How to Access My iPad as a Drive

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Early versions of Apple personal media products --- the original iPod and the iPod nano, for example --- had a handy feature called disk mode. When you turned disk mode on, you could use your iPod as an external storage device through your operating system. But the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad don't have the disk mode feature, so all of that juicy storage space isn't immediately available. A free program exists to help you get around this.

Things You'll Need

  • iPad USB cable
  • Download Phone Disk from the Macroplant website, or find another shareware program with the same functions. Macroplant develops and promotes Phone Disk as the solution to Apple's no disk mode on the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. This program integrates with your operating system and accesses the iPad's file system, mounting the device as a drive on your computer. The program is free for 15 days, and then you can choose to register by giving a donation.

  • Install Phone Disk by following the on-screen directions in the download file. Run the .exe program and enter your information, then click "Next" to install. Check the "Launch Phone Disk" box and click "Finish." You are prompted to register the program, or you can uncheck "Show This Screen When Phone Disk Starts" and click "Close." Phone Disk integrates with your operating system and appears in the system tray along the bottom.

  • Make sure your iPad is on, and connect your iPad to your PC using the provided USB cable. You computer recognizes the device and performs its routine action --- launching iTunes, usually. But look along the bottom of the screen for the Phone Disk icon, a yellow and black iPhone image, to control the iPad without using iTunes. Click this icon and look for the menu item "[Your Name]'s iPad" (or whatever name you gave your device).

  • Click on your iPad in Phone Disk and then choose "Reveal." This mounts the device as an external drive that you can browse to through Explorer on a PC or Finder on Mac. Click "Start" and "Computer" on a PC to browse your devices, or click the Finder icon on your Mac. Your iPad appears in these programs as a drive with a letter. Double-click the drive to view the files on your iPad.

  • Copy and paste files to the device as you see fit. It's not a good idea to alter the system files already on the iPad, as this might cause problems with the operating system on the device. You can't view your apps through Phone Disk, but you can still modify apps and content on the iPad through iTunes. You can, however, use Phone Disk's Explorer/Finder extension to create folders on your iPad and use these folders for storage.

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