MacBooks are premium Apple laptops that often form the hub of work, school, and creative life. Want to take your MacBook to the next level? Add missing features and improve productivity with the right accessories.
Expand Connectivity With USB-C Hubs
When Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line in 2021, it added a few features that professionals and fans had talked about for years. On top of MagSafe, the “new” MacBook Pro now has a dedicated HDMI output and an SD-card reader on top of its four built-in USB-C (Thunderbolt 4) ports.
The revised 2022 MacBook Air is largely unchanged, providing just two USB-C ports for expansion (though MagSafe is now in use for power). For more connectivity, you need a USB-C hub, especially if you want to use older USB-A connections.
Anker 5-in-1 USB-C Hub
A compact, lightweight hub with a decent port selection, making it the perfect travel accessory.
For something lightweight that adds Ethernet, USB-A, and HDMI support, check out the Anker 5-in-1 USB-C Hub. If you need better HDMI output at up to 8K, the Satechi USB 4 Multiport Adapter is a good choice. For more recommendations, take a look at our best USB-C hub roundup.
Use a MacBook Stand for Better Ergonomics
If your MacBook is your primary computer, a laptop stand could change your life. These accessories make it more comfortable and convenient to use your computer at a desk, or anywhere you can comfortably sit. There’s a laptop stand out there for everyone, from heavy sturdy stands designed to stay on your desk at all times to lightweight folding variants that you can pack up and travel with.
If you’d like a portable stand that will match the aluminum aesthetic of your MacBook, consider the LIFELONG Upryze. If you want something for desk use only, the walnut finish and rounded shape of the HumanCentric Laptop Riser may appeal. And since standing desks are the next logical step in terms of ergonomics, the Ergotron WorkFit-T Standing Desk Converter gives you the best of both worlds and is fully adjustable.
LIFELONG Uprize Ergonomic Laptop Stand
This tall laptop stand works for both sitting and standing, and it'll stay sturdy no matter the position.
Buying a stand for your MacBook can help promote a better neck position while working but will also make your keyboard and trackpad impossible to use. They’re a must if you have additional displays since you can position your monitors at the same height.
Add Storage with SD Card Slot Adapters (MacBook Pro)
If you have a MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro or later processor, you’ve also got an SD card slot in your laptop. These expansion ports are useful to creative professionals who import video and photos from memory cards, but they have another purpose that just about anyone can take advantage of.
The JetDrive Lite 330 fits in your MacBook Pro SD card slot and adds up to 1TB of storage to your laptop. The design sits flush with your MacBook chassis so you don’t have to worry about the JetDrive falling out or getting snagged. The BASEQI microSD Adapter is another option that allows you to use an existing microSD card to add storage.
JetDriveLite 330 512GB
Instantly add storage to your post-2021 MacBook Pro with this flush SD card adapter.
The SD-card method of adding storage to a MacBook Pro isn’t without its drawbacks. The card reader is slow at around 300MB/sec. Using an SD-card expansion as a Time Machine backup is one option, but don’t forget that if you lose your laptop (or it’s completely destroyed, for example in a fire) then you’ve lost your backup too.
Keep a Spare Charger for Travel
Did you know you can charge a MacBook with another MacBook? When that’s not an option, why not pack a spare travel charger? Even if your new MacBook has a MagSafe port, you can still charge it using USB-C as long as your adapter can deliver enough power. Even if it can’t, you should be able to trickle charge a MacBook when not in use.
For best results, you’ll want to match the output of your included Apple charger. You can find your exact model under Apple > About This Mac. From here, it’s a case of finding the technical specifications on Apple’s website. The easiest way of doing this is to use a standard search engine like DuckDuckGo or Google. For example, searching for “macbook pro mid 2021 tech specs” yields top results for the 14-inch and 16-inch versions.
For most, one of our best USB-C chargers rated for 100w like the Amazon Basics 100w Four Port charger will be good enough. Thirstier chips like the M1 Max and M2 Max found in the 16-inch models will need something a little more capable like the UGREEN 200w Nexode.
Amazon Basics 100W Four-Port GaN Wall Charger
The Amazon Basics four-port wall charger can power a tremendous number of devices with up to 100W output on its most powerful USB-C port.
USB-C Adapters Let You Use Your Old Cables
One of the worst things about not having any USB-A ports on your new laptop is all of your old USB-A cables lying unused. Many will still have plenty of life in them and cost money to replace, not to mention the e-waste implications of throwing out cables. Fortunately, there’s a better way.
Save your old USB-A cables by buying cheap, snap-on USB-C adapters. Just make sure that the USB-C adapter is fast enough if you want to use the cable for data transfer purposes (and avoid USB 2.0 adapters, which are much cheaper). We recommend something like the Syntech USB-C to USB-A adapter.
Syntech USB-C to USB-A Adapter
This USB-C to USB-A adapter features USB 3.0 data transfer speed and surprisingly durable build quality.
A Mouse or Trackpad for Comfort
Your MacBook’s built-in trackpad is one of the best ways of interfacing with your Mac. You get a tactile experience that can’t be beaten, plus access to tons of useful gestures (and the option of creating your own). Unfortunately, your trackpad isn’t always going to be accessible.
If you’re using a MacBook stand or closing the lid of your MacBook and using an external display, you’ll need another method of controlling your pointer. If you love the trackpad experience, we’d recommend buying Apple’s Magic Trackpad and not looking back.
Apple Magic Trackpad
Apple's wireless, rechargeable trackpad for all Mac models lets you use macOS extensive number of gestures regardless of whether you have a MacBook or not.
If you’d rather be a little more daring with your pointer control, you might consider a mouse instead. For the money, the Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced is hard to top. It works with both Bluetooth and a dongle, has two silent electromagnetic wheels, features programmable buttons, and has a premium feel.
Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced
Treat yourself to one of the best mice money can buy with the Logitech MX Master 3. It looks and feels the part, with two silent electromagnetic scroll wheels, programmable buttons, ergonomic design, and build quality to match.
If you’re suffering from wrist problems or find a standard mouse uncomfortable, the Logitech MX Vertical is another of the best mice you can buy. It might take some getting used to, but the vertical design forces your wrist to use a more neutral position plus you get the same great Logitech build quality.
Protect Your MacBook With a Laptop Bag or Cover
If you’re traveling with your MacBook, a case or bag is essential. We’ve covered some of our favorite laptop bags, including everything from standard backpacks to messenger bags for commuting and even tote bags that won’t cramp your style. Getting a snug fit is important, so make sure you choose a bag that fits your particular laptop.
The TIMBUK2 Lane Commuter backpack received our top recommendation for its water-resistant interior liner, reflectivity for safety, and lifetime warranty. If you already have a bag that you’re happy with but are looking for a sleeve to keep your laptop safe, investing in something hardy like the Thule Briefcase should keep your laptop safe from harm during transit.
TIMBUK2 Lane Commuter
The Timbuk2 Lane Commuter is comfortable, compact, and weather-tight for transporting your laptop around town in any weather. It features 18 liters of space and reflective panels to ensure you stand out in the dark, plus it's backed by a lifetime warranty.
Boost Productivity With a Portable Monitor
Portable monitors aren’t for everyone, but additional screen real-estate vital to boosting your productivity. A good portable monitor should be thin and lightweight while having decent enough battery life to keep you going for a few hours of work. We’ve got suggestions for every budget and use case in our best portable monitor roundup.
For MacBook users, the Asus 15.6-inch ZenScreen Go ticks most of the boxes. The 1080p monitor manages four hours of battery life with both USB-C (for MacBook Air) and micro-HDMI (make sure you’ve got the right cable) inputs. On top of this, it’s got fast charging and doesn’t cost the earth either.
ASUS ZenScreen Go MB16AHP
The 15.6-inch Asus ZenScreen Go is a full-HD (1920x1080) portable monitor with around 4 hours of battery life, USB-C and micro-HDMI connections, and a slim form factor.
Get Gaming with an Xbox Controller
Who said you can’t game on a Mac? Apple computers now enjoy native support for many games via Steam or the Mac App Store, Apple’s own Arcade subscription service, and the ability to remote play from a PlayStation, Xbox, or cloud gaming service. Arguably the best controller for gaming on your MacBook is Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S controller.
Xbox Core Wireless Controller
One of the best controllers you can buy, regardless of platform. The Xbox Core controller was designed with the Xbox Series consoles in mind but works great on a Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and more.
Not only is it natively supported by macOS (appearing under “Game Controllers” in System Settings), it’s well-priced, comfortable, has good battery life when paired with a play and charge kit, and feels great in the hand. You can also use it to play games with your Xbox Series console, iPhone and iPad or Android mobile device, or a Windows PC to boot.
If you’re looking for games to play, consider that modern MacBook models with Apple Silicon are emulation powerhouses.
Back Up Your Mac With an External Drive
Backups are boring but necessary for peace of mind. For best results, you should have a backup that isn’t permanently plugged into your Mac (and ideally stored elsewhere, just in case). You can do all sorts of things to automate your Mac backups (like using a Raspberry Pi over the local network), but for most the solution is obvious: an external drive of some sort.
Pick a decent USB hard drive or a more resilient and faster solid-state drive. You can even use a standard flash drive as long as it’s big enough. Something like the SanDisk 1TB Extreme is a solid choice. It’s more rugged than a standard hard drive, available in a range of sizes, and has a USB-C connection that’s perfect for modern MacBook models.
SanDisk 1TB Extreme
A small form factor combined with a rugged design at a $119 means that this little drive will last you a long time.
Unfortunately, you can’t use iCloud to back up your Mac like you can on an iPhone. While many of your most important folders are synced to iCloud Drive, Apple’s implementation is designed around convenience of access rather than data security. You’ll have to go ahead and pick a good online backup service to set and forget instead.
Grab Some Awesome Mac Software Too
Some of these accessories may be surplus to requirements, while others are must-haves. Software is subjective too, but make sure you check out our favorite daily driver Mac apps, most of which are free.
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