Seven Hidden Features of the iPad Camera Connection Kit

by MrInternet

Posted 05/26/2010 at 3:45:25pm |
Original posting by Corey Bohon

Many people wouldn’t take a second look at the $29 iPad Camera Connection Kit because they could simply transfer photos and videos from their computer via iTunes. But, this little unsuspecting accessory has hidden powers, with which comes great responsibility.

Not really, but there are a few things that the Dock Connector to USB dongle does that aren’t advertised. The things it can connect to could save you some money, and add features, too! So read ahead to find out the seven hidden features Apple doesn’t want you to know the Camera Kit can do.

Attach USB Keyboards – Savings: $69

If you already own a USB keyboard, like the one connected to your Mac, then you are in luck. That’s because with

the USB Dock Connector, you have the ability to plug in and use the USB keyboard that you already own.

Apple’s own iPad Keyboard Dock costs $69 to do something that you can do with a $29 adapter and a USB keyboard. Plus, if your USB keyboard sports a number pad, iTunes controls, and volume and/or brightness controls, they’ll work with the iPad. You’ll never have to deal with a (sometimes) pesky virtual on-screen keyboard again.

Just connect your iPad USB camera connector, plug in your USB keyboard, and you’re good to go. With some keyboard models, the iPad may display a message saying that the attached accessory will not work. However, after dismissing the message you will be able to use the keyboard with no problems.

USB Audio Devices – Savings: $30-100

Some people believe that the digital audio output achieved by USB audio interfaces sounds better than those of an analog output. If you’ve invested money into a great sounding headset that uses USB, then you’ll most likely be very disappointed that the iPad doesn’t have a USB port. That is unless you have the iPad Camera Connection Kit.

With the camera kit, you can plug many USB headsets right into the USB port of the iPad. The iPad might think a minute, but after a short period of time, you should be able to use your headset to listen to music or video playing on the iPad.

The nice thing about many USB headsets is that many have buttons that allow you to control most iTunes functions (pause/play, next song, previous song, volume, etc.). Depending on your USB headset, these functions could be supported on the iPad via the USB interface.

If your headset has a mic on it, you’ll be able to utilize that as well.

Attach a USB Microphone – Savings: $30

In addition to the headphones, you can also connect a USB microphone that can be used in applications like Skype or any other application that can capture or record audio from the iPad’s microphone. Using a USB mic will give you better audio quality than what could be achieved with the iPad’s built-in microphone.

When you attach one of these audio devices, you can use your iPad just as you normally would, launching applications like Skype without having to worry about configuring any audio settings. The iPad will automatically get input from the connected device.

Removing Items from a Camera or SD Card
If you’re on the go and don’t want to get out your laptop or camera to remove items from a camera or SD card, you can use the iPad camera connection kit to remove all of the items on either an SD card or camera.

To do this, unlock your iPad and connect the USB or SD connector to the iPad’s dock. Plug in either an SD card or your camera into the USB connector. Wait a few seconds while the Camera import section of the Photos application opens up.

After viewing the photos on the card/camera to ensure you want to remove them, tap on the red “Delete All” button in the top-left of the application. You will be prompted to whether or not you want to remove the photos. When you agree, the iPad will remove all of the photos on your card or camera. No need to start up your camera or drag out your laptop.

If you want to remove only select photos, tap the photos you wish to delete and then press the “Delete Selected” button that appears at the top-left of the import section of the Photos application.

Importing Photos from your iPhone or iPod touch – Savings: Hassle of syncing photos from your computer

Because the iPad doesn’t have a camera, you will either need to sync your photos from a computer, or connect your camera through the camera kit. But what if you don’t want to carry around a camera and already have an iPhone or iPod touch with your photos on it?

Once again, the Camera Connection Kit has you covered because you can sync photos taken from your iPhone or synced to your iPod touch with a few taps. To do this, you will need an iPhone/iPod sync cable and the camera kit’s USB port dongle.

Unlock your iPad and plug in the cable. After a few minutes, you will see the import section of the Photos application appear and display the photos on your iPhone or iPod touch. You can select the photos you want and then click the import button in the top-right of the application window to begin the import process.

If you have a pass code on your device, the photos will not be displayed until the device is unlocked. In testing, we found that we needed to sleep our iPhone 3GS in order for the images to display. As soon as we awoke the device, the import pane disappeared from the Photos application. We assume this is because the iPhone was drawing too much power from the iPad.

External Hard Drive Support (Jailbreak Required)

There has been a lot of talk of people wondering if the iPad with the Camera Connection Kit will support external hard drives for storage of files. And while this technique isn’t supported by Apple, a few iPad jailbreak developers have figured out a way to do this.

This hack does require you to jailbreak your iPad and follow a rather lengthy guide on the iPad hacker Maxwell C. Shay’s website. The hack isn’t for the feint of heart, however, as it does require some Unix monkeying around.

To learn more about the jailbreak hack, please visit:

USB Hubs – Multi-device hookup

If you need to hook up several different low-powered USB devices (i.e. camera, headphones, keyboard) at once, we found that you can add a USB hub (depending on the types of accessories being added, you may need a powered hub) to extend the amount of accessories being used simultaneously. Keep in mind though, the more items  drawing power from the iPad, the less battery life you’re going to have. We were able to plug in an Apple keyboard, then attach USB headphones and an iPod touch without any problems. Your mileage may vary.

So, there you have it. Seven things that you can do with the optional iPad Camera Connection Kit. All in all, you could save some significant dough: roughly $169 over purchasing Apple’s accessories that will do the same things as the gear you may already own. Plus, the simple $29 kit will give you some additional functionality that you would normally need to break out the laptop or camera for. There’s no denying that this accessory is a must have for many iPad owners


  1. Hi
    Am just blog walking .Thnak you for sharing in so much details and clearity the “seven Hidden Features of hte ipad Camera connection kit .

    I am planning to buy the ipad .I will this feature in mind.

  2. Hi Folks
    Not tried webcam or printing via the USB yet. Also my iPad is jailbroken so has added functionality that non jailbroken iPads do not apparently. Printing is also evolving and will be dealt with soon via the next iPad OS update per steve jobs. I will try and report back soon though.

    Regards Admin (Chief News-Knut)

  3. Hey! Thanks for this post – you’ve answered some of my questions! But do you know if it will work if I connect an external usb modem?? 🙂

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