6 Best Lightning flash drives for iPhones and iPads

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Flash drives provide a convenient way to transfer files between two devices very quickly. With the introduction of technologies such as USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, this transfer speed has only increased, meaning that even with the added option of cloud storage, flash drives are still the preferred choice by many.

Fortunately, thanks to Apple’s dominance in the tech world, flash drive manufacturers have more or less been forced to produce flash drives that not only support various iterations of USB but also Apple’s own proprietary Lightning port.

This guide looks at the features of the Lightning port and then compares the best Lightning drives on the market, allowing you to make a more informed decision when it comes to purchasing a flash drive for your iPhone or iPad.

Budget
budget-Lightning-flash-drive-for-iPhone-and-iPad
RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2 in 1 SD Card Reader
4.6/5.0
Capacity: 64GB
Construction: Metal casing, metal swivel cover
Low price with the option of expandable storage.
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Best Value
best-value-Lightning-flash-drive-for-iPhone-and-iPad
HooToo Lightning Flash Drive
4.6/5.0
Capacity: 64GB, 128GB
Construction: Metal casing, metal cover
Compact design, durable cover, and a great app, includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer.
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Top Pick
top-pick-Lightning-flash-drive-for-iPhone-and-iPad
SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive
4.8/5.0
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Construction: Metal casing, flexible connector
Best app, innovative design, and excellent storage options.
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Lightning connection for flash drives

When it comes to transferring data via a Lightning drive, it is important to note that speed can vary depending on the device. For years the Lightning connector was only capable of transferring data at a speed of around 25-35Mb/s, which is the speed of USB 2.0. Although this isn’t very fast by today’s standards, it was fine at the time because the Lightning connector had the advantage of being far more compact as well as having a reversible design.

Nowadays though, the connector is capable of speeds of up to 5Gbps which is the same speed you get from USB 3.0 and Gen-1 USB-C connectors. This does mean that compared to Gen-2 USB-C and especially Thunderbolt 3, Lightning is significantly slower, however, many USB-C flash drives only use a Gen-1 connection, so the disadvantage isn’t really an issue.

What to look for in a Lightning flash drive

When it comes to choosing a flash drive, there a few things worth checking before committing to a device. The first and most obvious thing to check for is that the device has enough storage to meet your needs. Generally, you should always go larger than you think you need to as you may decide to use the device for more than you originally intended to down the line.

If you are mainly going to use the device for storing photos and videos then this will be another good reason to go large on the capacity. This is because smartphone cameras are improving every year, meaning that file sizes are only getting larger.

A good flash drive will also include some decent security features as well. The most common feature is password protection. This really is a must have as it protects your data in the event that someone gets their hands on your device. In that scenario, the worst they could do is simply format the device. Some high-end drives also include fingerprint scanners but this is quite rare.

You should make sure the drive has a decent level of durability and uses strong materials such as metal for its casing. You will likely be transporting the device around a lot, meaning it will be prone to the odd drop or impact from time to time. As such, you will want to make sure you have a device that can handle this sort of punishment without getting damaged.

Best Lightning flash drives for iPhone and iPad Comparison Table

Make and ModelCapacityConstructionPrice Check
Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash drive32GB, 64GB, 128GBMetal casing, rubber carry caseCheck Price
SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GBMetal casing, flexible connectorCheck Price
HooToo Lightning Flash Drive64GB, 128GBMetal casing, metal coverCheck Price
iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash Drive128GBMetal casing, metal swivel coverCheck Price
RAVPower Lightning USB 3.0 Flash Drive32GB, 64GB, 128GBMetal casing, flexible connectorCheck Price
RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2 in 1 SD Card Reader64GBMetal casing, metal swivel coverCheck Price

1. Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash drive

Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash driveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0

Kingston has become one of the most respected brands for peripherals and their Bolt flash drive is a perfect example of why that is.

Capacity

There are three versions of the Bolt available at the moment including a 32GB version, 64GB version, and 128GB version. This gives you a decent range of options to choose from when deciding on capacity, however, it is surprising not to see a 256GB version available.

Construction

The Kingston Bolt is really well built. It has an all-metal design and a sleek form factor, meaning it is both durable and stylish. It is also fairly compact making it easy to transport, whether in a bag or pocket.

The device also comes with a rubber carry case. This case acts as an extra layer of protection for the device, essentially adding a level of shock-proofing to the Bolt. It is also equipped with a keyring to make transporting the device even easier.

Software

The software features for this device come in the form of an aptly named Bolt app. When it comes to apps for flash drives, the Bolt app is one of the best. It is not only extremely user-friendly but it is also packed with features that many other apps don’t include.

Like most storage apps, it gives you the option to backup and transfer files from your phone to the drive. On top of this though, you have the option to use the app to capture photos and videos and save them directly to the drive, saving you the hassle of having to transfer them later. The camera app is apparently quite slow though, so this is something to bear in mind if your interested in that feature.

There is also built-in password protection and the option to use Touch ID to unlock the device if you are using an older iPhone. One massive let down about this device, however, is the fact that there are no security features available when the drive is plugged into a computer. This is a major flaw in an otherwise perfect drive in terms of software.

Connectivity

There isn’t much to say when it comes to the connectors on this device. As expected, it Bolt is equipped with a Lightning port for use with an iPhone or iPad and a USB-A 3.0 port of use with a computer.

This isn’t a big deal as other ports aren’t really necessary on this device and as a bonus, the USB port is 3.0, meaning file transfers to your computer shouldn’t take long. Also, given how sleek this device is, it would be a shame to have ruined its appearance with any extra unnecessary ports.

Almost perfect. The only real criticism of this drive is the fact that it doesn’t offer any password protection when in use with a computer. This puts your files at risk if someone finds or steals the drive.

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

2. SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive (Top Pick)

SanDisk iXpand Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5.0

SanDisk is probably the first name that comes to mind when talking about flash drives. They are renowned for their expertise in flash storage devices and the iXpand shows that perfectly.

Capacity

The iXpand is quite simply the best device in this guide when it comes to capacity as there is an option for everyone. It is also great to see a 256GB version available as drives of this capacity are rarely seen.

256GB might seem like overkill but with iOS becoming more powerful by the year, the need for more storage is greater than ever. Nowadays, creatives can do a fair bit of photo and video editing on an iPhone or iPad, meaning the demand for higher capacity drives is only increasing. If you are someone who falls into this category, the iXpand could, therefore, be the way to go.

Construction

The iXpand has a metal casing with a semi-flexible hinge that connects the Lightning connector to the rest of the device. This is a pretty unique design but it actually works rather well as it allows to the Lightning connector to be tucked out of harm’s way when not in use.

The downside to this design, however, is the fact that greatly increases the size of the device. There is also no protection for the USB port at the other end, which is a shame. The hinge does remove the need for a case or cover though, which may be a bonus for you.

Software

The iXpand has its own compatible mobile app which can be used to transfer files across devices and back them up. These are basic requirements for a flash drive but having an app at least provides you with a user-friendly interface to use. The app also allows for video playback directly from the device which is a nice feature.

There is also built-in password protection and unlike on the Kingston Bolt, this is available when the device is connected to a computer as well. This is done using by creating a Vault folder that is then accessed on each device to encrypt and decrypt files.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, The iXpand only includes a Lightning connector and a single USB-A port. Although there are no other ports on this device, it isn’t really an issue as usually the only other addition manufacturers usually make is an SD card reader. This is something that would never have been included on this device, despite it possibly having room for one, as it would make the 256GB version an unnecessary purchase for a lot of people.

Despite some minor issues in terms of design, this drive is an excellent option, especially if you are a power user wanting to get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Construction: Metal casing, flexible connector
Software: iXpand mobile app, password protection
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1
The Pros
Excellent capacity options
Should fill the needs of most users
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
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
The Cons
Fairly large for a flash drive
No cover for the USB port
No fingerprint scanner
Only includes the bare minimum

3. HooToo Lightning Flash Drive (Best Value)

HooToo Lightning Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0

Unlike the previous two devices on this list, the HooToo Lightning drive is a fairly unknown entity. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a capable drive though, as it offers plenty of features that have helped it cement its place among the best Lightning drives on the market.

Capacity

The capacity options for the HooToo drive are rather limited with only a 64GB version and a 128Gb version available. The positive here though is that in today’s market, these capacities are the two most popular, so the drive should still meet the needs of most people when it comes to capacity.

The lack of options may be due to the fact that HooToo is a smaller company and they simply don’t shift as many products as brands such as SanDisk and Kingston. If this is the case then more versions may be released at a later date if this drive continues to grow in popularity.

Construction

The design and construction of the HooToo Lightning drive are what really allow this device to hold its own with the more renowned drives on this list. It has an all-metal design and it even includes a stylish metal cover to protect the Lightning connector. The drive is also fairly sleek with the cover being the only sizeable part of the device.

The only downside to this device is that the USB port is exposed. You could also argue that without a rubber shell of any kind the drive isn’t very shockproof, however, the metal casing should provide enough durability to cope with most impacts, albeit, at the expense of some scratches.

Software

The HooToo Lightning drive has its own dedicated streaming app which allows you to stream music and video directly from the drive rather than your iPhone. This is a great feature to have if you are someone who prefers to download music and video rather than use a streaming service, as it frees up space on your iPhone or iPad for other things. You can also use the app for more basic functions such as file transfers and backups.

One thing that is unclear about the HooToo drive though, is whether or not it has any password protection. The most likely explanation is that the password protection comes is built into the app but this hasn’t been specified.

Connectivity

Like most of the devices on this list, the HooToo Lightning drive is equipped with a Lightning connector and a USB-A connector. As the device is so compact there isn’t really any room for anything else and therefore it is no surprise to see that there are no other connectors or SD card slots on this device.

The HooToo Lightning drive is an excellent little device that keeps up with the bigger players in this space remarkably well. There is potentially a huge downside to this device though, as there are no reports of the drive including any built-in password protection.

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

4. iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash Drive

iDiskk USB 3.0 Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5.0

The iDiskk Lightning drive might not have some of the more interesting features of the more premium drives, but if you are looking for a simple flash drive that will get the job done without any gimmicks, this could be the one for you.

Capacity

The device comes in two different versions including a 64Gb version and a 128Gb version. These capacities should cover the needs of most people, however, if you are a serious power user you will probably have to consider something else.

Again, the lack of options is probably due to the company being a lot smaller than the likes of SanDisk or Kingston. This means that if the popularity of the iDiskk drive increases enough, more versions could become available in the future.

Construction

The build quality of this device is pretty good. It has an all-metal design that includes a swivel cover to protect the connectors. Although the metal casing gives the device a decent level of durability, the cover is only able to protect one connector at a time which seems like a bit of a design flaw.

Generally, USB-A connectors don’t require as much protection as they are quite large and designed in a way that doesn’t leave pins exposed. This doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to damage though and a significant impact could potentially make the connector unusable.

Software

The software aspects of this device are surprisingly good with the drive having its own dedicated mobile app. Its called iDiskk Pro and it offers many of the features found on the other apps mentioned in this guide.

This means that aside from being able to backup files and transfer them between devices, you can also use the app to take photos and record video. Doing so allows you to save the files straight to the drive, freeing up space on your phone. As good a feature as this is, it does mean that the drive needs to be connected to your phone, which could become rather annoying after a while.

The drive also has built-in password protection and can be set to unlock with Touch ID as well. Surprisingly, Touch ID integration is a fairly rare thing for Lightning drives so it’s great to see it implemented on this device.

Connectivity

Following the trend of the other devices on this list so far, the iDiskk drive has one Lightning connector and one USB-A connector. Given the size and design of this device, it isn’t surprising to see only two connectors on this device, however, they could have potentially added a MicroSD card slot on the side. This would have allowed for expandable storage, potentially attracting more buyers.

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

5. RAVPower USB 3.0 Lightning Flash Drive

RAVPower USB 3.0 Lightning Flash DriveView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5.0

The RAVPower Lightning drive shares many aspects of its design and features with the SanDisk iXpand drive. It is, however, slightly cheaper so if the price tag of the SanDisk is putting you off, this may be a good alternative.

Capacity

There are currently three versions of the RAVPower Lightning drive available. These are a 32GB version, a 64GB version, and a 128GB version. This gives you a great selection of capacities to choose from and for most people and unless you are a real power user, there should be an option that will suit your requirements.

Construction

The design of this device is where the similarities between this drive and the iXpand are most evident. It uses a metal casing for both connectors and these are connected to each other via a thick flat cable. This design is very reminiscent of the iXpand, although the use of a cable rather than a hinge gives the drive a lot more versatility.

One of the main downsides to this device though is that both connectors are exposed. Unlike on the iXpand, the Lightning connector on this device is left completely exposed, meaning that it could be prone to damage if dropped or knocked. The cable is also less durable than the hinge mechanism used on the iXpand.

Software

The RAVPower Lightning drive also has its own app that can be used to backup or transfer files between devices. Like some of the better apps on this list, it also has an in-app camera that can be used to capture photo and video which is then saved directly to the flash drive.

Unfortunately, it is unclear as to whether the drive has any built-in password protection. It seems unlikely that it would include so many other good features but leave such a fundamental one out, however, it wouldn’t be the first drive on this list to do so. The chances are that password protection comes with the app, but it hasn’t been specified so bear this in mind if you are thinking of purchasing this drive.

Connectivity

There are just two connectors on the RAVPower Lightning drive, a Lightning connector, and a USB-A connector. This is the expected minimum requirement of a Lightning drive so it is no surprise to see both connectors on this device. The drive is quite large though and considering there is no 256GB version, an SD card slot for expandable storage would have been a nice inclusion.

A nice drive with a decent app and an innovative design. It is rather large though and there is a chance that the device has no password protection which would be a huge downside.

amazon

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

6. RAVPower 64GB iPhone Flash Drive 2 in 1 SD Card Reader (Best Budget)

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

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0

The last device on this list also comes from RAVPower. This one, however, has a completely different design as well as a few other features that help it stand out from the rest of the drives in this guide.

Capacity

This device is only available as a 64GB model and the reason for this is because the device offers the option of expandable storage. This flexibility does come at a price though as you will need to purchase any SD cards separately. On the plus side, SD cards are much cheaper than flash drives, so if you need a lot of storage this method could be more beneficial to you.

Construction

The drive has a metal construction with a metal swivel cover, much like the iDiskk drive. As such it is also subject to the same issues as it can only protect one connector at a time. The build quality of this device seems to be slightly superior though and the whole device looks very polished in terms of construction.

One downside to having an all-metal design without a case though is that it can easily become scratched if it is dropped or knocked. This will likely only cause cosmetic damage as metal is generally very durable, but it could still affect the appearance of the device.

Software

The drive is able to use the same iPlugmate app as the previous RAVPower drive. This means with this device you can still backup and transfer files as well as being able to capture photo and video directly to the drive. You can also stream media directly from the device, which will allow you to save time and space.

As it uses the same software as the previous RAVPower drive, there is the possibility that this device also has no password protection. This is unlikely, of course, as password protection is probably included in the app, however, there is no mention of it which is a bit concerning.

Connectivity

Connectivity is where this device triumphs. Like the other drives on this list, The RAVPower 2-in-1 includes a Lightning connector and a USB-A connector. As mentioned before though, this device also has expandable storage and this is made possible through the additional SD card slot.

This gives you the option of potentially having 320GB worth of storage if you buy a 256GB SD card. For most people, this is, of course, overkill but if you are a serious power user then this could be the right device for you.

This device is certainly one of the better drives on this list when it comes to features as it has an excellent app and the option of expandable storage. There are some question marks security though, which could be an issue.

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Tech Specs
Capacity: 64GB (Up to 192GB with SD card)
Construction: Metal casing, metal swivel cover
Software: iPlugmate app
Connectivity: Lightning x 1, USB-A 3.0 x 1, 1 x SD card reader
The Pros
64GB will likely suit most people
Expandable storage option
Durable construction
Includes a swivel cover that protects either of the connectors
User-friendly
The app can be used for backups
Includes a USB-A port for connecting to a computer
Includes an SD card reader for further storage
The Cons
No 32GB version
No 256GB version
The cover can only protect one connector at a time
No fingerprint scanner
0/50 ratings