Small, lightweight, portable, available up to 128GB, automatic backup of photos and videos, fast transfer of files, direct connection more secure and simpler than WiFi connection


Blocks 2nd USB port when connected to computer, storage not expandable, will not work with older iOS devices (those without lightning connector)


Overall, the iXpand is a great portable storage device for Lightning enabled iOS devices. It is a fast, secure way to back up photos and videos, and allows you to create space on your iOS device by storing photos, videos and music on the iXpand instead of on your device.

Our Rating



Running out of space on your iPhone or iPad is a common complaint and using a portable storage device is a way to alleviate this problem. SanDisk make several portable storage solutions for iOS devices including the iXpand Flash drive, and the SanDisk Connect Media Drive, which we have previously reviewed.
The iXpand is a small, portable, lightweight flash drive available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions. I tested the 64GB model, it is  approximately 2.5″ x 1.5″ x 0.5″ and weighs approximately 1oz. The iXpand can be used to transfer photos and videos between your iOS devices or between iOS devices and  your computer. You can also load videos and music onto the flash drive from your computer and play them on your iOS device.

It has a USB connector and a lightning connector which allows it to connect directly to your iOS device, rather than via WiFi as the SanDisk Connect Media Drive and most other portable storage solutions do. This makes it both simpler and more secure. The iXpand is powered by a rechargeable battery, which charges when plugged into a computer. It is compatible with iPhones and iPads with lightning connectors, i.e. iPhone 5 & newer, iPad 4 & newer and all versions of iPad Mini. I tested it with an iPhone5, iPad Air 2 and MacBook Pro.  The lightning connector is on a flexible arm which lets it connect easily even when you have a bulky case on your device- it worked fine even with an Otterbox defender on my iPad Air2. I did find that when plugged into my MacBook Pro the iXpand was wide enough that it blocked my 2nd USB port, which was was a pain if I needed to use another USB port at the same time as the iXpand.

Photos and Videos

It is a great way to back up your iPhone/ iPad photos and videos and you can set it to automatically back up all your new photos and videos every time you connect the flash drive. The backup and transfer are very quick.

You can choose to view your folders and files in either a grid or list format, and you can quickly switch back and forth between the 2. You can also choose to sort by file type, alphabetical order or date added. I like this flexibility especially when looking at my photos and I use the list alphabetically to find a particular album (folder), then switch to the grid view where I can see all the picture thumbnails side by side, to pick out the individual photo I’m looking for.


I have loaded several of my kids favorite movies on to the drive, so that I have them easily at hand when we have an unexpected long wait at a doctors office or other appointment. In the list view it is easy to choose the right movie as they display both the title and thumbnail. The movies play seamlessly, going to fullscreen after a few seconds playing. You can also download them onto your device for later viewing if you wish. Downloaded movies are stored in the iXpand app rather than the movie app of the iPad/ iPhone.

N.B You cannot play iTunes protected movies using this player, this is an issue with Apple and affects all similar products. 


I love to listen to music from my iPhone, I learned pretty early on that I can only store a fraction of my music collection on my phone or I end up with no space for anything else. The iXpand is a great alternative way for me to carry my music collection with me and listen to it from my phone without eating up my storage space. I usually just play the music directly from the iXpand but you can also download music from the iXpand to your iOS device, where it is stored in the iXpand app. You can not upload music from your iOS device to the iXpand.


Overall, the iXpand is a great portable storage device for Lightning enabled iOS devices. It is a fast, secure way to back up photos and videos, and allows you to create space on your iOS device by storing photos, videos and music on the iXpand instead of on your device. The one feature that the SanDisk Media Player has that this does not is is the ability to add additional storage by changing the micro-SD card.

The iXpand app works well, it is very easy to create folders within the app, and move or copy files from one folder to another. I like being able to quickly switch between list and grid views. The app is well organized and a nice additional feature is that it tells you what % of storage is left on the iPad/ iPhone and on the iXpand plus what % charge the battery has left. I found uploading and downloading to the app very fast, on a recent backup I had 660 photos to copy and they loaded onto the iXpand in 8 minutes, and I downloaded a full length movie in under 2 minutes.

The lightning connector works well even when the iPad or iPhone is in a bulky case, I like having it connect directly rather than via WiFi as it is simpler and more secure. The downside is that you can not charge your iOS device whilst using the iXpand, but because it is self-powered at least the iXpand is not itself using your iPhone/iPad battery.

The iXpand is available from Amazon and many other retailers

iXpand Synch app iTunes link: SanDisk iXpand™ Sync – SanDisk

SanDisk iXpand™ Sync
SanDisk iXpand™ Sync
by SanDisk

Category: Productivity, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 92.3 MB


(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!