iPad Airport Express + External Hard Drive = File Access for iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by McNelton, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. McNelton macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2010
    I'm wondering if you've ever heard of this kind of setup:

    Apple Airport Express
    Wired to modem
    Wired also to an external hard drive
    Devices (ipad, mac, iphone) can access EHD files and save to it (via Airplay?)

    I can't tell if Airplay is just to stream saved media (songs/vids) from EHD onto devices... or if it can be used broadly for documents and photos access/storage/retrieval/editing, as well.

    I am hoping to purchase an ipad for my wife, but she needs more space and functionality (coming from a PC and having 1000s of photos).

    thanks for your help!
  2. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    What you suggest isn't really what Airplay is intended for. I won't say there isn't any way to make it happen, but it's not going to be straightforward. There are, however, wireless hard drives that can do basically what you want.

    That said, I would think a little bit more about how you intend to set her up before deciding. Are you sure that even with 128GB she'd need more space than that? If so, I would reconsider whether actually storing all that data on the device is in fact necessary. Could you transition her to cloud storage where everything is accessible but not necessarily stored locally? Do you have another Mac computer in the house that could act as the server?

    One of those options may turn out to suit her better.
  3. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    airplay is mostly a streaming protocol amongst wireless devices that share a network (hence the name- "playing" over the air)

    there are many file browser apps for iOS that can let you access files from a network drive or from a mac acting as a server though.
  4. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Or you can buy a wireless hard drive such as Seagate Wireless Plus You could find cheap one from Craigslist or eBay. I got a new Seagate GoFlex wireless hard drive 500GB from Craigslist for $50. It worked great with all of my iDevices! :apple:
  5. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    Airport Express cannot connect a USB hard drive.
  6. myla296 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    Yes you can, I'm doing it now....router from ATT coming out via T1 line (small telephone looking type), Apple Airport Express attached via the Internet type cable, that attached to my hard drive via USB.

    My limit is that for some reason I can't see all of the things in all of my folders. Meaning, I'm on my laptop viewing the hard drive files and though I can see the folders, some of the files aren't visible until I plug in directly, or did some other manipulation. Weird.
  7. BreeeZe macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2012
    the Netherlands
    That is strange, according to Apple you can only share a printer with the express, and printers & drives with the extreme : http://www.apple.com/compare-wifi-models/
  8. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The Airport Express cannot use a USB hard drive, the Extreme can. But the Express (the one that can play music) cannot.
  9. myla296 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    Doh...I guess I have the extreme! (My mom put it in as a white elephant gift... She's taking after my great grandmother re-gifting ;). (It didn't even come with the box! But I'm making good use of it...)

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