Tutorial: how to connect external HDD to Apple iPad

iPad USB Camera Connection Kit is much more useful as it seems. Max Sha, an experienced user, was able to access external hard drive with this kit. All you need is a jailbroken iPad, an external drive, a split-USB cable to give the drive some power and a terminal of some sort (f.e. MacBook) to mount the external storage. While it is a little unwieldy, it shows that Terabytes of external storage for iPad is possible.

Here is a complete step-by-step guide from Max Sha:

For starters, you will need to do the following:

1. Have an external hard drive formatted to either HFS or FAT32. NOTE: All data will be erased!

2. Perform the Spirit Jailbreak.

3. In Cydia, install iFile ($4.00 for full version, but there is also a free trial) and OpenSSH (free)

4. As well, install the “Nano” terminal text edit from Cydia.

5. For this particular example Max used GoodReader app for iPad ($0.99).

Now you can begin the process of mounting your hard drive. You will need external power for the drive. If you have an external drive with power (one that has a USB port and an external power supply) you won’t need to worry about this. If you have external drive with just an USB cord you will need a split USB cord.

1. Open “Settings” on your iPad to find your IP address (make sure you’re on the same network as your iPad).

2. Open Terminal, on your Mac (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app). On Windows you can use Putty.

3. At the prompt, SSH into your iPad with the IP address you found in the “Settings” app (make sure OpenSSH is installed!), with the following:

ssh root@[iPad IP address]

For you first time users, the password for your root account will be “alpine”. NOTE: Please change your password ASAP. To do this, once you’ve logged in VIA Terminal, type the following into the command prompt:

passwd root

You will then be prompted for a new password. Please do the same for your “mobile” user as well, by doing the following:

passwd mobile

4. Now, type the following, in Terminal:

mkdir /Volumes
mkdir /Volumes/EXT
ln -s /Volumes/EXT /var/mobile/EXT
nano /var/stash/Applications.xxxxxx/iFile.app/Info.plist (“xxxxxx” is a series of numbers after “Applications”. If you type “/var/stash/Applications” and hit the “Tab” key, it will fill in the rest for you).

5. The nano text editor will now open. Please add the following lines below the first “<dict>”, in the document (this makes iFile look much better on the iPad):


6. Then hit “Ctrl+x”. Followed by “Y”, and then “Enter”. This will save the changes that you made.

7. Now, reboot your iPad. You will notice that your SSH connection will have closed, in Terminal. Re-open terminal, when the iPad reboots, and follow steps 1-3 (without reseting the passwords again).

8. Open iFile, and go into the settings. It is recommended to have the settings set as shown below. The most important is enabling “Application Names”. Hit “Done”. Close out of iFile by hitting the Home button. Restart iFile.

9. In iFile, navigate to “/Volumes/”. Then, select the “Edit” button, in the top right.

10. Check the circle next to the “EXT” folder you created in “Step 4″.

11. Click the “Box with an arrow”, in the bottom right. In the dialogue box that opens, select “Copy/Link”.

12. In iFile, Navigate to “var/mobile/Applications/”. You should now see the names of applications above the actual folder names. Navigate to the “GoodReader” folder, then the “Documents” folder.

13. Click the “Edit” button again. And then click the “Box with an arrow”, in the bottom right. Click the “Create Link” button. You should now see the “EXT” folder. Hit “Done” in the upper right.

14. Now, connect your iPad Camera Connection Kit.

15. Take your hard drive and plug the secondary port into a power supply (in this case, Macbook Pro). Then, plug the main USB port into the iPad. You may see a message similar to “Insufficient power to mount this drive” error message on the iPad. With an external power supply, it should be much more convenient. NOTE: You MUST plug in the external power supply first, or else the iPad will not mount the drive.

16. Now, lets go back to terminal. Type:

ls /dev

What you’re looking for here is the file “disk1s1″. If that does not show up, try steps 15-16 again. If you see “disk1s1″, proceed to step 17.

17. For a FAT32 formatted drive, type the following, into terminal:

mount -t msdos /dev/disk1s1 /Volumes/EXT

It will take a few seconds, and then return you to the command prompt. For an HFS drive, type the following:

mount -t HFS /dev/disk1s1 /Volumes/EXT

18. You are now good to go! You can now access the files in either iFile, or GoodReader. As an example of how to manipulate the files, watch the video below.

19. To unmount the drive, type the following, in Terminal:

umount /dev/disk1s1

20. That’s all!

Here is a video demonstration:

Many thanks to Max Sha!

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