Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Transferring SD card data to iOS, fast

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

For more than a year I’ve been trying to give myself the maximum amount of travel flexibility by finding ways to record and edit podcasts on iOS, so I don’t need to bring a laptop with me just to make podcasts. Ferrite has solved my editing needs, and I’ve found a few ways to record audio locally while using iOS.

The big challenge has been iOS’s sad and continued lack of support for external storage devices. When I’m traveling with only my iPhone and iPad, I can record audio on an external device—an SD-card recorder from Zoom, usually—but how do I get those files onto my iOS device? iOS can’t see the contents of a standard SD card.

A year ago I extolled the virtues of using a Wi-Fi enabled SD card to transfer files. And while that works, the problem is that the kind of Wi-Fi that’s embeddable in a tiny SD card is slow. Painfully slow. Especially when transferring large audio files.

This year, though, I found a new device that solved my problems. It’s the Kingston MobileLite G3, a peculiar little multi-tool of a product that can charge iOS devices, act as a mobile router to convert hotel Ethernet into Wi-Fi, and more. But there’s only one feature that I really use: its onboard SD card slot.

Like the Wi-Fi-enabled SD card I previously used, you have to download a custom app in order to view the contents of the SD card and transfer it over to your iPad or iPhone. The difference is speed. The MobileLite’s Wi-Fi transfer speeds are vastly better than those from the tiny SD card.

It’s still a little bit silly that, now that iOS has a file-management app, you still can’t plug in a mass storage device via a USB adapter and copy files off of it directly. But until Apple relents—or if it never does—the MobileLite G3 gives me a fast way to transfer audio files on the road.

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