Best External Hard Drives for iPad iMore 2020

There are a few factors to consider when picking the best external hard drive for your iPad: how often you store your files, how many files you store, and how easily you need access to your files. Different types of external hard drives will work better depending on your personal needs. We recommend the LaCie FUEL as it has a little bit of everything built into one hard drive.

Best Overall: LaCie FUEL

The LaCie FUEL external hard drive works as a USB 3.0 portable drive that comes compatible with all iOS devices. Its ability to work with and without an internet connection makes this hard drive excellent for on-the-go access and usability. The LaCie FUEL connects to your iPad through Wi-Fi, but it broadcasts its own Wi-Fi network. When you are not using the built-in Wi-Fi router and media server to share files simultaneously with your friends or colleagues, you can use LaCie FUEL's network to hot spot up to five additional devices.

With an impressive 10-hour battery life and options to stream directly to your Apple TV or to Airplay, the LaCie Fuel is brilliant for allowing easy access to your files for long periods. This hard drive uses the Seagate Media App on your iPad and mobile devices and Seagate Media Sync on your desktop to manage files. This 1TD drive measures at 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.9 (HWD) and has a compact and durable design.


  • Acts as a Wi-Fi router
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Great amount of storage space


  • Needs more modern UI

Best Overall


Works great with and without a wireless connection

With its own built-in Wi-Fi network and abilities to hot spot up to 5 additional devices, this hard drive is one to have on hand

Best Capacity: Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

The Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro delivers high-speed performance with its 4K streaming over 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities. This makes for easy uploading, offloading, editing, and streaming on both your iOS device and your PC. It is even compatible with your Smart TV.

Offering a 10-hour battery supply with its built-in 6400 mAh power bank, the WD My Passport Wireless Pro is perfect for those on-the-go needs. Included in this hard drive is an extra port that gives you the ability to share its impressive battery power with other devices. With this feature, you can ensure that your iPad stays charged all day long.

The My Passport Wireless Pro is nice and compact. It measures at 126mm x 126mm x 22mm (HLW). It is small and easy to carry while still offering an abundance of useful features.


  • Huge amount of battery and storage space
  • Charges other devices as well
  • Small and compact


  • A little on the expensive side

Best Capacity

Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

Great for fast on-the-go streaming

This hard drive is perfect for anyone who is looking for an excellent device that offers uploading and editing capabilities at an impressive speed

Best Value: Toshiba Canvio Advance

The Toshiba Canvio Advance has a slim and stylish design, measuring at 2.5 inches. It comes in fun and vibrant colors to reflect and fit your style. Its high storage capacity, 4TB, is capable of storing thousands of media files and documents. Compatible with USB 2.0 devices, but powered by USB 3.0 technology, the Toshiba Canvio Advance runs extremely fast allowing you to transfer and organize your files at a rapid pace. You do require an adaptor for thunderbolt connectivity, however.

You never have to worry about theft of your files as the Canvio Advance is password protected. It also comes equipped with Toshiba Storage Security Software for added protection. Simply set a time and interval, and this device will backup automatically.

You don't have to worry about the Toshiba Canvio Advance hard drive breaking down after a short period as it has been time-tested for reliable performance. It comes with a 2-year warranty as a bonus so that you can use your device freely with peace of mind.


  • Time-tested for reliable results
  • Password protected
  • Great amount of storage space


  • Requires an adaptor for thunderbolt connectivity

Best Value

Toshiba Canvio Advance

Time-tested and password protected

This hard drive is exceptionally dependable as it is time-tested for reliable performance and is password protected to keep your files safe

Best Portability: Leef iBridge

This small and useful hard drive measures at 63mm x 19mm x 18mm and is made for iOS devices. It has an Apple Lightning connector and a USB 3.1 connector built into its practical J-shaped design, which makes it easy to connect your iPad or mobile devices. You don't even need to remove your iPad's protective casing before connecting. This also gives you the ability to upload your images and files from your iPad to the device instantly.

Instead of wasting storage space by storing your images on your iPad or iPhone, simply plug into the Leef iBridge and save your files directly on to the hard drive. This keeps your iPad and mobile devices free of space to use for other applications. You can also keep movies and TV shows on the iBridge for those long days of travel.

With the Leef iBridge, you can create a password or use Touch ID with Leef lock to ensure that all of your files stay protected.


  • Has an Apple Lightning connector
  • Can plug in iPad without removing protective case
  • Password and Touch ID protected


  • Sits awkwardly when plugged into a laptop or desktop

Best Portability

Leef iBridge

Touch ID password features, a built-in Lightning connector

The built-in Lightning connector enables users to quickly and easily upload files directly from their iPad, freeing up storage immediately. It also comes with Touch ID password options

Bottom line

Picking the right hard drive for your iPad is key to making your life easier and more organized. It is hugely beneficial to know what features are offered and why one model or brand tumps another. There is an abundance of options for hard drives that are compatible with iPads, so knowing which one meshes best with your lifestyle is essential.

Most users in the market for a hard drive that is compatible with their iPad, are looking for something sleek and compact so that it can be carried around easily and be available for use immediately. Another great feature is Wi-Fi capabilities. Having the ability to connect your iPad to the internet when you're out of your provider's zone enables you to edit and store files on-the-go and on-the-job quickly. Forget about waiting until you're back at the office!

The battery supply is another amazingly convenient feature to look for when picking the perfect hard drive for your iPad. The longer the battery life, the more work you can get done out of the office. These drives that offer a significant amount of juice, usually do some other neat tricks as well, such as charging other devices.We recommend the LaCie FUEL as it has multiple features that are useful to users and you really get a lot of bang for your buck!

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Camille Sanghera is a freelance writer who loves using the power of words to give individuals and objects a voice. When she is not content writing, you can find her running trails with her dogs or writing fiction and self-help books.

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