way.

      Note: You can import photos and videos from the memory card directly to the Photos app. See Import photos and videos to iPad.

    • View the contents of the drive or memory card: In a supported app (for example, Files), tap Browse at the bottom of the screen, then tap the name of the device below Locations. If you don’t see Locations, tap Browse again at the bottom of the screen.

    • Disconnect the drive or card reader: Remove it from the charging port on iPad.

External hard drives often require an external power source when used with iPad. If an external hard drive doesn’t supply its own power, and your iPad has a USB-C or Thunderbolt / USB 4 connector, you can use a powered USB hub. If your iPad has a Lightning connector, you can use the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter connected to a USB power adapter.

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