Transfer Photos from a USB Flash Drive to an iPad

Apr 8, 2011 - 17 Comments


With the help of the iPad Camera Connection Kit, you can fool your iPad into thinking a connected USB flash drive is a camera or SD card, this lets you pull pictures from the device and onto your iPad. Cool huh?

Here’s how to do this:

  • Connect the USB flash drive to your Mac
  • Create a folder in the root directory of the Flash Drive called “DCIM”
  • Drop the images you want to transfer from the USB key to the iPad into that DCIM directory
  • Plug the USB flash drive into your iPad via the Camera Connection Kit
  • You can now access the photos from the iPad as usual!

This idea comes from 52Tiger, who notes this is a good way to move images to the iPad from a Mac that the iPad isn’t synced to. Apparently his iPad refused to recognize an 8GB USB flash drive due to insufficient power to operate the usb key, so keep this in mind if you are running into any troubles.

52Tiger is on a roll recently with iPad camera connection kit hacks, like connecting an old ADB keyboard to the iPad for some retro typing awesomeness.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Dianne says:

    Im going on holiday soon and want to copy some photos off a usb stick over there. Can I use this and just plug it into my ipad? Or do I need to use it with a laptop first. Its a bit confusing. I wont have any access to a computer, so want to know how I can just copy the photos straight off the stick some how. Thanks.

  2. Ira says:

    Ipad pro does not open card automatically, morover, it does not recognize it. What do i do?

  3. Patty says:

    Can you use the camera connection kit to download documents from a flashdrive to the iPad?

  4. Ian says:

    First transfer your Apple products to the trashcan. Purchase a Nexus 7, a $2 cable from a reputable online seller then sit back and laugh.

  5. Angie Perry says:

    Question: how do i transfer photos from my iPad’s Photostream to the flash drive. I’ve connected the flashdrive to the iPad with a connector; but I don’t know how to do a “Save As” to the Flash Drive. Is this possible to do.

  6. Dana says:

    When I plug in the adapter/flash drive to my iPad it says, “requires too much power, cannot download.” Any thoughts?

  7. Greg says:

    Nothing works for me !!

  8. Leon says:

    Does this download from the card to the ipad(3 in my case) alter the quality/resolution of the pictures during the download?

  9. Jules says:

    mine used to transfer the photos but now I get the insufficiant power message. Same set just stopped working.

  10. […] Transfer Photos from a USB Flash Drive to an iPad Apr 8, 2011 … Transfer Photos from a USB Flash Drive to an iPad. […]

  11. judith says:

    can I move photos from my flash drive to my I phone with my USB cable?.. thanks for any help. Judi

  12. Doesn’t work here (iOS 4.3.1). iPhone on the iPad just shows a camera icon alongside the message “No photos to import”. I put several JPG files into the DCIM folder. iPhoto on the Mac starts automatically (so the DCIM folder was created correctly) but also shows no photos to import.
    So, there seem to be some restrictions regarding the filenames of the photos inside the DCIM folder I guess.
    Anyone any suggestions?
    Also, for movies, try creating a folder named 100VIDEO inside your DCIM folder and put the (iPad-compatible-)video files inside that 100VIDEO folder…

    • Avo says:

      File names must be exactly 8 characters (not counting the extension), e.g. IMG00001.jpg. Then it should work.

  13. […] any difficulty in following the above steps then feel free to ask in the comment section below. [Via] […]

    • joaq says:

      how do you •Create a folder in the root directory of the Flash Drive called “DCIM”
      im new at this if you can please guide me step by step



  14. Alan says:

    I’ve heard of this also for putting movies onto the iPad. Say you are on a trip and want 64G of movies with you. Put them in the DCIM directory of the drive. Then, when you plug in, select which ones to sync in and it brings them over.

    Haven’t tried it yet myself though.

  15. Borat says:

    I LIKE!

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