Reliable Apple Rumors blog 9to5Mac reports that the upcoming release of iOS 13, expected to be previewed this June, will finally include a feature that photographers have been waiting for a long time.

While we got the ability to connect external storage to the iPad Pro last fall via USB-C, you still had to import external photos into the internal "camera roll" in order to edit them in applications like Lighroom. This is very frustrating when working with large files or lots of them. If rumors are true, and this one seems very likely to be, then iOS 13 will give us the ability to work with image files directly from external storage this fall, which is huge for photographers and leaves filmmakers wondering if we're going to be getting the same support soon.

If this was a desktop OS, we could assume that that would be the case. In fact, with desktop operating systems, we'd assume that right out of the gate photo and video off external devices would be supported, but that just isn't likely here. 

iOS is a very particular platform when it comes to the way it handles files, and so far the focus of reports on images make it pretty clear we won't see this support for video files. This is hugely frustrating since video files tend to be much, much larger than image files. While this makes it hard for the weaker mobile systems to deal with them over USB-C, it also makes it super annoying to have to bring things into the camera roll or internal storage to deal with it.


While platforms like Adobe Premiere Rush (pictured above) allow for cloud editing of your footage, you still need to get it into the cloud in the first place, and that involves working off your "camera roll" or your desktop. How great would it be if you could plug your SD card to the iPad and have it skip having to go into the iPad and go straight to the Premiere? GNARBOX has some wireless solutions working with LumaFusion, but even those features will be easier with full on support in the operating system.

We know this is tricky stuff, and that an iPad even having a USB-C interface is relatively new, but it was one of the major disappointments in the new iPad Pro's release last year that we didn't get full file system support for external storage. It's exciting that a fix is coming for still photos (and we know a lot of readers do a lot of both), but we're excited to see some of those features come for video. Even if we aren't going to be editing video or (gasp) color grading on an iPad, it would still be great to have tools to even cull a card and clear up some storage on an external, which will work best with full OS integration.

Here's hoping for iOS 14.

Look out for the official iOS preview at WWDC this summer, which we'll cover, with a stable release of software in the fall.