iStick – USB Flash Drive for iPhone and iPad

When I upgraded my iPad Mini I made a huge mistake by not checking the memory size of my existing device. Consequently I got home and discovered too late that I had purchased one with only 16gb. I was (and am) distraught over having to judiciously manage the apps and the space they use in order to be able to do what I want and need to do. If only there was a way to increase the capacity of an iPad.

Well, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that successfully funded last June there now is a way. Effectively it is a memory stick that has the normal USB connection at one end and a slider reveals a lightning connector at the other. I pledged for a 32gb version and it was delivered yesterday.

It looks and feels like any other flash drive and using the USB end it operates exactly the same as any other drive. It was detected by my Macs without issue and allowed me to transfer files between them without issue, something that these days I would normally use Dropbox for.

Of course it is not that functionality that I wanted the iStick for. Sliding the button on the iStick reveals a lightning connector which allows it to be plugged into either an iPad or and iPhone. You can only access the memory stick through the free app. You can see both in action below:

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From the app you are able to view content such as photos and watch movies, crucially without having to copy them onto the device. The movie is slow to start but once it gets going worked fine. You can also copy other documents onto the stick and using the iOS share sheet open the file in another app, such as opening a spreadsheet in Excel. This, however, does copy the file to your device so takes up additional space.

There is also the ability to backup your contacts and pictures. I’m not sure of the value of the former as they are synced across multiple places anyway but being able to get photos off and onto the stick is really useful. Unfortunately while you can copy them onto the iStick you cannot then delete them. I would much prefer a move option.

So that’s the good. The bad is the the companion app is a bit clunky and not terribly intuitive, it really needs some work. Not only because it is essential for the useful operation but also because it is incomplete compared to what was agreed as part of the funding stretch goals which were as follows:

$1.0M: Airplay/Subtitle support in movie player. API for 3rd party apps (Unlocked!)
$750K: Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive Integration (Unlocked!)
$500K: Passcode/Password functionality for iStick (Unlocked!)

To date none have been delivered but it’s early days yet and as long as these are I will be happy with the iStick and maybe it will save me having to replace my iPad earlier than I would have otherwise.