How to add more storage to an iOS device

Can't fit all your music, movies, documents and other stuff? Before you spend money on a higher-capacity iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, read this.

Apple's iDevices famously -- make that infamously -- rely on fixed storage. If you need more space, well, too bad.

Granted, you can try a utility such as PhoneClean, which can reclaim some space, but it gets you only so far. For any kind of significant storage boost, you have little choice but to upgrade to a more capacious iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.


Actually, you do have one other option. A growing number of devices give you extra space for music, movies, photos, documents and other data, and some of them are surprisingly affordable.

I'm talking about wireless card readers (also known as media hubs), which connect via Wi-Fi to your iDevice. So instead of popping a microSD card inside your iPhone or iPad (which, alas, is impossible), you pop one into an external drive you can keep stowed in a bag, pocket or wherever.

Suppose, for example, you're taking a long trip. You want to bring along your entire music library -- not just the handful of playlists that fit on your 16GB iPad Mini -- and enough movies to last you through two or more long flights.

With one of these readers, you can stock, say, a 32GB SD card with more than enough songs and videos, while still leaving space on your Mini for apps and other stuff. And several models support USB flash drives as well, so if you have a few of those lying around, fill 'em with stuff!

In broad strokes, most of these devices work like this:

Step 1: Connect the reader to your PC, then fill it with any and all media/data you want to bring along.

Step 2: Install the companion app that goes with the reader.

Step 3: Run the app, then connect to the reader. Now you can stream your media, view your photos, access your documents, transfer files, and so on.

The RAVPower FileHub 5-in-1 is not only a wireless media hub, but also a portable power supply. RAVPower

One key feature to look for when shopping for a wireless reader is a pass-through option, which allows your device to stay connected to a Wi-Fi network while simultaneously connected to the reader. Otherwise it's a huge hassle to disconnect and reconnect all the time.

In the past I've tested a variety of these wireless media hubs, and there's one in particular that stands out: the RAVPower FileHub 5-in-1, which actually does a lot more than just sling media.

But let's start there: the FileHub will stream music, movies and the like from whatever you plug into it: an SD card (or microSD with adapter), a flash drive or even an external hard drive.

Beyond that, it offers both Wi-Fi hot-spot and NAS features, file transfers between storage and your devices and a 3,000mAh battery, which powers not only the FileHub itself, but also your device if it needs extra juice.

It's a bargain, too: the FileHub currently sells for $39.99 on Amazon.

By the way, if you need a lot of added space, a few companies offer wireless hard drives that work much the same way -- except now you're looking at up to a terabyte of mobile storage. However, these drives are heavier and bulkier, and they cost quite a bit more. One solid pick: the Patriot Aero.

In an ideal world, iDevices would have expansion slots. In this one, you can expand by way of external storage. All you need is a $40 accessory and some inexpensive memory cards/flash drives.

Have you tried a wireless hub already? Tell us what's good, and what's not, in the comments.

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