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How to connect USB stick to iPad

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How to connect USB stick to iPad: Your iPad is chock full of important documents and, to be more comfortable, you would like to create a copy and save it in a safe place, for example a USB flash drive. The problem, though, is that you don’t have the faintest idea of ​​how to accomplish this, as you’ve never had to face the topic before.

How do you say? Did I really guess? Perfect, then take five minutes of your time and dedicate it to reading this guide: below, in fact, I intend to explain you by wire and by sign  how to connect USB stick to iPad to transfer files from one part to another, both by making a direct connection using “special” devices, either by using a computer.

Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this: the instructions I’m going to give you are simple to apply and can be put into practice even by those who, like you, are not very familiar with the world of technology. So, without hesitating further, make yourself comfortable and continue reading this guide: I am sure that the final result will be more than satisfactory. Enjoy your reading and … enjoy your work!

Use a USB-A / USB-C adapter, a Lightning stick or a portable hub

The iPads do not have the classic USB ports that you can find, for example on the computer, but only have a Lightning input or, as regards the iPad Pro models released in 2018, a USB-C input  . If you have purchased a compatible iPad with the latter technology, know that you cannot connect directly the common USB sticks usually used for PC, table readers or other compatible devices, unless you use a USB-C / USB-A adapter  specially designed for the purpose (you can buy them for a few euros, even on Amazon).

Alternatively, there are sticks which, instead of the classic USB A connector, have a USB C connector and therefore can be connected directly to the ports of this type.

Do you have an iPad with only Lightning input? Also in this case, you can connect a storage drive to it in a “direct” way using a  special key equipped with a Lightning connector  (therefore created specifically for Apple devices), or a  portable file hub , that is a Wi-Fi storage device specific for the purpose. Here are some of the best devices of this type, which can be purchased on Amazon.

After getting the device that best suits your needs, you simply need to install its  dedicated app on your iPad (which you can usually find on the App Store) and follow the instructions provided to transfer files from one part to the other.

Unfortunately I cannot give you detailed instructions on each possible case, since Apple does not have a “standard” procedure for moving files on these devices: in principle, what you need to do is start the file manager of the specific app relatively to the storage drive you have, choose whether to transfer files from iPad to stick or vice versa, and follow the procedure shown on the screen to complete the operation.

Connect USB stick to iPad via computer

Aren’t you going to spend money on buying a dedicated adapter or storage device, but still want to connect USB stick to iPad to move files from one side to the other? Then this is the section that best suits your case. In fact, below I am going to show you how to carry out this operation in an “indirect” way, using a computer, the special Lightning / USB-C cable supplied with the iPad and the iTunes software .

If you have a Windows  PC  and you have not yet installed iTunes on your computer, you must perform this operation to ensure that the tablet is correctly recognized by the operating system: to begin with, connected to the Apple website , click on the Download button  to immediately start copying the installation program on your computer and, once this is complete, launch the file you just downloaded (eg  iTunes64setup.exe ).

Once at the initial setup screen, click on the Next button  , remove the check mark from the  Use iTunes as default player for audio files box if you do not intend to use the program as the default player, then click on the  InstallYes  twice and  End and, finally, presses the Accept button  if you intend to share the data of your library with Apple, or  No, thanks otherwise. For further instructions on the iTunes installation procedure on Windows, I invite you to consult my specific guide on the subject .

Once the setup is complete, start the program by calling it from the Start menu  or from the Windows desktop, connect the iPad to the computer via the supplied  USB-A / Lightning (or USB-A / USB-C ) cable and wait for the Authorize button to appear  on the tablet screen: after touching the latter, enter the  security code set on the iPad in the iTunes window and, if you do not intend to complete the first synchronization, close the program.

At this point, also connect the USB stick to the computer  , start  File Explorer , select the Computer / This PC icon   and, from the left bar of the window that opens on the screen, double-click the iPad icon , then move to the folder that contains the files of your interest and  copy them  to the USB stick, whose icon is located in the same bar. If you have difficulty completing the procedure described above, you can refer to the appropriate section of my guide on how to transfer files from tablet to USB stick for further support.

With this method, it is not possible to carry out the reverse step, as this technique does not allow the writing of the files in the iPad’s internal memory: if you need to do this for music, images or videos, I recommend you rely directly to the iTunes program, as I explained in my guide on how to transfer files from PC to iPad .

As for macOS, you can follow the same procedure (without having to install iTunes, which is already present “standard” in the system), but in reality I suggest you refer to the AirDrop transfer system, which I will tell you about in a few paragraphs .

Wireless transfer systems

How do you say? The previous solution failed to satisfy you, as you do not have the Lightning cable or the USB-A / USB-C cable to connect the iPad to the computer? Don’t throw in the towel yet: thanks to some programs designed for wireless transfer, you can move the files of your interest from iPad to USB stick (and vice versa) in a very simple way. Below I am going to show you how to take advantage of two of the best known solutions of this type: AirDrop (available only on Mac) and Send Anywhere .


If you have a Mac , the easiest method of connecting USB stick to iPad using your computer as via  AirDrop , a file transfer feature integrated in both  macOS  and  iOS .

To use it, click on the Go menu located in the Mac menu bar , select the AirDrop item from the proposed menu and, if necessary, activate Bluetooth and / or Wi-Fi using the appropriate button that appears on the screen. Finally, click on the setting  Allow me to be at  to activate file sharing even with those who are not present in the Contacts app .

Once this is done, move to the iPad and call the  Control Center , then touch the AirDrop icon  to activate the function and, in the screen that appears, select the item Contacts only , if the tablet and the computer share the same Apple ID ; otherwise, select the entry  All to make the two devices see each other.

At this point, the game is practically done: open the file you want to transfer on the iPad, tap the Share button  (the square with the arrow upwards) and select the Mac related item  of your interest from the proposed menu. Once done, move to the latter and confirm the will to accept the file by pressing the appropriate button displayed on the screen. Once the transfer is complete, the file is saved in the Downloads folder  .

Finally, you just have to connect the USB stick to the Mac and use the  Finder  to move the file from the Downloads  folder  to the stick in question. If you need further clarification regarding this procedure, I invite you to take a look at my guide on how AirDrop works .


If AirDrop has failed to meet your expectations, you can rely on third-party software that can help you transfer files between the iPad and the USB stick, via your computer. The program that I recommend you try is called SendAnywhere and is an application that, once installed on both your computer and tablet, allows you to send files from one device to another via a simple confirmation code.

SendAnywhere is compatible with the major desktop and mobile platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS) and is also accessible via the Web, where, however, it allows you to upload large files up to 1 GB instead of 20 GB as is the case for applications.

Before going ahead and explaining in detail how to use it, I want to tell you that its free version allows you to upload up to a maximum of  10 GB of data in 48 hours . To bypass this limit and fully unlock the features of the service, you must sign up for a Plus subscription, with prices starting at $ 5.99 / month .

Having made this necessary premise, it’s time to take action: to download SendAnywhere on your computer, connected to the program’s website  and click on the Download button  located under the Windows entry. Once the installation file has been downloaded (eg  SendAnywhereSetup.exe ), start it and click on the Yes,  Install  and  Finish buttons  to complete the setup. As for Mac, you can download the application directly from the  Mac App Store and complete the setup as usual.

At this point, to move the files from the USB stick to the iPad , connect the latter to the computer, start SendAnywhere, click on the Send button  (located at the top left) and, through  File Explorer / Finder , open the USB stick and drag in the program window the file (or files) you are interested in transferring. After that, press the Send button  and write down the  code that appears on the screen.

To finalize it all, install SendAnywhere on the iPad via the App Store , launch the app, grant the necessary permissions for operation by tapping the Allow button several times  , touch the Receive button  and type in the code you wrote down a moment ago: i previously selected files will be immediately transferred to the iPad.

Note : if you are using Windows, you may be asked if you want to authorize Send Anywhere in the system firewall. Please answer affirmatively to the dialog box that is proposed to you.

Carrying out the reverse step, i.e. moving files from iPad to USB stick , is even simpler: open the file you want to move on the tablet, press the Share button  (the square with the arrow pointing up), choose the SendAnywhere option  among those available and, without closing the window, write down the code  that is shown on the screen.

Note: if SendAnywhere does not appear in the sharing options, just tap the button  Others  placed next to the apps available for sharing, move to  ON the lever corresponding to SendAnywhere and tap the button End

To initialize the transfer, move to your computer and, after starting SendAnywhere, enter the code previously noted in the text field located under the entry  Receive and press the Enter  and  Download buttons .

At this point, wait for the transfer to complete (you can view the progress on the iPad screen) and you’re done: the file is automatically saved in the Downloads folder on your  computer. You just have to connect the USB stick  to the latter and move the file on it using  File Explorer / Finder . Easy, isn’t it?