How can I view SD card on my iPhone?

The iPhone doesn’t have an SD card slot built-in, so you’ll need to use an adapter or reader to transfer files from an SD card to your iPhone. This allows you to view photos, videos, documents, and other files stored on the SD card by importing them to your iPhone.

There are a few different options for SD card readers that work with iPhones. Apple makes an official Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader accessory. There are also various third-party SD card readers that connect via the iPhone’s Lightning port or wirelessly using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Once connected to your iPhone, the SD card will appear as external storage. You can use the Files app or the Photos app to access and view files, then import anything you want to keep onto your iPhone’s internal storage or cloud storage.

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions for using both Apple’s and third-party SD card readers to view and manage files from an SD card on your iPhone.

What You’ll Need

To view and transfer files from an SD card to your iPhone, you’ll need:

That’s the basic equipment you’ll need. Now let’s look at how to connect the SD card and access the files on your iPhone.

Connect the SD Card Reader

The first step is to connect the SD card reader to your iPhone. You’ll need an SD card reader that is compatible with the iPhone’s lightning port.

To connect it, take the SD card reader and plug it into the lightning port on the bottom of the iPhone. The fit should be snug. Some SD card readers designed for iPhone may have a lightning connector built into the reader already. Others may require a separate lightning adapter that you connect to the SD card reader before plugging it into the iPhone.

Once connected, your iPhone will briefly prompt you that it has recognized the SD card reader. You’re now ready to view and manage files on the SD card using your iPhone.


Import Photos and Videos

The easiest way to import photos and videos from an SD card to your iPhone is by using the Photos app. Simply connect your iPhone to the SD card reader or camera adapter with the SD card inserted. Open the Photos app and you will see a new Import tab at the bottom. Tap on Import to view all the photos and videos on the SD card.

Select the photos/videos you want to import by tapping on them. You can select multiple files at once. Once you have selected everything you want to import, tap on Import Selected at the top right. The Photos app will now import the selected photos and videos into your iPhone Camera Roll. The import process may take some time depending on the amount of media.

According to Apple’s support article, “Import photos and videos,” the Photos app allows you to import media directly from a camera, SD card, or another iPhone/iPad. It is the easiest way to transfer photos and videos to your iPhone storage without needing a computer or web service. The imported photos and videos will be saved to your Camera Roll or to a new album if you create one.


View Files in the Files App

The easiest way to view and access files on your SD card is through the Files app on your iPhone. The Files app comes pre-installed on iOS 11 and later. To view SD card contents in Files:

  • Connect your SD card reader and insert the SD card if you haven’t already.
  • Open the Files app.
  • Tap “Browse” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Select your SD card from the list of locations.
  • You can now view all folders and files stored on your SD card.

Within the Files app you can open photos, videos, documents and more. You can also move, copy, rename, delete and manage files directly on your SD card.

One limitation is that you cannot edit files directly on the SD card using iOS apps. You will need to first import them to your iPhone internal storage or iCloud Drive if you want to edit them in apps like Photos or Pages.

Overall the Files app provides full read/write access to external storage like SD cards attached to your iPhone. This allows easy transfers, backups, and file management without needing to import everything to your iPhone internal storage.

Transfer Files to iPhone Storage

You can copy files from the SD card onto your iPhone’s internal storage to keep them permanently saved on your device. This allows you to free up space on the SD card while still retaining the photos, videos, and other files on your iPhone.

To transfer files from the SD card to iPhone storage:

  1. Connect the SD card reader to your iPhone and insert the SD card.
  2. Open the Files app on your iPhone and navigate to the SD card files.
  3. Tap Select in the top right corner.
  4. Select the files you want to transfer by tapping them.
  5. Tap the Move button at the bottom of the screen.
  6. Select On My iPhone as the destination and tap Copy.

The selected files will now be copied from the SD card onto your iPhone’s internal storage. You can find them in the On My iPhone section of the Files app.

This allows you to free up space on your SD card while still keeping those files saved directly on your iPhone. Just remember that your iPhone storage capacity is limited, so you’ll need to manage the space.

Edit Photos and Videos

Once your photos and videos are transferred to your iPhone, you can edit them directly in the Photos app using the built-in editing tools. The Photos app allows you to crop, apply filters, adjust lighting and color, and more.

To edit a photo or video:

  1. Open the Photos app and select the photo or video you want to edit.
  2. Tap the Edit button in the upper right corner.
  3. You’ll see editing tools across the bottom. Tap each tool to adjust the lighting, color, filters, cropping and orientation. Play around with the tools to achieve the desired effect.
  4. When finished, tap Done to save the edits.

The Photos app makes basic editing quick and easy, allowing you to enhance your photos and videos without needing to transfer them to a computer. Take advantage of the built-in tools to give your media a polished look right from your iPhone.

Backup SD Card Files

One of the best ways to backup photos, videos, and other files from your SD card is to transfer them to iCloud or to a Mac or PC. Here are some tips for backing up your SD card files:

To backup to iCloud:

  • Connect the SD card reader to your iPhone and import the files you want to backup to the Files app.
  • Open the iCloud Photos app and select the photos/videos you want to backup. Tap the Share icon and select “Copy to iCloud Photos” (Source).
  • You can also upload files stored in the Files app directly to iCloud Drive. Just tap the Share icon from the file view and select “Copy to iCloud Drive.”
  • Verify the files are safely backed up by checking iCloud Photos or iCloud Drive on another device logged into your iCloud account.

To backup to a Mac/PC:

  • Connect the SD card reader and import the files to the Photos app or Finder on your Mac. You can also use Image Capture app on a Mac.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and open the Photos app. Select the files to import and click Import.
  • You can also view the SD card files using the Files app on your iPhone and transfer them to your computer over a shared WiFi connection.
  • Eject and disconnect the SD card only after verifying the files have transferred and backed up to your computer.

Backing up your SD card files provides an extra layer of protection in case your card is corrupted, lost or damaged. Storing important photos, videos and files both on your iPhone and backed up to iCloud or your computer helps ensure they are safe.

Read SD Card on iPad

Reading an SD card on an iPad follows similar steps to the iPhone. Here’s how to do it:

To start, you will need an Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader or a USB-C to SD card reader if you have an iPad Pro or newer iPad Air.

Plug the reader into your iPad, then insert the SD card. The Photos app should open automatically. If it doesn’t, open Photos and tap on the Import tab in the bottom left. You will see thumbnails for all the photos and videos on your SD card.

Tap on each thumbnail you want to import, then tap Import. The files will be transferred from the SD card to your iPad’s internal storage. You can delete the transferred images from the SD card if you need to free up space.

To view other files like documents on the SD card, open the Files app. Tap Browse, locate your SD card under Locations, then tap on it. You will see all files and folders on the card. To transfer files off the SD card, drag and drop them into iCloud Drive or On My iPad.

When you are done transferring files, eject the SD card before unplugging the reader. Then you can disconnect the reader.

Tips and Troubleshooting

If you experience issues using an SD card reader with your iPhone, here are some tips and troubleshooting steps:

Make sure to properly eject the SD card before disconnecting the reader. To do this, go to the Files app and tap on the name of the SD card. Then tap “Eject” and wait for the notification that it’s safe to disconnect the reader 1.

If you get read errors or the Files app freezes when trying to access the SD card, try reformatting the card. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. This will wipe the SD card and may resolve corrupted data issues 2.

Check for a firmware update for the SD card reader. Some readers may require an update for full compatibility with newer iPhone models and iOS versions.

As a last resort, update your iPhone to the latest iOS version, which may include fixes for SD card reader bugs.