It’s the nightmare of every photo-happy vacationer. You’re in a spectacular locale, phone in hand, ready to snap that once-in-a-lifetime shot the beautiful vista/ocean/ice cap/festival before you, but there’s a problem — you’ve run out of memory. You bought a 16GB iPhone way back when to save a chunk of change, and now you’re stuck with it and its tiny storage until it’s time to upgrade.
But maybe not. Storage company SanDisk has taken the wraps off the iXpand Flash Drive, a flash drive that promises to put your mobile storage fears to bed.
The new iXpand’s pretty self-explanatory, really. It’s a sleek, compact dongle that expands (get it?) the storage capacity of your iPhone by plugging into it via a flexible, fold-out Lightning swivel that accommodates “most” hard and soft cases. When used in conjunction with SanDisk’s iXpand Drive app — an app that’s been “completely redesigned” in response to feedback, SanDisk says — future pics and videos you capture on the attached device save automatically to the iXpand instead of your phone’s internal storage. Nifty.
Related: The iKlips Duo gives your iPhone extra storage and sports a USB plug for faster transfers
The iXpand’s got transfer features too, for the times wireless isn’t reliable. A USB 3.0 connector provides access to your camera roll, contacts, videos, and music from a PC, plus lets you perform all file operations you’d expect with a flash drive — e.g., copying, cutting, pasting, and deleting. You can play back media files from your iPhone/iXpand and use SanDisk’s built-in encryption software to password-protect them, in addition, and upload any mementos you’d like shared directly to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
The iXpand comes in 16GB ($49.99), 32GB ($69.99), and 64GB ($89.99), and 128GB ($129.99) flavors, and is compatible with pretty much every iOS device that packs a lightning port: every generation of iPad mini, the iPad Air and Air 2, the iPad Pro, the iPhone 5 and later, and the 5th-gen iPod. It’s available at BestBuy.com, Amazon, and SanDisk.com now.