This summer, my family and I are travelling to the Outer Banks, North Carolina for some much-needed rest and recuperation. It's a long drive and music makes it easier. On long trips, I normally stream my playlist from iTunes Watch. However, we recently lowered our data plan and the NC trip is almost 10 hours. I needed another solution.
My first thought was that I could load up an old iPod nano with music for playback via my audio system Lightning connector or Bluetooth. But I soon realized that this created a new problem. I use my iPhone with mapping software that provides turn-by-turn directions when travelling. The iPhone also connects to the car via the Lightning connector or Bluetooth. Whenever I need to make a turn the mapping software interrupts the audio of my iPhone. Problem is that only one device can use the Lightning connector or Bluetooth.
I could either get driving directions and stream music via iTunes Watch and chew up my limited data plan. Or I could skip directions, save my data plan, and playback music via an iPod nano. But I wanted both.
Today, I remembered I had Western Digital Passport Wireless hard drive. The Passport can serve as a wireless access point (WAP) and media access hub and is powered via a standard USB connector. The Passport acts as a wireless access point (WAP) to which the iPhone can connect. I can dump music, photos and movies to folders on the Passport, then with the provided iOS app, wirelessly stream that content to my iPhone. My kids can connect and stream music and movies to their iPhone and iPad while we drive down the high way.
The Passport can also connect to an existing WAP and act as a gateway to the Internet for any connected device. So I configured the Passport to use the hotspot feature of my wife's iPhone. This provided the Passport with access to the Internet. Then I connected my iPhone to the Passport. Though the Passport, my iPhone can get access to the Internet for driving directions but also has access to stream all the music I stored on the hard drive in the Passport.
I will test this setup this July before our trip but I am excited that I found a way. The Passport also has an SD card reader. Insert an SD card and it will automatically copy my images to the hard drive. It's a portable backup for our family vacation photos.