Features Supported by LaCie External Drives on iPad USB-C


External Storage and iPad USB-C

Some LaCie storage devices can be used with newer USB-C iPads (click here to see if your LaCie device is supported with USB-C iPads). For a list of supported actions please see the list below: 

Connecting Storage to Compatible iPads

You can access, share, and copy files between external storage devices and compatible iPads running iPadOS 13 and later. Note: The iPad must have a USB-C port to connect the external storage device, including:

  • iPad Pro third generation and later
  • iPad Air fourth generation and later
  • iPad mini sixth generation and later
  • iPad tenth generation and later*

*Note: The USB-C port on the 10th generation iPad uses USB 2.0 and is not compatible with Thunderbolt devices.

To view the contents of the storage device on your iPad, open the native Files app. The connected storage device is available in the left sidebar and can be easily found next to the:

  • USB icon in iPadOS 13
  • Drive icon in iPadOS 14 and later
  • Locations icon in iPadOS 15 and later

If the sidebar is not visible, tap the sidebar icon on the upper left to reveal it. There are multiple folders for services and apps installed on your iPad. For example, cloud services such as iCloud, OneDrive, Adobe Creative Cloud and many others have a folder in the Files app to easily view and copy content. Once your LaCie storage device is connected you can copy content to your preferred cloud service.

Note: Unlocking a LaCie storage device with a Seagate Secure password is currently unavailable. Seagate Secure can be temporarily disabled using Toolkit on a Mac or PC before connecting it to a supported iPad.

Supported Actions

In the Files app, tap on the connected drive to see all files stored within it. Files and folders can be viewed and opened (if an app is installed to support the filed type). The method of interacting with files changes slightly based on the version of iPadOS running. See this Apple article and select the appropriate iPadOS version for usage information. A video covering the use of the file app is also available on the Apple support YouTube channel.

Common actions are:  

  • Copy: Copy one or more items to another directory.
  • Duplicate: Copy the item to the same folder.
  • Move: Move the item from the current folder to another folder.
  • Delete: Move the item to the Recently Deleted trash can in the Files app.
  • Info: Get details on the item.
  • Tags: Label an item for organizational purposes.
  • Rename: Change the name of the item.
  • Share: Share one or more items via a messaging, email or other communication app.
    Note: This option can also be used to play a video file with a 3rd party app.
  • Favorite/Unfavorite: An item that has been marked as Favorite appears in the Favorite section of the Files app to easily find it.

Accessing Storage Devices in an App

iPadOS treats files in a different manner than computer operating systems such as Linux, macOS and Windows. Therefore, not all apps can access connected storage devices. To find out if an app supports external storage device check with the application vendor.

To use files on the external storage device, most apps require  a copy of the file be added to iPad’s internal storage. For example, you can choose “Files” in iMovie to import items for use as Media to edit.

External Storage Performance on iPad USB-C Versus a Computer

Data transfers are not the same on an iPad as a computer. While the USB-C port on supported iPads is equivalent to USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt depending on the model, transfer rates tend to vary and the performance experienced with a Mac or PC is most likely superior.

Battery Use

The iPad provides up to 7.5W of power delivery to connected devices. Extended time with a connection to an external hard can lead to greater demand on the battery.


Unlike macOS and Windows, iOS does not require a “safe” ejection of a storage device. Simply disconnect the storage device once the actions are complete. Just be sure no transfer operations are active before disconnecting. The best practice is to remove the drive while the iPad is turned off.

Storage Formats

iPadOS supports the following storage formats:

  • HFS+
  • APFS
  • APFS (Encrypted) - iPadOS 14 and later 
  • ExFAT
  • FAT32
  • NTFS - iPadOS 15 and later
    • NTFS formatted drives are read-only

Note on exFAT format via WindowsWhen formatting a drive as exFAT on a Windows PC, set the allocation size between 128K to 1024K. Allocation sizes larger than 1024K can lead to detection and write issues on an iPad USB-C. This is only true when formatting on a Windows PC.   

Password Protection

iPadOS 13 does not support password protected storage devices.

iPadOS 14 and later support APFS password-protected storage devices. You must create the password on macOS using Disk Utility. When connecting an APFS password-protected storage device, use the Files app to unlock the drive when prompted.

NOTE: Unlocking a LaCie storage device with a Seagate Secure password is currently unavailable. Seagate Secure can be temporarily disabled using Toolkit on a Mac or PC before connecting it to a supported iPad.

Toolkit and First Use Connections

Most LaCie storage devices are meant to be first connected to a computer in order to run the out-of-box registration and Toolkit installation. Please continue to first connect your storage device to a Mac or PC to register it and then download and install Toolkit. Once the registration is complete and Toolkit is installed, you can connect to a supported iPad.

Toolkit is not available for iPadOS.

Functions not available on an iPad include:

  • Changing LED behavior
  • Adjusting drive security
  • Changing the volume name of the drive.
  • Reformatting the drive
  • Fixing volume errors (usually caused by disconnecting a drive while in use).
  • Running diagnostics on the drive