By Jason Snell
December 2, 2016 10:05 AM PT
Transferring audio files from an SD card to an iOS device with FlashAir
There were some podcasters at the Úll conference in Ireland last month, and at one point when we were talking shop I complained again about how iOS doesn’t support files on external storage devices that aren’t photos or videos.
This means that if I travel to record a live podcast using a multi-track recorder like the Zoom H6, I have to bring a Mac with me to offload the files. Oh, sure, I can edit a podcast on iOS with ease, but how to get the files over there?
One of the people at Úll—I believe it was Elias—suggested I try the Toshiba FlashAir Wi-Fi SD card. There have been many Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards—I used an Eye-Fi for years—but this one has an iOS app that actually lets you select any file on the card and open it in any app.
There are a bunch of caveats, as you might expect. The FlashAir app isn’t particularly elegant, but it’s functional. The functionality to open a file in another app via the share sheet is off by default, so you have to turn it on. Wi-Fi cards can suck battery, though the FlashAir turns off its Wi-Fi functions after a few minutes if they’re not being used.
But the upside is tremendous! With this approach I can travel somewhere with only an iOS device and my portable recording set-up, record a live audio session, import those files to my iOS device, and then edit and post that audio session, all from iOS.
Now, this doesn’t get Apple off the hook—its card-reader accessory should really be able to read other file types, and more generally iOS should be able to connect to storage devices and let you see the files, whether they’re photos or Word documents. But it closes another gap for my own iOS-based podcast workflow, and so I’m excited about that.
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