Flash Drive Help and External Hard Drive

I was backing up some files from an iPad Air 3 to a flash drive 128 gb usb 2.0. It backed up a few dozen graphic files without any problem. I did about a dozen at a time. It did need to be plugged into the outlet and I have the dongle, of course.

Then I increased the number of files to back up at a time. It was spinning far too long I thought so I stopped it. Since that point the flash hasn’t been working. It will tell me on other devices (an iPhone and an iPad mini) that there is not enough power. It does not recognize it all on the iPad Air.

Is there anything I can do? My Apple devices are running just fine, knock wood.


  • Connection issues can result from anything from humidity and poor connection to a failing drive. If you ‘stop’ the drive by unplugging it while reading/writing data can get corrupted.

  • For what filesystem was the drive formatted? If it was FAT32, transferring files over 4Gb in size would have been the problem.

  • Using a powered USB hub often resolves the power error. This is a common situation with devices that pull extra power, like some keyboards or music controllers, but if the Flash drive is flaky or old getting the power from a hub might help.

It’s brand new. Says OSX 10.1 and higher.

I do have a HUB. Do you think that might help. (I’ve never used it before.)

Flash drives should not require additional power to work; you ought to be able to just plug them in. So it seems like there’s a problem with the drive or perhaps the port or cabling. If you have a powered hub it might be worth trying but it’s certainly not an optimal solution.

Katie, do you have access to a computer you could use to reformat the drive?

No, John, other than a non-Mac one in the office here where I live.

You could reformat using ExFAT using the non-Mac computer, which should work if that’s the problem.

When you say “dongle”, do you mean that you plug the flash drive in via a dongle? Is it possible the dongle is bad? That’s not unheard of, especially if it’s a dongle with a cable.

I think the dongle is fine.

On a hunch, I went ahead and tried adding some additional (different) files with NO problem. Rather strange but it works. It’s a wee bit tedious.
I have an external hard drive I’d like to get the photos out of. I used it as a TimeMachine backup about 9 years ago or so with my laptop.

The fastest iPad I have now is the IPad Air. Would a new IPad Pro be likely to get at those files? Actually there are two external hard drives.

I’d be very happy to get at the photos in just one!