Apple has always been quite vague about the positioning of products such as the iPad. Compared to the iPhone as a smart phone on the palm, the MacBook has been positioned as an efficiency and productivity tool. The iPad has been regarded as a big one for a long time. The meaning of”computer” in the”iPhone” and”tablet” was inadvertently ignored.

This may also be related to Apple’s own positioning of the iPad. It was not until Apple launched the iPad Pro with a screen area close to that of a laptop and equipped it with a detachable KeyBoard and Apple Pencil. Become a productivity tool-it ’s hard not to compare it with its competitor, the 2-in-1 PC Tablet Surface, but really make the iPad a productivity tool close to Surface, which has to wait until the iPad officially launched last year Dedicated system:iPadOS 13.

I turned my iPad into a

The reason why iPadOS 13 is separated from the iOS system is that on the one hand, it is hoped that more exclusive functions can be added to tablet devices such as iPad, and on the other hand, it is to add some functions similar to those on the market. , For example, more comprehensive support for USB accessories has been added since iPadOS 13.

The addition of USB accessory support also allows iPad to directly use existing computer peripherals on the market, which originally belonged to tablet computers only. The use scenarios have been extended to more fields, even to a certain extent, not less than laptop computers-at least under my attempts, these scenarios that were once dare not to imagine have been realized.

Lightning-connected iPads can also support USB peripherals

Although Apple has not explicitly stated that iPads that support USB peripherals Model, but after my experiments, in addition to the new iPad Pro that definitely supports USB peripherals, in fact, the iPad with the traditional lightning interface is also supported, but you need to buy an Apple-made accessory:Lightning to USB 3 Camera Converter .

I made the iPad a

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Although by name, this cable is mainly used to connect the so-called camera card reader, which is used to import photos from SD card to the device Photo album, but you have to know that it has been 2020, the use of the converter has also changed dramatically. You must know that the import of peripheral photos no longer needs to be imported into the iOS system album, but you can open the corresponding directly in the”File” App Directory of peripheral memory, so this converter is also the best way to extend the lightning interface to USB.

I made the iPad a

Of course, the other advantage of choosing the official converter is that in addition to the standard USB 3.0 interface, the converter can also add an additional lightning power interface, so that you can connect some current and voltage through additional power supply. Required devices, such as USB hubs, USB mobile hard drives, etc.

So let’s test together below, which USB devices can be used directly on the iPad.

Removable storage of USB peripherals:U disk cannot be copied to the computer

I have to say that the reliability of USB removable storage is sometimes better than what network transmission It ’s reliable. The customer copied a bidding document and went to the printing factory to make design drawings. I do n’t know what year to use for network transmission and reception. Of course, if I bring it myself It is too much trouble to open it with a laptop. IPad is really much easier and more convenient.

Similar to macOS, not all file systems can be read and written completely in iPadOS 13. Considering compatibility, the file system format of mobile storage should be exFAT, if the capacity is small, FAT32 (less than 4GB), so that both Windows and iPadOS can read and write completely, but Microsoft’s own NTFS format cannot be recognized by iPadOS .Of course, if you only have Apple-related devices in your environment, you can choose APFS or MacOS extension for the file system. Both file systems can be identified and read normally.

If you are using For the new iPad, it ’s very easy to connect USB mobile storage. First connect the Lightning to USB 3 camera converter, and then plug the mobile device into the USB port.

If you are the same as the author and me, use Is an older iPad. For example, the iPad I use is a 9.7-inch model, so the USB interface here can only reach the speed of USB 2.0. Level, and both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 U disks need to be connected to an external power supply, so that drive letters and folders will appear in the file app:

and even if it is connected to a USB 3.0 USB flash drive, The speed is actually the speed of USB 2.0. Of course, if you are using iPad Pro, you can reach USB 3.0 transfer speed.

I made the iPad a

U disk is relatively small in capacity and not high in voltage and current, so how about connecting a mobile hard disk? First of all, the converter must be connected to the power supply. After all, the mobile disk has the highest voltage and current requirements. Here is a HGST 1TB Beetle mobile hard disk, which is inserted in a similar U disk access method, but my low-end iPad ca n’t recognize it, even with external current, it ca n’t recognize it, but the independently powered hard disk box can be recognized, such as the following Picture like this:

 I turned the iPad into a

In fact, there is also an SD card reader When USB external storage was not supported in the past, you also need to purchase a”Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader” separately. At this stage, you can flip out your own USB card reader and insert it as shown below. It’s also easy to identify in the app.

I made the iPad a

In short, iPadOS 13 supports almost all USB storage devices on the market, whether it is a U disk, a mobile hard disk or a card reader, the only thing you need to pay attention to is to ensure power supply, especially for low-end iPads such as 9.7 inches.

USB peripheral keyboard and mouse:iPad is a computer

iPad has always been called a tablet computer. Another reason is the way of interaction :Almost completely use finger touch for human-computer interaction, so that for a long time, iPad does not support stylus, keyboard, and of course it is impossible to support mouse.

But this is the case There have been changes since iPadOS 13. Before that, the iPad had started to support smart keyboards and had interaction methods such as Apple Pencil. The mouse was officially added to the new system, that is, It is hidden to the auxiliary functions, but also to become a real iPad”tablet.”

At the same time, iPadOS 13 officially supports peripherals, so can it support USB keyboard and mouse devices? The answer is yes, for example, I have a Microsoft office wireless keyboard and mouse set in my hand. The keyboard and mouse share a wireless adapter. Plug it into the Lightning to USB 3 camera converter and connect it to the iPad. If nothing else, the iPad will Automatic recognition (although it will not be possible to see the device in the file app when the mobile storage is inserted):

 I made the iPad a

It is not complicated to want the mouse to appear, find”Settings-Accessibility”, open”Touch-Assistive Touch Control”, if a semi-transparent gray ring appears on the screen at this time, it means that the mouse has been officially recognized.

I made the iPad a

and open an application that can edit the input text, click input if you find that you do n’t see the virtual keyboard, and then use the physical keyboard to type. If you can enter, it means that the keyboard can also be directly recognized.

I turned the iPad into a

Everyone may The focus is on the key mapping part. The mouse is not difficult to understand. The left button is click, the right button opens the top menu, and the middle button of the mouse wheel returns to the desktop. Actions are defined twice and so on.

I made the iPad a

On the keyboard, because it is a Microsoft office keyboard, some keys need to be mapped. The Windows logo key is mapped to the Command key, but other self-media keys can be used (the volume keys can be perfectly mapped). Most of the input methods are basically the same as Mac’s external keyboard, and you can even reuse the shortcut keys on the Mac for operation.

USB keyboards and mice do not need to use an external power supply for additional power supply. There are idle USB keyboard and mouse, and connecting them can make our iPad a real”computer”.

USB hub for USB peripherals:multiple USB interfaces are easy to use

It really uses productivity environment, if only one USB interface is really It ’s not enough. For example, if you have to connect a keyboard and mouse and plug in a USB flash drive, then a lot of cheap USB hubs will come in handy.

Because the USB hub will be connected to multiple USB devices in the future, when using the Lightning to USB 3 camera converter, an external power source will be required for normal recognition (regardless of whether the USB HUB is USB 2.0 or USB 3.0). Tested , I can connect a wireless keyboard and mouse receiver to the USB HUB and insert a USB flash drive at the same time, and there is no interference or unusability.

I made the iPad a

Similarly, if a multi-port HUB is connected in this way, it can expand more USB peripherals, making it no less than a full-featured desktop computer.

USB peripherals connected to Ethernet network card:let iPad use wired network like desktop computer

USB extended support also allows iPad to meet some novel use cases, such as In an enterprise environment without a wireless network, the iPad can use a wired network to connect to the network.

The way to achieve it is also to use a USB Ethernet adapter, which can expand a USB to an Ethernet network card, Here we can choose an Ethernet network card that can be used without a driver on a Mac or directly purchase Apple’s official USB Ethernet adapter. The connection method is also through lightning to USB 3 camera converter. Next, if there is no accident, you will see the setting interface shown in the following figure in the settings on the iPad.

 I made the iPad a

An Ethernet option will appear in the system settings. If a wired network is available, the wired network connection will be used first. And automatically disconnect the current wireless network, although there will be no prompts in the status bar, but you can directly browse the Internet by opening the browser.

I made the iPad a

USB peripheral External sound card:Of course you should pay attention to listening to music

Although most iPads still retain 3.5 mm headphone jack However, if you have some requirements for listening to music, you all know that the sound of the 3.5mm interface is not very good, so if you want to improve the sound quality, you may choose a higher external sound card.

The iPadOS 13 support for USB peripherals also makes it possible for the iPad to connect a USB sound card. Of course, subject to system hardware specifications, even with external output, the sampling rate of audio decoding can basically only reach 44.1Hz, but the output The power is unmatched by the built-in 3.5mm interface.

The connection methods are almost the same. It should be noted that due to the high voltage requirements of the external sound card, when using a lightning to USB 3 camera converter in series, you must connect an external power source, such as the author I use When the proud BTR5 is connected, if it is successfully connected, the small screen of the BTR5 will display the connected sample rate, which means that the iPad has finished identifying the USB sound card.

I made the iPad a

Apart from FiiO BTR5, even the very cheap USB DAC can be recognized on the iPad. In fact, unlike many people imagine, the vast majority of USB external sound cards currently on the market are Compatibility is better on the Mac, and it can be basically recognized on the iPad. The external sound card can not only drive better headphones, but also can be used with 2.5mm balanced port headphones.


After a series of tests, by using a Lightning to USB 3 camera converter with an iPad device using iPadOS 13, we It has successfully driven most of the USB peripherals currently on the market. Due to the limitations of the iPadOS system, devices that can be identified without a driver on the Mac can also be accurately identified on the iPad. And the above extensions that make iPad a truly personal computer peripherals can be extended.