Leef iBridge: Moving files between iOS and OS X in a flash

32GB Leef ibridge Photo by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

32GB Leef ibridge Photo by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

Ever need to transfer files between your Mac and an iPhone or iPad, or have movies that you'd like to watch but don't want to store on your iOS device? The Leef iBridge may be just the answer for your data transfer needs. 

Available in 16GB ($59.99), 32GB ($79.99), 64GB ($119.99), and 128GB ($199.99) versions, the iBridge is a tiny black device that holds flash RAM, a MFi-certified Lightning adapter, and a USB adapter in a unique J-shaped casing. A small plastic cover is included to keep the adapters protected in transit. If that 128GB iBridge doesn't seem to be impressive enough for you, wait a little while -- the company has a 256GB version ($399.99) on the way.

The design of the Leef iBridge is impressive. Through the use of the J-shape and a rather skinny Lightning connector section, it's possible to use the iBridge without removing many cases. That's not the situation with some of the competing devices. It weighs just 10 grams (0.35 ounces), and has external dimensions of 63 x 19 x 18mm (2.48 x .75 x .71 inches).

32GB Leef ibridge connected to iphone 6 plus. photo by steven sande, apple world today

32GB Leef ibridge connected to iphone 6 plus. photo by steven sande, apple world today

Like the similar SanDisk iXpand Sync, the iBridge comes with its own free app that manages what's stored on the device and transfers files between the flash RAM and your iPhone or iPad. Initially, I used the app's iBridge Camera button to back up 2,277 images that were stored on my iPhone 6 Plus. While the backup isn't exactly fast, the app is smart enough to know what photos have already been moved to the iBridge so it will not back them up again in the future.

After you've backed up your photos, the iBridge can be used to store any photos or videos you're taking -- even when your iPhone or iPad is out of storage space. Here's a fun little video from Leefco demonstrating that feature:

The app has two other primary functions: transferring files to and from the iBridge and providing a way to view content that's stored on the iBridge. The Transfer Files button provides a way to move your photos to and from the Photos app to the iBridge, as well as a file manager for viewing what exactly is available on both the iOS device and the iBridge. Unlike some of the competing flash storage devices on the market, the iBridge's app is actually in tune with the flat design of iOS 8. 

The Content Viewer button provides a way to look at a number of different file formats.

  • Video - .mp4, .m4v, .mpv, .mov, .mpg, .mkv, .wmv, .flv, .3gp, .gif, .avi
  • Audio - .wav, .aac, .aif, .aiff, .caf, .m4a, .mp3
  • Images - .jpg, .tiff, .gif
  • Documents - .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .rtf (rich text format); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel); .zip; .ics

One odd omission from the image file formats is the widely used .png format.

In terms of the size, the capacities, the design of the unit, and the well-designed app, I'm giving the iBridge a top score. Unlike the SanDisk iXpand, the iBridge doesn't need to be charged to work, making it much more useful in almost every situation.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★