The iPad Pro now uses USB-C, but there are other iPad models that still use Apple's Lightning connector (not to mention a few billion iPhones as well), and these can also use USB storage devices with a suitable adapter. You can use a simple memory stick with Apple's Lightning-to-USB Camera Adapter, which costs £19 (inc. VAT)/$19. Apple also provides an SD Card reader for Lightning devices for £29 (inc. VAT)/$29.
However, the power supply from the Lightning connector is fairly modest, and we found that our old Lightning-equipped iPad needed a bit of a boost in order to use some of the storage devices reviewed here. There's a newer version of this dongle, the Lightning To USB 3 Camera Adapter, that solves this problem, although it's more expensive, at £39 (inc. VAT)/$39. This includes both a USB-A connector, and a Lightning pass-through connector that can charge the iPad and provide extra power for your USB storage devices.
£39 (inc. VAT) / $39
The power supply from an iPad's USB-C or Lightning connector should be adequate for smaller devices such as memory sticks, but may not be enough for larger hard drives and solid-state drives. Apple's solution for the iPad Pro is its recently updated USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. This provides a pass-through power supply for the iPad itself, along with a USB-A port for your external drive, and an HDMI port for an external display.
If you don't need the pass-through power option then Apple's USB-C to USB Adapter will let you connect existing USB 2.0/3.0 devices for just £19 (inc. VAT)/$19, and there's a USB-C to SD Card Reader for £39 (inc. VAT)/$39.
£75 (inc. VAT) / $69
It's now owned by Western Digital, but G-Tech has always specialised in high-performance drives for professional and creative users, and its Mobile SSD is an impressively rugged, high-performance drive specifically designed for digital media and content creation.
Available with 500GB, 1TB or 2TB capacities, the Mobile SSD claims to provide a maximum speed of 560MB/s for fast file transfers. It's small enough to carry in a jacket pocket, but is designed for tough, outdoor conditions, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The aluminium casing can cope with being dropped from a height of 3m, and G-Tech even claims that it can survive crushing from weights of up to 454kg (1000lbs). The drive has a single USB-C interface, but G-Tech includes cables for both USB-C and USB-A, so you can use it with a variety of mobile devices and computers.
From £138 (inc. VAT) / $110 - 500GB
There are dozens of different memory sticks in Kingston's DataTraveler range, many of which offer encryption and other features that are specifically aimed at business users. Most of these still use the older USB-A interface, but the microDuo 3C hedges its bets by including both USB-A and USB-C connectors, which will allow it to work with an iPad Pro as well as most laptop and desktop computers. It's available with 32GB, 64GB or 128GB storage, and if you're using an iPhone or iPad that has a Lightning connector then there's a similar model called the Bolt Duo that has Lightning and USB-A connectors.
From £9.59 (inc. VAT) / $20 for 32GB
LaCie seems to have invented a new type of drive with its DJI Copilot. Described as a BOSS drive (Backup On-Set Solution), the sturdy Copilot is very much designed for working in outdoor locations, and packs in an impressive range of connectivity features. The 2TB drive provides plenty of storage for backing up important files and includes Lightning, USB-C, and USB-A connectors. This means that it can be used with most computers and mobile devices -- in fact, LaCie's BOSS app supported the iPad Pro even before the announcement of iPadOS. There's also an SD card reader, and even an internal battery for recharging your mobile devices when you're away from the office.
£349.99 (inc. VAT) / $349.99 - 2TB
If LaCie's Copilot is a little over the top for your needs, then the company's recently-released range of Mobile SSD drives provides a lighter and more compact alternative. Measuring just 9mm thick, the Mobile SSD has an oddly angular design, but is nonetheless slim and light enough to slip into a pocket when you're on the move. It provides plenty of backup storage with 500GB, 1TB or 2TB models available, and LaCie includes both USB-C and USB-A cables, so you can use it with most Macs and PCs, as well as the iPad Pro.
The aluminium casing is light but sturdy, and LaCie's three-year warranty also includes a data recovery service for professional users who need peace of mind. There's also a 'ruggedized' version that's entirely encased in a waterproof, crush-resistant rubber sleeve.
From £129.95 (inc. VAT) / $129.95 for 500GB
Leef's iBridge was one of the first storage devices designed specifically for Apple's mobile devices, offering both Lightning and USB-A interfaces on a single device, and it remains a popular option for iPhone users thanks to its pocket-size design (which also includes a handy keyring attachment to help keep it safe). Leef's iOS app also includes a password option for protecting files that you need to keep safe.
The iBridge 3 is still available, with capacities from 32GB to 256GB, but Leef has updated the range recently, with a newer Bridge-C model that has a USB-C interface suitable for the iPad Pro, and the iAccess SD card reader.
From £29.99 (inc. VAT) / $40.00 for 32GB
At first glance, the Minix Neo Storage simply looks like a small, portable dock for use with a laptop. The aluminium Neo is sturdily designed, but small enough to fit into a pocket when you're travelling. It has a single USB-C port that connects to your computer or mobile device, and then provides two USB-A ports, one USB-C, and even an HDMI port for connecting an external monitor. Those are obviously useful options for laptop owners, but the Neo also includes an internal solid-state drive with either 120GB or 240GB of storage that can be used with an iPad, making it a versatile all-in-one device that you can use with any computer or mobile device on the road.
£107 (inc. VAT) / $80 for 120GB
£115 (inc. VAT) / $100 for 240GB
(US/UK sales via Amazon)
OWC makes a number of useful docks and connectors that are primarily designed for desktop use in an office. However, its USB-C Travel Dock provides a versatile portable option for business travellers who need to use a variety of accessories with an iPad Pro or a Mac or Windows laptop.
The Travel Dock has a fixed USB-C cable, which can be directly attached to an iPad or laptop, but it can also be connected to a USB-C mains power adapter if you need a bit more juice to power some of your accessories and peripherals. You've got plenty of choice there, as the Travel Dock includes an additional USB-C port, two USB-A ports, an SD card reader, and even an HDMI port for connecting an external monitor. The current 2nd generation model provides 100W power via a mains adapter, but the 1st generation model with 60W output is also still on sale from a few online retailers.
£90 (inc. VAT) / $55
Sandisk makes a wide range of USB memory sticks for a variety of mobile devices, including the iXpand range with Lightning connectors for the iPhone and older iPads, and a Micro-USB model for Android OTG devices. There's even a wireless memory stick called Connect for people who think that a physical interface is a bit old-fashioned. However, the most recent addition to the Sandisk range is the Ultra Dual Drive USB, which has both USB-A and USB-C interfaces to provide compatibility with a variety of computers and mobile devices. It's available with 32GB up to 256GB storage, and the compact little device is easy to carry around in a pocket, with both interfaces sliding back into the device to avoid damage when you're travelling.
From £12.00 (inc. VAT) / $13 for 32GB
(US and UK sales via Amazon)
We're looking forward to seeing SanDisk's new iXpand Wireless Charger, which combines a Qi charging pad with up to 256GB of internal storage, but when you're travelling you'll probably find its pocket-size iXpand memory sticks to be the most useful storage option.
There are, somewhat confusingly, three different iXpand devices, all of which provide both USB-A and Lightning connectors for iPhones and iPads. However, the most versatile option is probably the iXpand Flash Drive, which is available with 32GB up to 256GB of storage capacity. You can use it as a straightforward USB storage device with Apple's own Files app, or use the iXpand app for automatic backups.
From £32 (inc. VAT) / $25 for 32GB
Memory sticks are small and easy to carry, but they tend to have fairly limited storage capacity. If you need a bit more room for backing up large collections of photos, videos and other files, then a conventional hard disk might be the better option. Seagate's Backup Plus Ultra Touch provides either 1TB or 2TB of storage, with a slimline design that measures 12mm thick and weighs 150g. The drive includes cables and adapters for both USB-A and USB-C, and business users will also appreciate its 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Seagate also throws in a two-month subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography, which can save some money for photographers and creative users.
From £65 (inc. VAT) / $60 for 1TB
(US and UK sales via Amazon)
Seagate makes a number of solid-state drives, but the Fast SSD is its top-of-the-range model, specifically designed for creative users who need a high-performance drive that can handle large photos, videos and graphics files.
Available with 250GB up to 2TB of storage capacity, the Fast SSD is a little larger than most solid-state drives, as it's encased in a shock-resistant aluminium case to keep it safe when you're working in outdoor locations. However, it's only 9mm thick and weighs just 82g, and so is still very light and portable when you're travelling. Seagate includes cables for both USB-A and USB-C connectors, so the Fast SSD can be used with a variety of computers and mobile devices. The company even throws in a two-month subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan.
From £85 (inc. VAT) / $85 for 250GB
(US and UK sales via Amazon)
There's nothing fancy about Western Digital's My Passport Ultra: it simply provides a lightweight backup drive with plenty of storage at a competitive price.
There are several products in the My Passport range, but it's the Ultra model shown here that has a USB-C interface for connecting to an iPad Pro or other USB-C devices, along with a USB 3.0 adapter for use with older laptop or desktop computers. Available with 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB storage, the metal casing of the drive is sturdy enough to cope with a few bumps on the road, and the 1TB and 2TB models only weigh 130g, so they're easy to carry around with you (although the 4TB model tips the scales at a more hefty 230g). The drive supports 256-bit AES hardware encryption for extra security, and WD also provides an NTFS driver for Macs, which will allow you to use the drive with both Macs and Windows PCs, as well as mobile devices.
From £68 (inc. VAT) / $60 for 1TB
This wireless version of Western Digital's My Passport drive has been updated several times since its introduction in 2015, and the latest version is very much aimed at creative users who need a rugged and versatile backup drive for outdoor use.
The solid-state drive provides good performance for speedy file transfer, and is available with 250GB up to 2TB of storage. It's bulkier than most SSD drives, though, as it requires an internal battery to provide power for the wi-fi connection. The drive is also wrapped in a shock-resistant bumper to help keep it safe when used outdoors. The battery provides 10 hours of continuous use when using wi-fi -- although, of course, individual file transfers may only require a wi-fi connection for a few minutes every now and then. You can also use the battery to top-up your mobile devices when they're low on power.
Western Digital provides apps to handle wireless file transfers for Apple and Android mobile devices, and the drive includes USB 2.0 and 3.0 interfaces for wired connections to Macs and PCs. There's also a built-in SD card reader for importing photos and videos directly from a camera.
From £220 (inc. VAT) / $230 for 250GB