How do you get your images, videos and files onto or off of your iOS devices? Do you email them to yourself? Share them to iCloud, Google Drive, Facebook, Dropbox, etc? The iAccess from Leef is an alternative to those methods that adds a microSD slot to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. They sent me one to try with my first generation iPad mini. Let’s take a look.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
The iAccess is a white plastic microSD card reader designed especially for iOS devices that have a Lightning connector. It’s an iOS version of the Leef iAccess reader that I reviewed last year for Android devices.
There’s a built-in microSD card slot that is compatible with 8 – 128GB microSD cards. The slot is spring loaded so it’s easy to remove the card. You just have to be careful to insert it the right way. Note that there isn’t an image on the back of the reader to help you figure out the orientation.
The iAccess has a unique J shape that allows it to plug into the iOS device’s Lightning connector.
The design of the card reader should allow the adapter to plug into the device even if the device is in a case.
The first time you plug the reader into the iOS device, you’ll be prompted to go to the App Store to install the Leef app. The app is pretty basic. The first screen lets you choose from transferring files to and from the device and microSD card, viewing content stored on the card, launching the device’s camera app to record video or images directly to the card and changing various settings.
Viewable content consists of photos, movies, music and documents. The viewer shows a thumbnail list of photos and movies that you can click to view the full image or watch the video. I only tested .jpg and .png images, but the Leef app can also display .tiff, .tif, .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .bmff, .ico, .cur, .xbm, .jpeg, .jpe, and .con image formats. For video formats, it can play .m4v, .avi, .mp4, .3g2, .mov, .m2v, .3gp, .mpv, .m-jpeg, .xvid, .flv, .mpeg, .mpg, .mkv, .wmv, .asf, and .qt files.
For video, I copied a selection of .avi, .mp4, .wmv, and .mov files to the microSD card. The Leef app was able to play all the video files that I copied to the card except for two 4K .mp4 files. Although the app did show thumbnail images of the videos and did not show any errors, it wouldn’t play the videos. If I inserted the same microSD car into my Macbook, the videos played with no issues. *See update at the end of this review.
I copied a couple .mp3 audio files to the microSD card and had no problems playing the audio files through my iPad mini using the Leef app. The app can play .aac, .adts, .ac3, .aif, .aiff, .aifc, .caf, .mp3, .m4a, .snd, .au, .sd2, .wav, .he-aac, and .aax format audio files.
I also didn’t have any problems viewing .txt, .doc, .docx, .html, .pdf or .rtf files through the document reader feature.
Other features of the Leef app allow you to backup the photos on the iOS device to the microSD card in the iAccess reader. You can do the same for contacts. These backups can then be restored to the device later if needed.
As I had mentioned earlier, the Leef app is pretty basic. It’s slow starting up because I think it is doing an index of the files on the inserted microSD card each time it launches. I found that I needed to stop and restart the Leef app if I removed the microSD card from the reader, added or deleted files using my Macbook and then inserted it back into the reader. That’s another problem. If you want to copy files to the microSD card using your computer, you’ll need a USB reader to do that. I think the Leef iAccess would be more useful if it had a built-in USB connector. Leef does sell another product called the iBridge which has a Lightning connector and a USB connector. But it doesn’t have a microSD slot. It comes in 16GB – 256GB capacities.
I have mixed feelings about the Leef iAccess iOS microSD card reader. While it does work pretty well, I’ve noticed that the app is slow and feels a little clunky. Also, the fact that the Leef app was not able to play a two of my 4K .mp4 videos makes me leery of recommending this product until that issue is fixed.
I heard back from LEEF about the 4K video playback issue. They say that it’s a function of the iPad/iPhone not being able to decode 4K files and not a function of the Leep app.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Leef. Please visit their site for more info.