Are you somebody who wants to know the difference between a Photo stick and a flash drive? Maybe a friend saw you store your photos on a USB drive. Later they told you to use a photo stick. And you wondered if it makes any difference? Have you ever seen any of them or used them? If you don’t know, there is a need for you to stay here to get the answers.

In our discussion we have a well-researched answer on the difference between the two USB drives. Besides that, we shall also enlighten you on the dynamics in functionality, capacity appearance and devices that can be supported between the two.

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What is the difference between a photo stick and a flash drive?

The outstanding difference that lies between them is their functionality as storage devices. Flash drive is a general store of data. Be it files, videos, photos, and programs. A photostick is a specialized USB. It is conveniently specialized to make backups. It specifically locates photos and videos and makes a backup of them. With just inserting and selecting GO, it automatically does the job.

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Before going into the dynamics of the two let us understand the separate meaning of the two.

A USB flash drive is a device designed to store data. Data in it is reusable, rewritable, and removable.

A photo stick is similar to a flash drive. The name is more of a trademark used to describe a device that automatically identifies, transfers, and stores photos.

As stated earlier there are 4 main areas, we will use to critically analyze the difference between a flash drive and a photo stick.

  •  Appearance
  • Storage Capacity
  • Supportable Devices
  • Functionality.


A photo stick is a flash drive-shaped device. They both take almost the same shape. The noticeable difference can be drawn from the data transfer port. For flash drives, under normal circumstances, they have one USB-A port that is a connector between them and a computer. However, with increasing demand, manufacturers have started making two ported flash drives. They can be used on both mobile phones and computers.

On the contrary, photo sticks always have more than two ports up to a maximum of four. One is used to connect to a computer USB port while the other connects to a mobile phone. Some photo sticks designed to be used by iPhones have four ports. The extra port is a type-c port.

Storage Capacity

Generally, both devices have varied storage capacities. This depends on the purpose of that specific device or even the manufacturer. Different capacities are designed to suit various functions and they come with different costs.

Flash drives are all around. They range from the least imaginable capacity to a certain level which is large. Example; 2GB, 4GB ,8GB, 12GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB. These are the most common. However, again due to demand manufacturers these days make up to 1000GB (1 TB).

Photo sticks are capacity giants. They generally tend to have larger storage capacities than their counterparts. The most commonly seen capacities include; 8GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 1000GB (1TB).

You may have noticed that photo sticks don’t stoop too low in storage. There are two concrete reasons for this.

  • Since they are meant to backup videos and photos, which are usually big files they should be large enough. The largeness will help them meet the storage requirements.
  • They contain an in-built backup application that is automated. The application is used to detect personal photos and videos for backup. The application occupies a certain space hence demanding a more expanded space in the drive.

To meet up storage demands of High definition videos and pictures manufacturers equip photo sticks with large storage. Flash drives don’t have in-built applications and they can store the least capacitated files like documents.

Supportable Devices

We all grew up knowing flash drives. We have used them on various devices. Flash drives are compatible with most if not all computers. It includes desktops, laptops, tablets, and notebooks.

They also support Windows, Linux, and Mac in operating systems. Some flash drives support android devices. However not all. Depending on the capacity of a flash drive, big capacities don’t support devices with small RAM.

On the other side, Photo sticks also support devices that can be used together with a flash drive. This includes the three operating systems and all computer setups. Photo sticks can also be used with mobile phones and cell phones. This includes the most used smartphones. On the upper hand, photo sticks are compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems.


As a portable storage device, a photo stick is embedded with unique software. The inbuilt software performs intensive scanning, storage, and backup personal media. It is generally designed to store and transfer media. A photo stick is easier to use compared to a flash drive. With just a click of GO upon inserting it properly in a USB port, media is transferred. This saves much energy as well as time.

On the contrary, a Flash drive is a universal portable storage device. By inserting it in the correct USB port, you can manually transfer files and media.

Unlike photo sticks, Flash drives come with different specifications that determine data transfer rates.

USB 1.0 – 1.5 Mbps. (slow)

USB 2.0- up to 480 Mbps. (fast)

USB 3.0 – up to 5 Gbps. (super-fast).


There are numerous portable storage devices in the current world. Having them is one thing and understanding how to use them is another. You can possess them but if you don’t know how to use them, they may not be helpful.  Therefore, knowing their difference is as important as making the right choice on usage.

 Knowing the majors and differences between a photo stick and a flash drive will help you make an informed buying decision. You will have the capability of knowing the right USB device to buy and how to use it appropriately.