Connecting USB to an iPad: 5 Steps (with Pictures)

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Connecting USB to an iPad: 5 Steps (with Pictures)
Connecting USB to an iPad: 5 Steps (with Pictures)

This wikiHow teaches you how to use an adapter to connect your USB devices to your iPad. For example, this allows you to connect a digital camera directly to your iPad to view or transfer photos. Not all devices are supported when connecting to an iPad.


Connect USB to iPad Step 1

Step 1. Check your USB device's documentation to see if it is supported by the iPad

Not all USB devices are supported with the Apple Camera Connector or other adapters.

Connect USB to iPad Step 2

Step 2. Purchase a Lightning to USB female adapter

This can be a Lightning to USB camera adapter, or an OTG cable. Apple sells its own model, but there are other options as well.

Older iPads use a 30-pin connection that requires a different type of adapter, but Apple no longer sells these in their stores

Connect USB to iPad Step 3

Step 3. Plug the Lightning end of the adapter into the iPad

This is the male end of the adapter.

Connect USB to iPad Step 4

Step 4. Connect your USB device to the USB port of the adapter

This can be a USB drive, camera or SD card, for example.

Connect USB to iPad Step 5

Step 5. Turn on your device

  • If your device is a camera, the Photos app will launch automatically and show the Import tab, allowing you to browse the photos/videos on your device. You can tap Import all, or specific items, to import your content. Then tap Import to transfer them to your iPad. If you prefer not to use Photos, you can also find your photos and videos in the files app.
  • If your device is a USB drive, you can find your files in the Files app. If files are compressed, you can automatically extract the photos by pressing the zip folder.
  • If the device is not supported an error will appear:
  • “The attached volume appears to be invalid.” This appears if you connect a flash drive that does not use a readable format.

    • “The connected USB device is not supported.” This means that the device will not work with the adapter.
    • “Accessory not available: The connected accessory is consuming too much power.” This means that the device is using too much power to work with the iPad. You can fix this by connecting the device to an external power source (such as a wall outlet). You can also use another USB drive that uses less power.
  • If you experience further problems, restart your iPad and reconnect the device.


  • If you are trying to connect a USB flash drive to the iPad Camera Connector, make sure the flash drive is formatted as a FAT volume. The iPad Camera Connector will not read USB flash drives in any other format.
  • You must be running iOS 9.3 or later to use the Apple USB 3 Camera Adapter.
  • If you have a USB-A/Lightning key, you don't need an adapter as you can plug it directly into your iPad. You can view photos in the Files app or in the USB drive specific app if there is one.

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