Skip to main content

We have good news! Your iPhone can read an Iomega Jaz disk from 1996

Iomega Jaz drives
Iomega Jaz drives (Image credit: Museum of Obsolete Media)

What you need to know

  • Iomega Jazz disks were launched in 1996.
  • They started with 1GB of capacity.
  • And your 2019 iPhone can still read them.

You remember the Iomega Jaz drive, right? It was the successor to the popular Iomega Zip drive and held at least 10x the data at 1GB per disk. In 1996 it was amazing, if a little on the industrial side. And oh how I wanted one. Well, it turns out that I can pick one up right now and use it with my iPhone 11 Pro. So, there's that.

I know this because YouTuber "napabar" explains it all in a YouTube video. And it might be the best eight minutes you'll spend today.

As you might imagine, trying to make something pre-interent work with a smartphone isn't really as simply as just plugging it in. For starters, the Jaz drive was only available in SCSI form – as your parents or Wikipedia, kids – which means connecting it to even modern computers isn't ean easy feat. There are cables that will take that SCSI interface and turn it unto USB but they aren't inexpensive. The video says they sell for around $200 which is enough to put me off giving this a try. But thankfully "napabar" was able to get hold of one on the cheap. And here we are.

Sure, this is pretty useless and the chances are good that most people reading this have never heard of Iomega or Jaz drives. I bet plenty weren't even born in 1996. But if you were, and you're someone who was playing around with this stuff back in the day, this'll surely tickle the old nostalgia bone.

And for that, you're very welcome indeed.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • Woah, I haven’t even thought of Zip or Jaz disks in ages. Back in the day those were serious geek cred. Cool.
  • I recently discovered that my older android marshmallow smartphones can read and write to 240mb LS-240 Floppy SuperDisks. They can also read but not write to 32mb formated (FD32) 1.44mb floppy disks. I was able to do this by using a microUSB OTG cable connected to one of my three vintage year 2001 USB buspowered QPS QUE! LS240 FD32 drives. They are recognised by the android o.s. as a "Matshita drive." I use my favorite android file explorer to stire and access files. I love to store about 12 songs in the OGG Vorbis audio codec on a FD32 formatted standard floppy disk and listen to it while i take my daily walk. I have wanted a floppy disk based portable audio player since i was in middle school back in the early 90s This odd setup is the best i can do with my limited skills. Incredibbly geeky i admit.