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use iphone as hard driveIf you own an iPod, you will know that other than storing music, you can also use it as an external hard disk. You simply connect your iPod to your computer and you can easily transfer files over via drag and drop. When it comes to the iPhone however, Apple sells you a larger hard disk, gives you more functionality, yet does not allow you to use it as an external hard disk. Come to think of it, the iPhone is the gadget that you are more likely to carry with you wherever you go and it is the more likely candidate to become a portable hard disk, yet you can’t do anything to it.

If you are interested in knowing how you can use your iPhone/iPod Touch as an external hard drive, here are some ways that you can get it done.

1. Discover (App Store)

discover-iphone external hard drive Discover is the only free app in the whole App store that gives you the full functionality of a wireless hard disk. With just a wireless network, you can freely upload/download files to your iPhone.

You can either use the WebDAV protocol to connect to your iPhone via Finder, Windows Explorer or Nautilus (Gnome) or use the Web interface and connect to it via your browser. If you are a Windows user, there is even a Discover Windows client that you can use to connect to your iPhone.

Discover comes with several useful features. There is an iPhone-discovery mode where you can discover other iPhones in your network and share files with them. There is also a viewer within the app that enables you to view your files while on the move.

2. Briefcase Lite (App Store)

briefcase-lite-use iphone-as-a-drive Briefcase Lite is the free alternative to the paid app Briefcase. This free app allows you to connect your iPhone to Mac and Linux in a local area network environment (Windows is not supported). Similar to Discovery, you can transfer files to/from your iPhone and use it as a drive to store whatever files you want. There is a viewer to view the various type of files while on the move.

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There are several limitations to Briefcase Lite compared to Briefcase. Firstly, you can only upload files, but not directories. This means that if you have plenty of files, you have to upload them one by one, rather than upload them as one folder. Secondly, Briefcase Lite does not come with the remote login feature that is available in Briefcase. Thirdly, Briefcase Lite does not allow you to send files to another iPhone, but you can receive files from a Briefcase user.

In general, if you want basic file transfer and viewing functions, Briefcase Lite is sufficient. If you are looking for more sophisticated features like remote login and remote mounting of disk images and installing of packages, then Briefcase is the one to go.

Free Third Party Software

Other than the apps at the app store which deal on the iPhone side, there are also several third-party software that focus mainly on the computer side. You only need to install these software in your Windows and you will be able to use iphone as hard drive via the USB cable. There are several software for Mac as well but they are paid apps, so I will not mention them here.

3. iPhonebrowser

iphonebrowser - use iphone as hard drive windows

iPhoneBrowser is a Windows based file browser for your iPhone. Once you have it installed in your Windows, you can navigate the whole iPhone filesystem and drag and drop files to it. You can also perform backups in case you accidentally delete some important files.

4. DiskAid


Same as iPhonebrowser, DiskAid is another software that allows you to browse and transfer files to your iPhone. There are lesser options, but it has a far simpler interface and easy to understand icons.

Other alternatives

If you have jailbroken How To Jailbreak Your iPhone 3G With The Pwnage Tool How To Jailbreak Your iPhone 3G With The Pwnage Tool Read More your iPhone, there are some useful applications in the Cydia app that you can use.

5. Netatalk

Installing Netatalk via the Cydia app gives you the ability to connect your iPhone to your Mac using the AFP protocol. You can access your iPhone via the Finder and drag and drop any files to it.

6. OpenSSH

OpenSSH may not be the most elegant way to connect to your iPhone, but it is the best and easiest way for you to tweak and hack your iPhone. You will need a SSH client on your computer to make use of OpenSSH. Cyberduck (Mac), WinSCP (Windows) and Filezilla (Linux) are a few great SSH clients that you can use.

With OpenSSH, not only can you transfer files to/from your iPhone, you can also move the internal files around (do it at your own risk) or change the file permissions. This is useful if you are looking to hack your phone and install any cracked applications.

The above mentioned applications are some of the free alternatives to turn your iPhone into an external hard disk.

In the past we also mentioned how to use iPhone as modem, turn iPhone into a ruler and lots of other stuff.

Surely there are many more ways/hacks that you can use to access your iPhone, some of them are paid apps and are not mentioned here. If you use any of those, do share them with us.

  1. trykz
    November 6, 2009 at 1:30 am

    iphonebrowser didnt work on my pc, but diskaid did.
    its not free tho, requiring a key after 14 days? w.e, i found a site that had a key and name so now ive got mines fully registered and it works great without paying a cent :D

  2. iphone app reviews
    October 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I also am a huge fan of airsharing. for $4.99 it is still one of the best apps out there.

  3. therem
    September 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for your information! Discover is grate!
    It's a real shame that expensive apps are very easy to find.

  4. rock
    September 9, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Wheres a good place to store files once you are able to access the hard drive?

  5. pauline
    August 19, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I have a iphone 3g, version 3.0. How come i can use mine as a hard drive when it is connected to my friends vista laptop but when i connect to my own laptop i cant use it as a hard drive. could someone please explain why?

  6. Robert Kosednar
    May 25, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I would say Air Sharing has been a fan favorite at our iPhone 3G Exchange Activesync setup site (

  7. aheryan
    December 31, 2008 at 1:27 am

    I absolutely conscent with Chris saying. An external HDD should be something that a user just plugs in and it can be used directly. Most methods mentioned above will need network connection, except iPhoneBrowser. However, one must need to install iTunes before iPhoneBrowser can be use.

    The other day I wanted to transfer some files from my laptop over to a server, and sadly I'm not allowed to join the network at all. Needless to say the server wouldn't have iTunes installed, so what I did was zip my files, rename them to .jpg and put into /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM/100APPLE folder, then when I plugged in my iPhone to the server, it's able to detect my image and thus my "image" was successfully being transferred =)

    • Sal
      October 23, 2009 at 5:45 am

      Nice way. I like the idea. I'll try it soon.

  8. Petrus
    December 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Air Sharing FTW! Definitely worth the $4.99.

    When was this published? Man you need to come to the party...

  9. Sergey
    December 23, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I will rather stick to netatalk as i have jailbroken my iPhone and it is easy to use and navigation is easy in it.
    never heard of briefcase probably i missed it, Will love to give it a try.
    Thanks for nice list..

  10. Serena
    December 23, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I use Air Sharing too. I’ve bought and tried all of the alternatives—there are about a dozen now—but Air Sharing’s developer, Avatron Software, seems to be the only one that takes quality seriously. This app is really good.

  11. aheryan
    December 23, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I've been using AirSharing (since 1.0.3, now 1.1) and I think it rocks. I use the default folder as "My Documents" so I can access my files directly upon launching the app; whilst I put in a symlink (using ln -s command) to root (/), so that i can really access all the files within my device whenever I needed to =)

  12. smoker
    December 22, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I’ve also been using Air Sharing. No client software needed, connects with Mac/PC/Linux via Wi-Fi. Great app!!

  13. Steaven
    December 22, 2008 at 8:54 am


    I’m using air sharing too and it’s fantastic!

  14. Chris
    December 21, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Sadly, none of these apps, Air Sharing included (which Ialos use and give my vote to) actually provide "Ways To Use iPhone As An External Hard Drive" as the headline promises.

    I have three external hard drives plus an old iPod. Every single one of them lets me directly access, open, edit, save files through any relevant application.

    That's what a hard disk does.

    These applications just turn your iPhone into a briefcase to move your files from one location to another, and/or view those files on your iPhone.

    I want my iPhone to function FULLY as an external hdd, that's why i bought a 16GB (not knowing before hand it wouldn't do that) but until Apple enables that full functionality, we're all going to be disappointed.

    • Alex_115s
      December 31, 2008 at 4:06 am

      I'm fully in line with Chris' comment.

      An external HDD should always work with every PC/Mac just plugging it into them.

      Air-sharing can be a nice application, but needs a wi-fi connection which is not always available.
      The other way round (zip files, change names, use itunes, copy in iphone, renames, unzip, etc) is, in 2009, to be in the paleozolic hera!

      I'm really disappointed

  15. Dave
    December 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    I use Air Sharing too. I've bought and tried all of the alternatives—there are about a dozen now—but Air Sharing's developer, Avatron Software, seems to be the only one that takes quality seriously. This app is really good.

    Briefcase and Discover are extremely sloppy. Files is Air Sharing's best competitor, and it's a distant second. DiskAid, recommended in this blog for some reason, even comes with a warning about how its developer doesn't support it and if you try it, you're on your own. Buyer beware.

  16. Thomas
    December 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Yea, chalk up another vote for the one app that didn't make the list, and the best one

    Air Sharing is fantastic and will work with any computer with a network card basically.

  17. Matthew
    December 20, 2008 at 7:18 am


    I'm using air sharing too and it's fantastic!


  18. Walter
    December 20, 2008 at 5:24 am

    I've also been using Air Sharing. No client software needed, connects with Mac/PC/Linux via Wi-Fi. Great app!

  19. P@r@noid
    December 20, 2008 at 3:43 am

    I will rather stick to netatalk as i have jailbroken my iPhone and it is easy to use and navigation is easy in it.
    never heard of briefcase probably i missed it, Will love to give it a try.
    Thanks for nice list.

  20. Gerard Godin
    December 20, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Air Sharing from the Application store has been working wonderfully for me. It was free when I got it, but seems to cost money now.

    • Damien Oh
      December 20, 2008 at 9:41 pm

      I got Air Sharing when it was free too. Now it cost $4.99. :(

      • Kenny
        January 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

        i had a question about Openssh. i have never used it before and i was wondering how to. I have this jar file that is also an executable file that i've been trying to execute on the iphone. please help.

  21. Doug
    December 20, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I've been using the DataCase application since it's launch. It might cost a couple bucks, but I've been using my iPhone as an external drive for a long time.

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