Leef iBridge 3 Mobile Memory expands iPhone, iPad storage

Leef iBridge 3

If you’re an active iPhone user, chances are you’re likely running low on storage space, particularly if you shoot lots of hi-res pictures and high-def video. We know of course, that iPhone memory is not expandable – no card slots for extra storage. The solution might just be Leef iBridge 3.0 Mobile Memory. It’s a nifty gadget that plugs directly into your iOS device’s Lightning port that allows you to expand your memory and working in conjunction with its companion app gives you in part the functionality of a mini external drive – and more.

Leef_iBridge Original

Original iBridge

This technology is not new, but much improved. In fact iBridge 3 is the follow-up to the original iBridge. For those familiar with the original iBridge, it still has its unique j-shaped form factor with a Lightning connector on the bottom end and a standard USB connector on the other.  The latest iteration has a slightly modified sleeker form factor and slimming down the USB side allowing for it to slide directly into the USB port without the need for a connector cap.

iBridge vs iBridge 3

The new model also offers a few other significant differences from its predecessor, including better overall performance including the faster USB 3.1 (compared to USB 2.0) meaning zippier transfer especially handy when transferring large files or large numbers of files. It is still backwards compatible with USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 but it utilizes a different app – its own iBridge 3 app. It also now supports iCloud integration and has a new Leeflock feature, which allows the user to password-protect the device, which can be a godsend if you ever lose it.

For those who are new to iBridge, I guess I should tell you more about what it actually does. It’s more than a plain storage device. It doesn’t exactly operate like an external drive, i.e. an open storage device that allows you to freely copy any files and folders.

I guess that in part it’s by design as it has very specific functions, to transfer files, play media, take photos and videos and provide automated backups. But also in part due to the proprietary nature the Apple iOS.


Bypass iPhone Storage

Functionality is performed via the iBridge 3 app. Plug iBridge into the Lightning port and the app allows you to copy or move things like tunes, photos and videos both to and from the device. You can also load and unload files by plugging the USB port side into any standard computer and you can use it like a thumb drive.

As a media player, for example, you can watch videos stored on the iBridge without having the hassle of copying them to your iPhone first. This can be particularly handy when you want to take a movie on a trip, but don’t want the hassle of having the big files fill up your phones storage.

You can also take pictures and shoot video on your iOS device and have them stored directly to your iBridge without saving them to your phone first. This can also be handy – especially when the video is going to be moved elsewhere anyway or perhaps you only have a few measly megabytes free on your 8GB iPhone and wouldn’t be able to save it anyway.

Automatic Backups

iBridge can be configured to allow you to automatically back up your contacts or photos from your Camera roll or entire albums as soon as you plug in – or even every seven, 30 or 90 days.


Rudimentary Camera App


While it can be handy to be able to quickly and easily bypass your smartphones’ internal storage, taking pictures doesn’t seem to be nearly as fast as Apple’s native app. In fact it can be quite impractical if you get one of those once-in-a-lifetime shot moments. I suspect this is because it’s bridging to an external device, which the camera likely wasn’t designed to do. Furthermore, the iBridge 3 Camera function is fairly stripped down, not giving you all the functionality of Apple’s Camera or other apps.

You also can’t get access to all files on your iPhone. You can’t backup your Notes or Voice Memos. Leef states on their site that this is a limitation imposed by Apple, which limits access to data stored in standard apps. This is too bad, since as a speaker, I sometimes use the voice recorder and it would be handy to quickly offload my files.

iBridge No memory

Bottom Line

Overall, despite a few limitations it’s a neat little device. I like the new lighter slimmed die-cast zinc design (49 x 12 x 16mm, 12 g) and it’s upgraded features especially the USB 3 and the Leeflock. While it can be handy for some, for others it could be a possible lifesaver. I’m sure there are many still functional 8GB or 16GB iPhones, (or in my case 32GB for others 128GB) out there that are dying for more space. iBridge 3 can certainly give them more storage options, a handy media player for temporary files and a quick and easy off-line backup – speedier with the now USB 3.1 interface. iBridge 3 may just give you a little longer life with your existing phone if a shortage of storage is your main issue and as long as you don’t mind the tradeoff of it talking a little longer to save pictures directly to your iBridge.

leef box

Leef iBridge 3.0 Mobile Memory is compatible with most later model iOS devices. It comes in five memory configurations ranging from 16GB to 256GB, ships with a rubberized holder that can slip onto a keychain and comes with a long five-year warranty. It retails in the U.S. for $49-$399 directly from LeefCo. In Canada prices range from $79.99- $399.99 and you can find it at places like London Drugs, Best Buy and Amazon.ca. In fact right now, on-line, the 128GB version appears to be about $100 off there.

(Note: The original iBridge is still available so make sure when you’re ordering you’ve selected the right one.)

Rating: 4 / 5

Photos Courtesy LeefCo.


Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy, Columnist, Speaker, Podcaster & Author

Technology – Entrepreneurship – Communications

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire KRED (e)GADGET1.


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