I regularly use an iPhone 5 to record video of lectures and tutorials.

If I transfer the videos to an OTG flash drive, and delete them from iPhone storage, is it possible to play them again (while the flashdrive is connected to the iPhone)?

Is there any app I need to be download beforehand?

  • Totally depends on the brand. iOS neither transfers data to drives nor reads them. So it's all about the apps the manufacturer provides you. – bdecaf May 11 '17 at 7:47

To the best of my knowledge, OTG flash drives come in either microUSB or USB Type-C versions.

As no past or current model of iPhone or iPad natively support these connections, it's unlikely that OTG flash drives will bundle the software and adapter needed to be used by your iPhone. That's because iOS itself would require specific apps to allow data to be accessed from an external device, and also because it'd need to support a Lightning port connection in some way.

The only options I've seen that would allow you to do what you want, are custom designed solutions specifically targeting iOS devices. For example, there are iPhone cases that include storage and an app to allow the iPhone to use that storage. Likewise there are specific flash drives that do the same.

Below are three examples:

NOTE: I have not personally used any of these devices - I list them purely as examples of what I'm referring to.


I would like to flesh out my comment to an answer.

The key issue is that iOS as (opposed to Android) does not intend the usage of external media. Though it seems Apple is not too stringent about since they even produce a SD reader, based on which all devices that connect to USB are constructed.

The intended use for these devices is to import photos and videos into iPhoto. This isn't a decent player for longer videos. Note - that you especially are not supposed to copy videos into the videos app. But there are plenty superior players around anyway - like VLC.

There is a number of third party apps that will offer you transfer from iOS apps to external and back. But so far the options to use data from storage directly are very limited - it's usually transfer to phone first, and then open locally. Even the very flexible VLC is unable to use external storage. Though among the examples @Monomeeth found the iExpand claims to come with an app that plays videos. Personally I would be wary, as one is stuck with the video player provided.

A bit more promising are the drives with builtin WiFi - like this Sandisk Connect Wireless Stick. This sounds rather cumbersome but the nice thing is you are freer in the selection of apps. In addition to the provided app there usually is a web interface through which media can be viewed/streamed. The way videos are provided is very commons so you can find a selection of video players.

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