Can’t use USB drive iPad Mini

nightlong

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 16, 2012
824
141
Australia
Tried plugging a USB hard drive into my iPad Mini 5, but it says it can’t connect because the drive uses too much power, even though the iPad is plugged into power with an Apple USB and lightning dongle. The hard drive works fine on my iPad 10.5. The Mini will accept USB sticks only.

any thoughts?
 

Heroine Lover

macrumors newbie
Oct 6, 2019
4
1
I found this for you.. let me know if it works.

This happens when your external drive doesn’t receive enough power to work properly. You can normally fix it by supplying more power to the drive or to the Apple device.
We suggest using an adapter with a separate charging port for your device, like the lightning to usb 3 camera adapter. Also, make sure you power your device from a mains supply, not from the USB port on a computer.
Some hard drives need a power supply to work.
If your external drive requires mains power, make you’ve plugged in and switched it on.
If that doesn’t work, some users fixed it by connecting a USB hub to their iPhone or iPad, then connecting the external drive to that hub. This seems to bypass any software limits written into the drive itself.

Hopefully that helps you! I am fixing an iPhone 8’s screen that my brother gave me tomorrow, and I’m excited to try this feature! It’s about time apple lets us use a little more of our devices’ potential. Our apple devices are a lot like our brains in that we only use 20% of their power. I’m pretty sure that, in regard to our brains, that statistic is a myth; but it’s pretty accurate when it comes to our devices.
 

nightlong

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 16, 2012
824
141
Australia
Thanks for the tip ... plugging a USB hub in solved a problem for me once before, when my MacBook suddenly couldn’t see a musical USB keyboard. But not this time, despite having the Mini 5 plugged into power via the Apple USB lightning dongle, it still won’t run an external hard drive, even with the USB hub.

this is very disappointing, being such a major feature of iOS 13, and something I was so looking forward to.

would like to hear if others have the problem, in case it is a fault in my Mini 5.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I think the ability to plug in and use any sort of external drive is reserved for only the iPad Pro series, not the iPad Mini 5 or other iPads without the "Pro" as part of their name.... I may be wrong about this, of course, but somehow I got that impression somewhere.
 

Heroine Lover

macrumors newbie
Oct 6, 2019
4
1
Thanks for the tip ... plugging a USB hub in solved a problem for me once before, when my MacBook suddenly couldn’t see a musical USB keyboard. But not this time, despite having the Mini 5 plugged into power via the Apple USB lightning dongle, it still won’t run an external hard drive, even with the USB hub.

this is very disappointing, being such a major feature of iOS 13, and something I was so looking forward to.

would like to hear if others have the problem, in case it is a fault in my Mini 5.
And both the mini and the hard drive are being powered by wall outlets, and not a computer etc?
Also try it with both devices plugged directly into the wall outlet rather than a power strip. Sometimes my things won’t charge if I have too many things plugged in to the surge protector power strip.
 

nightlong

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 16, 2012
824
141
Australia
I can’t plug the USB drive in, it’s a small one that is powered by the USB cable.
- - Post merged: - -

And both the mini and the hard drive are being powered by wall outlets, and not a computer etc?
Also try it with both devices plugged directly into the wall outlet rather than a power strip. Sometimes my things won’t charge if I have too many things plugged in to the surge protector power strip.
I think the ability to plug in and use any sort of external drive is reserved for only the iPad Pro series, not the iPad Mini 5 or other iPads without the "Pro" as part of their name.... I may be wrong about this, of course, but somehow I got that impression somewhere.

I never thought of this, only a Pro iPad can do this, I haven’t heard of this before.
 

revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,558
1,250
USA
I think the ability to plug in and use any sort of external drive is reserved for only the iPad Pro series, not the iPad Mini 5 or other iPads without the "Pro" as part of their name.... I may be wrong about this, of course, but somehow I got that impression somewhere.
I’ve been researching this as well for my iPad Air 3 and all of the testing videos I’ve seen confirm that the iPad mini and iPad Air have this issue. I’m guessing these devices were never designed to handle this type of thing and they’re simply not powerful enough. It’s sad.. I have a SanDisk Extreme SSD (500GB) and I would like to be able to use it.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
3,413
5,330
San Diego, CA, USA
For what it’s worth, this sort of connection doesnt seem to be strictly limited to the iPad Pros (otherwise, why have a Lightning-to-USB socket adapter?). I got Apple’s Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter, so my nieces could load movies from a flash drive onto their (32 GB) iPads. i had plenty of success testing this adapter with my iPhone 8, using the external power connection (it wouldn’t run a 128 GB USB3 SanDisk Cruzer flash drive without the power connected). I expect the limitations for external hard drives are simply power requirements - the external power connection on the adapter supplies the iOS device, thus giving it enough backup to run the flash drive, but not enough for a hard drive (the iPad Pro’s USB-C gets rid of these problems).

But the conversation between iOS and a flash drive is essentially the same as between iOS and a hard drive - it’s all a matter of “gimme block number X”, “okay, here is block number X”). If you plug the hard drive into a *powered* USB hub, and then connect that hub to the “camera” adapter, it should be fine (I’ve seem the same sort of power limitations on Raspberry Pi’s with the same fix - plug the drive into a powered hub, and plug the hub into the Pi).

The other tidbit I ran into was numerous suggestions that iOS had trouble with files on an EXFAT formatted drive over a certain size (several gigabytes). The solution to this is to format the external drive as APFS. I did this (since movies are frequently 4+ GB), and it seemed to work fine. It’s possible the iOS bug relating to large files on EXFAT drives is fixed now, but I didn’t want to take any chances.
 
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PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,715
1,874
I just plugged a Western Digital 4TB external HDD into a powered USB3 hub, which I connected to my iPad mini 5 using the lightning to USB dongle. The Files app is able to see the first partition on the hard drive. It did not list the other two partitions. I was able to browse the directory structure of the partition that was visible in Files.

My iPad mini 5 is currently on iPadOS 13.3 . My USB3 hub is a Staples-branded $30 device so it it’s nothing specialized for iPad use or anything.
 
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lozion

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2006
198
29
Montreal, Canada
I just plugged a Western Digital 4TB external HDD into a powered USB3 hub, which I connected to my iPad mini 5 using the lightning to USB dongle. The Files app is able to see the first partition on the hard drive. It did not list the other two partitions. I was able to browse the directory structure of the partition that was visible in Files.

My iPad mini 5 is currently on iPadOS 13.3 . My USB3 hub is a Staples-branded $30 device so it it’s nothing specialized for iPad use or anything.
does anyone know what transfer speeds are possible?
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
3,413
5,330
San Diego, CA, USA
does anyone know what transfer speeds are possible?
In very limited testing of the "Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter" with an iPhone 8 and a SanDisk USB3 flash drive (with power connected to the adapter but no hub), I believe I was seeing about 35 seconds per gigabyte, from the flash drive to the Files app.
 

lozion

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2006
198
29
Montreal, Canada
In very limited testing of the "Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter" with an iPhone 8 and a SanDisk USB3 flash drive (with power connected to the adapter but no hub), I believe I was seeing about 35 seconds per gigabyte, from the flash drive to the Files app.
Not bad!
txs.
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,310
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Well, I am very confused about this whole external drive connection thing. On my iPad 7th gen, I am having the same problem with a 32GB Thumb Drive. However, if you look at the Apple web page for the 7th Gen iPad + September Keynote + iPadOS video, they all clearly show a thumb drive connected directly to an iPad via lightning connector accessing the File App. So, either Apple is being dishonest, or there is something I am missing. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 7.44.03 PM.png
 
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sparksd

macrumors 68030
Jun 7, 2015
2,667
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Seattle WA
Well, I am very confused about this whole external drive connection thing. On my iPad 7th gen, I am having the same problem with a 32GB Thumb Drive. However, if you look at the Apple web page for the 7th Gen iPad + September Keynote + iPadOS video, they all clearly show a thumb drive connected directly to an iPad via lightning connector accessing the File App. So, either Apple is being dishonest, or there is something I am missing. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

View attachment 888459
The drive in that picture is this one, with the brand name Photoshopped off -


It should work - do you know how your drive is formatted?
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,310
1,165
The drive in that picture is this one, with the brand name Photoshopped off -


It should work - do you know how your drive is formatted?
Thanks much!! I’ll check it out.

I have Sand Disk iXpand 32GB lighting thumb drive. It actually connects to the iPad via aa iXpand App. It shows in the File App too, but does not access folders and the like directly. Everything goes through the App. So, not as shown in the videos or photos. I don’t know how it is formatted, but it does connect to the iPad via an App so it must be somewhat compatible with iOS/iPadOS.
- - Post merged: - -

The link says that the Jet Drive works with their App, so now I am wondering if it connects directly to the Files App.
 
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sparksd

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Jun 7, 2015
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Seattle WA
Thanks much!! I’ll check it out.

I have Sand Disk iXpand 32GB lighting thumb drive. It actually connects to the iPad via aa iXpand App. It shows in the File App too, but does not access folders and the like directly. Everything goes through the App. So, not as shown in the videos or photos. I don’t know how it is formatted, but it does connect to the iPad via an App so it must be somewhat compatible with iOS/iPadOS.
- - Post merged: - -

The link says that the Jet Drive works with their App, so now I am wondering if it connects directly to the Files App.
No, these are specialized units developed before iOS 13 and still require their apps. I have a few different devices like these.
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,310
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No, these are specialized units developed before iOS 13 and still require their apps. I have a few different devices like these.
Ok, so it sounds like it works the same way as my iXpand. The problem is that when you go to the File App, you only see the drive as a location and a popup that does not allow you to manipulate the files and folders as you normally would in the Files App.

This is not how it is represented on Apples web page and iPadOS video and Keynote in September. In these cases, you can access the thumb drive directly from the Files App. It just seems deceptive.....but I might be missing something.

I understand that if you buy the lightning adapter You can get it to work, but that’s not how Apple is advertising this feature. Frustrating.

BTW - I understand that it works as advertised with the Pro, which has USB-C, but the the Apple advertisements and video I saw featured regular iPads with lightning connectors.
 

sparksd

macrumors 68030
Jun 7, 2015
2,667
1,620
Seattle WA
Ok, so it sounds like it works the same way as my iXpand. The problem is that when you go to the File App, you only see the drive as a location and a popup that does not allow you to manipulate the files and folders as you normally would in the Files App.

This is not how it is represented on Apples web page and iPadOS video and Keynote in September. In these cases, you can access the thumb drive directly from the Files App. It just seems deceptive.....but I might be missing something.

I understand that if you buy the lightning adapter You can get it to work, but that’s not how Apple is advertising this feature. Frustrating.

BTW - I understand that it works as advertised with the Pro, which has USB-C, but the the Apple advertisements and video I saw featured regular iPads with lightning connectors.
The problem lies with the Lightning port and its Apple proprietary interface that vendors had to develop apps to support for their drives - the vendors have not made new devices that support the new Files interface in iOS 13. The USB-C port iPads are different in that the USB-C interface is a standard, not Apple proprietary. Apple was showing what was possible, not what was actual.
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,310
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The problem lies with the Lightning port and its Apple proprietary interface that vendors had to develop apps to support for their drives - the vendors have not made new devices that support the new Files interface in iOS 13. The USB-C port iPads are different in that the USB-C interface is a standard, not Apple proprietary. Apple was showing what was possible, not what was actual.
Thanks. You have been very helpful, and what you say makes sense. So, basically, we need to wait for a vendor to sell a thumb drive that works with the proprietary lightning interface and the Files App.

I agree that Apple was showing what is possible rather than actual, but it does feel somewhat misleading. The ads and video clips seem to indicate that you can use your existing lightning drive, which is not the case.
 

sparksd

macrumors 68030
Jun 7, 2015
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1,620
Seattle WA
Thanks. You have been very helpful, and what you say makes sense. So, basically, we need to wait for a vendor to sell a thumb drive that works with the proprietary lightning interface and the Files App.

I agree that Apple was showing what is possible rather than actual, but it does feel somewhat misleading. The ads and video clips seem to indicate that you can use your existing lightning drive, which is not the case.
Yeah, it is misleading. I'm a little surprised that vendors haven't produced anything yet. I still use a couple of storage devices with their own apps on my 10.5 Pro but my choices are so much greater for my USB-C 12.9 Pro.

This is my favorite on the Lightning side. I use it with a 400GB uSD card and the associated app is the best of any I've used - it interfaces well with a number of other apps for sharing/copying/saving files and large video files stream effortlessly with it:

uSD Lightning Card Reader
 
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