With the release of the new MacBook Pro, Apple has finally made the switch to full USB-C. Macbook Pros will feature only USB-C ports that run the Thunderbolt 3 protocol, meaning they’re fast as heck and you can finally plug in a cable any which way you like. The downside? You’re gonna need some USB-C adapters and dongles.
Fortunately, since the release of the 2015 MacBook, third-party retailers have been gearing up production of MacBook Pro-friendly USB-C adapters. Here’s our list of the most essential USB-C dongles, docks and adapters.
Apple USB-C to USB Adapter
This all-purpose USB-C adapter will convert any USB-C port to a regular USB-A port, allowing you to plug in all your devices just like you’re used to. This will likely be your most popular dongle, since most of the devices you already have, whether USB 2.0 or 3.0, communicate over the rectangular USB-A connector. This means printers, cameras, keyboards, mice, and everything else on your desk. You’ll also see full USB 3.0 speeds on this dongle, provided your device can support that. $19 on Apple.com.
Apple USB-C to Lighting Cable
A must-have for any iPhone, iPad or iPod owner with a new MacBook Pro. You can’t connect your mobile device to the new MacBook Pros with the cable you already have, so you’ll either need to use an adapter or use one of these cables. Considering how frustrating many people find USB-C adapters and dongles, if your iPhone is regularly plugged in to your laptop, this cable will save you a lot of annoyances. $25 on Apple.com.
HooToo Shuttle 3.1 USB C Hub
This hub from well-respected third-party dongle expert HooToo sports three USB 3.0. It’s small and pocketable, making it a good companion for those greiving the lost of the built-in SD card slot on the newest MacBook Pros. You can also charge your MacBook Pro through the USB-C port in the back, and a 4K-capable HDMI port on the end gives you the flexibility to connect a variety of external monitors. The styling is also a good match for the MacBook line, with available colors including Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Space Grey. $65 to $75 on Amazon.
SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS-II Card USB-C Reader
If you’re a serious photographer, you might be pretty annoyed about the lack of an SD card slot on the new MacBook Pros. Fortunately, professional flash storage manufacturer SanDisk is ahead of you there. They’ve released a USB-C SD card reader that plugs right into your new MacBook Pro’s ports, which almost makes up for the lack of a native SD slot. Almost. $50 on Apple.com.
Cable Matters USB 2.0 Type C to Type B
If you’ve got a device like a printer, MIDI controller, hard drive dock, or audio interface, there’s a good chance that it connects to your computer via USB B, better known as “big honking printer USB.” This chunky connector is durable and reliable, but it’s also far less common that it’s brethren. And while most printers connect wirelessly these days, other devices don’t have the same flexibility. Cable Matters makes some top-notch wiring, and this Type C to Type B converter should do exactly what you need. Of course, you’ll still be getting your device’s USB 2.0 speeds, but there’s nothing a cable can do to help you there. $7 on Amazon.
OWC USB-C Dock
OWC, also known as MacSales.com, is a venerable purveyor of Macs and attendant accessories. If you’ve got some cash to spare and you need one full-sized dock to handle all your I/O needs, this is definitely it. While it clocks in at a hefty $150, you’ll get two USB 3.1 ports, two dedicated USB charging ports, a USB-C port to charge your Mac, a gigabit Ethernet connection to plug in to your LAN, a 4K-capable HDMI port, an SD cart slot, and even a headphone jack. You’ll need to run all that off a 20 V DC input, but considering this is the sort of device that should live on your desk permanently, that shouldn’t be too much of a hardship. Comes in Space Grey, Gold, Rose Gold, and Silver. $150 at MacSales.com.
nonda USB-C to USB 3.0 Mini Adapter
If you’ve got an array of rarely-used USB devices around your house, you might not need a full-on hub. Instead, you could get away with attaching one of these cheap USB-A to USB-C adapters from nonda to the end of each cable. Put a few more in a drawer and you’ll probably have all the USB-C connectivity that you need. Available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, $10 to $11 on Amazon.
WEme USB 3.0 CF/SD/Micro SD Card Reader
While SD cards are more popular, most professional-grade cameras use Compact Flash cards for their image data. While virtually bomb-proof, these cards are a bit larger, so we’ve never seen a built-in reader in an Mac or PC. To get images from your CF card on to your new MacBook Pro, you could use one of the above USB-A to USB-C adapters on an older reader, or you could get a new card reader to carry around. Granted, it’s really a USB 3.0 reader with a USB-C adapter attached. But it handles SD, CF and Micro SD cards all in one device. $16 on Amazon.
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