I currently have a problem that my grandparents have an old Mac Mini (2007 or so) which is no longer fit for use. They generally just use an iPad now for all of their internetting/computing needs, however they have an abundance of files on their Mini that they want to keep, mainly photos.

I have suggested using cloud storage for it all, but they don't want to do that as they don't want to pay the fee they would need to for the amount of files they have. Also being old, they don't want all their files on the cloud and educating them otherwise is futile.

I have since moved all their files to my more recent iMac for the time being until I can sort something more permanent for them.

I'm looking for a physical storage device that can plug into both my iMac so I can transfer the files to it, and then plug into my grandparent's iPad, so they can view/open their files (photos and word docs occasional audio file) on their iPad.

I recently bought this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08G8HTR8T/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and they insist you download an App, called "CooDisk" which looked like a piece of rubbish! -- also the device didn't work when plugged into the iMac. And so I am returning it, I don't want to go off and buy a more expensive version of the same thing without someone recommending that it will do what I want it to do.

iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)

iPad 4th Gen

Is there such a device or even a completely new strategy that I can pursue to achieve what I need to above?


3 Answers 3


I think making the Mini into a fileserver is your best shot. That way they can access the files on it through Files on the iPad. You can also access the Mini this way (when you're at their place) and so it's easy all the way around. This approach means you don't even have to buy anything else. Just allow the Mini to be shared across the local network and you're golden.

  • This Mini is an ancient device which may fail catastrophically, thus losing all the photographs if they are not backed up elsewhere. If the OP chooses this route, the image files need to be stored on an external drive.
    – IconDaemon
    Jan 12, 2021 at 19:13
  • 2
    Of course he needs a backup strategy. Everyone does. I recommend the 3-2-1 philosophy. Jan 12, 2021 at 20:13
  • thanks for your response, it's definitely an option but ultimately it's a conversation about the end of life of the mini so I won't pursue this, although it will be a great option for future readers. Jan 13, 2021 at 10:24

Any USB storage works in the files app now. Based on the age of the iPad, you might be stuck with a local share but new gear running iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 would make this quite easy with any cheap USB slow storage directly connected.

If you need lightning connector, those devices are inexpensive but cost more than generic USB flash drives.


My mother, even after her 100th birthday, used the Photo App on her iPad. All the photos I take on my iPhone go to Apple's iCloud, as both devices run under my Apple-Id she saw my photos at her home even when I was abroad. If using different Apple-Ids, family sharing will work as well. If you have a huge amount of pictures, say >10'000 photos, >50 GB, a network attached storage might be a good solution (good for time machine backup too). My NAS is a Synology DS216j where I have a photo library. On my mother's iPad I installed the Synology Photo App, she could just browse through her photos.

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