How to Use Your iPhone as a USB Drive

By , Nov 18, 2009

Sure there are many applications in the App Store that allow you to use your iPhone as a mass storage device, but all of them require an internet connection to allow the data transfer to happen over wifi.

To this date, there is no application approved by Apple that lets you use your iPhone as a USB flash drive, and that’s a shame because I’d like to be able to access my iPhone’s drive without having to be connected to the internet.

Developer Dmytro came up with an interesting solution to this problem by creating the USB Drive application:

USB Drive let you create one or more virtual disks for use as USB Mass Storage volume, thus you can allocate some of your iPhone space to carry desktop files with you.

How to use your iPhone as a USB stick / USB flash drive:

Step 1. Add the following repo to Cydia sources: http://apt.dmytro.me

Step 2. After installing the repo, look for the USB Drive application in Cydia and install it.

Step 3. Launch USB Drive and “Create Disk”.

Step 4. Select your USB Mode (default is suggested).

Step 5. Reboot your iPhone and plug it in you computer USB port.

Done! You should now be able to access the drive you just created.

To delete a virtual disk, simply swipe your finger from left to right, just as you would do to delete an email.

The USB Drive app is still in beta so be careful…

Let us know what you think about this app in the comments.

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  • mladen

    there is no such app in cydia (Step 2. After installing the repo, look for the USB Drive application in Cydia and install it.)

    • Marco

      Add the source first!!!!!!!!

  • Rip

    Thanks for the headsup.

    It certainly took a while to create the partition on my 3G. After rebooting I plugged it in and iTunes went all ‘unresponsive’ so had to force quit. No drive showing up in Finder either.

    Restarted iTunes and it’s now having trouble recognising the iPhone. iTunes is now ‘blank’ and iPhone is showing Sync in Progress. Not looking good.

    Still nothing in Finder.

    Oh well. It is Beta.

  • Rip

    A vital piece of info is missing from your blog entry.

    It’s not know to work with 3G or 3GS, only 2G!

    It’s worth reading the developers blog: http://www.dmytro.me/2009/09/usb-drive-for-iphone-beta-is-available.html

  • http://www.iphonecases.org Iphone

    the instructions were hard to follow as there has been some error or the other on each step as rip wrote..however, i managed to do it at last after 2 complete hours of working

    cheers

  • Louis

    Hey Guys all you have to do is go back into usb drive and choose either “drive only” or “drive and Itunes” either one lets you use it as a storage device. Good luck!

  • http://www.dietice.com/ Bryan

    Installed without a hassle on my 3GS. It is necessary to run it as drive only or drive + itunes as stated above though. iPhoto does not pop up when I plug in my iPhone but i actually like better that way. Fantastic App. Now if only I could save email attachments to the image… hint… hint…

  • Cayman (Attila)

    This is the best application that i ever wanted on my iphone, the mow wanted…for all of us i think.

    It works on every Iphone i think, but im sure it works on 3gs and 3g! All you have to do, is switch the modes to see what you want to see.
    So, lets see:
    -Drive+Itunes mode is DOES NOT work on Windows, it is available only for mac users, but i cannot test it, cause i dont have a Mac, so. This mode let u see (when connected to the computer) the original photo drive and the created drive as well, And for gratis you can sync up with itunes. That’s the best mode if you have a Mac.
    -When default mode is on, it’s like the factory came settings, so u can see only the original photo drive and u can sync up with itunes
    -Drive mode only let u use the new drive that u’ve just created with this brand new application. So, u cant sync with iTunes and cannot see the original photo drive!

    So, here u go, For Mac users suggested the Drive+Itunes mode, for windows users left the switching betweern default and drive only mode.

    Im using the app for one day, and still no problem.

  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien

    Thanks to everyone for providing some feedback about this, especially Rip, Louis, Bryan, and Cayman.

    Bryan, if you’re looking into saving your attachments, then check out the article I wrote a few weeks ago about AttachmentSaver: http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2009/08/11/attachmentsaver-save-email-attachments-on-iphone/

    Sebastien

  • Eldaria

    I tried this app on my 3GS some time ago, and it worked like a charm, but I removed it again as it removed the possibility to copy over my photos to iPhoto.

    But I usually carry around a 32GB USB stick anyway, so did not really need it that much.
    I had hoped it would give you access to the iPhone filesystem directly.

  • Francesco

    It’s a very good application… need reboot every time… but it’s good!

  • Cayman (Attila)

    @Eldaria
    It does not remove the possibility to copy photos to the computer. You just have te switch back the default mode. :)

  • http://www.dietice.com/ Bryan

    Attachment Saver and iFile in conjunction with USB Drive would be a good solution if you could somehow mount the *.img that USB drive creates (in fstab so that it mounts on boot time) to the path “/private/var/mobile/Library/Attachments” which is used by Attachment saver. However, the mount command (at least to my knowledge) doesn’t support volume images in the iPhone.

  • Paulish

    I don’t understand. If I connect my iPhone to a USB port on a Windows computer, Windows automatically mounts it as a drive. Don’t Macs do the same?

    Why is special software required, just to control the partition size?

  • Ronnin

    Paulish if your comment is a response to Bryan’s post, he has a jailbroken iphone which has linux. In an attempt to avoid having the side effects of no itunes sync and restarting to access the flash drive created by this app he wants to mount it ot the iphones boot partition.

    If what I’ve said so far doesn’t make any sense just ignore both posts.

    I too tried (and failed) to the same thing and am guessing that a jailbroken phone doesnt boot like a standard linux machine. If thats the case than files like fstab aren’t used in the iphone?

    What we need is to know how the app works that on reboot it switches from usb drive to phone. I’m assuming you change either a profile setting or some apple based language that is used on boot?

  • Boy

    How do u view the files that you put on drive in ifile what is the directory??

  • Boy2

    So im downloading with my iphone, i want to be able to put the downloads into the usb drive it created, where can i find it using ifile, i found the .img file, that doesnt help though

  • http://Autobodyam.com Jim

    What a couple people have asked is how you can see the info in ifile. You can see the disk you created, much like a partitioned hard drive, but ifile won’t search within the disk you created because ifile can’t mount disk images.

    Does anyone know of a reasonable workaround for this? Of course it would be great to use dtunes to download video torrents and then connect the iPhone to my samsung tv via USB.

    I already know it works with my samsung…just tested it today with a 1.4gb mp4 (batman begins), but it took around 30 minutes to transfer from my mac to the virtual USB.

  • Lim

    I have successfully create a folder for USB and copied some .doc files into my iphone using USB DRIVE.
    May I know the path for this files if I want to search for them using my iphone?
    I want to open these word documents using my iphone but do not know where to find these files.

  • Knack

    I have created a 1gb partition and copied some mp3s to it which play fine back through windows.

    still haven’t worked out how I access the drive through the phone itself at present!

  • Emil

    Hey has anyone found a way to view the stuff that you have put on the usb virtual drive? And if so, what is the directory on ifile

  • Louis

    has anyone tried this on an iphone 4 (4.3.1)? or is there another jailbreak tweak for iOS 4?

  • Afy

    Its handy but the main problem is i cannot access the files from my iphone which is the whole reason i actrually got this app, so its going to be deleted

  • charan

    Hi,
    I’m able to use the USB drive however when trying to find the file stored on virtual disk. I’m unable to locate it on my iPhone using iFile.
    Please help, let me know the correct path where the files get stored on iPhone

  • Topher

    Hi, I dl’ed USB drive on iPhone 3gs fm ver 4.3.1
    It works nicely. The USB drive only works on ‘drive only’ mode. If i want to sync it in itunes I am required to reboot. But I’m cool with that.
    I would like to access the files i put on the iphone via ifile.
    Can you please tell us how to do this?
    Thanks.
    Awesome app, btw.

  • Pat Leibensperger

    I would like to edit the phone directory from usb and computer. Is this possible??

  • http://www.facebook.com/jjstrudel Jonathan Trudel

    Is it possible to find the files on USBDrive with iFile??

  • Anonymous

    Wow this post is old……………………………To whomever may be on this site reading this………………that also has iOS 5 on iPhone 4………………………………………..Have you tried this??????????????/ And does it work on iOS5?

    • Anonymous

      Just tested on iPhone 4 iOS5. Works great!

      • http://twitter.com/Kimkirimkim Kim Reyes

        same! it’s awesome :D

  • Benji

    Can someone help,I created a virtual disk,but I can’t find the space,n when I hook it up to the pc I can see it but can’t access it .help

  • djboogymonster

    Can use drive only and default settings, but Drive+iTunes doesnt work. Is there something I should know? (iPhone 4s)

  • aviv

    hello i just installed the twike from cydia i got a jellbroken iphone ver 6.0.1 and after i the app been instaled its say i have to reboot to use the disk on key so i did so and from then i cant plug in my iphone to the computer i can only charge my iphone what can i do?

  • smartsolutionskvm.com

    IPhone is practically the only phone that needs an app to function as a
    flash drive. Just about every other phone already has that feature in a
    simple drag and drop interface. It requires to be jail broken but it works with ITunes on my Mac and Windows without local installation.

  • kvmstuff.com

    The tips of using iphone as a USB drive are very useful and quick to follow. This is a good application.

  • Sinuhe Sinny

    As old as this app is and I have it working like a charm in my iPad iOS 5.1.1
    Couldn’t be better. I set it in a 10 GB US drive.