If you’re traveling to see family this Christmas, then you may like the Kingston MobileLite G3, which is — amongst other things — a wireless SD card reader that lets you load and save any files you like. Unlike Apple’s own SD card reader, which only works with video and photos, the MobileLite can read any file you want, and then hand it off to any app that can open it.
Not only that, but the MobileLite also works with USB drives, and can juice your iPhone with its built-in 5,400 mAh battery.
The MobileLite has been around for a little while now, but has gotten some attention recently thank to podcaster Jason Snell’s article detailing its use for transferring audio files from a recorder to an iPad for podcast editing on-the-go.
The box is a kind of data multitool. It’s a back-up battery, it’s a mobile hotspot for converting hotel Ethernet to Wi-Fi, and it’s a Wi-Fi-enabled SD card and USB reader. If you have a nearby Mac, then it’s probably easier to just use that to drag the contents of the SD card to your iCloud Drive, but for everyone else, it’s (slightly clunky) gold.
The device works by creating its own Wi-Fi network (although it can also connect to an existing one in “bridge” mode). You connect to this network with your iPhone or iPad, and use the companion app to browse the contents of any SD card inserted in the device’s slot. You can read and write, and you can even stream movies direct using the app’s one media player. Any files that the app can’t read itself can be sent elsewhere using iOS’ standard Open In… feature.
It’s great. You can copy movies from someone’s computer and disappear to watch them on your iPad post-Christmas lunch. You can share files between machines without a Wi-Fi connection. And you can grab the audio files off recording devices. I have a looper pedal I use for playing guitar. A looper lets you hit a foot switch to record whatever you’re playing, and then loops it over and over so you can play over the top, or build up a song in layers. Some record onto an SD card, but it’s such a pain to get the files onto an iPad that it’s seldom worth the bother. With the Kingston MobileLite it’s a lot easier, and you can do it all on battery power.
It would be much better if the MobileLite integrated with iOS 11’s new Files app, and better still if Apple would just let the Files app read any arbitrary files from the existing Apple SD card reader. But until then, this ridiculous workaround is your best option.