Video: accessing stuff on an Iomega Zip drive through Apple’s much-improved Files app

iOS 13 and iPadOS’s enhanced Files app packs in a bunch of improvements, with support for external storage devices arguably the biggest new feature that opens up new possibilities.

But does it work as advertised?

Can one really connect any external storage device to their iPhone or iPad via USB-C or Lightning (using a Lightning to USB cable) and be able to see the drive in the Files app, open the files stored on it, create new folders, copy items to and from it, and so forth?

OVERVIEW: all the new iPhone features in iOS 13’s much-improved Files app

The Loop’s reader Niles Mitchell set out to discover this for himself by connecting an Iomega Zip drive to an iPhone running the beta of iOS 13. If you don’t know what a Zip drive is, you’re probably a millennial but that’s OK, just watch the video embed.

Niles has been connecting all sorts of stuff to his iOS device to determine the scope of Apple’s external drive support in iOS 13 and iPadOS. As an example, he previously connected a Kindle to his iPhone to try copying a few books to it (hint: it worked).

You can watch that video embedded right ahead.


As I said before, I still find it hard to believe that we can at long last copy files to and from external drives and even SMB servers from within the Files app in iOS 13 and iPadOS. This is a major productivity boost that opens up a whole world of new mobile workflows that weren’t previously possible or were simply too cumbersome.

OVERVIEW: Quick Actions, Column view & other iPad–only features in iPadOS’s Files app

And when apps get updated for these new features in iOS 13, it will be possible to directly open, say, a vector illustration from a connected USB thumb drive in Procreate, access that Excel spreadsheet on an APFS-formatted drive from within the Office apps, import images from a DSLR directly into Lightroom and so forth.

Who’s excited for the new Files app?

Let us know what you think of it in the commenting section.