How to Connect a Digital Camera or Memory Card to Your iPad mini

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Almost all digital cameras come with a USB cable that you can use to transfer images to a computer. Of course, the iPad mini isn’t a regular computer, and it isn’t equipped with a USB port, nor does it have a memory card slot.

Instead, Apple sells separate ($29 each) Lightning–to–USB camera adapter and Lightning–to–SD card camera reader cables for more recent iPad models, including the minis. These solutions work as follows:

  1. Connect your camera to your iPad, using one of the two connectors.

    If you’re going the USB route, kindly use the cable that comes with your camera because no such cable comes with Apple’s kit.

  2. Make sure that the iPad is unlocked.

  3. If you haven’t already done so, turn on the camera and ensure that it’s set to transfer pictures.

    Consult the manual that came with the camera if you’re unsure which setting to use.

    The Photos app on the iPad opens and displays the pictures that you can import from the camera.

  4. Tap Import All to select the entire bunch, or tap the individual pictures you want to include if you’d rather cherry-pick.

    A check mark appears next to each image you select. And that’s pretty much it: The iPad organizes the pictures into albums and such.

At this point, you’re free to erase the pictures from your camera.

The SD card reader connector accommodates the SD memory cards common to so many digital camera models. The procedure works almost identically to the USB connector, except that you’re inserting the SD gizmo into the Lightning connector port rather than the USB connector. Just be careful to insert the SD gently to prevent any damage.

The Lightning connectors support many common photo formats, including JPEG and Raw. The latter is a format favored by photo enthusiasts.

The USB connector can be used with certain USB computer keyboards, MIDI keyboards, microphones, and even some USB memory card readers. It never hurts to try.