The best iPhone flash drive
Though we live in an age of cloud storage, sometimes you still may need a physical data storage device, like an iPhone flash drive. These compact devices can store up to 512GB and usually include a USB connector on one end and a lightning connector on the other, allowing you to quickly transfer data from your phone to your computer -- or vice versa. Our top pick from iDiskk offers a convenient way to store and watch shows and movies. To learn more about iPhone flash drives and their features, continue reading our shopping guide.
Considerations when choosing iPhone flash drives
Do you need an iPhone flash drive?
It's entirely possible to share files over the cloud through apps like Google Drive and Dropbox, so why would you need a flash drive?
These physical drives are small, portable, and fast. In addition, if you have sensitive files you would prefer not to upload to a cloud-based storage service, a flash drive is a good option.
You can use your iPhone flash drive to back up data and transfer it to another device, or you can use it to access data on your iPhone. If you have a long trip ahead of you, you can store several movies and TV show episodes on a flash drive and watch them on your phone without bogging down your phone's storage space.
Though most iPhone flash drives work similarly, they vary in their data transfer speed, storage capacity, ports and connectors, design, and other features.
Memory: How much storage space do you need? This depends on what type of files you are storing. For occasionally transferring documents, a smaller storage space should suffice. For photos, videos, and music, you should consider a larger flash drive. Most iPhone flash drives have anywhere from 32GB to 256GB of storage, though a few larger models are available.
USB 2.0 or 3.0: These two types of ports and connectors look nearly identical, but they vary in their data transfer speed. If you are working with large files, this can be a major selling point for the newer and faster USB 3.0. However, your iPhone flash drive has a lightning connector on one end -- this is even faster than USB 3.0. If you have a device with a lightning port (like newer generation MacBooks), this is the connector you should use to transfer data.
Design: Almost any iPhone flash drive is small enough to slip into your pocket, but they still vary in their design. Some models have a retractable connector, while others have swiveling designs to select which connector you want to use. You should also take a look at how sturdy the case of a flash drive is to get an idea of how well it will hold up over time, especially if you plan to take it with you daily. You should also consider whether a flash drive will be able to plug into your phone without you having to remove the phone's case.
Connectors and ports: Almost any iPhone flash drive has both a lightning and USB connector, but some may have additional ports and connectors for transferring data to and from other devices. An SD card slot enables you to easily transfer data from your SD card to your iPhone.
iPhone flash drive prices
The price of an iPhone flash drive generally corresponds to its storage capacity. iPhone flash drives with 32GB capacity cost around $20, while 64GB flash drives cost around $30 to $40. Larger flash drives often cost $60 or more.
Q. Can I use an iPhone flash drive with my iPad?
A. As long as your iPad has a lightning port and you can find a compatible app (which shouldn't be a problem with newer iPads), you can use a flash drive designed for iPhones.
Q. Do I need an app to use an iPhone flash drive?
A. In most cases, yes -- many flash drives are designed to work with a specific data management app.
iPhone flash drives we recommend
Best of the best: iDiskk Apple-Certified 128GB iPad USB 3.0
Our take: This quick and compact flash drive features plenty of storage at a low price.
What we like: Designed with movies in mind, this flash drive is capable of storing a variety of video formats.
What we dislike: When transferring photos, you will have to manually delete the photos from your phone.
Best bang for your buck: HooToo iPhone iPad Flash Drive 64GB
Our take: A quick and convenient flash drive that works with most iPhone cases, thanks to its slim design.
What we like: This fast USB 3.0 flash drive has a tough aluminum design with a dust cap connected to the case.
What we dislike: You can only use this flash drive with the iPlugmate App.
Choice 3: SanDisk 32GB iXpand Flash Drive
Our take: This flash drive comes from one of the most trusted brands in storage and is available in a variety of sizes.
What we like: The flexible connector design is unique and convenient, and the included iXpand Drive app is easy to use.
What we dislike: A few customers have reported issues getting their phones to detect the flash drive.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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