One of the major raps against the new iPad Pro, and one that I’ve made myself on this site, is that iOS development is lagging behind hardware development for the iPad. One of the specific complaints is that the Files App does not let an iPad user access external storage devices connected to it. Secondarily, photographers have been complaining that the photos they import onto the iPad have to first be imported to the Photos App before being moved to the app that the photographer actually wants to use. A frustratingly screwed up workflow.
Fortunately there is a workaround that was hiding right under my nose: Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless SSD. I purchased the 500GB model last year before going on a Rhine River cruise primarily for a backup for the pictures I took during the trip. I’ve used it a couple of times since for that purpose and it works well.
What I didn’t realize is that that the MyCloud app that comes with the Passport also creates a location called “My Cloud” in the Files App that allows me to access the device directly and open, copy, move, and share files stored on it. Not only that, you can plug a USB flash drive into the passport and then access that drive as well. Pretty cool.
And it doesn’t just work with pictures. You can access documents stored on a flash drive or the passport and open them with apps on your iPad. I tried this with a PDF, an Excel spreadsheet and a Quick Time video and it worked flawlessly.
Obviously this is not as convenient as plugging an external storage device directly into you iPad but until Apple decides to treat iPad owners as fully competent adults I think it will solve much of the frustration I’ve felt about the glacial speed of iOS development.