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The Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is an adapter dongle designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It supersedes the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, which is based on USB 2.0.


The Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter allows users to connect USB devices to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with a Lightning port. However USB 3.0 transfer rates are only available on the 12.9-inch 1st-generation iPad Pro and later iPad Pro models. As of 2019, only USB 2.0 transfer rates are supported in other iOS devices with Lightning ports, though the iPhone 11 Pro and later models do support fast charging from USB-C chargers.[1]

Compared to the preceding Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, the main visible difference is the extra Lightning port. When a USB device that requires too much power is plugged in, an error message will be displayed. Unlike the previous adapter, the extra Lightning port can be connected to a power adapter, charging the iPad or iPhone while delivering power to the USB port. However, some large USB devices may block access to the charging port. In older iOS versions, the adapter will redirect the user to the Photos app to import photos from the device. It supports USB mass storage and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP). However, in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, you can browse files from a storage device, such as a flash drive.[2]


Move data between iPhones

Starting in iOS 12.4, this adapter can be combined with a Lightning to USB Cable for data transfer (such as Quick Start) between iOS devices, though this capability is only useful in the event of wireless failure as Wi-Fi in recent models is significantly faster than USB 2.0.[3][4] Even for iPad Pro models, when not operating as a "master" device, data transfer with a Mac is limited to USB 2.0 speed, regardless of whether it is connected with the correct USB 3.0 cable.[5]

Supported USB devices[]


Review Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter - a podcaster's best friend

  • USB storage devices (files and photos)
  • Cameras that support PTP/Picture Transfer Protocol (photos)
  • iOS device (photos only)
  • Non-iOS iPod (root access)
  • MIDI device or adapter (works with music apps such as GarageBand)
  • Keyboard (Windows key = Command key; volume and mute buttons are supported)
  • Mouse (iOS/iPadOS 13.6 support fully fledged mouse support, but older iOS/iPadOS 13 versions require AssistiveTouch to be turned on, which is not intended for most consumers)
  • Ethernet adapters
  • USB hubs
  • USB microphones
  • SD/microSD card readers/adapters

Unsupported USB devices[]


  1. Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max review: more Pro than not by Ben Miller, NextPit. 2019-10-03.
  2. Review: Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter – a podcaster’s best friend by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac. 2016-03-27.
  3. Move data between iPhones by Tao M Studio, YouTube. 2019-08-22.
  4. iPhone Wi-Fi specification details, Apple Support. 2021-10-27.
  5. All iPads: Does lightning to usb 3.0 cable exists? by Chang Guangyu, MacRumors Forums. 2020-12-07.

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