With iOS/iPadOS 13, Apple has made the Files app even more powerful. Now you can not only access your iCloud contents and storage providers like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and more, you can also attach and access files on connected external drives.
To connect an external hard drive or USB thumb drive to your iPhone or iPad, you'll need the appropriate adapter. This changes depending on the port at the bottom of your device and the type of device you are connecting to.
Most external hard drives and thumb drives utilize the pervasive USB standard. If you're using an iPhone or non-pro iPad, you'll need an adapter that fits a Lightning port. Purchase a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter. While these are both similar, the latter can support higher data transfer speeds on compatible devices as well as offer charging. If you are using a newer iPad Pro or a device with a USB-C port, you'll need the USB-C to USB Adapter or the USB-C Digital Multiport Adapter that includes HDMI output, USB as well as power.
If you're looking to access information on an SD card like would be used with a camera or other device, you'll need a different adapter. For lightning port devices, purchase the Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. If you're using an iPad Pro or a device with a USB-C port, purchase the USB-C to SD Card Reader.
Connect the adapter to your device and then connect your drive to the appropriate port on the adapter.
Please note that not all devices can be supported by the iPhone or iPad as there is a limitation on supplied power to the USB port. You may need to use a low-power drive, a drive with an external power supply, or connect the drive to a powered USB hub and then connect to the iPad. Check with your device manufacturer before purchase to ensure it will work with your device.
Accessing the Drive
You can access the drive contents using the Files app on any device running iOS/iPadOS 13 or higher. Open the Files all and locate the drive in the Locations sidebar. The drive should mount and appear in this list just like other storage services. If the drive or storage option does not exist, you may need to tap on the "dots" icon to edit the list, enabling services that do not appear automatically. Once available, tap on the drive to view its contents.
Accessing Within OnSong
OnSong integrates the Files app directly inside of OnSong for importing and exporting files. To import files from your drive, tap on the Songs button to open the Songs Menu. When you are viewing the Songs Tab, tap on the **+** button to open the Add Songs Menu and select the Files option. This will open the Files app interface allowing you to select one or more files to import into OnSong. Likewise, you can export in the same way.
There are some limitations in how you can export files to an external drive. The Files interface requires OnSong to export files before you select where those files are to be saved. For this reason, it's not possible to use external drives for automatic backup.