There are times when you want to get a file on or off of your iPhone or iPad without using the Internet to do so — either because your connection is too slow (or nonexistent) or because the file is too large. The Olala iDisk ID300 is a flash drive with both a USB and Lightning connector so that you can get data on or off of your iPhone, and on or off of another device that has a standard USB connection. The company sent me a free review sample of this product, which you can get for only $34.99 on Amazon, and I'm impressed. The hardware works well. The software is more disappointing, but it is sufficient for most purposes. This is a very useful device that is nice to keep with you in a purse or briefcase for whenever you need it, and it would make a great stocking stuffer for an iPhone or iPad user.
The ID300 looks like a normal USB thumb drive. It is less than two inches long, just over a half an inch wide, and about a quarter of an inch high. So it is very small and light
The ID300 is the third generation of the Olala iDisk, and I think it is the best design yet. The first generation version, the ID100, is much larger. I have another Olala iDisk device, the ID102, which Olala previously sent me, and while the ID102 is smaller than the ID100, it is cumbersome because it requires a separate proprietary cord to connect to USB. Here is a picture of the new ID300 next to the ID102. I far prefer the ID300's small design which has everything you need built-in.
Olala also sells the ID200N version of the iDisk. It looks like a wide cord that folds in two and which can also be used to charge an iPhone. It is also much larger than the ID300.
Looking at all of the different Olala iDisk designs, I think that the small size makes the ID300 the best version.
The ID300 model that Olala sent me has a 32GB flash drive, but for an extra $14 you can buy a 64GB version. Just plug the USB end into a computer, and you can transfer files on and off of the device just like any other flash drive. The USB connector uses USB 3.0 with read speed up to 100MB/second and write speed up to 30MB/second, so it is fast enough.
What makes the ID300 special is that you can rotate the main part of the unit to hide the USB connector and reveal a Lightning connector.
It is a sturdy, long Lightning connector, so it may even work with some iPhones that are in cases (although I didn't test that). The Lightning connector has a read speed of up to 15-25MB/second and a write speed of up to 8MB/second.
You download a free app called "iDisk me" to your iPhone or iPad to communicate with the ID300. When you plug in the ID300, your iOS device asks for permission to communicate with the ID300. Tap allow and the iDisk me app launches
The button at the bottom right of the app will open up your ID300 and show you the files and folders. This is similar to what you would see if you plug the ID300 into a computer and you view the contents. I created a folder called Video and used my computer to transfer a bunch of large home movie files that are too large for me to normally want to keep on my iPhone or iPad. I could then use the iDisk me app to view the folders and files, including a list of all of those home movie files inside of the Video folder.
Tap on a movie file to play the movie. I tested using an iPhone 7 and an iPad Pro, and the ID300 was fast enough to send the data so that I could watch the movie with no stuttering at all. It wasn't perfect; almost no movie loaded the first time that I tapped the Play button, but after a few seconds I could press play and it worked. I did notice that if you exit a movie before the movie ends, the sound of the movie would sometimes keep playing unless you force quit the app. Suffice it to say that the video playing function needs more attention, but it does essentially work, and it was nice to watch very large video files on my iPhone or iPad without having to take up space on my iPhone or iPad to do so.
Note that iDisk me cannot play videos that you purchase from iTunes.
This next feature doesn't work for videos, but for many other file types such as pictures, PDF, Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint files, you can tap to view a file in the iDisk me app and then use the share button at the top right (the box with an arrow) to open the document in another app on your iPhone — thus transferring the file from the external iD300 device to your iPhone. Here is an example of me using the iDisk me app to access from the ID300 the PowerPoint slides from a presentation that gave back in 1998 on how to use email. I was then able to use the share button open the PowerPoint slides in the PowerPoint app on my iPhone.
If any of you are interested in learning about this fascinating technology called email, let me know and I'll email you my old slides.
The iDisk me app also has its own storage area. You can copy or move a file from the ID300 into the iDisk me app so that you can access the file even after you remove the ID300. For example, you could copy a large video file, then remove the ID300 and watch the video file from within the ID300, and then delete the video file after you watch it so that it no longer takes up space on your iPhone or iPad. This is also a way to get around the (minor) annoyance with having the ID300 sticking out of the end of your iPhone or iPad getting in your way. You can transfer the file, and then remove the ID300 to get it out of the way.
Using the buttons in the circle pattern on the main part of the app, you can directly access pictures, videos and other types of files, from either the ID300 or the internal storage area. Frankly, this seems a little unnecessary considering that you can also tap the icons at the bottom left or right to view all of your files.
In short, you can use the ID300 as a go-between for getting files from a computer to an iPhone or iPad, and with the 32GB of storage (or 64GB if you get the larger model), you can also use the ID300 as external storage for your iPhone or iPad so that you have access to large files when you need them, but they won't otherwise take up space on your iPhone or iPad.
The iDisk me app also has a feature that allows you to take pictures or videos using your iPhone (or iPad) and save them directly to the ID300. If your device is low on space and you want to continue to use the camera on your iPhone or iPad, this feature would help you out.
Unfortunately, the iDisk me app is quite disappointing when it comes to getting information from the iPhone to the ID300. It works fine for photos and videos stored in your Photos app because there is a function to access your Photo Library. Thus, if you take a big video on your iPhone and you want to move it from the iPhone to the ID300 to save space on your iPhone, you can do that. And you can move photos too, so you can take photos with your iPhone and then use the ID300 to put the photos on a flash drive that you can hand to someone using a computer.
But that's it. The iDisk me app doesn't appear in the iOS "Open in..." share sheet screen on the iPhone, so you cannot move any other sort of file to the ID300. This is a huge oversight and I hope that the developer of this app adds this feature. It would be so nice to be able to take a large file, such as presentation slides or a huge PDF document, and then transfer the file to the ID300 so that you could hand it to someone else to plug into their computer. I know that this is technically possible because many other apps do something similar. For now, this is a glaring omission in this app which prevents the ID300 from living up to its full potential.
Another problem is that the app only works in portrait orientation (except when you are viewing a video). I didn't mind that much on my iPhone, but on the iPad it felt awkward to hold it that way.
As you can tell, I am not a fan of the current version of the iDisk me app. Having said that, most of the time it did what I wanted, and thus made the ID300 very useful.
The hardware of the ID300 is a great. It is inexpensive, it gives you access to files that otherwise would not fit on your iPhone or iPad, and it makes it easy to transfer files from a computer to an iPhone or iPad without having to worry about an Internet connection. Unfortunately, due to the (current) limitations in the software, you cannot use the ID300 to get files off or your iPhone, other than photos and videos in the Photo Library. Bit of you can get past that limitation, the Olala iDisk iD300 is a very nice and useful device, and it is cheap enough to justify buying it just so that you have it for whenever you might need it.