Saturday, November 8, 2014

How to Add MORE Storage Space to an iPhone/iPad/iPod or Android Device! (Update)

I originally meant this to be a part of my last article, but I thought it important enough to be its own. Everyone knows that iPhones don't come with micro SD card slots to expand their storage capability. And even with the advent of the 128GB iPhone 6/Plus, there may be those who run out of room or can't afford that particular model to prevent such an issue.

iOS Devices
The following works with iPhones, iPads or iPods. However, do this at your own risk as there is a bit of money involved to get the process going.

You will need the following in order to get this running properly:
  1. An iOS device.
  2. Either a Transcendence, Toshiba Flash Air, or Eye-Fi WiFi SD card.
  3. A computer.
  4. A SD card reader with WiFi capability.
A bit of background on the WiFi SD cards. They were originally meant for specific cameras that do not have (and some that do have) WiFi capabilities. They come in varying sizes that are currently up to 32GB. Be forewarned, that even the smaller storage sizes have a premium price tag because of the WiFi antenna installed in each card. You can get deals on used items from eBay. I found a 32GB Toshiba Flash Air used on Amazon for a great rate, which actually came in its original packaging!

A WiFi SD card reader will make it so that you can have something small and portable that you can use the WiFi card in while on the go or waiting somewhere away from home. You will want to purchase one that has a built-in battery so that you don't need to constantly feed it power. If you don't, then you will likely only be able to use it in places like a plane that has USB ports for charging. You can find them on Amazon for $40 brand new, like this one. This particular WiFi card reader can also power up an external hard drive, which means a whole lot of storage possibilities for your needs!

These are the steps to take once you have met all the requirements from above:
  1. First connect your WiFi SD card to a computer.
  2. Transfer all needed media and documents to your WiFi SD card.
  3. Install any app on your iOS device that the WiFi SD card reader requires.
  4. Run the app from your iOS device to see and use all the media and documents on your WiFi SD card.
And that's it! You should now be able to add extra storage space to your iOS device. While it is actually not in the iOS device, you can now watch numerous movies without worry of having to run out of space for necessary your apps or other items.

Android Devices
It should first be said that the above will work on Android devices too, so you can give it a go if you need a huge amount of storage space. But if you only require so much, you can try another method.

There are devices that will plug into your Android devices micro USB port and add extra storage. Some older Android devices are supposedly not compatible with this type of technology. I believe this is because of USB OTG support. If you do not have USB OTG implemented on your device, then you will not be able to use the following. Some older devices have the capability but just need to have USB OTG enabled. Others do not and cannot. In addition to that, most devices capable of USB OTG may require an Android OS of JellyBean or higher.

There are three ways to accomplish this procedure. Two are similar. One is more like a flash drive as it has a fixed amount of storage, but has a regular USB that can be plugged into a computer USB port, and on the other side is a micro USB for your Android device. The second is an adapter that has a slot for micro SD cards. With this you need to buy a micro SD card separately, but it too has normal and micro USB ports. The third is simply using a USB flash drive, and purchasing what is often referred to as an OTG cable. The cable has a female USB port for the flash drive, and a male micro USB port for your Android device.

If you already have a flash drive, OTG cables are rather cheap and can be found on eBay, Amazon, NewEgg, and numerous other places. You can find the first type in Amazon by simply typing in "micro USB flash drive" or "OTG flash drive". Some are inexpensive, while others will cost you a premium. The second type seems to be harder to find if you don't use the right terminology, expected since some manufacturers would probably prefer you to pay for multiple devices of differing storage amounts, instead of being able to just swap micro SD cards. You can find an abundance in Amazon by using the phrase "OTG card reader". There are other places that have these, but I would recommend staying away from Chinese websites and companies like Alibaba [their parent company will just steal your money].

The steps for this process are fairly simple:
  1. Place your flash drive, micro SD card, or OTG flash drive into a computer.
  2. Transfer all media and documents to your device.
  3. Plug your flash drive, micro SD card, or OTG flash drive into your Android device.
That's about it. You should be able to view your media from a media player app by selecting the storage device connected and searching for your desired picture, song, or video. You can view documents by a file manager or a document viewing app. This route should be far cheaper than the route iPhones have to take, but either should get you similar results.

There are tricks to make Android devices think their micro SD cards are actually internal memory, but this doesn't work on a lot of newer devices (and older devices), and doesn't actually add more than what is already possible. It is also possible to have apps and other items stored on your external micro SD card instead of your internal memory, but again, this does not add more than what your device is already capable of.

Update: Mophie Space Pack

The Mophie Space Pack is an external battery case with the inclusion of extra storage space for iPhones 5 and above. The great benefit of this method is that not only can you get more power on the go, but more storage space for files and photos!

However, many of the reviews on Amazon lean towards staying away from them and going for Mophie's external battery case without the storage capacity. Apparently, there have been numerous problems ranging from battery draining--opposing part of its purpose--and losing charging capabilities altogether. In one review, Mophie blamed the iPhone after the person had brought it to the Genius Bar to ensure that was not the case.

A definite downside on the storage side is that if you wanted, to say, upload your photos to iCloud; you first need to move all those photos to the iPhone's actual storage in order to do so...

What Else Can I Say?
I have not tested the iOS route detailed above. Again, I do have a Flash Air WiFi SD card, but have never felt the need to use it in this manner. I have tried all three devices for Android with success. There have been times where I desperately needed them, not so much for storage space, but because my phone cable was iffy at times and would stop a file transfer midway through. These methods seemed to guarantee against that situation from reoccurring. I do admit that this does not add to your internal storage at all, but I don't know anyone anywhere willing to use their time and money to attempt to add more storage to the inside of the phone itself. But external storage can be quite handy and keep your smartphone or tablet free of clutter, which can also help maintain its fluidity while multi-tasking between apps (or just in general).

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