These iPhone storage gadgets are perfect for data hogs [Review]

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iPhone storage
Three great gadgets with different ways to back up your iPhone files.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

A friend emailed me with an iPhone crisis. The storage capacity on her iPhone 6 was full and she was unable to shoot pictures or videos. She needed space fast.

I walked her through the steps on how to purchase additional space on iCloud. But I also said I had a few devices that plug into the phone and allow her to quickly offload their data. She asked that I stand by.

I was ready for a rescue with three gadgets, each doing the job little differently. Two are so-called dongles, one with an attached mini jump drive while the other has slots for both SD and microSD memory cards. The third is an actual charging cord that backs up your iPhone data while you charge.

At the end of the day, she opted to pay 99 cents a month for more iCloud storage. Still, I had these gadgets and knowledge of how each work. So that this information doesn’t go to waste, I’m passing my user experiences on to you.

My friend didn’t want to have to carry around an extra accessory but if you shoot a lot of photos and video, these devices can come in handy when storage space becomes tight and you haven’t been backing things up to the cloud.

There are a number of devices on the market that help you avoid cloud subscription fees. Even Apple has an inexpensive card reader for iOS devices. Here are the three lifelines I was ready to throw my friend:

MEEM Memory

iPhone storage
The MEEM Memory charging cable automatically backs up your iPhone while it is being charged.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

The MEEM Memory looks like a green and black meat thermometer but is actually a versatile smartphone charging cord. The MEEM automatically backs up photos, videos, contacts, calendar, and documents in the cable each time you charge your phone.

The MEEM app is easy to use and pops up on your iPhone or iPad when you plug in to let you manage all of your data. You can store data from up to three devices on the cable, which has up to 2.8 amps of charging power and is available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

This is great for the user who is likely to forget to backup their iPhone data. That it is integrated with charging means you don’t have to think about it. However, the initial transfer of files was slow, but subsequent backups with additional photos went quicker. This is a minor inconvenience when you consider this device is meant more to backup files at the end of the day when the iPhone is charging.

Where to buy: meemmemory.com

Price: $69 (32GB), $89.99 (64GB) and $119.99 (128GB). Also available for Android phones.

Transcend RDA2 Lightning card reader

iPhone storage
The Transcend RDA2 card reader has slots for SD and microSD memory cards.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Dongles aren’t the most exciting accessories. Transcend’s square-shaped card reader is going to look rather vanilla plugged into the device with an iconic design. Yet, there is beauty in how this Apple MFi-certified card reader functions.

Plug it into the Lightning port and the user is immediately prompted to download the Transcend app. The app walks you through the process of copying your files to either an SD card or microSD card (the card reader does not support both at once).

The app also features file encryption, compression, and decompression and even lets you save audio recordings directly onto a memory card.

Where to buy: Amazon

Price: $31.25

Lexar JumpDrive C25i

Lexar storage solutions for iPhone
Lexar’s C20i JumpDrive can store, transfer and charge.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Yes, that Lexar, the one whose parent company recently announced it was discontinuing the retail brand.

Lexar, which was part of Micron Technology, made memory cards, flash drives, and card readers trusted by professionals. So while supplies last, there are some pretty good deals, including a fire sale on this iOS JumpDrive.

It’s a tiny cord with a Lightning connector on one end and a USB plug on the other, which lets you transfer your iPhone photos and non-DRM video and music files to another device. It also automatically backs up your iOS data has you use it to charge.

The Lexar JumpDrive comes in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. I have a 64GB model, which normally retails for $73.99 on B&H Camera and Video. That price is now $29.99.

Where to buy: B&H Photo and Video

Price: 32GB ($18.41), 64GB ($29.99) and 128GB ($40.93)

  • josephz2va

    I’d definitely get the card reader if it syncs my dash cam memory card.