How do I share movies from a USB drive to iPads in a car on a long road-trip?

I have a 1 TB usb hard drive with a bunch of kids movies on it. How can I stream these to two iPads in a car on a long road trip?

You can get an adapter to hook up the usb drive to 1 iPad as for hooking it up to 2 of them as far as I know a drive cannot be shared with more than 1 device at a time unless its plugged into a ethernet or wifi device.


I guess try to target another iPad with AirPlay? But that would only be 1 at a time and might monopolize the source iPad while it’s going. Can you even target multiple AirPlay devices at once? This is just another example of why iOS is a joke OS: Macs could form their own local network since any can serve as a network host, and then everyone could log into it and access the thumb drive as a mounted volume. If there’s a way of exposing your own Files’ connected volumes in iOS, I’m not aware of it.

Nearest would be get an Apple USB Camera Adapter for each Lightning-ported iPad for USB connectivity, then hook in the drive, the source iPad, and the target iPads all to a hub so the drive shows up for each of everyone in the Files app, and even then I’m not sure there’d be enough power to run the hub. It’s such a mess and a joke I hate mobile Apple nonsense so, so much. The people and marketing touting iPad OS/iOS as a “desktop replacement” make me sick, they have obviously zero actual reliance upon it and are gut-punching those of us who actually do by pretending any problem is unbearably light upon the being to flit away and alight upon the Mac they always assume anyone has (I don’t).

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There are low cost WiFi travel routers that have USB ports and might be able to do this. As I’m not an iOS’er I can’t recommend anything specific that I know works, but @Leo used to recommend a number of small travel VPN routers, in fact I think one might have even been an advertiser at one time (unsure on that.) You will presumably also need a battery pack of some sort to power it, unless that comes built in.

I have no special affinity to this site, it was just the first Google result that looked promising, and will give you a jumping off point:


Thanks for the replies, I’ll do some investigating.