If you own an iOS device with a lower tier of storage — 16, 32, or even 64 GB — then you may know how annoying it is to have to micromanage your device’s storage. Not only can managing storage be tedious, but it can be downright frustrating when you don’t have enough storage space to take a photo or video.

Unfortunately, once you’ve decided on a particular amount of storage, you’re stuck with that decision for the lifetime of the device. That’s where a product like Transcend’s JetDrive Go hopes to supplement your iPhone’s meager storage capacity, as it brings Lightning-enabled external flash storage to iOS devices.

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Specifications

The Transcend JetDrive Go is an MFi-certified device with an external Lightning connector one end (20 MB/s), and a USB Type-A connector on the opposite end. The Lightning end of the JetDrive Go is a standard Lightning connector, however, it is extended in order to better work with oversized cases. The USB portion of the device features transfer speeds up to 130 MB/s when connected to a compatible USB port on your computer.

As you might expect from a device of this nature, the JetDrive Go is extremely small and compact. It weighs next to nothing, and is only 1.5-inches by .5-inches in size. The drive comes with two caps to cover both connections, and a lanyard that can attach directly to the body.

JetDrive Go Video walkthrough

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Methodology

The JetDrive Go can be used in a few primary ways to save on space:

  • You can offload photos and videos that are already on your iOS device in order to free up storage.
  • You can use Transcend’s app to save photos, videos and voice notes directly to the JetDrive Go.
  • You can load content to the JetDrive Go from your computer, and access that content from the app.

Regardless of which method you choose, you’ll need to download Transcend’s Jet Drive Go companion app. As soon as you plug the drive in to your iOS device’s Lightning port you’ll be prompted to download the app if you don’t already have it installed.

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Using the app

If you launch the app without the JetDrive Go connected, you’ll only be able to access the Camera Roll and the My Storage sections of the app. The Camera Roll displays the contents of your iOS Camera Roll, while My Storage is private app storage accessible via the JetDrive Go app and via iTunes File Sharing.

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Once you connect the drive to the Lightning Port, you’ll gain access to the full range of the app.

Password protection & Touch ID

You can restrict access to the JetDrive Go by establishing a passcode within the app’s settings. Once a passcode is set up, you can use it or Touch ID to access the storage device. You should be aware that password protection must be disabled before the JetDrive Go will be recognized by your Mac or PC.

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Backups

Transcend’s app features a one touch backup option that allows you to quickly offload all of your photos, videos, and contacts from your iOS device to the drive. Obviously, you’ll need to make sure that the JetDrive Go can accommodate the full gamut of your library before proceeding. For someone like me with a 256 GB iPhone 7 Plus, it’s easy to see where you could run into storage restraints in the reverse. Then again, if you have that much storage space, you probably aren’t looking to the JetDrive Go to begin with.

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Along with backups from content stored on your iPhone, the JetDrive Go app features a provision that allows you to backup iCloud Photos, along with photos from services like Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, and Google Drive. You’ll need to have access to a network connection to perform a backup of items stored in the cloud.

Saving, managing and accessing media

The other major mode found on the JetDrive Go app allows you to shoot photos and videos within the app and save them directly to the external storage device. Due to the way that the iOS file system works, you can only shoot media directly to the JetDrive Go within the app itself.

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In addition to the backup and camera features, users can also view the full contents of the JetDrive Go from the app. Users can store a variety of content on the device including photos, videos, PDFs, Word documents, etc. Below is a full list of supported file types that can be accessed from the app:

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Finally, you can access your Camera Roll from within the app to copy or move photos and videos individually to or from the JetDrive Go. This is a great way to individually backup or restore specific files.

Conclusion

The JetDrive Go may not appeal as much to iPhone and iPad owners with plenty of storage, but even if you do have lots of available storage on hand, it can still be useful. For example, performing quick backups of local and cloud photos can be quite handy. Being able to load up the JetDrive Go with ripped movies is also a potentially appealing use case scenario.

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That said, the JetDrive Go is largely aimed at those users with storage capacities hovering somewhere between 16 and 64 GB. If you have such a device, the JetDrive Go is an easy way to quickly gain access to more storage, even though it’s inherently limited by the way the iOS file system is locked down.

You can find the JetDrive Go on Amazon and B&H Photo Video. Models come in 32, 64, and 128 GB varieties with prices starting around $40.

What do you think about the JetDrive Go and similar external storage devices? Would you consider using one?