Apple’s iPhone users have traditionally struggled with the storage space they get in their devices. There are two reasons for this: one, extra storage on a iOS device comes at a premium; two, iOS does not offer options like expandable storage, which is popular in Android devices.

However, for a few years now, iOS users have had the option of buying external flash drives that offer extra storage as well as the ease of transferring files from other devices. One of these devices, the SanDisk iXpand Mini Flash Drive, has gone for a refresh.

SanDisk iXpand Mini Flash Drive

We got the 32GB version of the SanDisk iXpand Mini Flash Drive for review. Compared to the earlier versions this is much smaller and sleeker. It comes with a regular USB 3.1 port on one side, and a lightning port on the other. As soon as you plug it into an iOS device, it prompts you to download the SanDisk iXpand app from the app store.

The popular use case for this device will be to help free up space on an iPhone or iPad. The app lets you do that with ease and even backs up contacts. Once the backup is done, there is the option to delete these files from the iPhone or iPad. You can do this without worrying as the drive lets you play the files seamlessly from the drive itself.

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The other main use for the drive is to copy files from a laptop to an iPhone or iPad. A lot of iOS users struggle here as they try to manage the multiple worlds of iOS and Windows. However, with the iXpand drive this is as simple as drag and drop. I copied video files from the my laptop to this drive and played them with ease within the app on the iPhone. Now, if you are planning a long trip, just copy your videos on this drive to play on your iPhone or iPad wherever you are.

Interestingly, the app offers the option to backup your social media files directly onto the drive, like some old Western Digital hard drives. Also, if you want to save something from another app, it is as easy as going to share sheet and clicking on the iXpand app.

Even when the files are being read directly from the drive there is no lag or stutter. The copy speeds are also very fast with a 1GB file being moved in well under a minute.