Best iPhone Flash Drives

Updated October 2021
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best iPhone flash drives

Our most prized commodity isn’t actually our phones – it's the data on those phones, like all the selfies, contacts, videos, and more. A phone can only hold so much data, though. Using a cloud service is an option, but you'll never be done paying for it because you're only renting the space. With an iPhone flash drive, that memory belongs to you.

The best iPhone flash drives are durable and compact (but not so small that they’re easily lost) and USB 3.0. The app that interfaces with your iPhone flash drive should be intuitive, easy to learn, and include security measures so that others won't be able to access your data.

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You can use your iPhone flash drive to transfer files from your iPhone to your iPad or computer.

Key considerations

Non-volatile memory

Volatile memory needs an electrical charge to work. Think of your car – when your battery dies, your radio loses all the programmed stations. That's volatile memory. Flash drives use non-volatile memory, which keeps your data safe even without an electrical charge. There are two types of non-volatile memory used with an iPhone flash drive: a USB flash drive and an SD card.

  • USB flash drive: The latest USB flash drives (3.0) are faster than SD cards. Typically, they hold more data (but not always) and are universal – you can plug them into any USB port. (Note: An iPhone flash drive will connect to your phone using a Lightning connector, the crucial part that makes it an iPhone flash drive. The USB connector is used to connect the flash drive to a computer or other device that has a USB port.)

  • SD card: This is in devices like your camera and your phone. It holds data, but without it, your device won’t work. An iPhone flash drive that has a slot for an SD card makes it an effortless process to back up media that is on your camera. The SD slot isn’t needed on a flash drive, but it can make certain types of data transfer much easier.
"Most apps give you the option to either back up your data to the flash drive or back up your data to the flash drive and delete it from your iPhone. Be careful not to accidentally delete both your original data and the backup copy."

iPhone flash drive features

Even though an iPhone flash drive is a tiny gadget, there are many features it may or may not have. You’ll need to carefully weigh each one of these options to decide if it’s one you need or one you can do without.

USB 3.0: This is the third version of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) port. You would mainly want it for your iPhone flash drive because it transfers data ten times faster than USB 2.0. You can quickly tell if you have USB 3.0 because the inside of the connector is blue.

App: Your iPhone flash drive is only as good as the app that runs it. If it's intuitive and easy to use with one-tap controls, you'll be much happier than you would be if you had an awkwardly designed app that is complicated to learn.

Design: iPhone flash drives come in a number of aesthetically pleasing, futuristic designs. You should pick the one you like, but only if there are no design flaws. For instance, don’t forsake durability for a thin, sleek, and fragile device or choose a flash drive that’s so small it's easily lost.

Charging cable: Besides simply being a flash drive for your iPhone, some units double as a charging cable. We all know how easily cables break, so this feature could be handy.

Durability: An iPhone flash drive is going to get tossed about, so it needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of being constantly carried around.

Dust cover or retractable connectors: The shield and contacts of USB and Lightning connectors need to be protected. iPhone flash drives do this in one of two ways. Retractable connectors slip inside the unit like a turtle's head and limbs into its shell. Dust covers work great, but they’re tiny and easily lost.

Multiple connectors: Some iPhone flash drives have several different connectors. While this may look cool, it's usually unnecessary. Typically a Lightning connector for your iPhone, a USB connector for your computer, and maybe a slot for an SD card are all you will need.

Memory: How much memory do you want? Is 32GB enough or do you need 128GB? When in doubt, it's usually wisest to spend a few extra dollars to have the additional memory.

Protection: If you misplace your iPhone flash drive, you'll want it protected so strangers can't get to your data. Password protection should be fine, but if you want to go the extra mile, some devices have touch ID that uses your fingerprint to gain access to the flash drive's contents.

SD slot: If you’ll be using your iPhone flash drive to back up data from your camera, having a slot for an SD card is a desirable feature.

Speed: Unless you’re filming directly to your iPhone flash drive or constantly moving exceptionally large files, a slightly slower speed will likely be little more than a minor inconvenience.

Wireless: If you want to bypass physical connections, there are a few wireless iPhone flash drives on the market. However, most of these are not as highly recommended as the wired models.

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Did you know?
In order for your iPhone flash drive to function, you’ll first need to download and install the manufacturer's app so your phone can communicate with the flash drive.

iPhone flash drive prices

The overall price range for iPhone flash drives extends from $10 to $60. Although there are some outliers, the price is most closely related to the amount of memory the flash drive has.

32GB flash drives cost about $15 to $25.

64GB flash drives cost about $25 to $40.

128GB flash drives cost about $40 to $60.

Connecting your iPhone flash drive

Although devices and apps differ, there is a basic connection process that is similar for all iPhone flash drives. The following are three simple steps that will get you up and running.

  • Download the appropriate app to your iPhone. For instance, if you have a Kingston flash drive, you’ll need to download and install the Kingston Bolt app.

  • Plug in your iPhone flash drive. Yes, it’s as easy as it sounds – just plug your flash drive into your iPhone.

  • Launch the app. If the app isn't already running, you’ll get a prompt to launch the app. Familiarize yourself with how it works so you can start backing up your files.
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The apps you use to backup iPhone data aren’t universal. Each is designed differently. Some apps may be intuitive and easy to use, while others are a bit less user-friendly.


Q. When I plug my iPhone flash drive into my iPhone, I can't see everything. Is my flash drive not working properly?

A. Your flash drive is likely fine. iPhones are stingy with the data that you can see and back up. Mostly, it will be media files like photos, videos, and audio files. However, if you’re running the latest iOS, you might be able to back up a few other bits of data that you can find in the Files app. You also may be able to back up your contact data depending on the abilities of the app.

Q. My iPhone is out of memory. Is it possible to record a video directly to my iPhone flash drive?

A. That depends on if the data transfer rate is fast enough to keep up. If not, you’ll either have to get a faster iPhone flash drive or try shooting your video at a lower resolution. Taking pictures directly to your flash drive, however, shouldn’t be a problem.

Q. What about the photos I have on my social media accounts? Can they be backed up, too?

A. Again, it depends on the app. The photos on your social media accounts don’t have to be on your iPhone. By granting certain apps access to your social media accounts, they can back up the photos you may no longer have on your iPhone.

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