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wmyeoh
12th January 2009, 11:59 AM
How-To: Use iPhone as USB Mass Storage & File Viewer

Many people have commented on a number of features that are lacking on the iPhone - be in crippled bluetooth, MMS, copy/paste... the list goes on. One of the main things that I was disappointed about is the inability to transfer documents onto the iPhone, to move them from one computer to another, but also to be able to view them on the fly. Often, for work, it is handy to be able to view PDFs while on the road.

I came across a solution which doesn't involve jailbreaking, using two apps that are 100% free - so I thought others might find this useful.

There are a number of apps available on the app store that can be used to transfer files across from your computer to the iPhone, but they all involve having a wireless connection, which is not always possible, and can be quite slow transferring large files.

I've used a couple of these - Airsharing and Discover, and have found them to be pretty clunky and have had issues with stalling while copying large files across.

What I really wanted was to be able to plug my iPhone in with USB, move files across, view them, and then plug them into another computer and pull them off or put other stuff on. My crappy $100 iPhone knock off from China could do this - how come my (considerably more expensive) genuine iPhone couldn't?

What you need to download
After a bit of Googling, I stumbled across a free desktop application called DiskAid, which allows files to be transferred over USB.

There's a Mac version here: DiskAid 1.5 software download - Mac OS X - VersionTracker (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/10860863&vid=10966251)

And a Windows version here: DiskAid - Download (http://diskaid.en.softonic.com/)

Buuuutttt...this was only half the solution, because I still couldn't view these files on the iPhone, as there was no iPhone app that I could use to view them.

This bugged me for a while, but after a bit of playing around, I found the solution. While going back to Discover, I stumbled across a directory that linked into the files that I had transferred during DiskAid.

You can get Discover here: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=292416855&mt=8

Step by step guide for dummies
So, enough waffling! This is how to add files that can be viewed to your iPhone:

1) Download Discover to your iPhone and DiskAid to your Mac/PC
2) Plug in your iPhone to your computer through USB
3) At this stage, you don't need to have wireless turned on in either your computer or iPhone. Open up both applications. In Discover, you will get a warning pop up that explaining that you can't transfer files because Wi-fi is not available. Ignore it.

http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/3694/photoau2.jpg

4) Go to DiskAid on your computer. It will pull up a list of directories on the left hand side. Navigate through DCIM -> DiskAid -> Start Here.

http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/3494/picture1rn9.png

Click the button at the top: "Copy to Device". Select the file that you want to copy and click OK. The one that I have selected is called "File for viewing.jpg". Very imaginative I know.
You will now have that file pop up in the "Start Here" folder.

http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/5923/picture3bm4.png

5) Now, back in Discover on the iPhone, you will be greeted with this screen.

http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/126/photold4.jpg

All you have to do now is navigate to the same folder, in this case, through Photos -> DiskAid -> Start Here, and voila - the file is in this folder. You can now view this file on your iPhone!

http://img83.imageshack.us/img83/112/photoiq8.jpg

Hope this works for everyone else too!

ikonology
12th January 2009, 12:40 PM
Thanks

iRobbie
12th January 2009, 09:11 PM
Great guide... works a treat.

kantush
14th January 2009, 02:33 AM
Nice...will give it a try.

themessup
14th January 2009, 08:49 AM
Thank you very much :)

scokim
14th January 2009, 08:51 AM
Unless you like to carry the USB cable with you, why wouldn't you use wi-fi for file sharing/sync using Soonr or Air Sharing ?

wmyeoh
14th January 2009, 09:41 AM
Unless you like to carry the USB cable with you, why wouldn't you use wi-fi for file sharing/sync using Soonr or Air Sharing ?

There isn't always a wireless connection around. I do have wireless at home, but don't at work for example.

There probably is a way of setting up an ad-hoc wireless connection between iPhone and computer to achieve this aim, but it would involve jailbreaking and would be at least a little bit complicated.

I've also had problems transferring large files across with AirSharing (never used Soonr). Plus it can be slow.

Beau
14th January 2009, 06:17 PM
Digg - How to: iPhone as a USB flash drive without jailbreaking (http://digg.com/apple/How_to_iPhone_as_a_USB_flash_drive_without_jailbre aking) ;)

wmyeoh
16th January 2009, 09:15 AM
Cheers for that Beau.

Glad to hear all that effort is having an effect on some people going by the lone comment on that page!

aafuss
17th January 2009, 04:31 AM
Thanks for the article.

Guess I'll give it a go (on a touch).

mcargy08
18th January 2009, 05:11 PM
Cool. Nice article

gothicus
20th January 2009, 09:23 AM
i am wondering if i can use this in this proposed manner.
I normally use a USB stick to store a downloaded avi or divx and plug it into me DVD player.

will i be able to find this file on the iphone if i plug it into the DVD player.
normally i would need to put movies thru visualhub if i want to put it on the ipod & this format is no good for the DVD player.

kyncaid
20th January 2009, 05:16 PM
Thank you so much, you just made my 16GB that much more usefull

Edd
21st January 2009, 09:37 AM
I read about DiskAid ages ago. One problem though, while it is a nice guide: doesn't this mean you will need to carry a flash drive or cd anyway to put DiskAid on for the computer you want to use this on? (At uni library, or work for example?)

wmyeoh
21st January 2009, 11:24 AM
i am wondering if i can use this in this proposed manner.
I normally use a USB stick to store a downloaded avi or divx and plug it into me DVD player.

will i be able to find this file on the iphone if i plug it into the DVD player.
normally i would need to put movies thru visualhub if i want to put it on the ipod & this format is no good for the DVD player.

Sorry don't know about that - maybe there is a solution with jailbreaking?



I read about DiskAid ages ago. One problem though, while it is a nice guide: doesn't this mean you will need to carry a flash drive or cd anyway to put DiskAid on for the computer you want to use this on? (At uni library, or work for example?)

Surely you could just download DiskAid through the interwebs onto the computer you are using. It's not that big a file.

Edd
21st January 2009, 11:51 AM
Yeah, but this was when I was in year 12 last year and wanted to use my iPhone as a flash drive. DET censored the net, while my high school banned ALL downloads.

To use my iPhone as a flash drive, I would have needed to bring DiskAid on a flash drive as well, in which case I just used the flash drive as a flash drive.

Great guide you have here though, and should work in all but the most illogically gimped situations.

wmyeoh
21st January 2009, 03:36 PM
Yeah, but this was when I was in year 12 last year and wanted to use my iPhone as a flash drive. DET censored the net, while my high school banned ALL downloads.

To use my iPhone as a flash drive, I would have needed to bring DiskAid on a flash drive as well, in which case I just used the flash drive as a flash drive.

Great guide you have here though, and should work in all but the most illogically gimped situations.

I see your point. I guess this application would work best when you are transferring stuff between two computers that you use regularly.

Linux_insidev2
23rd January 2009, 01:11 PM
Transferring files over Wifi is not USB Mass Storage.

Edd
23rd January 2009, 01:17 PM
Yes but transferring over USB is.

gothicus
25th January 2009, 10:11 PM
i was disappointed today when i wanted to transfer a file from my iphone to a friends computer, plugged the iphone in & the only way to access the file was to put diskaid on their computer. Apple, there must be a better solution.

GeoffP
26th January 2009, 09:08 AM
Fantastic :thumbup: works a treat

kyncaid
9th February 2009, 11:34 AM
I've been using this method thanx for the info, but today discvered that 2.5 GB ISO won't copy, any one else have this issue.

Edit

A quick win-rar into cd size files sorts that out

byrnsie
9th February 2009, 04:09 PM
Awesome guide, thanks

The_Hawk
15th February 2009, 01:18 PM
While I do use two computers regularly, one being the home computer the other being work, the sad truth is IT lock down the work computer so I may or may not be able to install this app. It also require .NET 2.0 which is unlikely to be on the work computer. The cable isn't an issue since I have a spare at work for charging purposes anyway. Wireless isn't an option since we don't have wireless at work...

What I (and many others) would need is a stand alone "app" that can be put in a folder and run on any PC without needing to be installed or require something else installed. This sort of thing I can manage, anything more and I'm out of luck.

The best option of course would be for Apple (or a 3rd party developer) to allow the device to just work as a mass storage device. I'd settle for the ability to "partition" a fixed amount of space for this task if they didn't want to allow full access to the whole device.

I jailbroke my phone when I first got it so I could use some skins and make it look pretty. This lasted about a day since it slowed the phone down too much, since then I haven't found any application to make me want to re-jailbreak the phone...

... but mass storage... that I would consider. Is there even a JB'd app that allows the device to be used as a simple mass storage device? (or does JBing the phone make it work like that by itself??)

The_Hawk
16th February 2009, 01:31 PM
Yep, tested and the work computer doesn't want a bar of installing this app, looks like I'm stuck with another memory key in my pocket for the next while :(

wmyeoh
26th February 2009, 09:20 PM
If your work computer is a PC (it sounds like it is), you can simply access your iPhone when plugged in through the USB cable, by going through My Computer, and it will pop up that way.

The only folder you have access to is your Photos folder (i think it might actually be called 100Apple or something like this). This means you should then be able to drag files into this folder, and hence view them through Discover using part of the method I outlined in my guide.

I think this works...I'm not in front of my work PC at the moment, but it makes sense to me.

The_Hawk
1st March 2009, 10:23 AM
nope, can't drag files into the iPhone, hence why me (and many others) are looking for a way to do just that.

dyeung
15th March 2009, 02:48 PM
Couldn't access the diskaid files while using the discover app, the photo file didnt appear. So i tried the iPhone app FileAid and now im able to access the diskaid folder and view the files in it.

matthew858
15th March 2009, 03:46 PM
I think you will find that now the AppStore is flooded with apps that do exactly the task that you need it for.

kyncaid
15th March 2009, 06:47 PM
They have removed the Photos link so now you can't view files you have moved with diskaid on the phone.

that sounds like Apple intervention.

so if you have the old version, don't upgrade.

CrazyLegs03
30th March 2009, 10:17 AM
There's an App on iTunes called Air Sharing....
it use to be free, not sure about it now though

floman
8th June 2009, 04:31 AM
First of all, sorry for my bad english.

I found out a trick to at least access files from any computer without installing any kind of software.
(I only tried this on a pc)
Copy the file with DiskAid to your iphone in the DiskAid folder which you can select in DiskAid on the bottom left corner.
Once the file is uploaded, rename it to "*.jpg"
Now this file should be visible in the folder which pops up once you plug in your iphone. You can drag and drop it to your pc. Then rename it to the origin format.

for a bigger amount of files I use zip compressed folder which I upload and rename.
You can also create subfolders.

eaglesteve2
23rd June 2009, 12:34 PM
Hi everyone,

New to this forum and relative new to iPhone, and have a question here.

I have a jailbroken phone, and have some files that sits in the /var/mobile/media/downloads that I wish to copy to the PC. I have tried DiskAid, but that does not seem to allow me to go to the above directory. I have also tried iPhoneBrower, which does see the files, but iPhoneBrowser does not allow me to do any copying.

So, is there another tool to copy out those files in a user friendly way?

TIA.

wmyeoh
23rd June 2009, 09:52 PM
In Diskaid, you have to toggle the bottom left control to Root Folder. Then you'll be able to access those files. By default, I think it sits in Library or Media or something.

eaglesteve2
23rd June 2009, 11:21 PM
In Diskaid, you have to toggle the bottom left control to Root Folder. Then you'll be able to access those files. By default, I think it sits in Library or Media or something.

I see. Thanks for the tips.

dreambuds
19th September 2009, 12:15 PM
thanks for this tip.