Attaching an external drive to the iPad is pretty easy and straightforward, and thanks to Apple finally introducing a dedicated file manager with the Files app, users will be able to browse the contents of their drive pretty easily. The good news is that if you do rely on encrypted drives and would like to access them on the iPad, that will be possible soon enough.
In the upcoming iOS 14 update, it seems that Apple is finally adding support for encrypted drives that you can access either through your iPhone or iPad. The process of attaching the drives to your drive will be pretty much the same as before, but these encrypted drives will now show up in the sidebar of the Files app.
All users have to do is tap on the drive in question and enter the password that they use for the encryption and they should be good to go. However, and this is kind of a big catch, is that these drives need to be encrypted in the APFS format. This means that if your drive is using a different format, then you would be out of luck.
This might be an issue for some users who have chosen to format their drives to make them compatible on both Windows and Mac, but if you’re a pure Mac user, you can encrypt your drive using the Disk Utility app on macOS that will encrypt it with the APFS format.