How to Back Up iPad to External Drive without Effort? [4 Ways Included]

2023-05-11 00:00:00/Posted by Alleny Gavinto iOS Transfer Topic/Follow @ MobiKin

Like Samsung's tablet, Apple's iPad has been a favorite in part because it combines the performance advantages of mobile phones and computers and is at an attractive price. For various reasons, we are used to creating a copy of iPad data in another independent storage like a computer. But if the destination of the backup is a hard disk that is not easy to connect, is there any way to complete this task without trouble?

OK, this passage is all about how to back up iPad to external drive. Next, we shall expand this topic to include several smart ways hereinafter.

backup ipad to external drive

Way 1: Back Up iPad to External Drive with Assistant for iOS

A large variety of items are stored on your iPad device, which makes the device with little memory worse. So, it's wise to back up photos, videos, music, etc., from an iPad to an external hard drive. Well, can I keep a copy of my iOS device on any external storage flexibly? Honestly, this is a piece of cake for MobiKin Assistant for iOS (Win and Mac). As the leader in iDevice assistance tools, it has the following practical advantages:

An overview of Assistant for iOS:

  • Back up iPad to external hard drive with a computer.
  • Make it convenient for you to preview and select what you want for backup.
  • Restore iPad backup to an iOS device in one click.
  • Transfer files between iDevices and computer/iTunes.
  • Manage iOS files on a PC/Mac directly.
  • Supports a whole range of iOS data types, including Video, Photo, Music, eBook, Contacts, Text Messages, Notes, Safari Bookmarks, Voice Memos, Podcasts, Ringtone, Playlists, etc.
  • Work well with almost all iDevices, including iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad 4/3/2, iPhone, iPod touch, etc.
  • It won't reveal your privacy.

download for win download for mac

How to back up the iPad to an external hard drive with Assistant for iOS?

Step 1. Connect your iPad to a computer

Ensure you install and open the program on a computer after the free downloaded. Connect your iPad and the external hard drive to this computer with working cables. After the physical connection, follow the easy prompt to let the product recognize your device.

run assistant for ios

Step 2. Select the iPad data to back up

All accessible file types will be on the left sidebar of the interface. Go ahead to preview and choose the files you want to back up.

how to backup ipad to external hard drive with assistant for ios

Step 3. Back up iPad to an external drive

Finally, click the "Export" button on the top screen and choose the hard drive as the output location. Then, all the selected files will be stored in the external storage automatically.

Here's another way to back up your iPad to your external hard drive using Assistant for iOS. (Quick Look: Create a connection between your iPad and the tool. Next, highlight "Super Toolkit" > "iTunes Backup & Restore" > "Backup" to back up the iPad to iTunes default location or even your customized one. Next, link your hard drive to this computer > go to the iTunes backup location > copy and paste the database to the linked storage.)

bulk back up ipad to external drive


You Might Need:

Way 2: Back Up iPad to External Hard Drive via USB-to-Lightning Adapter

As mentioned in the previous method, the computer does not necessarily have to be a "transit station" for data transmission. Even if there is no third-party software, you can directly transfer some media files, such as photos and videos, between the iPad and the hard disk. But the premise of this operation is that you need a USB-to-Lightning adapter.

Back up an iPad to an external hard drive directly without a computer using a USB-to-lightning adapter:

  • Link your iPad to your hard drive with a USB-to-lightning adapter.
  • Connect your iPad to a computer via USB.
  • Your external drive will soon be detected by your iPad.
  • Go to the Files app on your iPad and check the connected external hard drive.
  • Run the Photos app and select your desired images to save.
  • Next, tap on the "Share" sign and go for the option to save the photos to the Files app.
  • Choose the connected external drive to save the items there.

back up ipad to external hard drive via usb to lightning adapter

Way 3: Transfer Data from iPad to External Hard Drive via iTunes

iTunes is well-designed to back up or manage an iPad/iPhone/iPod, though you might suffer from data erasing afterward. (How to sync iPad to new computer without erasing?) Further, iTunes doesn't give you permission to change its default backup storage. And as you might know, it's not difficult to figure out the specific location where the backup is saved on your computer.

Subsequently, you can take the assistance of iTunes and Command Prompt to create a virtual connection between the system and external hard drive before moving data from your iPad to a separate drive.

How to transfer from an iPad to an external hard drive using iTunes?

  • Connect your iPad and the external storage to your computer.
  • If you are linking your device for the first time, tap "Trust" when prompted.
  • trust a computer on ipad

  • Run the "Start" menu to launch "Command Prompt".
  • Open the "Run" prompt and enter "cmd" before tapping "Enter".
  • Enter the following content to get into the iTunes backup location:
    mklink /J "C:\Users\Your user name\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "E:\" (Now, C and E are the driver letters for Windows and the external disk.)
  • Similarly, the location the iTunes backup is saved varies from PC to PC, but it is most likely in the provided folder.
  • Next, connect your iPad to your computer and launch iTunes.
  • Select the "device" icon from the iTunes screen.
  • Go to the "Summary" and set up the backup location as "This Computer" instead of iCloud.
  • Click "Back Up Now", and all your iPad data will finally be stored on the linked external drive.

transfer data from ipad to external hard drive via itunes

Extended Reading:

Way 4: Transfer Files from iPad to External Hard Drive Using Finder

iTunes was retired on macOS Catalina and up. But the good news is that Finder can take over the former in terms of hard drive backup for iPad. But it is a bit complicated to carry out the job. Precisely, you have to back up your iPad to Mac, locate the backup files, and move them to your external hard drive eventually.

How to transfer files from iPad to external hard drive with Finder?

  • Plug your iPad into your Mac with a cable available.
  • Select your iPad from the "Finder" sidebar on your computer.
  • Click "General" at the top of the Finder window.
  • Go for "Back up all of the data on your iPad to this Mac".
  • Tap "Finder" on your Mac's Dock.
  • Click on your device at the left menu of the Finder window.
  • Tap on "Manage Backups" under the "General" tab.
  • Choose a specific device.
  • Hold down the "Control" button and click the device.
  • Select "Show in Finder" to view iPad/iPhone backup on this Mac.
  • find ipad backup from a mac

  • Head to the Finder window that lists the iOS backup.
  • Choose the Backup folder.
  • Drag it to the hard disk from the Finder's sidebar.
  • transfer files from ipad to external hard drive using finder

  • Change the iOS backup folder on the external drive to "ios_backup".
  • Go back to the original finder window and change the name of the old backup to "old_backup".

In a Nutshell

Don't know which method to pick to complete the data transfer from your iPad to an external hard drive? Below we will bring you some references as a summary of this post:

  • iTunes and Finder cannot directly transfer content from an iPad to an external hard drive. And the task may make you boring or even upset.
  • No matter on Amazon or eBay, a USB-to-Lightning adapter does not have a friendly price tag.
  • Instead of spending more dough on a cable, it's better to get a professional MobiKin Assistant for iOS, which can complete many other operations besides data transfer.

download for win download for mac

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Alleny Gavin
Alleny GavinChief Editor
A chief editor at MobiKin, brings over a decade of experience in technical writing and holds a B.A. in English Literature. With a background as a Project Manager in the IT industry, he has authored 1000+ articles on, offering expert solutions for iOS issues. Gavin, a tech enthusiast, effortlessly recommends software with passion and extensive expertise in smartphones and software.
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