Update as of 2019:
Apple has released iPadOS which now supports USB drive reading natively! All you need is a USB-C/Lightning to USB-A adapter and you’re good to go using the new Files app.
In this modern era, why isn’t there a way to transfer files from a USB drive to an iPad without jailbreaking? Fortunately, there is a workaround to import files to the iPad.
Things that you need are:
- An iPad
- A 30-pin/Lightning to USB Camera adapter (USD30)
- iZip Free (Application — Free on the app store)
- A USB drive
- A PC/Mac
Now that you have everything you need, let’s start transfering files.
Firstly, you will need to plug your USB into your PC/Mac. Next, create a folder name DCIM on the drive. In that folder, create a subfolder named ie 900APPLE.
After that, compress (zip) all the files in the USB drive or only the ones you need to transfer. Change the extension of the compressed file (*.zip) to *.raw and move the file into the folder named 900APPLE.
You should have something like this:
(ex. only) D: (USB DRIVE)/DCIM / 900APPLE / “compressed file name”.raw /
Now connect your USB through the USB Camera Adapter to your iPad. You should see the app Photos launched and asking you whether to import any photos. Import the only white photo you’ve seen.Open iZip. Go to photo library and select then zip the white photo you’ve just added. The compressed (zip) file should be named as PhotoArchive. Unzip the file. To unzip, just tap on the file and press Extract All. Now you should be able to find a raw file in a folder called Photo Archive. Rename it to something like “USB.zip”. Extract all your files and you’re done!
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to export files to your USB drive other than jailbreaking your iPad. The above method that i mentioned is probably the best way to import your files to your iPad without jailbreaking. This method would not work on an iPhone or an iPod Touch.
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