6 Best Flash and Thumb Drives for iPhones

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Flash drives provide a convenient way to store and transfer data across devices, without needing to subscribe to one of the many cloud services vying for your attention. These devices are particularly useful for iPhone users, as Apple has reluctantly refused to include expandable storage on these devices, despite the growing demand for it.

The stumbling block for iPhone users, however, is the fact that Apple has also persisted with its proprietary lightning port, in spite of the apparent advantages of USB-C. This can make choosing a flash drive rather tricky, as not only are your options somewhat limited, but you are also faced with the task of sifting through the cheap knockoffs that seem to pop up every other week.

For these reasons, we have decided to put together this comprehensive guide of the best lightning flash drives that are currently available. Our list includes a variety of different devices, boasting some innovative designs as well as some very useful functionality. Not all of these devices are likely to tickle your fancy, but by the time you reach the end of this guide, we are confident you will have found the right flash drive for you.

Budget
best-budget-flash-drive-for-iphone
RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2-in-1 SD Card Reader
4.7/5.0
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Casing: metal
Low cost, expandable storage.
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Best Value
best-value-flash-drive-for-iphone
HooToo Lightning Flash Drive
4.8/5.0
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Casing: metal
Compact design, excellent companion app.
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Top Pick
top-value-flash-drive-for-iphone
iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash Drive
4.9/5.0
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Casing: metal
Premium design, best feature-set.
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Lightning Flash Drives for iPhone Comparison Table

Make and ModelCapacityConnectivityConstructionPrice
SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GBLightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1Casing: metal
Hinge: plastic
Check Price
Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash drive32GB, 64GB, 128GBLightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1Casing: metal
Carry case: rubber
Check Price
RAVPower Lightning USB 3.0 Flash Drive32GB, 64GB, 128GBLightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1Casing: metal
Cable connector: rubber
Check Price
HooToo Lightning Flash Drive64GB, 128GBLightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1Casing: metal
Cover: metal
Check Price
RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2-in-1 SD Card Reader64GBLightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1, 1 x SD card readerCasing: metal
Swivel cover: metal
Check Price
iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash Drive32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GBLightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1Casing: metal
Swivel cover: metal
Check Price

1. SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive

SanDisk iXpand Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The first product on this list comes from arguably the most famous flash drive manufacturer in the world. SanDisk is well respected for its ability to produce reliable storage devices, and the iXpand Flash Drive is another perfect example of why this is the case.

Capacity

SanDisk has really tried to cater to everyone with this device by offering a wide variety of different capacity options to suit all kinds of use cases. The lower 32GB and 64GB versions are a great choice if you simply need to store some extra music or photos. While the larger 128GB and 256GB options mean this device can also be used for 4k files and even some 3-D video files.

A couple of years ago, 256GB in a flash drive would have been viewed as a little excessive. However, nowadays it is not uncommon to see people editing photos and videos directly on their iPhones, meaning the demand for higher storage capacities is only going to grow.

Connectivity

There are two connectors on the iXpand, a lightning connector, and a traditional USB-A connector. This is the standard setup for most lightning drives, as companies recognize that outside of the iOS ecosystem, not many devices actually use the Lightning connector.

The inclusion of the USB-A connector does make the device a lot larger than you would perhaps want it to be. But at the same time, it gives you the versatility to transfer data between a variety of different devices, without needing to use multiple drives.

Construction

The SanDisk iXpand has a metal casing with a plastic hinge that allows you to fold the lightning connector out of harm’s way when not in use. This is a rather unique design but it works well, as it means you can keep the lightning connector protected without needing to use a case or cover. The hinge does increase the overall size of the device but we think it is a worthwhile trade-off.

The one downside to this device in terms of construction is the fact that the USB-A connector is left completely exposed. Due to the design of this connector and the fact that it is made from metal, it shouldn’t get damaged that easily. However, dirt and other small materials could find their way inside the connector over time, which could eventually cause some issues.

Software

The SanDisk iXpand comes with a companion app which can be downloaded from the App Store. This app can be used to not only transfer files to and from the flash drive but also back them up, meaning that the risk of losing your files is greatly reduced.

The app also allows you to play videos directly from the flash drive itself. This is an excellent feature to have, as it eliminates the hassle of needing to make room on your iPhone just to watch a simple video.

The device also comes with built-in password protection which works on both your iPhone and computer. Not all flash drives are able to offer this level of protection but SanDisk has made it possible by including a special Vault Folder that can be accessed on each of your devices. Essentially, it allows you to encrypt and decrypt the data that is being transferred via the iXpand.

The folder can be set up to work with either a regular password or Touch ID. However, the latter is, of course, unavailable on newer versions of the iPhone due to the lack of a capacitive fingerprint scanner.

The large form factor of the iXpand certainly won’t be for everyone, but there is no denying that this is a seriously impressive flash drive. Not only does it come in a variety of different storage capacities, but it is also full of useful software features, making it an absolute joy to use.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Construction: Casing: metal
Hinge: plastic
Software: iXpand mobile app, password protection
The Pros
Excellent capacity options
Should fill the needs of most users
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Durable construction
The flexible connector increases durability
The connector can be tucked in to avoid damage
User-friendly
The app can be used for backups
Includes password protection
Works with Touch ID
The Cons
Only includes the bare minimum
No expandable storage
Fairly large for a flash drive
No cover for the USB port

2. Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash drive

Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash driveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Kingston is a brand well known for producing some excellent storage devices and other peripherals. The Kingston Bolt has become the company’s go to for a lot of iPhone user’s and thanks to its stylish design and impressive software features it is easy to see why.

Capacity

The Bolt comes in three different versions including a 32GB option, a 64GB option, and a 128GB option. This means that the Bolt is able to cover most user needs, however, you might need to look elsewhere if you plan to store a lot of high-quality movies on your flash drive.

Considering the popularity of this device, it is surprising not to see a 256GB option available. However, this could change in the future as technology progresses and evolves.

Connectivity

As is the case with most lightning drives, the Kingston Bolt features a lightning connector and a USB-A connector. This means transferring files between your devices shouldn’t be an issue, as most devices still include a traditional USB-A port.

If you own a modern MacBook, you might run into issues. However, cheap USB-C to USB-A adapters can be bought pretty easily.

Construction

The Bolt has a very stylish design for a flash drive. Its compact form factor makes it easily portable and you should have no issues carrying it in a small bag or even in your pocket.

The entire device is made from metal making it very durable and unlikely to get damaged from day-to-day impacts. There is also a rubber carry case that comes with the Bolt which adds further protection to the device and prevents it from getting cosmetic scratches.

As both connectors on this device are exposed, we recommend using this carry case whenever possible. The reason for this is because although the casing itself is very durable, the same can’t necessarily be said for the connectors.

Software

The Kingston Bolt comes with the aptly named Bolt app which is available to download from the App Store. This app is quite simply one of the best we’ve come across in the flash drive space, offering a very user-friendly interface, as well as a number of great security features.

As is the case with most storage applications, the Bolt app’s main purpose is to allow you to transfer files between the drive and your device. The app also makes sure to back up any files stored on the drive, meaning you won’t lose anything if your drive becomes damaged or gets lost.

One of the more interesting features of this app is its ability to let you capture photos and videos and save them directly to the drive. This is excellent if you regularly max out the internal storage on your iPhone, and it also saves the hassle of transferring the files later on.

There is also built-in password protection available which makes use of Touch ID. This is less useful if you own one of the newer iPhones but it is still a cool implementation nonetheless.

The big let down of this device from a security perspective, however, is the fact that there is no password protection available when using this device with a computer. For this reason, we recommend that you don’t store any sensitive information on the drive, as it could leave you vulnerable if it finds its way into the wrong hands.

This drive does a lot of things superbly well. It has a great design and enough storage options to suit most needs. However, the notable security flaws are hard to overlook and for this reason, we simply cannot give the Bolt a perfect score.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Construction: Casing: metal
Carry case: rubber
Software: Bolt app, password protection, Touch ID
The Pros
Great capacity options
Should fill the needs of most users
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Durable construction
Compact
Rugged carry case
User-friendly
Feature-rich
Works with Touch ID
The Cons
No 256GB version available
Only includes the bare minimum
No expandable storage
No password protection on PC

3. RAVPower USB 3.0 Lightning Flash Drive

RAVPower USB 3.0 Lightning Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The RAVPower Lightning Flash Drive is essentially a cheaper alternative to the SanDisk iXpand. Having said that, there are some clear differences between the two devices that arguably reflect the gap in price.

Capacity

Just like with the Kingston Bolt, there are three versions of this device available including a 32GB model, a 64GB model, and a 128GB model. This gives you plenty of options to choose from and unless you are a real power user, at least one of these models should suit your needs.

Whether RAVPower decides to add a 256GB version in the future remains to be seen. However, it shouldn’t be ruled out considering how rapidly file sizes are increasing.

Connectivity

The RAVPower Lightning Flash Drive also benefits from having both a lightning connector and a USB-A connector. As mentioned, this is a pretty common setup on lightning drives, but it is still good to see that RAVPower is following the same standard.

As there isn’t a 256GB version of this device available, it would have been nice to see some form of expandable storage built into this drive. A MicroSD card slot, for example, would have been a great addition to this device. We’re nitpicking, of course, but there’s no denying it would have been useful.

Construction

The RAVPower Lightning Flash Drive features a metal casing for both connectors with a flexible cable that links the two of them together. It is very similar to what SanDisk has done with the iXpand drive, however, there are some key differences.

The main difference is that this drive has far more versatility in its design thanks to the cable being able to fold in a number of different ways. The major drawback to this design, however, is that unlike on the iXpand, the lightning connector has been left exposed, making it somewhat prone to damage.

Software

As you would expect, this device also comes with a companion app that you can download from the App Store. For the most part, it works rather well, allowing you to transfer and backup any files on the drive. However, we must say the experience isn’t quite as polished as it is on some other applications.

There is also an in-app camera function available which works in much the same way as the one on the Kingston Bolt app. Despite this being a very useful feature to have, you should note that the control you have over the in-app camera might not be as comprehensive as what you are used to with your go-to camera app.

There is also password protection available for this device which can be set up to work with Touch ID or just a regular password. Having multiple options to choose from is excellent, as it not only enhances the security of the device, but it also means you can make use of the feature regardless of which iPhone you have.

Despite offering a somewhat lackluster design, this device more than makes up for it in terms of software. The companion app isn’t the most user-friendly we’ve come across but it is feature rich and the password protection is among the best in this guide.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Construction: Casing: Metal
Cable connector: rubber
Software: iPlugmate app, password protection
The Pros
64GB will likely suit most people
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Durable construction
The flexible connector increases durability
User-friendly
The app can be used for backups
Works with Touch ID
The Cons
Limited capacity options
Only includes the bare minimum
No expandable storage
Fairly large for a flash drive
No cover for the USB port

4. Best Value: HooToo Lightning Flash Drive

HooToo Lightning Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The HooToo Lightning Flash Drive is a bit of an unknown in the world of compact storage devices. However, thanks to its high-quality construction and decent software features, it is most certainly a worthy addition to this guide.

Capacity

The HooToo Lightning Flash Drive comes in two different capacities including a 64GB model and a 128GB model. This isn’t as much of a selection as we would have liked, but it is important to note that the two options available are among the most in demand at the moment.

The lack of options probably stems from the fact that HooToo is somewhat of a lesser-known company, compared to the likes of SanDisk and Kingston. If this is the case, then other models could become available in the future, once HooToo is a more established name in the industry.

Connectivity

The HooToo Lightning Flash Drive has been equipped with both a lightning connector and a USB-A connector, much like the rest of the devices in this guide. This means you can use the drive with multiple devices, making it rather versatile.

Had the device been bigger, we would have been asking questions as to why there is no SD card slot available. However, due to its compact form factor, there probably isn’t room for one.

Construction

The design and construction of this drive are what really makes this device stand out from the crowd. It has an all-metal construction very reminiscent of the Kingston Bolt. However, unlike with the Bolt, this full metal design also includes a very stylish cap which can be used to protect the lightning connector against accidental drops or impacts.

Despite having such a high-quality construction, there is a chance that this device’s premium appearance won’t last forever. The reason for this is that there is no rubber shell or carry case available, meaning the drive is going to be consistently exposed to objects that could scratch it, such as a set of keys.

Software

The HooToo Lightning Flash Drive has a slightly different companion app to most of the other devices in this guide. It has been marketed as a streaming app and its main purpose is to allow you to play content directly from the drive rather than transferring it to your phone’s internal storage.

Despite the marketing focus on the apps streaming functionality, you also get the ability to back up and transfer files. This feature might not be as glamorous as being able to stream content but it is arguably more useful, depending on how you intend to use the device.

The HooToo Lightning Flash Drive also includes password protection which can be set to work with Touch ID, just like the Kingston Bolt. Again, this feature is less useful if you have one of the latest iPhones and, unfortunately, it is unclear as to whether a regular password can be set up instead.

HooToo has done an amazing job with this device. Not only is it arguably the best-looking flash drive available, but its companion app is also one of the best; providing plenty of useful features. There is a slight issue regarding password protection, but other than that, this is quite simply a remarkable device.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 64GB, 128GB
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Construction: Casing: metal
Cover: metal
Software: Format-friendly streaming app, password protection
The Pros
Great capacity options
Should fill the needs of most users
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Durable construction
Includes a metal cover to protect the Lightning connector
User-friendly
Lets you backup files
Works with Touch ID
The Cons
No 32GB version
No 256GB version
Only includes the bare minimum
No expandable storage
No cover for the USB port

5. Best Budget: RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2-in-1 SD Card Reader

RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2-in-1 SD Card ReaderView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The RAVPower 2-in-1 Lightning Flash Drive is the only device in this guide to feature expandable storage. On top of this, the drive also has a rather premium design, meaning it has plenty to offer in terms of both form and function.

Capacity

The drive only comes in a 64GB version but this is justified as you also get the option to increase the storage capacity by inserting a MicroSD card. This is an excellent feature to include, as it means you can simply buy a new MicroSD card each time you run out of space, rather than buying a new flash drive.

Currently, MicroSD cards can hold up to 1TB of data. However, you should check the compatibility of this drive before purchasing such a high capacity card, as not all devices are compatible.

Connectivity

Aside from the MicroSD card slot, the RAVPower 2-in-1 also comes equipped with a lightning connector and a USB-A connector. This gives the device slightly more versatility compared to the other drives in this guide, as it can double up as an SD card reader as well as a regular flash drive.

This makes the drive a great option for photographers, as most modern cameras require some form of SD card to store images on. Some Android devices also make use of MicroSD cards, meaning you could also use this drive to transfer files to and from an Android phone to your iPhone if need be.

Construction

As mentioned, the RAVPower 2-in-1 has a very premium appearance and this is thanks to its metal construction. The device also comes with a metal swivel cover that has been branded with the company logo. It’s a minimalistic look that works really well for this device, giving you the impression that using it is going to be simple.

One of the downsides to the design, however, is the fact that the swivel cover is only able to protect one connector at a time. As there is no case for this device, it is also prone to receiving cosmetic scratches, meaning that some functional elements have been sacrificed in order to achieve this classy look.

Software

This drive makes use of the same companion app as the other RAVPower drive in this guide. This means you will have the option to backup and transfer files between devices, as well as being able to capture photos and videos directly to the drive.

You can also benefit from the same password protection features on the app, meaning you can set it up to work with Touch ID or a regular password. Media streaming is another option that is available via the app, giving this device one of the most diverse feature-sets of any drive we have looked at.

The RAVPower 2-in-1 Lightning Flash Drive is an excellent looking device with plenty of functionality that proves it isn’t just for show. The inclusion of expandable storage is hugely beneficial and although there are some question marks regarding durability, these are only minor gripes which are easy to overlook.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 64GB
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1, 1 x SD card reader
Construction: Casing: metal
Swivel cover: metal
Software: iPlugmate app
The Pros
64GB will likely suit most people
Expandable storage option
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Includes an SD card reader for further storage
Durable construction
Includes a swivel cover that protects either of the connectors
User-friendly
The app can be used for backups
Works with Touch ID
The Cons
No 32GB version
No 256GB version
The cover can only protect one connector at a time

6. Top Pick: iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash Drive

iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

The iDiskk Lightning Flash Drive is another very premium looking device featuring a swivel cover, rather than a carry case. It is also an Apple Certified product, meaning you can be sure you are getting a quality device for your money.

Capacity

The device comes in a wide variety of different capacities including a 32GB model, a 64GB model, a 128GB model, and even a 256GB model. This is excellent to see from iDiskk as it shows they are really trying to cater to everyone with this device.

There is, however, no expandable storage available on this device, which is somewhat of a shame to see, considering there is room to include it. This isn’t a massive issue, as there are plenty of options available already, but expandable will always be welcomed regardless.

Connectivity

Rather unsurprisingly, the iDiskk Lightning Flash Drive features a lightning connector and a USB-A connector. This means you will be able to use the drive with a variety of different devices, not just your iPhone.

If you own a modern Macbook, however, you may need to invest in an adapter, as there is no USB-C port on this drive. Fortunately, adapters are usually very reasonably priced, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Construction

The iDiskk Lightning Flash Drive has a very high-quality design that rivals some of the most premium devices in this space. The entire device is made from metal including the swivel cover and the whole thing feels very solid and durable.

Unfortunately, however, the device does suffer from the fact that only one connector can be protected at a time. This is pretty disappointing, as it means regardless of how solid the metal casing may be, an impact directly to an exposed connector could still damage the device.

Software

The drive comes with its own iDiskk Pro app which can be downloaded from the App Store. The app features many of the same functions as the other apps in this guide, allowing you to backup and transfer files between devices, as well as capture photos and videos directly to the drive. There is also built-in password protection available which can be set up to use Touch ID or just a regular password.

As soon as you connect the drive to your phone, you are prompted to open the app which automatically shows you the files that are stored on the drive. The app has a very simple design, but this will likely be preferred as it makes it very easy to understand and navigate.

This drive really isn’t far off being perfect. Thanks to its wide variety of different capacity options and excellent companion app, the device is hard to fault from a functionality perspective. However, there will always be question marks about the use of a swivel cover, and the lack of a carry case is also rather disappointing.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
Construction: Casing: metal
Swivel cover: metal
Software: iDiskk Pro app
The Pros
Decent capacity options
Includes the most popular capacities
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Durable construction
Includes a swivel cover that protects either of the connectors
Includes password protection
Works with Touch ID
The app is very feature-rich
The Cons
Only includes the bare minimum
No expandable storage
The cover can only protect one connector at a time
0/50 ratings