Q. Is it possible to connect a USB thumb drive to an iPad?

A. The iPad doesn’t have a USB port so you may think you can’t use a USB stick but actually you can.

First you get an Apple USB 3.0 Camera Connection Kit for Lightning, which gives you USB 3.0 A type port for all Lightning-port iPads and iPhones. This is available directly from Apple or an Apple dealer

Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter

The USB stick will plug directly into the USB port on the adapter. There is an additional Lightning port for powering the iPad.

Apple Lightning to USB3 camera adapter, end view
End view with USB A and Lightning ports

If you have IOS 13, it directly supports external storage in IOS
 How to use external storage on iPad and iPhone with iOS 13

If you have an earlier IOS version, selected apps support external storage from within the apps but you don’t have direct access to the external storage from IOS.

If your USB device draws more than the average amout of power from the USB port, and it complains of insufficient device power, then you may need to add a USB hub that has an AC power adapter between the adapter and the USB device.

There are a few USB memory sticks that have a built in Lightning plug as well as a USB Type A plug.

SanDisk iXpand Lightning USB memory stick
SanDisk iXpand Lightning USB memory stick

Q&A is a compilation of questions we have answered around the Web

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