Lightning to Lightning cable

Today I learned that it’s possible to directly connect an iPhone to an iPad via a Lightning cable. To create a dual-sided Lightning cable, just take a regular Lightning cable and connect the USB end to a Lightning to USB Camera adapter. This, in essence, creates a Lightning to Lightning cable that can be used to directly connect an iPhone to an iPad.

This setup is a novelty to do just because you can. In practice, I find that it actually adds little value in terms of transmission speed. Still, it’s cool that it can be done, which is why I thought I’d share with you.

In order to make this work properly, you have to connect the Lightning to USB Camera adapter to the iPad, and the regular Lightning cable to the iPhone. It won’t work the other way around, so beware.

Here’s a picture of the proper setup:

iPhone connected to iPad Lightning

Once you have everything connected properly, you’ll see a prompt on your iPhone asking you to allow the connected device (the iPad) to access to your photos and videos. If you tap allow, you’ll be able to access all of the photos and videos on your iPhone from the import tab inside the iPad’s Photos app.

Allow this device to access photos and videos

You can then import photos and videos directly from your iPhone to your iPad, just as if your iPhone was a camera or an SD Card. Keep in mind that transmissions will likely be slower than even a wireless transmission via AirDrop, especially on newer devices. In several tests I performed, I was able to transmit a 500MB file via AirDrop notably faster than I could via the direct connection.

Import photos from iPhone to iPad

In other words, I wouldn’t run out and buy a Lightning to USB Camera adapter just because you can direct connect your iPhone to your iPad. Yes, it works, but it’s limited in functionality (one way connection), and it doesn’t provide any real speed benefits.

  • n0mar

    Wow, that’s pretty cool. I never imagined doing that, or it actually working if so.

  • Looks like the Lightning to USB adaptor can also be used to connect flash drives to an iPad via iFile. Very useful!

    • Yeah, it’s the real MVP.

    • Firedomain

      i tried in the past with a usb camera adapter & found the flash drives i tried did not work as the ipad doesnt supply (enough?) power to the port. SD cards worked fine & camera cords with powered cameras worked, but not USB drives. apparently a powered usb hub solves the problem, but is obviously less convenient.

      Edit: just remembered, that was with a 30 pin ipad… might be a different story with the lightning port.

      • Most drives with a light don’t work because the light uses up too much power.

  • This is a great example of “because you can, you should” 🙂

  • Steven Gouws

    Is it possible to connect your phone (or iPad) to the AV in a car? I tried a regular AV cable but had no luck.

    • 5723alex .

      Yes. My iPhone is connected to my car’s Pioneer A/V system using HDMI + lightning A/V adapter.

  • Hi

    Wow, very cool

  • abazigal

    Would it work with an older cable, like say a 30-pin-to-USB cable? It might be useful for transferring photos from older iOS devices which don’t support airdrop, like an iPhone 4s.

    • Not sure why it wouldn’t work.

      • abazigal

        Well, just wondering, since the article very specifically mentions the lightning cable. Not sure of the use of older connectors was omitted because the writers never got round to testing them, or because this trick only works with lightning?

        It would be much appreciated if this could be tested and verified as well. Assuming you still have them lying around…

      • I don’t have any iDevices with 30-pin connectors, unfortunately.

  • John

    Thats cool

  • mellonicoley

    could be useful for when you don’t have a wifi connection

    • Shinonuke

      You can use AirDrop via Bluetooth

  • Malte

    These are quite old news as this is what the original apple camera connection kit (nowadays the lightning to usb adapter) has been used for for years now.

  • Why is it slower to transfer over a wired connection than it is over a wireless connection (AirDrop)? I can’t imagine the cables at fault, buggy / unoptimised software perhaps?

  • burge

    If you google it you can make a HDD drive link to a iPhone and even a 3.5 inch floppy drive. But this is nothing new.

  • RubberDuckZilla

    I would certainly use my iPad for a photo dumb every other month. Might invest.

  • Rodney Coleman

    Isn’t that what airdrop is for?

  • dario200

    Is there any tweak to get rid of that annoying message “Allow this device to access…” each time I plug the iPhone to my PC? Maybe with a white list of computers I let my iPhone to be accessed by.

  • Paul Keating

    Sorry for such a late comment but does anyone know if this technique can be used as a wired internet connection? I realise there are easier ways to go about it but this is for my mother who’s getting on a bit and the thought of going into settings for ANYTHING scares her.