There is a slew of published, as well as hidden, features in the Apple iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 released last year. Among the revealed are things such as dark mode, a gesture keyboard, enhanced camera functions and Photos tab, privacy and security upgrades, mouse support, and greatly improved Safari capabilities.

As mobile workforces continue to grow, the ability to remain productive while maintaining a certain level of security is becoming more and more important. One of these hidden gems is the ability for users to access an external USB drive on an iDevice running iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. The capability of doing this, especially regarding the iPad Pro, is enormous, as it adds virtually unlimited storage capacity for things such as photos, videos, emails, documents and spreadsheets, games, and other personalized applications.

The ability for iOS 13 to read correctly formatted standard USBs is a major step forward in terms of productivity, but security cannot be forgotten. As we all know too well, standard everyday flash drives are easy targets for breaches, theft, and loss of confidential and personal data. Even all of Apple’s technical wizardry can’t prevent that from happening.

So it’s important to follow the following tips to ensure your iDevices remain secure when accessing external USB drives.

Before anything else, you want to ensure that the network your device is connected to is secure and that the device is not visible to others. The device itself and necessary applications should all be up to date. Software, firewalls and any endpoint security should be running the latest versions available. Check with your IT department for an encrypted VPN if you’ll need access to your company’s server. All of this is the first line of defense in security when working from home or anywhere else outside of the office.

Encryption technology is also a trustworthy means of protecting sensitive data stored on a USB drive. Several major encrypted USB flash drive manufacturers, including our company, have come up with ways to use products on an iPad or iPhone running on the new iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.

In order to use an encrypted flash drive with an iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 device, here are some practical steps to follow. We’ll discuss two types of devices: iPhones and iPads with Lightning connectors, and the iPad Pro, which uses USB-C.

For units with a Lightning connector, you need an adaptor that offers USB 3.0 support, such as Apple’s Lightning-to-USB 3 camera adapter, and a Lightning-port pass-through for extra power. For an iPad Pro (USB-C), you need a USB-C hub that allows you to connect a standard USB, such as an Apple adapter.

With the USB-C hub connected to your iDevice, simply plug both the encrypted USB and the power cable, as more power will be pulled than is being supplied. Next, assuming the USB has a physical-based password keypad, key in the password to access the files on the drive, and voila — protected files are now accessible.

Once the drive is available, the encrypted, secure information is ready to be viewed, copied, pasted or moved. Now with external drive support, iOS 13 takes your devices to a whole new level.