The first step in any workflow is getting the files off of your camera and in a place where you can then view, edit and share! 

This article will cover:

  • Why you should be backing up
  • Backup speeds on GNARBOX
  • Compatible external hard drive formats
  • Using File Manager for Backup Organization
  • Backup workflow suggestions
  • Troubleshooting for backing up

Why should I be backing up with GNARBOX?

  • Having redundant copies makes sure your files are safe and secure in case you lose or damage a memory card.
  • Quickly clear your cards to get back to shooting.
  • GNARBOX provides fast processing for editing and playback.
  • GNARBOX comes with SD, microSD, USB2 and USB3 input/outputs. You can read files off of all of these inputs and write to external hard drives, giving you quick access to your content and the ability to seamlessly create redundant backups.

What are the backup speeds off of the GNARBOX?

GNARBOX is packed with either 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage (approximately 20GB of which are allocated to the GNARBOX Operating System and buffer storage). The read and write speeds on that storage average 60MB/sec.

Card readers and drives plugged into the USB2 port will read and write slower than those off USB3 due to the limitations of the USB2 input.  Nonetheless it is an important port for users who wish to utilize their card reader in one of the USB ports to copy files from their CF or XQD card and onto another device such as an external hard drive.

The chart below will give you insight to the read/write speeds of the various GNARBOX inputs.

It's important to note that the SD/microSD slots are read only.
If you're interested in capitalizing on the 6gb/min transfer speed of the USB3.0, you may consider using a compact card reader.  Here's information on which ones we highly recommend!

**Note: The GNARBOX internal storage is currently formatted as FAT32 which has a 4GB file size limit.**

What external hard drives and formats work with GNARBOX?

GNARBOX has no issues reading HFS+ (Mac OS Extended Journaled), NTFS, or FAT32 (MS-DOS) formatted drives and cards. This was a big initiative for the software development team to implement compatibility across drive formats. This means your MAC or PC formatted drives will work seamlessly with the GNARBOX. 

Ex-FAT and APFS formatted external hard drives are currently not supported on GNARBOX 1.0

To learn more about pairing devices with your GNARBOX, check out our article on Connected Devices.

Using File Manager for Backup Organization

The implementation of our File Manager in Version 1.5.0 provides a huge benefit for backing up, as it unlocks users who were previously unable to view drives with over 128GB of content stored on them. Additionally, the existing folder structure of external drives is now visible to users. It is also now possible to create named folders for import, or select existing folders to import to.  

Workflow Suggestions

  • Create a named folder to transfer all of your new files to.
  • Create nested folders to transfer files to and keep your files sorted any way you'd like!
  • Easily view all of the files and folders currently on your GNARBOX in "Folder" view.
  • View large external hard drives in folder view!

For a deeper dive and further information on File Manager, check out the release article here!


Why isn't my device/drive showing up? 

  1. You can only have an SD or a microSD plugged in, not both, because the card ports share a single USB connection to the motherboard. If you have one already plugged in and are trying to insert another, remove the first one before inserting the new one.
  2. If you are using the USB3 (blue) port and you are in Mass Storage mode (found in Settings) your drive will not show up. Try plugging into the USB2 (black) port or switching the mode back to Normal in the Settings menu.

If you continue to experience issues with connecting external devices, send us an email at and our team would be happy to assist you!

Can I use my phone while a transfer is taking place?

While transferring files from your memory card to GNARBOX or external hard drive you can pretty much do anything!  You can navigate out of the app, close the screen of your phone, or even disconnect from the GNARBOX.  Since the transfer is taking place between the GNARBOX and an a memory card, your phone isn't necessary except to watch the transfer happen.  The only time you are not able to navigate away from the app or close the screen of your phone is if you are transferring files from your GNARBOX to your phone.

I plugged my phone in to my GNARBOX but it's not showing up in devices - how can I get photos and videos off my phone onto the GNARBOX?

For iPhone users - you can back up photos and videos from your iPhone to your GNARBOX.  Check out our detailed tutorial on connecting your iPhone to the GNARBOX here.

For Android users - the ability to transfer files from your phone to your GNARBOX is currently in active development!

As always, we're here to help solve your GNARBOX related issues, so if you're unable to find the answer you're looking for on, feel free to shoot us a message using the chat window found in the bottom right corner of the page! 

Marlena is the Community Support Manager at GNARBOX. Talk to her about Canon cameras, travel and adventure photography! You can see her personal work at and

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