The 10 Best iPhone Flash Drives

Updated February 20, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best iPhone Flash Drives
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. It's not very difficult to run out of space on your iPhone, and the manufacturer makes it basically impossible to upgrade your device. Luckily, there are a host of portable drives that can add storage and backup capabilities to Apple phones or tablets using the iconic Lightning connector. Because of the proprietary nature of iOS, these flash-based storage units come with dedicated apps. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best iphone flash drive on Amazon.

10. RavPower IM005

The RavPower IM005 has a flexible cord that's easy to snake into some of the more restrictive cases. It offers format-friendly streaming of large files and quick data transfer rates, and it can charge your phone fully using a computer or battery pack.
  • plugs securely into both ports
  • can't transfer drm-protected media
  • software is a bit confusing
Brand RAVPower
Model RP-IM005
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

9. Hootoo IM003

The Hootoo IM003 is made of a sleek, aluminum alloy that resists getting bent or crushed. At under a quarter-inch thick, it fits flush on your key ring without adding extra bulk to your pockets. It comes in both 64 and 128-GB sizes.
  • extended connector fits many cases
  • apple-certified lightning adapter
  • doesn't have the most powerful app
Brand HooToo
Model HT-IM003
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

8. Kingston Bolt Duo

From a heavy-hitter in digital memory comes the Kingston Bolt Duo, a great option for the traveling videographer to back up and edit all types of media. It transmits to the latest iPhone at an industry-leading 32 MBps, great for large files.
  • records 4k video directly
  • among the newest models available
  • limited direct playback capabilities
Brand Kingston
Model C-USB3L-SR64G-EN
Weight 1.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. SmartQ C620

The SmartQ C620 provides a slightly different way to transfer media to your Apple device. Because it works with any microSD card up to 200 GB, it's perfect for data-rich video from HD cameras like a GoPro or brand new smartphone.
  • exfat system works with large files
  • supports quite a few video formats
  • slower speeds than true flash drives
Brand SmartQ
Model C620G
Weight 0.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

6. Leef iBridge 3

Available in four attractive colors including an eye-popping rainbow pattern, the Leef iBridge 3 is a high-powered flash accessory. Its flexible, polymer body clips to your device during use, ensuring consistent contact and reliable backups.
  • password protects sensitive data
  • capacity up to 256 gigabytes
  • on the expensive side
Brand Leef
Model LIB300KK064A1
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Adata iMemory

While it is pretty expensive, the Adata iMemory is one of the most powerful options you'll find. Its storage software isn't the most intuitive, but it does offer the widest range of built-in video support, letting you play or record at the highest quality easily.
  • featherlight sub-4g weight
  • less than 7mm thick
  • super-fast pc read-write speeds
Model AAI920-64G-CBK
Weight 1.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Transcend JetDrive Go 300

Optimized for use with your iPad, the Transcend JetDrive Go 300 boasts a durable metallic body and one-touch backup capabilities. Its intuitive user interface lets you browse, copy, and move all of your photos and videos quickly.
  • apple mfi certified
  • fits in your pocket or purse
  • good for on-the-go business users
Brand Transcend
Model TS64GJDG300S
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Johaku Card Reader

The Johaku Card Reader derives its storage from a microSD card supplied by the user. It's especially useful if you have a variety of mobile devices, because it also has USB-B and C connections that make it compatible with almost any tablet or phone.
  • allows for nearly endless expansion
  • full size sd card model available
  • includes dust covers
Model 820tyec
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. PK Paris K'ablekey

The innovative PK Paris K'ablekey is a significant departure from most flash drives in appearance and functionality. A classy, brushed-aluminum exterior is secured shut by strong magnets, and the cord between the two plugs functions as a sturdy key ring attachment.
  • also works as a charging cable
  • easy-to-use software
  • compact and incredibly durable
Brand PKparis
Model K'ablekey 64 Go
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. SanDisk iXpand

The SanDisk iXpand is easily one of the most popular ways to add gigabytes to your library. It records data at over 13 MBps via Lightning connector, one of the fastest copy speeds on the market. In addition to all that, it's surprisingly inexpensive.
  • automatic photo and video backup
  • supports many popular media formats
  • lightweight and portable design
Brand SanDisk
Model SDIX30N-064G-GN6NN
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Why You Need External Phone Storage

In an ideal world, there would be no reason to carry around a flash drive for your phone. All of your files would fit on your device's internal hard drive, or they'd be automatically stored in the cloud and easy to access at any time. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Storage use differs widely depending on how you use your phone, as well as how often you back-up its contents and remove old files to make room for new ones.

In order to get a large hard drive in your phone, you usually have to pay a pretty penny for an upgrade at the time of purchase. Even the models with the most internal storage can't handle an excess of video files. Standard capacities of base models tend to constrict your music, photo, and app storage, as well. One of the only solutions to this problem is to expand your storage with an external device like a flash drive.

For those with an excess of media files like photos and videos, an external flash drive for your phone is a great way to carry your data with you while on-the-go. If you travel a lot, an external flash drive allows you to bring full-length movies along to keep you entertained while in transit. HD videos of that length can easily occupy several gigabytes of storage space each, so keeping them off of your phone's internal drive saves you plenty of room for taking photos, shooting videos, and downloading music.

Another benefit of flash drives is that you can safely erase files from your phone with the knowledge that, in order to access them, you can simply plug in the flash drive you've got in your pocket. Just offload your files onto the drive when you run out of room. It will store your information until you get to a computer to perform a proper backup.

While backing up your phone doesn't actually give you more space for new files, it does safeguard against data loss by creating copies of all the files on your phone. The same is true of your external drive. Only once you've backed up both devices to a computer, hard drive, or cloud storage service, it is safe to erase their existing files to make room for new new content.

Some Added Flash Drive Benefits

There is a variety of styles of flash drives designed for iPhones on the market. All of them connect to your device with a standard lightning connector and offer built-in storage for offloading and transporting extra files with you wherever you go. Most can also connect directly to your computer for easy file transfers, as well.

Some flash drives can be expanded with additional memory cards. This allows users to both add storage capacity to their drives and organize the data they carry with them by dividing it among multiple cards. You could, for example, use one memory card for storing movie files to watch on your phone, and another for backing up your photos. That way, your files won't get mixed up with one another, and you're less likely to be forced to delete your files to make room for new ones.

Choosing a drive with expandable storage also means you will virtually never run the risk of running out of storage space completely. Standard SD cards, along with their mini and micro cousins, are available all over the world. No matter where you find yourself, you will almost always be able to purchase additional cards. This is a great way to give yourself peace of mind while traveling. You can always shoot more videos and photos and download new apps if you have space to offload your existing media.

Drives with built-in USB connectivity are also highly useful. This allows you to connect the drive directly to a computer, so when the time comes to organize, back-up, or search through your files, the process is fast and easy. Many users may also find that transferring photos and videos to a computer from a flash drive is easier than doing so directly from your iPhone, as you can simply drag and drop selections into your desired destinations.

How Flash Memory Works

The storage on an external drive works much like that of the drive built into your phone. That is to say, they both use flash memory, a form of digital storage first developed by Toshiba in the early 1980s. The standards they developed then were brought to the market in 1984, and remain a foundation of digital storage today.

Flash memory was innovative because it retained information even when disconnected from a power source. Unlike RAM, or random access memory — which computers still use today as their means of temporary data storage while in-use — flash drives are non-volatile. The data saved to them can be altered many times, but it will never be erased unintentionally unless the drive itself is compromised.

A standard flash drive contains many millions of memory cells. For the most part, each cell stores only one bit of information in the form of binary code. That means every cell has only two states, 0 or 1. Each bit is stored in either a default or activated position, depending on whether it represents a 1 or a 0, respectively. The position of each cell can be set by a targeted electrical current, but won't ever change unless you overwrite it.

It takes 8 bits of storage to represent a single letter of the alphabet, for example, because each one is identified with a standard eight-digit binary code. The King James Bible contains around 5 million letters, and would therefore occupy about 40 million cells of flash memory. While that might sound like a lot, a gigabyte of flash storage contains 8 billion bits, which means it could fit around 200 copies of the bible. Most contemporary flash drives offer significantly more storage than that, with some models packing up to 128 gigabytes onto a single chip. With each passing year, innovations in the technology lead to increasingly dense storage solutions, allowing for even larger capacities in the same amount of space.

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Last updated on February 20, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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