The 10 Best iPhone Flash Drives
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in December of 2016. 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 recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best iphone flash drive on Amazon.
Why You Need External Phone Storage
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.
In an ideal world, there would be no reason to carry around a flash drive for your phone.
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.
Choosing a drive with expandable storage also means you will virtually never run the risk of running out of storage space completely.
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.
The storage on an external drive works much like that of the drive built into your phone.
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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