USB Storage for IPhone




Introduction: USB Storage for IPhone

I was searching for a higher purpose for a USB, after having a lot not having much use on laptops anymore. Rather than become outdated technology, i intended to improve the use to a wider area.

This design entails a setup of a USB connecting to a smart phone for use of extra storage, as a lot of phones, especially iPhone's not having the feature of inserting additional flash memory.

The product is 3D printed, and is of an iPhone 6/6s phone case, with a removable USB to fit into any other device e.g laptop, then to transfer and hold the memory back to the phone for storage to be used at any time. There are plans for 3D printing included although, these plans can be adapted to fit any iPhone, or to an Android.

The storage connects from the charging port/ lightning charger port to a USB.

Below is a link attached to a design folio that I made for this project in PDF format. I originally created this as a school project, so the folio with it may explain it a little better. On the folio version only , mold and casting methods were used to create multiples of the items as that was part of the criteria,


  1. 3-D printing filament. I used Poly-lactic Acid (PLA) Filament. Overall printing cost was about $7 dollars in relation to the price of my PLA reel.
  2. Epoxy Bond. Take care what kind of glues you are going to use on the PLA, as some damage the plastic such as melting it, e.g Super Glue. Two part epoxy worked very well for connecting the pieces for me.
  3. Apple Lightning to USB adapter. I picked mine up off eBay for a few dollars ($3), being a third party brand. Apple branded cords can be priced at about $40-45, but are obviously better quality. Take care that IOS updates may affect the use of third party cords.
  4. USB Stick. Find one that has a circuit board width not much larger than the width of the male port for use with my 3-D plans, otherwise it can be easily modified.
  5. Spray Paint. Completely to choice, as I decided I wanted a glossier finish.
  6. Sand Paper. Use multiple grits, getting as fine as possible in the end.


  1. 3-D Printer.
  2. 3-D Modelling Software. Any should work, I used Sketch-Up personally because I am new to printing and it was easy for me.

Step 1: 3-D Printing

The case prints in 6 pieces, consisting of:

  1. Phone shell
  2. USB cover
  3. Female USB cover
  4. Port cover
  5. Bottom USB cover
  6. Top port cover (The red one)

The two files for printing are included in .STL format.

Step 2: Printed Pieces

After pieces have printed, clear any supports or impurities. Sand smooth if needed.

Spray paint for a different finish. I used an all purpose black gloss paint.

Step 3: Cord

Strip the cord carefully so that is can be stored in a smaller space.

Remove the white plastic casing around the female USB port as well using the knife.

Mix some of the 2-part Epoxy, and put inside female USB casing.

Place port inside the female USB case over Epoxy, then cover in Epoxy, ensuring it is stuck in place.

Let dry.

Put more Epoxy over the bottom of the casing, then hold tightly over phone casing. let dry.

Stick port casing in.

stick lightning charger into center hole, and bunch cord in space.

Allow Epoxy to dry for 24 hours after full assembly before use.

Step 4: USB

The USB stick should slide right into the hole, with the metal bit fitting snug, and the body with space around it. It is safe to cover the circuit board in the Epoxy when sticking in place. Stick the cover over the bottom and let dry.

Glue the front face on.

Step 5: Finished

The case should be ready for storage.

Take care for better quality finishing, such as sanding well and good quality paint. I was rushed with mine so it didn't look the best.

If there are any ideas of improvements feel free to leave a comment.

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    4 years ago

    So is this instructable just for the design of the case and not for how the iPhone can integrate and interact smoothly with the USB storage device?


    Reply 1 year ago

    hey cheers for comment havent looked at this in years. connecting a usb to the phone via the female usb to lightning charger cord allows for the storage on the usb to be accessed through the phone thus having more storage space.
    for me, the usb connected smoothly with no trouble and could streamlessly access content on the usb and save docs and videos to the usb.
    i know its a bit outdated now but was a fun school project at the time


    Tip 1 year ago

    It seems like a good idea for 3D printing, although the result could be polished a bit more. However, it doesn't explain properly how USB could actually be used as storage. I think that for this, it could be more useful to hook a double USB to the 3D case, on the one hand lighting, and on the other hand USB, such as some Kingston models that have both types. Thus, on the one hand it would be perpetually connected to the iPhone and on the other it could connect to the PC.


    Reply 1 year ago

    hey cheers for comment havent looked at this in years. connecting a usb to the phone via the female usb to lightning charger cord allows for the storage on the usb to be accessed through the phone thus having more storage space