I am developing an external hardware that needs to make USB interface to iPhone. (30pins for now).

I do not think Apple would approve MFi for an individual.

For USB interface, is there no way? Or any kind of breakout board and protocol available?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe there's a USB-serial cable on the market if that would work. Or you may have to do an Android version first to attract funding. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Sep 25 '13 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ What exactly do you mean by USB interfacing? Will your device act as usb-peripheral (you want the iphone to control it, which it is very limited in doing) or usb-host (pretend it's a computer)? Are you just tapping it for power or what exactly? \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 25 '13 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you aren't locked in to USB and have limited throughput needs, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) may be an option to explore, as this does not require partnership with Apple in the way that traditional bluetooth did. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Sep 25 '13 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is not only power but USB peripheral where data transmissions are required. \$\endgroup\$ – nelm Sep 26 '13 at 5:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Stratton If BLE does not require any approval process, then I would try it to prove functionality of my board and to attract funding. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – nelm Sep 26 '13 at 5:34

I believe there are two ways to sneak around the Apple MFi approval

  • Bluetooth communication
  • Communication through the mic/earphone jack

It seems that Apple, in order to provide maximum robustness for the users of their OSes ( and possibly other, more nefarious, closed-door reasons ) has decided to make everyone jump through hoops to get any integration with anything working. good for their customer in terms of public perception of stability of their OS, but bad for their developer ecology. but it's their strategy, and developers must deal.

My answer is not really answering your question directly, but I hope to prevent you from going on a further wild goose chase, when powerful forces are working to prevent what you are trying to accomplish.

for goodness sakes, the IPad doesn't even have a USB port. i asked the salesperson in the store about it, and he said USB drives were 'archaic' and 'the iCloud is better'. the point is , if this is the company line vis a vis compatibility, good luck.


Apple does have capability of accessing USB devices, but said USB interface is extremely limited, only works with some devices, and is restricted to viewing only 'image' type file on external file systems. Prognosis: not looking good for getting it working with 'external hardware'.

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    \$\begingroup\$ iPAD does have a USB port. It is possible to purchase (eBay) adapters that plug into the iPADs connector and expose additional USB ports like a USB hub does that then in turn have standard USB connectors. Other adapters use the iPAD USB port to support memory card readers and external USB media devices. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Karas Sep 25 '13 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelKaras does this equipment help move closer to the OPs request? \$\endgroup\$ – Andyz Smith Sep 25 '13 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AndyzSmith Michael's information is important to note that the ipad has usb otg capabilities. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 25 '13 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndyzSmith - My comment was aimed squarely at your statement that "for goodness sakes, the IPad doesn't even have a USB port". \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Karas Sep 25 '13 at 20:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @andyzSmith The usb port on the iPad allows for keyboards, sd cards, flash drives, usb audio and microphones, usb transfer from iphones or ipods, and usb hubs. For the most part, it is a full functioning OTG port, the only limitation being iOS DRIVERS for more stuff. And it also works on the iPhone. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 25 '13 at 21:49

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