Exploring CloudFTP: Portable iOS Data Storage Solutions

Expanding the storage on your iPad or iPhone can be a challenge since these devices lack a standard USB port or SD card slot. While Apple’s Camera Connection Kit allows for photo imports, it doesn’t support full USB drive functionality for accessing a variety of files such as videos, music, and documents. However, a solution has emerged in the form of CloudFTP.

Originally a Kickstarter project, CloudFTP has now evolved into a commercially available product that you can buy online. This compact, USB-powered device creates a local WiFi network to share data from any USB storage through an HTML5 web interface.

Available for US$99, it allows users to connect any USB storage device and access its contents via a browser on your iPad or iPhone.

The CloudFTP device is small enough to fit in your pocket and is very lightweight, making it highly portable. It charges via a standard USB connection, which means it can be powered anywhere you can charge your iOS devices.

Despite its innovative design, CloudFTP has some limitations in its functionality. During my testing, I found that while JPEGs and text files were easily accessible through Mobile Safari, other types of files posed more of a challenge. For instance, when I tried to view an MKV formatted video, I was unable to download or play the file directly from the browser.

However, Daniel Chin, the developer behind CloudFTP, suggests using apps like GoodReader, OPlayer, and iFiles which provide network access to external files, allowing for the download and use of unsupported formats.

Note: CloudFTP only supports writing to USB drives formatted as FAT32 or NTFS.

Drives formatted with other file systems like HFS, HFS+, exFAT, or EXT 2/3/4 are supported in a read-only mode.

While the interface is designed to be user-friendly and resembles iOS, it often felt clunky and would frequently freeze. Preferences such as display settings were not saved, reverting to default views after each session. The icons and text overlays used in the interface also lacked polish, reflecting its Kickstarter origins and the limitations typically associated with early-stage projects.

Additionally, the use of standard iOS interface elements in unconventional ways was a minor annoyance. For example, the use of grey chevrons typically indicates navigation, but here they triggered pop-up alerts.

During my evaluation, the device also experienced several crashes, completely shutting down the network service on multiple occasions.

Share This Article
Michael Rose

Andrew is a dedicated writer for TUAW, your go-to Apple news blog. With a keen eye for detail and a love for all things Apple, Andrew brings you the latest updates on iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and Apple Watches. His insightful articles and reviews help readers stay informed about the newest features and innovations. When he’s not writing, Andrew enjoys exploring new apps and testing out the latest Apple gadgets. His commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valuable member of the TUAW team.