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The perils of leaving little space on an iPhone

My iPhone 11 Pro 512GB has just 11.3GB left, thanks to 147,301 photos & videos taking up 459.2GB

I'm looking forward to upgrading my iPhone 11 Pro 512GB to iPhone 13 Pro 1TB soon because I have nearly run out of storage space. This is primarily due to me taking tons of photos every day and keeping them on the phone. I had a similar experience three years ago on an iPhone X 256GB, and was saved by iPhone XS having a 512GB option.

At the beginning of the week, my phone running iOS 14.8 had about 5 to 6GB of space left. This may seem a lot for those using a smaller storage tier, but having lots of files apparently cause lots of temporary data to build up. As a result, the remaining space could drop to 2GB or less depending on what you're doing and so it was becoming dangerous. Then iOS 15 came out on Tuesday and I installed it right away. After completion, I was left with just 2GB of space on the phone and it dropped to nearly zero when I attempted to do a local backup.

With the space filled up, apps slowed down or stopped working. I tried rebooting, but the phone would hang at the Apple logo indefinitely. So I put the device into recovery mode, connected it to my Mac, and did the "Update" procedure. Thankfully, the phone could boot up again after doing that and I was told that there was now more than 30GB of space available. It turned out that the photo database was flushed to make such room and so the Photos app didn't show any photos initially. Over the course of more than 24 hours the database was automatically rebuilt with just minor hiccups and everything came back. The iPhone now has about 11GB left as seen above, which should give it much more breathing room until a new device arrives.

The whole experience was unsettling. Although I didn't lose anything important this time, it should serve as a reminder to have ample storage space left at all times, proportional to the overall size.
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Making external storage work on iPhones with iOS 13

- or, why do I get "too much power" error with my drive and how do I fix it? -

Apple's official Lightning to USB Camera Adapter

With iOS 13, native support of USB external storage was introduced to iPhones. Files stored externally can be accessed from the Files app included in the OS. Other apps can do it as well if it can connect to this Files app. Sadly, modern iPhones' external port of choice is Lightning, which means you either buy a storage device with a Lightning port or get an adapter to connect a USB device. This is where things get complicated.

I bought a Lexar MicroSD to Lightning Reader (part # LRWMLBNL) more than three years ago. It connects directly to the Lightning port and I can open files using a dedicated app. Apple MFI certified storage can supposedly work with the iOS 13's Files app, but that wasn't the case here despite the certification. Adding insult to injury, its app had not been updated in more than two years - the screen resolution and the file sharing functions were outdated. I needed a different solution.

Apple sells many types of USB adapters, one of which is the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter you see above (US$29). It can be connected to a camera for transferring photos and videos, hence the name. Other devices could be plugged in as long as the OS recognizes it, like keyboard, MIDI equipment, or Ethernet adapter. iOS 13 expands this to general storage and mouse.

Plugging in a USB flash drive directly do the adapter results in a "Cannot Use Accessory: This accessory requires too much power" error

So I bought this adapter expecting that any low-power storage devices like USB flash drives and memory card reader could be plugged in directly for my file management uses. Boy was I so wrong. Of the multitudes of flash drives and card readers I own, all of them, save for one, caused the "too much power" error you see here. This was bizarre because they shouldn't consume enough power for this to appear. There had to be a reason and a way around this, so I decided to dig in.
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